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Technical Tidbits 5/2: Stansbury delivers State of Athletics and Early ACC Power Rankings

In which a former Yellow Jacket is looking to go pro in an unusual sport

TaxSlayer Bowl - Georgia Tech v Kentucky Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Last Wednesday, Athletic Director Todd Stansbury gave his first State of Athletics Address to key donors at the Callaway Club inside McCamish Pavilion. In the speech, Stansbury laid out his vision for the Athletic Department in the coming years. After taking the time to interview all 177 staff members of the Athletic Department, Stansbury identified four priorities for the department: brand, culture, structure, and revenue growth. Georgia Tech’s past issues with branding have been the object of much discussion on this site and they appear to be first and foremost in Stansbury’s mind. He emphasized that Tech’s brand is innovation and developing student-athletes that are the total package.

Early in his speech, Stansbury ran through slides of many former athletes who have gone onto achieve great successes after their time on the Flats. From professional stars like Calvin Johnson and Mark Teixeira to Naval fighter pilots like former runner and swimmer Jenny Lentz Moore. From NFL star turned real estate developer Pat Swilling to former volleyball player and the NFL’s Senior VP of Marketing, Creative, and Branding, Jamie Weston (whom Stansbury says he has been in contact with regarding the Institute’s branding). Selling Georgia Tech as the school that can prepare its student-athletes to succeed at the highest level of any sport or industry they choose seems to be a priority for Stansbury.

If you are interested in hearing Stansbury’s full address, the Athletic Association has put it up on YouTube. If you don’t have the time to watch the full speech, the AJC’s Ken Sugiura published a good synopsis yesterday (article may be behind a paywall).

Speaking of former Yellow Jackets embarking on careers after their time in the White and Gold, recent basketball alumnus Rand Rowland was in Southern California yesterday working out at the Australian Football League USA Combine. Now, to be honest, everything I know about Aussie Rules football I learned from Wikipedia last night, but apparently there are several positions in which it is beneficial to be tall and have skills commonly found in basketball players, specifically power forwards and centers. As such, the AFL has started looking towards American college basketball players as potential prospects. Last year’s USA combine didn’t produce anyone of note, but in 2014 former Oklahoma State walk-on big man Mason Cox was discovered and has since gone on to be a fairly successful ruckman in the AFL. I don’t really know what any of that means, but Rowland seems to have had an impressive combine so far and all of us here at FTRS wish him the best of luck in his endevour!

Finally, with the end of the semester approaching and spring ball in the rear view mirror, it’s time for the less-too-early-but-still-kind-of-early College Football Power Rankings. ESPN released a set of rankings for each conference yesterday and had Georgia Tech slotting in at #6, second in the Coastal behind Miami. The top two slots in the conference were fairly predictable - Florida State and Clemson - but then things start getting a bit weird. Miami comes in at number 3 despite having a major question mark at quarterback with Brad Kaaya’s departure to the NFL. They have a ton of talent but will this year finally be The Year for the Canes? Will the ACC finally get the FSU-Miami Championship Game they literally designed the divisions to create? We’ll see. Other notable rankings include NC State riding a bit high at #5, Duke ranking ahead of Virginia Tech, and UNC coming in last of the Carolina schools at #11. There’s still a long way to go before the season starts but if there’s one thing I’m confident in predicting now it’s that the ACC will be as unpredictable as ever.

Who do you think ESPN has overrated in their Post-Spring Power Rankings? Who is underrated and why is it Georgia Tech?