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Mailbag 12/16

In which we discuss the future of both the football team

Roman Reigns pre-WWE
Roman Reigns pre-WWE
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Who will step in to be the ‘go-to’ wide receiver on those now-less-rare passing plays for the Jackets?

We actually have a few guys at wide receiver that could become that "go-to" guy. The first one is Micheal Summers. Summers will be a redshirt junior and has already had a good deal of playing time thus far in his career. He showed a lot of promise last year, making 10 receptions for 211 yards.

Two other guys that could also step up are Antonio Messick and Ricky Jeune. This season was their first after their redshirt season. They are both big, talented wide receivers. Messick is 6-3, 195 lbs. Jeune is 6-3, 215 lbs. The biggest problem with these two? Experience. These two combined this season to make one catch. It was a 16-yard touchdown reception against NC State by Messick.

Two guys who are also possibilities, but less likely in my opinion, are incoming freshmen Harland Howell and Christian Philpott.

What might the two-deep look like for A-backs and B-backs for '15?

I'm going to start with A-backs. Assuming Broderick Snoddy comes back fully healthy after breaking his leg, he will be one of the two starters. After watching the last few games the other starter should be Dennis Andrews. After those two, there is really only one other guy who has had any playing time, albeit very limited. That's walk-on Isiah Willis.

Those will likely be the top three guys at A-back. After that, Tech will likely go with one of out redshirt freshman A-backs. The two possibilities there are Clinton Lynch and Qua Searcy. Lynch is probably a little more likely, as Searcy has the versatility to play wide receiver or defensive back.

Although unlikely, the possibility of a true freshman playing is always available. The two likeliest to play are Omahri Jarrett and Nathan Cottrell.

At B-back, CJ Leggett, being the only guy with any experience, will likely be the starter. Behind him will be two true freshmen: Quaide Weimerskirch and Mikell Lands-Davis. Weimerskirch may gain an edge being an early enrollee, but they could both play.

TL;DR version:

Position 1st String 2nd String

Broderick Snoddy

Dennis Andrews

Isiah Willis

Clinton Lynch

B-Back CJ Leggett

Quaide Weimerskirch

Mikell Lands-Davis

Would Byerly pull a Days and move to B-back, and what does that mean for JT5’s backups?

I would certainly be on board with this and think it could definitely be a possibility. But Kelly Quinlan doesn't seem to think so.

I'll let y'all interpret that however you want.

If this were to happen, Thomas' backup would be Matthew Jordan. Ever since we got him, I've been a big fan of Jordan. I think he'd be a capable backup for Thomas.

With the Orange Bowl national platform, do you think that this will help some Jackets get drafted, if so who? Round? Team? etc.

I'm not really sure how much being in the Orange Bowl will affect draft status for some players, but I suppose the national exposure is always a good thing. I do think we have a few guys who could easily get drafted.

The two most likely to be drafted are Deandre Smelter and Shaquille Mason. Smelter's torn ACL may hurt his stock, but I think he still has the potential to be drafted. He'll probably go, depending on his rehab, in the fourth or fifth round.

As for Mason, his first team All-America selection will have more of an impact on his draft status than playing in the Orange Bowl. Because of his lack of pass-blocking very often, he'll likely be a late-round draft pick, but he'll still be a good pick-up.

After those two, the only ones you could really make an argument for being drafted are Quayshawn Nealy and Isaiah Johnson. To be drafted, they will need every bit of exposure they can get. So playing in the Orange Bowl will definitely be beneficial to them as long as they have a good game.

I have heard every sportscaster who has cared to prognosticate completely dismiss the Yellow Jackets in the Orange Bowl, touting a Mississippi St blowout simply because they play in the SEC West, but given that both Mullen and Johnson have managed to win 10 games in their respective leagues with similar rosters of 2 and 3 star recruits surely (and don’t call me shirley) we have a chance. What’s your breakdown of the sitch? I’m sure that article is coming anyway closer to Orange Bowl time.

I think we definitely have a chance in this game. Remember that the media not only predicted us to finish sixth in the Coastal division, but also to only win 6.5 games.

There's a lot of things that the media has been saying all year. And really since CPJ has been here. He continuously proves them wrong. I wrote in my article yesterday that Tech needs to exploit two weaknesses: MSU's inability to stop the pass and their turnovers.

It certainly won't be easy as MSU matches up really well with us, but it is only as impossible as our ability to beat the "big 4" or our ability to outright win the Coastal division.

We all know Bama is the real deal, but I’d like to know how fast the rolloff is in the rest of the $ECW. There’s not really a bad team in the bunch (with Arkansas coming on strong at the end), but there are four teams with .500 or worse records in-conference. How close is Missy State on down from having a much better or much worse record?

I always have issues with what to make of the SEC West. They definitely have some good teams. But their biggest issues is that they don't play a very tough OOC schedule. This season, the SEC West played a total of three power-5 conference opponents. Granted, Ole Miss also played Boise State. But still, that's only four games among seven teams.

They also went 4-0 in those four games against West Virginia (33-23 Bama victory), Boise State (35-13 Ole Miss victory), Kansas State on the road (20-14 Auburn victory) and Wisconsin (28-24 LSU victory).

Personally, I think these SEC West teams are a lot closer to each other than records would show. For example, Bama only beat Arkansas by a single point. They had to go to overtime to beat LSU. But then they go and hang nearly 60 on Texas A&M.

You can go through each team's schedule and observe that they play a lot of close games that could legitimately go either way.

So how good is the SEC West really? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Do you think any of our Juniors are good enough/think they are good enough to declare for the draft early such as DJ White? From the looks of our roster everyone will be back except the seniors and based on who played and who we have coming in, next years team has the potential to be pretty dangerous especially with JT at the helms. Hunt-Days and Whitehead are more than likely back, a host of new and powerful ABs, as well as 3 WRs 6-3 or 6-4, not to mention plenty of returning OLs and 2015 could, dare I say it, see back-to-back double digit win seasons or am I getting ahead of myself?

I definitely don't think you're getting ahead of yourself. Tech has a legitimate shot at having another double-digit win season. To do that, though, they will need to be able to immediately reload at the offensive skill positions. If they can make that transition fairly seamlessly, they should be able to win 10 games despite the present difficulty of the schedule next season.

As for players who could leave, I don't think any will. You already mentioned DJ White. He's definitely a guy who could leave, but if he did, I feel like he would end up like Jerrard Tarrant who left and then went undrafted and quickly fell out of the league.

The only guys I could really see leaving would be Trey Braun or Tyler Marcordes and neither of them would be leaving for the NFL. IF (and that's a big if, literally), they leave, it will be because they have both already earned their degrees and could have their playing time threatened next season.

You get to pick one sport to write about for the rest of your career/life, and you’ll be unable to write about any others. Which sport do you pick, and why?

It would definitely have to come down to either football or baseball, as those are my two favorite sports. But for the sake of my future family, I would pick football.

While still being very involved, it does not require the amount of travel that baseball reporting does. At some point in the future, I would like to have a family, which would be difficult if I'm traveling around the country as much as baseball beat reporters do.

What will Georgia Tech’s conference record in basketball end up as?

I want to preface this by saying that my basketball knowledge falls short as compared to my knowledge of football and baseball, hence why I'd rather write about one of those for the rest of my life.

As for Tech's conference record, let's see. Tech's got 18 conference games this season and I know they are doing a lot of rebuilding and still trying to find themselves. I think they'll probably start off slow, but there's definitely a chance they could win 8-10 games. But like I said, I don't really know what I'm talking about, so take that prediction with a grain of salt.

In that case, does Brian Gregory get retained or "wished the best of luck in his future endeavors"?

It would definitely be an improvement over last season, so in this situation, I think CBG would get retained, but what do I know. Those reading this are probably banging their heads on their keyboard complaining that I have no idea what I'm talking about, but that's alright.

If our dope is straight, CPJ's new contract includes upgrades to Recruiting Staff, Mo' Money for assistants, and more flexibility on getting "borderline" academic kids onto the Flats. Is our dope straight, and if so, how does all of this work over the next 5 years? Bigger, better staff? #migration Please no academic scandals!

No details on the CPJ's contract have been officially released. But if that is indeed the case, I think we will only see Tech improve in those areas. I'm not too sure about the "borderline" academic kids, because we've accepted some of those and they have ended up flunking out. Their names escape me right now, though.

As for how we could look in five years, I think we could look pretty good. If Tech continues to improve, it is likely a given that our position coaches will get poached to be coordinators or possibly head coaches elsewhere. But given more money for assistants, we would be able to bring in coaches that are just as good.

Right now, I'm very optimistic about the direction of Georgia Tech football (as bad as that idea sounds), so I think we are definitely on the right track.

What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European?

One of the intangibles this year has been team chemistry and unity. What are the prospects that enough "critical mass" has been created within the junior ranks so that this "team" attitude continues in 2015 and beyond?

A lot of people complained about all the attrition from last offseason (and rightfully so), but that may be the underlying cause of why the chemistry was so good this year. I can't say for sure, but let's say all the guys who are no longer with the team were either causing trouble or maybe just a locker room cancer. Getting rid of those guys would help improve team chemistry. Again, that was pure speculation.

As for will it continue, yes I think it will. Something I've noticed with the last two recruiting classes, they all seem to be friends with each other well before they even make it to Georgia Tech. In doing that, they are already establishing trust and chemistry.

So look for it to continue to grow.

Fighting to #ownthenarrative.....Let’s begin with a hypothetical that is a long shot. Say FSU wins the national title, Tech beats Missy State, Clemson beats Oklahoma and Louisville beats uga. Next year the preseason top ten comes out. One thing we know, Alabama will be ranked number one and Florida will be in the top five, because, that’s how the pollsters roll.

The question is this. What does the rest of the top ten look like?

Using your hypothetical situation, I will assume that FSU beats Alabama in the Championship game (even if that is not my prediction).

If that were to happen, we'd probably have a top 10 like this:

1. - 14.The SEC

15. - 128. Everybody else.

Realistically though, we'll probably see something like this:

1. FSU

2. Bama

3. Oregon

4. Ohio State

5. Baylor

6. TCU

7. Tech

8. Ole Miss

9. Michigan State

10. Arizona

Former Georgia Tech defensive tackle and alumnus Joe Anoa'i just won WWE Superstar of the Year as "Roman Reigns." If you had to pick someone on the current roster to win that award one day, who would it be and why? See, with the tables turned, I’m making sure to really ask the important questions.

First of all, congratulations to Joe Anoa'i! I wish we still had you!

Now, onto the question. If there was someone on this team who would follow Anoa'i's footsteps, it would have to be Adam Gotsis as "The Thunder from Down Under."

I mean, really though, who else on this team would move to WWE? It just seems.....right. I mean, they even wore the same number in college.

And keep the important questions coming Joey. I can keep sending out #hottakes all day.

Why has it been so long since the last mailbag? I’m too lazy to look it up, but did it have to do with not messing up our winning streak mojo? Like maybe we forgot to have one (or chose not to) after we lost to UNCheat and then we started winning and y’all didn’t want to stir up the football gods by changing things? I’d totally respect this as a reason, because you have to respect a streak!!!

Honestly, that has absolutely nothing to do with it. Joey had been doing them up until right after the Duke game. Nothing really changed with the team until the next week.

AOT's response probably says it best:

I respect all streaks......
Especially lazy streaks.
- Atlanta's Original Team

But I'm done with all of my classes for the semester, and this will become a weekly thing again.

What are the top 5 plays on offense or defense that you'll remember about this season?

I'm going to do the top 5 plays in chronological order. Hope that's alright.

5. From the Georgia Southern game, Justin Thomas' game-winning touchdown pass to Deon Hill.

4. DJ White chasing down James Conner from behind to force a fumble and a touchback

3. This Jamal Golden pick-six

2. Sony Michel and Nick Chubb both fumble inside the five-yard line (apologies on the lack of video)

1. The kick and the pick

Rank the current A-backs in the order you have most confidence in their abilities to make the right plays.

I'm going to preface this response by saying that I'm not going to include Synjyn Day in this list since he is playing more B-back nowadays. Now for my list (most confident at the top).

1. Charles Perkins: I feel like every time he touched the ball, he'd gain at least 10 yards. Just like clockwork.

1A. Broderick Snoddy: If not for an injury, he probably would have gained sole possession of first place. Very proud of the step up Snoddy took this year.

3. Deon Hill: Georgia Southern, 'nuff said.

4. Dennis Andrews: Had a lot of potential coming into the season, but didn't really start to show that until the end of the season. Had he done it the entire season, he'd be higher on the list.

5. Tony Zenon: Touchdown Tony! He led the A-backs in rushing touchdowns.

6. BJ Bostic: He was the only A-back to average under six yards per carry. He averaged 5.9.

What is the total weight of all of the trees cut down in a year used for US currency?

The same amount as the weight of all trains that pass through Grand Central Station in a year's time.

Mark Richt's middle name is a mystery. If you had to give him a middle name, what would it be? I'd go with Corndog.

You know, before I read this question, I didn't know how big a deal it was that seemingly nobody knows Richt's middle name. That is very bizarre.

I like your suggestion of Corndog, but you need to add in something that is reminiscent of his time as a quarterback at Miami. So let's just give him two middle names (some people do that). And now we have Mark Corndog Caine Richt.

How many dwags on the football team get arrested this offseason?

7, give or take the entire team.

What is your opinion on the Heisman candidates' responses to the question "Should NCAA athletes be paid?"

I don't know what their responses were, so I'll just give my thoughts on the question and let you compare. I'm in full favor of the idea of a semi-pro league. This way, those that don't want to go to school, but just want to be paid to play football can do so. But it also leaves the option open for those that won't to go to school and have a back-up plan in case football doesn't work out.

Who do you think will be the first Georgia Tech player drafted in this year's NFL draft?

Even after his torn ACL, I still think Deandre Smelter will be the Tech's first player drafted. You've seen as much as I have how talented he is. Unless he just hits brick wall after brick wall in his recovery prior to the draft, he could still easily go as high as the fourth or fifth rounds.

After him, I could see Darren Waller or Shaq Mason be the next selection. Waller would be taken on potential alone. And Mason would be taken by a team in desperate need of a run-blocker (cough, cough Atlanta).

How many ACC players get taken in the first round of the NFL draft?

Right now, I'll say nine. Those ten being, Jameis Winston, DeVante Parker, P.J. Williams, Ereck Flowers, Ronald Darby, Eddie Goldman, Vic Beasley, Cameron Erving, Rashad Greene, and Gerrod Holliman.

(In my best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice) Who is your daddy? And what does he do?

My dad is pretty much the main reason I'm a Georgia Tech fan who was born and raised in Athens, GA. He graduated Tech in '79 (I think) with a degree in Electrical Engineering and then got a master's at VPI while he and my mother were living in Virginia.

Presently, he's working for a firm in Atlanta. From what I have seen and heard about his career, he is truly the embodiment of a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a Helluva Engineer.

I actually have a pretty funny story about that. One of the companies that my dad used to work for when he first moved back to Georgia laid him off after a few years. Now he was the best engineer the company had, and no one else there really knew what to do. So his former boss would keep bringing him back. But because my dad is a nice guy, he didn't charge him for the work.

Soon enough, he got tired of doing all this work for free, so he talked to one of his engineering friends to find out a regular rate for a freelance engineer at the time. He gave that price to his former boss and never heard back from him or the company again.

Should I be optimistic for a win Saturday against the Commode-odors?

My personality is one that is more often that not optimistic. That being said, I don't really know a whole lot about what Vandy has been doing this season, so while it may not be a great idea, I'll be optimistic for the win.

Any RumbleSeaters in the house, if so, will there be Fireball?

I'll let them speak for themselves.

Will we make the CFB playoffs before JT graduates?

If they stay with the current four-team setup, probably not. If they do expand it to eight or more games, I could definitely see us in the playoff in 2016. JT will be a senior. We will have reloaded on offense and I think the defense has a chance to be really good by then.

So, I'll say yes since I think it's pretty likely the playoff gets expanded to eight games next year.

Who do you think wins the starting BB and WR battles next year?

Ideally, the incoming freshmen come in at both positions and blow away CPJ and the rest of the coaching staff to the point to where they will have no choice but to play them.

Realistically, though, at B-back, I think CJ Leggett will be the starter. His only competition will be Mikell Lands-Davis and Quaide Weimerskirch. Leggett will have the upper hand due to his experience.

At wide receiver, Micheal Summers will get one starting spot. Competing for the other spot will be Ricky Jeune and Antonio Messick. Personally, I like Jeune to win the job. No real reason, I just like him better.

Thanks for all the questions! We'll be back next week to do another one!