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Georgia Tech Recruiting: 2018 Film Room - RB

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Tech added some serious speed at the position this year

Georgia Tech v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

With signing day in the rear-view mirror it’s time to take a closer look at the signees. As with previous articles in this series, I’ll be rating players from 1 to 5 “stars” in 5 different categories or “tools” and giving a brief explanation of my rationale. To recap, the system is this:

  • 5: Power-5 Elite
  • 4: Power-5 Above Average
  • 3: Power-5 Average
  • 2: G5
  • 1: FCS or lower

Tools

For RBs, I’ll be rating based on the following attributes:

Size

When projecting high school players to the next level, one must look at the player’s current frame and determine how much room there is to add more muscle, and if gaining mass could have detrimental effects to speed and quickness

Bend

Flexibility is an absolutely critical component of a RB’s game, and determines how well they will be able to break tackles. When a player can bend and balance, lower body tackles become much easier to defeat, and direction changes come more easily.

Burst

Acceleration and ability to quickly change direction.

Speed

Top end speed. Ability to take the ball to the house if given a lane.

Power

While related to size, power has a lot to do with technique. Does the player run behind his pads? Does he regularly move the pile? Does he keep his feet driving after contact? Does he break out of tackles?

AB Tijai Whatley

  • Size: 3
  • Bend: 4
  • Burst: 3
  • Speed: 3
  • Power: 2

Whatley has a long, slender frame that will add some mass as he matures, but he likely won’t be mistaken for a power back at any time during his career. His length is well above average, but his frame thickness is below average. This will suit him in the passing game, where he will be able to use his length to cause match-up problems with smaller DBs. Whatley’s arm length is exceptional, which only boosts his match-up nightmare potential. Whatley prefers to avoid contact rather than seeking it and running through it. He does clear lower body tackles well due to above average bend that allows him to find and slip through creases in the defense quickly.

Whatley’s burst is decent, but with his height it will be harder for him to accelerate like the shorter backs. I was tempted to give Whatley a 4 for his speed, but I just don’t feel like it’s there right now. It has a chance to develop, however, as Whatley’s long stride has great deep speed potential.

AB Dontae Smith

  • Size: 2
  • Bend: 4
  • Burst: 4
  • Speed: 4
  • Power: 2

Smith may be the cousin of Tech great Shaq Mason, but he certainly didn’t get the same size genes. Smith is a smaller RB whose calling card is his ability to take the ball to the house. Smith clears his feet from lower body tackles better than any RB prospect I’ve analyzed over the past couple cycles, and he can shift his hips in and out of cuts with ridiculous ease. Smith’s bend could arguably be a 5.

Smith also displays well above average burst and speed. Once through the line, he rarely gets touched. He showed great ability at Georgia Tech’s football camp as well, where he was one of the day’s standouts. His combination of burst and speed is rare and exciting.

Power isn’t really part of Smith’s game, though he does jab with a stiff arm to get separation from tacklers before taking off. Regardless, Smith has the ability to be the next Tech AB that averages over 10 yards per touch.

AB/BB Christian Malloy

  • Size: 3
  • Bend: 4
  • Burst: 3
  • Speed: 4
  • Power: 3

A late addition to the recruiting class, Malloy was brought in to replace C’bo Flemister, who departed for Notre Dame. I was skeptical of the pickup at first, but after studying Malloy I believe Tech traded up. Malloy is on the shorter side, but he’s thickly built with a low center of gravity. He uses this and his lower body flexibility to clear his feet from low tackles and the trash. Malloy runs through arm tackles and utilizes a stiff arm effectively. He is a patient runner, but doesn’t hit the hole quickly and run behind his pads as much as will be required of him at B-back if he were to play there.

Malloy doesn’t display exceptional burst, but he just keeps accelerating and separating himself from pursuit. He has the speed to take it to the house, even at the power 5 level. Malloy scored long TDs at the highest level of competition in the state against defenses loaded with future D1 players. He’ll be a versatile ball carrier for the Jackets.