Austin here, the newest Football Staff Writer with FTRS. Excited to join the staff and will be honing my voice over the next 100 days or so. Go Jackets, but go on MARTA!
As our 100 Days to Kickoff series continues, we’ll dive into Impact Players. Next up, the man who will handle the ball every play, Jeff Sims. After an up and down freshman season, Sims looks to take a step forward in 2021.
After much speculation, Sims won the starting job and led the Jackets to victory at FSU for just the second time ever, throwing for 277 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs. The rest of the season would not reach the high watermark of that first game, as Sims finished the season with 19 total TDs and 13 INTs with a 54.9% completion percentage and QBR of 43.7. Still, the numbers alone do not tell the story of Sims’ season, as he was regularly under duress and forced to make difficult throws from outside the pocket. Further, 8 of Sims’ 13 interceptions came in the first 3 games, showing that he developed trust in both his receivers and his protection as the season progressed.
Another aspect not captured by stats was Sims’ impact on the team. From the first possession in Tallahassee, it was clear Sims had the belief of his teammates and coaches, and his offensive command and ability were major reasons why the offense took a big step forward in 2020. He was able to extend plays with his feet and find the open man, or find a lane and glide upfield for extra yardage. Sims was fun to watch in 2020 and added a dimension of unpredictability that only a superior athlete could bring.
Looking to 2021
If you follow GT Football on Instagram, you’ve likely seen the difference a full year in the strength program has made for Sims. With that added strength and an offseason spent working with teammates and coaches, I expect a more confident Jeff Sims who keeps his eyes downfield, delivers strikes from the pocket, and takes what the defense gives him. With our deep stable of backs, I don’t foresee Sims having to carry the load offensively, but look for him to score 20-25 total touchdowns while cutting his INTs in half. I expect a decrease in his rushing numbers due to the quality in our OL and RB rooms, but also expect to see better completion percentage and yardage numbers.
With improved decision making and poise, Sims will be an absolute nightmare to defend, as his dual-threat abilities are widely unmatched in this league. What do you think, will 2021 be Sims’ breakout year?