Who's going to replace Stephen Hill?
Hey there Tech fans, this is TBuzz (Tom) and I am happy to join the site as a contributor. I figure since I write more than these jokers anyway, I might as well get some credit! All kidding aside, this is a great fan site and I hope to contribute to the great atmosphere. I graduated from Tech in 2000 with my BSIE, and currently live in Tampa, FL. While I miss the 10+ years I lived in Atlanta and regularly attended Tech football games, I feel I am still connected with FTRS. Don't let your DWAG friends (and by the way...shame on you) fool you, we are in the midst of a golden era of Tech football, and we're pretty damn good. So without further ado...
With the recent run of Georgia Tech WRs in the NFL (Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Kevin Cone, Stephen Hill) I like to remind my fellow college football fans that we now are, in fact, "Wide Receiver U". But since Hill's departure was a bit unexpected, and along with the graduating Tyler Melton, this has left the position wide open amongst a group of young but athletic, physical guys. In fact, there are no returning WRs with ANY receptions from 2011. So...who is going to emerge? Find out after the jump...
Of course, CPJ will say it's the players who block the best. Blocking on the perimeter, as we know, is what turns good running plays into explosive running plays. It also helps the WR in setting up the go-route by giving the DB a little bit of indecision, and if the running game is working, play-action is a thing of beauty. In the Spring, we got a glimpse of the 4 likely candidates...senior Chris Jackson, junior Jeremy Moore, and sophomores Jeff Greene and Darren Waller. Aside from Jackson (who is still 6'1"), all are tall and strong guys in the mold of their NFL predecessors. However, through Spring 2012, all of them seem to lack the total package of blocking, route-running, ball skills, and perhaps most importantly...consistency.
Chris Jackson, the transfer from Alabama, has struggled to get on the field because of injuries or disciplinary issues. While a more polished and natural pass-catcher at WR, he's had difficulty cracking the rotation. Jeremy Moore has the size, but injuries have slowed his progress. Darren Waller wowed Tech fans on Special Teams with his ability to leap and block punts, but is still raw in his technique. Jeff Greene, who saw snaps as a true freshman in 2011, is also talented and has a knack for jumping up and making a big play. Don't completely rule out some of the incoming freshmen either, like the 6'3" 227 lb Travin Henry, the super speedy Micheal Summers, or the ball-hawking Anthony Autry.
In the Spring, there seemed to be a more sustained effort to get the A-backs involved in the passing game, with speedy guys like Tony Zenon, Deon Hill, and B.J. Bostic getting quick passes on the perimeter. This was, compared to seasons' past, a different wrinkle in the passing game for A-backs, who have primarily ran either hitches or go-routes off play-action.
Could the answer be, at least in the beginning of the season, that there is no "go-to" WR? What say you?