Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018
MONTGOMERY – Georgia Southern has brought a local flavor to this year’s Camellia Bowl.
The campus, located in Statesboro, Ga., is about 300 miles from the city of Montgomery. The Eagles are expecting huge turnout this weekend from their loyal fan base.
The Eagles also have quite a few connections to the city of Montgomery and state of Alabama.
One of those connections is fifth-year senior tight end Ellis Richardson, who began his collegiate career as quarterback at Alabama State University.
After graduating from Douglas County High School, Richardson enrolled in prep school and then spent one semester at Los Angeles Valley College before transferring to Alabama State.
Richardson spent the 2015 season at Alabama State, where he compiled 1,289 total yards and 14 touchdowns for the Hornets. He threw for 739 yards and six touchdowns and added 550 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
He transferred to Georgia Southern following the season and had to sit out the 2017 season.
This year he leads the Eagles with three touchdown receptions in a run-oriented offense. Overall, he has caught nine passes for 185 yards. His first career TD reception came against Troy. He was named 2018 First-Team All-Sun Belt Conference by Athlon Sports and was named to the John Mackey Award watch list, presented annually to the nation’s top tight end.
“He’s done a really good job,” Georgia Southern head coach Chad Lunsford said. “When we talk about buying in, he’s really bought in. We presented it to him a year ago; it was an opportunity for him to get on the field. It was an opportunity for him to go ahead and play and he’s really grown into that role. He’s done a really good job of getting physical. Obviously, his athletic ability is something that we really need at that spot. He’s done a good job at it.”
Richardson is a second-generation college football player. His father, Chuck, played linebacker on Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team under head coach Danny Ford.
Richardson isn’t the only Georgia Southern player with local ties.
The Eagles have five players who hail from the state of Alabama, including senior running back Monteo Garrett (Munford HS), sophomore linebacker Reynard Ellis (Shades Valley HS), freshman defensive end Elijah Campbell, Jr., (Gadsden City HS), freshman defensive back Kaylen Wright (Lanier County HS) and freshman tight end D.J. Butler (Bob Jones HS).
Georgia Southern defensive coordinator Scott Sloan is making his third appearance at the Camellia Bowl. Sloan was the secondary coach at Appalachian State when the Mountaineers defeated Ohio and Toledo in back-to-back Camellia Bowl appearances in 2015 and 2016.
Georgia Southern outside linebackers coach Jeremy Rowell owns two degrees from Troy University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1997 and earned his master’s degree in foundations in education in 1999. A former Troy player, Rowell spent 15 years on the Trojans staff as assistant coach. He worked as defensive coordinator, secondary coach and recruiting coordinator during his tenure.
2018 CAMELLIA BOWL:
Eastern Michigan (7-5, 5-3 Mid-American Conference) and Georgia Southern (9-3, 6-2 Sun Belt) meet in the fifth annual Camellia Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. The game will kick off at 4:35 p.m. (CT) and will be televised by ESPN. The broadcast team will be Mike Corey (play-by-play), Rene Ingoglia (analyst) and Lauren Sisler (sideline reporter).
Former Sidney Lanier High School and University of Alabama fullback Johnny Davis has been selected as the 2018 Camellia Bowl Alabama Football Legend Award, presented by Regions Bank.
Davis will be honored at the 2018 Camellia Bowl Alabama Football Legend Luncheon, which will be held Friday, Dec. 14, at the Renaissance Hotel. Tickets for the luncheon are on sale through the Camellia Bowl (www.camelliabowl.com) website.
Tickets to the fifth annual Camellia Bowl are on sale at www.espnevents.com/camellia-bowl/tickets. Tickets are $30 for reserved seats and $20 for general admission seating.
The Camellia Bowl will feature two teams with red zone success this season. Eastern Michigan leads the MAC (4th NCAA) in red zone defense, while Georgia Southern leads the Sun Belt Conference (5th NCAA) in red zone offense.
Eastern Michigan opponents have scored on 33-of-46 (.717) red zone trips this season. EMU opponents have scored 21 red zone touchdowns (.457) this year. EMU opponents have only reached the red zone five times (1 TD) in the last three games. The Eagles have forced four red zone turnovers.
Georgia Southern has scored on 37 of 40 (.925) red zone possessions this season. The Eagles have 29 red zone touchdowns (.725) this season. Georgia Southern enters the Camellia Bowl having scored on 10 straight red zone trips (8 TDs). The Eagles scored on all seven red zone trips (6 TDs) against New Mexico State and all six red zone trips (4 TDs) at Coastal Carolina.
MEDIA SCHEDULE (FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14)
7:30-8:45 AM – FCA Breakfast (Renaissance Hotel)
Noon – 1:30 PM – Alabama Football Legend Luncheon (Renaissance Hotel)
Former Sidney Lanier and Alabama standout Johnny Davis
Presented by the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Regions Bank
1:15 PM – Eastern Michigan Walkthrough (Cramton Bowl)
Closed to all media/no photo opportunities
3-3:30 PM – Eastern Michigan Press Conference (Multiplex at Cramton Bowl)
Head Coach Chris Creighton, WR Blake Banaham and DL Jeremiah Harris
3:30-4 PM – Georgia Southern Press Conference (Multiplex at Cramton Bowl)
Head Coach Chad Lunsford, Wesley Fields and Kindle Vildor
4-5 PM – Georgia Southern Walkthrough (Cramton Bowl)
Closed to all media/no photo opportunities
4-6 PM – Pep Rally (Union Station Train Shed)
5-5:30 PM – Eastern Michigan Pep Rally (Union Station Train Shed)
EMU (Graduation Ceremony) (Union Station Train Shed)
5:30-6 PM – Georgia Southern Team Pep Rally (Union Station Train Shed)
6:15 PM – Montgomery Christmas Parade (Dexter Street to Commerce Street)