There’s great optimism within the fanbase that Chip Long will birth a new wave of offensive production. He may well have the recipe, but what about the ingredients? We’ve identified over the past few off-seasons that a consistent weakness for Georgia Tech has been the lack of a game breaker on the outside. Last year, Georgia Tech’s two most efficient pass catchers were Kyric McGowan and Jahmyr Gibbs, both of whom did most of their damage operating in the middle of the field. Malachi Carter and Adonicas Sanders were the primary outside targets, but neither was consistently efficient or explosive.
Will 2022 be the first time that Georgia Tech finds a dangerous outside threat since Smelter and Waller in 2014? The passing game can’t fully take off until we have him. From all accounts out of preseason camp last summer, the coaches were hopeful that true freshman Leo Blackburn would have the chops, but he blew out his knee just weeks into camp.
With a full year of recovery behind him and a new offensive coordinator hungry to maximize his weaponry, Blackburn has the chance to be the breakout player on the 2022 Georgia Tech offense. There’s no one else on the roster with as much potential, so he should get every chance to be the ball winner we need.
Before the 2021 season, Stephen highlighted the body control that Blackburn wowed with during his junior and senior campaigns at Westlake High.
With a history of running in the 4.4s and a 6’5” 220 pound frame, Blackburn has all of the physical gifting. He came to GT with a high-end resume. At the time, his reported offers included Miami, Ole Miss, and South Carolina, and his profile only rose throughout the recruiting process. He ended the cycle as a consensus 4 star, with a 5.8 rating on Rivals, an 89 rating in the 247 Composite, and a 91 rating on 247. His senior production included 51 catches for 1,059 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He catches the ball in traffic like no one GT has deployed in nearly a decade. Blackburn is big, fast, and strong. He jumps over people and takes the ball away from them when needed. This is a guy who could breakout in a big way, and his physical tools show huge promise for his future as a Yellow Jacket.
What does a breakout look like? Georgia Tech has not had a 500 yard receiver since 2017. Blackburn could blow by that with something like 50 catches, 800 yards, and 7 touchdowns if the quarterback play can take advantage of his prodigious talents. It’s time to turn Leo Blackburn loose.