How will a group who saw limited pass-attempts handle a new system? Can they get open with safeties now paying attention? Can they catch besides block? What is a tight end anyway? These were questions being asked before the start of the 2019 season that saw a major role change for wide receivers and the return of the tight end to the team. Tech lost one of the leaders of the group early when Jalen Camp sustained an injury early in the season. However, a bright spot was found in true freshman Ahmarean Brown, who tied the great Calvin Johnson in freshman TD receptions at 7. Tyler Davis saw the return of the tight end position to Tech but had trouble standing out as the QBs went through their growing pains.
The depth chart will see it’s most productive receivers returning such as Ahmarean Brown, Malachi Carter, Adonicas Sanders, and the aforementioned Jalen Camp. Tight end Tyler Davis was only here for one year, but Dylan Deveney got some playing time as a true freshman and will have a head start in spring practice. Georgia Tech experimented with multiple players last year, but I think returning players have become established enough to where this year’s recruits won’t see as much playing time.
The 2020 class saw four receivers and one tight end sign their commitments to Tech. Sadly, due to the tragic passing of Bryce Gowdy back in December, we won’t get to see what type of person and player he would have become with his time at Tech. I’m sure the three receivers who would have been classmates will strive to honor the void he left in this recruiting class’s hearts. Let’s take a look at each and what they bring.
When watching Ryan King’s film I can’t help but think of former Tech receivers like Darren Waller or Demaryius Thomas. He stands out among average high school players with his size. He has decent speed but shows his strength going over the receiver and fighting them off for jump balls. Even though defenders catch up to him at times he rarely gets pulled down at first contact, using his large frame to push for extra yardage. He shows good ability in his routes cutting away from corners and creating separation in zones.
If Boyd wants to show what he does best at Georgia Tech he better remind the QBs to stay on top of their deep ball throws. Boyd typically lined up on the outside, and his ability to generate a burst of speed at the snap had him burning one-on-one corners to the end zone. He could pair nicely with Ahmarean Brown in the coming years if Tech wants to test defenses’ ability to cover the length of the field.
Any receiver who wants to play in the college ranks needs to have some speed, but Nate McCollum has it in abundance. His film shows his coaches were happy to use him on a screen or short hitch route and have him do the rest. Nate showed he wasn’t going to be brought down on first contact as he seemed to shift out of the arms of would-be tacklers. If you were to ignore he lined up on the outside you would assume he was a shifty tailback. Coach Collins wasn’t the only one at Tech who took notice of his abilities. Coach Hall also recruited him to the baseball team where he is slotted to be an outfielder.
Having the right tight end can take a good offense to the next level. Billy Ward could be that piece for Tech. Catching a 3rd down pass short of the sticks may be irrelevant in his case after watching two plays where he gives the entirety of the opposing defense a piggyback ride down the field. A few attempts made by linebackers to jam him result in them being steamrolled into the turf. His coaches used him on the outside while in the red zone to go over smaller defensive backs. He could see the field this year if Tech wants to incorporate more 2 tight end sets.