COVINGTON -- Newton defensive end Kingsley Ejike will be moving up to the play with the big boys after giving Georgia State a verbal commitment.
Pushing Georgia State over the top from schools that included South Carolina State and Appalachian State was the fact the Panthers, who finished the year with a 1-10 record, will be moving to the FBS as a member of the Sun Belt Conference. The Panthers will be under first-year head coach Trent Miles, who is coming from Indiana State.
"I feel like it's a good opportunity and they're a program that's on the rise," Ejike said.
Another reason Ejike chose Georgia State was because of its proximity to Covington, giving his parents a chance to catch a few of his games.
Ejike, who stands at 6-foot, one-inch and tips the scale around 230, led the Rams in total tackles with 87 including a team-leading 21.5 for a loss. As a team, the Rams had 29.5 sacks with Ejike coming up with 15. He caused havoc in the backfield against Druid Hills, Rockdale and Morrow where he had three sacks in each of those games.
When he takes up the blue and white of the Panthers, Ejike will be moved from his high school position.
"I'll be playing outside linebacker," he said. There's not much difference since I'll still be doing a lot of pass rushing."
How much playing time he'll see as a true freshman still remains to be seen as the need for linebackers could chance. The Panthers ran a 3-5 defensove scheme last year but Miles had a 4-3 at Indiana State last year.