This is where this series starts to throw you for a loop. "But Joey, I thought this was a bunch of young, unknown guys that were going to have a good year!" Not necessarily. See, a "breakout" player can be one of our more familiar faces -- that part is fine. Being a "breakout" player is exceeding the expectations that the masses have for you. The masses will have very low expectations for players who are young with little or no experience, but they also have certain expectations of seasoned veterans.
Zach Laskey, Senior, B-Back
For three years now, Zach Laskey either hasn't been in the picture at B-Back, or has been the backup to David Sims. With Sims graduated and Travis Custis unfortunately out of the picture for the foreseeable future, Laskey is set to be "the guy" this year. Get ready to see an awful lot of him at B-Back.
Laskey's limited action last year was mainly a result of two things -- David Sims having seniority and being the incumbent, and Laskey's occasional struggles with blocking. With Sims graduated, the first is off the table. This offseason, Laskey has said he's spent a ton of time working on his blocking as well. The hope is that he'll at the very least be good enough at blocking to not be a liability. If that is indeed the case, that's a huge deal -- because Laskey is a heck of a ball carrier. "The White Stallion" has shown time and time again to have really solid breakaway speed when he's able to find an opening. At 6'1", he's a couple inches taller, and at 215 pounds he's about 10 pounds lighter than David Sims was. What this implies is that Laskey may not have quite the power that Sims had, but his legs are longer and he has less weight to move, giving him an upgrade in speed. There's a chance that he's the fastest B-Back Georgia Tech has had since Jonathan Dwyer -- because I don't exactly remember Anthony Allen being much more of a home run threat than Sims was.
Paul Johnson himself has said for a couple of months now that Laskey had a fantastic spring, and that Johnson expects Laskey to have a season that will surprise some people. I'm drinking that Kool-Aid for now. I think Laskey is set to be Georgia Tech's first 1,000-yard rusher at B-Back since Allen, and I think he'll end up one of the best backs in the ACC.
What are your expectations for Zach Laskey? Will he go for 1,000 yards? Will he be a difference maker for Georgia Tech this fall?