In January, Parker Stevens took his official trip to Georgia State. As usual when a recruit visits, the GSU coaches gave Stevens a quick tour of the place. But there wasn't much to see. Locker rooms? They don't exist yet. The practice facility? Doesn't exist. Retired jerseys? GSU has yet to suit up a player.

Such is recruiting life for Bill Curry's Georgia State program, the FCS start-up we've been following since August. (For the first three installments, search for "Coach Bill Curry" on espnthemag.com.) Yet when Stevens, a defensive back from Houston's Katy Taylor High, had to decide between Georgia State and SMU, he chose to be a Panther. He liked Curry, Atlanta and the idea of writing the first chapter in GSU gridiron history. "At other schools, they had players show us the weight room and the field," Stevens says. "They had wins and losses to talk about, media guides and a complete schedule. That's the big difference, seeing everything already in front of you at other places."