Last weekend Georgia Southern won a thriller over Chattanooga – 39-31 in overtime. The Eagles came into the game ranked No. 2 in the Football Championship Subdivision Coaches Poll, but with its sixth consecutive win and a loss by top ranked Eastern Washington, GSU is now No. 1 in the country. In the victory Saturday, the Eagles were without leading rusher Dominique Swope, who was injured, but got 141 yards and three touchdowns from QB Jerick McKinnon and steady play from a familiar name. Former Augusta Christian standout William Banks took advantage of some extra playing time, rushing for 69 yards on 18 carries. Early in the season, Banks was mostly contributing on special teams, but he impressed coaches in a game last month vs. Western Carolina. In that contest the 5-9, 189 lb. junior came on late in the game but managed to top the 100-yard mark. As GSU rolled to a 38-13 win, Banks rambled for 101 yards and a TD on just 15 carries. He now has 179 yards rushing on the season and needs 79 yards to earn family bragging rights. His brother Lee rushed for 257 yards for the Eagles in 2010. As a senior at Augusta Christian in 2008, William Banks rushed for 1,204 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also tossed the ball for 8 more scores.
Former Thomson standout Darius Eubanks is a starter for GSU’s defense and is third on the team in tackles with 51 stops this season.
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Brandon McCladdie (Evans)
McCladdie is enjoying a terrific season at the Citadel. The Bulldogs are 4-4 on the season and McCladdie has a major role on the team as a starting defensive back. Through eight games, the 6-1, 190 lb. junior has racked up 30 tackles and an interception with 28 of his tackles being solo stops. He also has three tackles for loss. He and his Bulldogs teammates handed Georgia Southern its only loss back in September when it used a field goal to edge the Eagles 23-21. In McCladdie’s three seasons as a starter at Evans the Knights compiled an impressive 27-7 record, which included a 10-1 record in 2008. Following his senior season, McCladdie earned First Team All-County and All-Region honors.
Tre Henderson (Evans)
Henderson is in his third season as a starter at Coastal Carolina. The 5-10, 180 lb. cornerback has had a solid career with the Chanticleers. This season the team is 4-4 and Henderson has had an impact on defense and special teams. Defensively he has 19 tackles, a tackle for loss and an interception this season. More importantly, Henderson is the team’s shutdown corner and usually draws the assignment of covering the opposition’s top receiver. In addition to his solid play on defense, Henderson has been outstanding returning kicks. He has returned 9 kicks for 307 yards and leads the team with an average of 34.1 yards per return. His long return for the season is an 87 yarder. During his senior season at Evans, the Knights were 9-3 and advanced to the second round of the GHSA state playoffs.