Georgia Tech fell 33-28 on Saturday to the Virginia Cavaliers in a hard-fought game that gave us several positive takeaways for the Jackets. The offensive line didn’t allow a single sack, quarterback James Graham looked decent with 229 passing yards and two touchdowns, and running back Jordan Mason turned in another solid performance with 94 rushing yards and a touchdown. The player we’ll focus on this week, however, is someone proving to be one of the most explosive playmakers on the Jackets’ roster in recent history - freshman wide receiver Ahmarean Brown. Brown committed to Tech in December 2018 as a 3-star recruit out of Tampa, FL after amassing 726 receiving yards and seven touchdowns as a high school senior. Though he has only 17 catches for the Jackets this season, he’s averaging a whopping 21.2 yards per reception, and five of those have gone for touchdowns. Brown is the Jackets’ leading receiver by more than 130 yards and is quickly becoming one of Tech’s most exciting players to watch. Let’s take a look at a few of his best plays over the past few weeks to see what makes Ahmarean Brown so dangerous on the field.
As the old saying goes, “You can’t teach speed”. While listed at only 5’10 and 155 lbs, Brown is one of the fastest players to ever play for the Jackets. As a junior at Jefferson High School, Brown placed 4th in the 100m dash at the FHSAA 2A State Track Meet with a ridiculous time of 10.40 seconds. For reference, renowned former Yellow Jacket Justin Thomas ran the 100m dash in 10.79 seconds when he won the event at the AHSAA 6A State Championship in 2012. (Note: Brown ran his time with a tailwind while Thomas ran his into a headwind, but the point is that both of them are extremely fast).
On Saturday, Brown’s speed was on display for all to see. On the fourth play of the game the Jackets came out in a Shotgun Tight formation, and Brown ran a seam up the middle from the slot. Unfazed by the safety playing deep middle coverage, James Graham launches a pass over the safety’s head to hit Brown in stride for a 59-yard touchdown. Brown’s vertical speed is as good as any receiver in the nation, making him a threat to score any time he’s on the field. We’ve seen him use his elite speed to get behind defenses all season, including on touchdown catches against Clemson, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh.
Brown’s speed is so impressive that it’s easy to forget about the rest of his skill set. A few weeks ago in the 2nd Quarter against Miami, Brown got wide open on a wheel route, but the throw from James Graham was short and behind him. The inaccurate pass was no issue for Brown, as we see him keep his eyes on the ball while completely turning his body around before hauling in the pass at the front pylon for a touchdown. Brown isn’t just a speedster, he’s a natural pass catcher with excellent route running, footwork, hands, and body control. These skills, in combination with his speed, make him a nightmare for every defense he goes up against.
While it’s been a disappointing season for Georgia Tech, young stars like Ahmarean Brown give fans reason to believe the future is bright on the Flats. As I’ve said about all the rising stars we’re covered this year, it’s exciting to think about this team’s potential after another offseason of coaching and development. The talent is already there, now they just have to put all the pieces together.