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Kennedy Emerging for Eagles

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Wesley Kennedy, a number of different ways, is making Georgia Southern better.

As resurgent Georgia Southern has marched towards contention, a number of key playmakers have helped lead the charge. One of those talents, slot-back Wesley Kennedy, has quickly developed into one of the Sun Belt's most versatile and valuable players. Not long after a signature game-winning touchdown run on a reverse against Arkansas State, he helped the Eagles overcome an early 14-3 deficit at New Mexico State with touchdown runs on consecutive possessions. After Kennedy's second score, Georgia Southern did not trail again.   

In addition to being the Eagles' leading receiver and return specialist, Kennedy has developed a dynamic role in Georgia Southern's famed rushing attack. He, along with backs Monteo Garrett and Logan Wright and quarterback Shai Werts, helped the Eagles run for 389 yards and six touchdowns on Saturday. It's clear that Kennedy's offensive role is expanding; his 16 attempts against the Aggies were twice his previous career high. The New Mexico State game also marked Kennedy's first multi-score performance.  

With almost 800 all-purpose yards, Kennedy is averaging 8.8 yards per rush, 21.7 yards per reception, 23.2 yards per kickoff return and 12.3 yards per punt return. The only players this millennium to reach the endzone while maintaining that 8-21-23-12 pace for an entire season are Brandon Tate, Devin Hester and Terence Newman -- and they played a combined total of 34 years in the NFL. 

For one of college football's rising programs, Kennedy is a rising star. His big-play prowess has been on display all season. Kennedy, against UMass, had a 39-yard reception. He had a 40-yard catch at Clemson the very next week, beating a defense which has allowed just three such gains all year. An aforementioned 47-yard burst to finish off Arkansas State, capping a 100-yard rushing day, is already part of Eagle lore. On special teams, Kennedy returned a kickoff 62 yards versus South Alabama. His recent scores at New Mexico State proved critical.     

Though now a new part of Georgia Southern's offensive attack, Kennedy's talents are nothing new to fans in the area. He compiled over 7,500 all-purpose yards and scored 89 total touchdowns at Benedictine Military Academy in nearby Savannah. He, playing for former Eagle standout Danny Britt and alongside current Georgia Southern linebacker Chris Harris, Jr.,  also won two state titles.

Georgia Southern, 6-1 with only a defeat at Clemson, has a massive home showdown with rival Appalachian State coming up on Thursday, a game which will be nationally-televised on ESPNU. A win would go a long way towards the Eagles hosting the first-ever Sun Belt Conference Championship Game. Interestingly, last year's game with the Mountaineers was where Kennedy largely first got involved offensively. He ran the football twice, had a reception and even attempted a pass. Expect his series encore to be a prominent one.   

Kennedy, a number of different ways, is making Georgia Southern better. His impact can be measured in the box score and win column alike.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports