Rising freshman offensive lineman Jake Whitley is bringing some high expectations for himself along with him as he begins his college journey. Whitley, who stands at 6-4, 295, is a three-star prospect out of North Augusta, South Carolina with some great mobility and footwork for a player of his size and position. That fact alone means that he fits the bill for an offensive lineman at Georgia Tech -- Paul Johnson tends to play with mobile linemen in the run-heavy scheme. Whitley isn't likely to get a lot of playtime this season behind the talented Tech linemen, but his drive and skill-set make me think that he is capable of having a big impact during his career.
The Fourth of July may have passed, but former Georgia Tech slugger Mark Teixeira wishes every day was Independence Day. Because he is a true patriot? Sure, but that's not the entire reason -- Teixeira has a hit streak of almost a decade on July 4th. He hasn't failed to notch a hit on the All-American holiday since his first season and hasn't looked back, batting .459 across every Fourth of July since. Tex's success doesn't end with hits -- the former Jacket hasn't struck out in 33 at bats dating back over a decade. It's just a pleasant side-note to what has been a fantastic 13-year career for one of Tech's finest products. Happy birthday, America. Love, Tex.
In other MLB news, the 2014 All-Star Game rosters were released yesterday, and one former Yellow Jacket made the cut -- Matt Wieters. Wieters, currently with the Baltimore Orioles, was voted in as the starting catcher for the American League by the fans, beating out the likes of Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, and Brian McCann (boo). Because he sustained an arm injury that required Tommy John surgery (which usually isn't needed by position players until after their careers end), Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals will start behind the plate. Wieters started off the campaign by batting .308 with 5 homers and 18 RBI's before going down for the season just 26 games in.
The 2013 season saw Paul Johnson take a big risk by integrating a more prominent passing game into his run-dominated offense. Everyone in the stands knew exactly what was coming every time Vad Lee stood in to throw: an interception, an incompletion, or a deep ball. The two latter would become a theme for the Jackets as the season wore on -- Lee would step back and crank one way downfield, hoping that one of his big receivers could make the play. Based on that, it would seems that Tech's completion percentage on deep passes would be among the lowest in the conference, when it fact it is one of the highest at 37.3% accuracy on passes greater than 20 yards. Florida State QB and Heisman winner Jameis Winston completed just 27.8% of his deep passes, a good 10% lower than Vad. So yeah, you could (technically) say that Tech is the most effective passing team in the ACC. You'd just need a whole lot of asterisks.
What was wrong with Tech's attempts to feature a bigger passing game last season? Was it the man under center or the team's tendency to fire deep passes at a rate greater than 33%? What could improve it this season?
Have a great Monday!