In just a year, the receiving core could go from being a big question in a new offense to one of its biggest strengths. Ahmarean Brown proved to be a playmaker in the slot position and former leading receiver Jalen Camp will return for an extra season after being granted a medical redshirt. That leaves a spot for another receiver to become a weapon opposing defenses must contend with.
Adonicas Sanders and Malachi Carter were part of the rotation last year and will be back, but after sitting out a year from transferring from Miami Marquez Ezzard could be a player that makes Georgia Tech’s receiving core one of the best in the conference.
Marquez Ezzard was a highly regarded 4-star athlete from Stockbridge High School who eventually signed with Miami but was offered by several elite programs like Alabama and Ohio St. along with other decent programs such as uga. His strengths out of high school were his size at 6’3” and 213 lbs and ability to overpower corners in contested jump balls.
Miami struggled offensively in 2018 swapping between Rosier and Perry at QB. With notable receivers Jeff Thomas and Lawrence Cager eating up most of the time Marquez redshirted after seeing three games where he recorded 2 receptions for 24 yards. It shouldn’t be a knock on Ezzard that he redshirted without seeing many snaps since Miami had a deep receiving pool that year.
So what makes Ezzard someone who could break out from the other wide receivers this season? Well first would be his frame mentioned before. He would be comparable in size to Jalen Camp who should start as one of the outside receivers. That would give two imposing bodies on the outside that would be matchup problems for smaller corners with a speedy Ahamarean Brown in the slot. It would make a pick your poison scenario for the secondary if it wanted to bring help with the safeties at the risk of letting the slot run free. The run game would benefit as well as having another receiver who could lay down some extra blocks.
Marquez should also provide a boost in the intermediate passing game. He isn’t one of the fastest guys on the field but that is ok for his playing style. With sure hands, he could be a key piece in helping Tech move the chains on third and longs.
To say that Tech needs help in the middle of the passing range in an understatement. In passes completed only 18% are in the 4-6 range and 9% in the 7-9 range. That leaves 45% for 10+ and 28% in the 3 yards or less range. To expand further upon those percentages, Georgia Tech’s offense was in a third down with 7+ yards to go 55% of the time. They weren’t very confident in those situations only choosing to pass 42% of the time with converting 25% of the time. If Ezzard can give the offense a big target in the middle of the field then Georgia Tech should start sustaining more drives even with an occasional third and long. (A thanks to Akshay for running the stats for me.)
Even though Marquez doesn’t have the playing time so far in his college career, he has all the physical traits to be one of the bright spots on a growing offense. I believe he will separate himself with his physicality and earn a starting spot in the line up. If one of the quarterbacks separates himself this Fall then a line up of Jalen Camp, Ahmarean Brown, and Marquez Ezzard at receiver with Mason at running back could be a nasty offense for the ACC to handle come this season.