Countdown to Kickoff: 75 Days
This week, our “100 Days to Kickoff" series continues as we look at five players who are primed to have a bigger role and be invaluable to the team in 2016. There are players every year that seem to step up at the right time and make a difference. This week, we’ll be selecting players who have the ability to have those breakout performances that will take the team to the next level this fall. We begin today with the position that is perfect for someone waiting to breakout.
AB Qua Searcy, RS-Sophomore
The redshirt sophomore A-Back is the perfect candidate for a breakout 2016 season at a position that is loaded with potential breakout stars. There are many reasons why Searcy stands out above the rest as a breakout performer, but the primary sticking point is that he was on his way to a breakout year last year before an ankle injury sidelined him in the third game of the season. To that point, Searcy had accumulated 76 yards on 13 carries and caught 3 passes for 45 yards. Most impressive, he had two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, in his 16 touches.
Qua Searcy came to us in 2014 as a three star prospect from Lamar County High School in Barnesville, GA. He was part of the LC3, with Lance and Lawrence Austin, that lead Lamar County to a 14-1 record and a runner-up finish in the state finals. All three, as you know, committed to Tech and have started to make their impact. (See FSU 2015 for reference…or really whatever reason you need) It was during his recruitment that his high school coach, Franklin Stephens, called him one of the most underrated prospects in the nation and easily a five star caliber guy if he played at a larger school. This is the athlete that we have in Qua.
He arrived at Tech as an athlete that would be seemingly requested for on both sides of the ball. You could make an argument for Searcy belonging in the secondary or at receiver, but he ultimately found his home at AB. Searcy was afforded the opportunity to redshirt and learn for a year behind an experienced A-Back group in 2014.
As we have seen many times in CPJ’s tenure at Georgia Tech, a breakout threat at AB has the potential to take our offense to a higher level. Guys like Roddy Jones, Anthony Allen, Orwin Smith, Robert Godhigh, and Charles Perkins, among others, have been able to elevate the offense with their play. Our two best years, 2009 and 2014, have come when we had threats at the AB position.
Qua Searcy is the perfect candidate to take over this role for the team. This is not to discredit the job that Clinton Lynch and Lynn Griffin did last year when the numbers dwindled down at the position. They performed admirably, and I still expect both to be major contributors to the rotation this year. However, Searcy has the speed and quickness that you look for in an AB. He is natural as a receiver, having played the position extensively in high school. He shows a drive to correct errors and grow as a player every single play. Even after the ankle injury halted his strong start to 2015, he showed the drive and determination to get back healthy and continue what he started.
Perhaps most important, Coach Johnson always has a positive remark for Qua that seems to keep him separated from the rest of the A-Backs. In the preseason of 2015, Searcy was one of the ABs that Johnson was most excited about. He constantly comments on Qua having a bright future and how excited he is to have him back in the rotation. Johnson has also referred to Searcy as a “special” player. As we all know with CPJ, these comments should not be taken lightly.
With Searcy’s strong performance through the first two games of the season and positive press from the coaching staff, there is no reason to doubt his ability to step up as a playmaker this year. Qua has the physical tools to perform at a high level and a knack for making plays as evidenced by his touchdowns in limited touches. He is a natural catching the ball and knows how to make something happen with the ball in possession. If he progresses to be more effective in his blocking assignments, this is the guy we will be talking about at the end of the year when discussing who made the difference in the jump between 2015 and 2016.