Countdown to Kickoff: 88 Days
The “100 Days to Kickoff” series continues this week with a look at a few players who will be crucial to the team’s success in 2017. This particular feature began a few years ago and was inspired by the NCAA Football video game series, in which each team would have one or two “impact players” on offense and defense based on talent, production, and big-play ability. In that same vein, this series of articles will look at players who are both talented and likely to put up big numbers this fall.
WR Ricky Jeune
Class: Redshirt Senior
Ricky Jeune was rated as a three-star recruit (0.8443) by the 247Sports Composite out of Montvale, N.J. and joined Georgia Tech’s 2013 recruiting class. After redshirting in 2013 and playing only sparingly in 2014, Jeune really came on for the Yellow Jackets the past two years. After the departures of DeAndre Smelter and Darren Waller to the NFL, Jeune has filled the void of the big play threat which has made Paul Johnson’s offenses at Georgia Tech so dangerous.
2015 - 24 receptions, 520 yards, 4 touchdowns
2016 - 25 receptions, 427 yards, 1 touchdown
Jeune’s numbers may not jump off the page, but he has been an effective receiver for Tech the past two seasons. He still had a productive season for the Jackets last year, even with Clinton Lynch - whose number should be retired, as I am wont to note on Twitter after every touchdown he scores - taking many of the big plays. Even with only one touchdown, Jeune made plays precisely when his team needed them. Jeune’s 42-yard reception on third down late in Georgia Tech’s season finale against Kentucky virtually sealed Tech’s TaxSlayer Bowl victory.
At 6’3”, 212 pounds, Jeune is the type of big receiver Paul Johnson likes to have on the outside. His biggest asset is his ability to jump and catch the ball at its highest point over smaller defenders. However, Jeune also has enough speed to get the ball and run on screens, with his size still allowing him to make catches with a defender on him. His hands are also very reliable for a deep threat on the outside. Jeune is a prototypical wide receiver for Tech’s offense and looks to make his biggest impact yet this fall.
Jeune will remain the #1 receiver on the depth chart for his senior year. With the Jackets breaking in a new quarterback, Jeune’s presence as a veteran receiver will be important for Tech’s offense this season. While it’s difficult to project how many yards and touchdowns an option wide receiver will have, I think this will be Jeune’s best year on The Flats.
I think it’s safe to assume Georgia Tech’s offense will largely go as its best wideout goes this season.