Sporting ATL had the opportunity to interview former Yellow Jacket and current 49er DeAndre Smelter about his experiences as a member of the football team on the Flats over the past two seasons. Smelter, whose transition from the diamond to the gridiron was well-documented among Tech fans and ESPN commentators alike, quickly transformed into one of the most dominant receivers in recent Georgia Tech history -- he finished his 2014 season with 103 rushing yards, 715 receiving yards, and 8 all-purpose touchdowns. What I found most interesting from the interview were his comments about who he felt would step us a leader in 2015 -- he suggested that fellow wide receiver Micheal Summers could be the next man up. Summers' name is not one that we've heard much of so far this offseason, but if he manages to step up and lead the team then both he and his fellow wideouts will surely benefit.
The AJC's Ken Sugiura recently published a very interesting article about the odds that each recent Georgia Tech draftee faces in terms of having a successful NFL career. While there is obviously a great opportunity awaiting each of the three -- Darren Waller, DeAndre Smelter, and Shaq Mason --, the one with the best odds seems to be Mason. Sugiura found that there was roughly a one-in-three chance that a guard chosen in the fourth round like Mason would have a good career, which he measured by the metric of starting games. I can certainly see this being the case for Mason, who is as good a prospect as any, although I don't think that he'll get much playing time during his rookie year. The learning curve figures to be too great to allow him to start immediately.
Yet another gem by pitcher/infielder Brandon Gold guided the Jackets to a much-needed series win over Pittsburgh on Sunday, picking up his 7th win in a 10-3 Tech victory. The Pitt series was do-or-die territory for the Jackets (32-18, 13-14 ACC) and they managed to deliver by claiming two of three games from the Panthers in convincing fashion. All eyes now turn to the final ACC series of the season against Miami, which will determine Tech's seeding for the ACC Tournament. If the Jackets can manage to win the series while UNC loses theirs against UVA, Tech will own the No. 2 seed in the Coastal. Miami currently stands at 38-13 on the season with eight straight wins heading into the series.
UAB, which lost its football program just last season in a round of budget cuts, could see the program come back after an absence of just months. An action group has raised over $6 million in support of the Blazer football program -- presumably enough to revitalize it -- and a recent study showed that the football program was actually one of the university's biggest earners over the past few seasons and projected to to the same in the future.
Which Georgia Tech draftee do you think has the best odds of making an immediate impact?
Have a great Monday!