Georgia Southern’s football team has one more familiar face will be on the roster.
Russell DeMasi played quarterback for the Eagles through spring, but with the emergence of Georgia Tech transfer Jaybo Shaw and freshmen Ezayi Youyoute and Jerick McKinnon in the fall, DeMasi took on a new role helping out with the film for the program.
But Youyoute suffered a foot injury Thursday. Although the foot isn’t broken, the coaching staff is unsure when he will return, so they asked DeMasi if he would be willing to suit up and run with the quarterbacks again.
“He’s teammates with these guys and he’s walking around with a camera in his hand. That’s not easy for everybody to do, but he wanted to be a part of the program,” said first-year GSU coach Jeff Monken. “It didn’t bother me at all to go ask him.
“I said, ‘listen, why don’t you go talk to your dad.’ I’m sure his dad’s advice means a lot to him, as mine does, and he came back a few minutes later and said, ‘Coach, I don’t even need to ask my dad. I want to play.’”
DeMasi, whose father is Effingham County High School girls basketball coach Karl DeMasi — ran drills with the threes in shorts Friday and was with the team at Saturday’s scrimmage. However, the former Savannah Christian star can’t suit up in pads and practice fully until he goes through an NCAA-sanctioned acclamation period.
Still, with Jawaun Lucky and A.J. McCray — two other quarterbacks from the spring who are now playing slotback and safety respectively — unable to practice with the quarterbacks, Monken is glad DeMasi is happy to help.
“We didn’t want to go pull A.J. from the defense, because he’s got himself in the mix (at safety),” Monken said. “Luckey’s got a pulled hamstring right now.
“It’s like I told (quarterbacks coach) Mitch (Ware), ‘I’m not too prideful. That kid’s the next best thing we got. Let’s ask him if he wants to come back out.’ In the spring, he was way down in the depth, he wasn’t going to travel, he was probably going to be a scout-team guy, and I knew he’d probably be frustrated.”
DeMasi is expected to practice in full pads by the middle of this week.