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100 Days to Kickoff 2017: Five Breakout Players - AB Xavier Gantt

An electric ball-carrier could bring some juice to the AB rotation this year

NCAA Football: TaxSlayer Bowl-Kentucky vs Georgia Tech Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most highly-rated recruits in the 2016 class, Xavier Gantt arrived at Tech with loads of promise as an A-Back and a potential kick returner. However, with Qua Searcy coming back from injury and JJ Green newly eligible, there wasn’t much room for Gantt in the rotation, so he was redshirted.

By the end of the 2016 season, Clinton Lynch, Searcy, and Green were getting the vast majority of the snaps, with Isaiah Willis get a few as well. With Willis gone, the 2017 edition of the offense will only feature 3 A-backs with significant experience. In order to fill out the rotation, younger backs will need to step up. Gantt has the potential to be the star of the bunch.

High School

In high school, Gantt showed effortless acceleration and top end speed against high-level high school competition and showed off skills as a kick-returner as well. Gantt bends well and makes quick jump cuts to slip by defenders. As a defender, he proved he was not afraid of contact despite his small stature.

Spring Game

Gantt was one of the stars of the spring game, scoring a touchdown and making a handful of impressive plays for the victorious Gold team. He made a fantastic first impression, hauling in a pass that was behind him and holding on despite taking a huge hit. Gantt’s touchdown was also a thing of beauty. After getting behind the defense with a beautiful wheel route, Gantt made the safety look foolish with a jump cut to waltz into the end zone.

What to Expect

Gantt could provide an electric spark to this offense, and shows promise as another excellent receiver out of the position. It remains to be seen how well he has adjusted to the blocking the position requires, but there is no denying how dangerous he is with the ball in his hands. Look for him to fit right into the Fall competition with Cottrell and Jarrett, and to earn more and more snaps as the season progresses. He won’t lead the team in yards like Clinton Lynch did as a freshman, but look for Gantt to provide an impact with explosive plays.