So, if you'll remember to last year, we at FTRS started previewing last season at the 100-day mark before the season. With the way the season went, we like to be cautious when it comes to superstitions -- it's only weird if it doesn't work. That being said, although there will be a couple of minor changes, we will be kicking off our countdown to kickoff in the exact same way we did last season: Opinions Week.
During Opinions Week, different writers on staff will be writing about their various opinions regarding Georgia Tech football and the upcoming season. I'll be getting things started off by talking about the next great Georgia Tech receiver: Ricky Jeune.
Jeune will be a redshirt sophomore in the upcoming football season, and in my opinion, will take the next step up and become Justin Thomas' next go-to receiver. My reasons for believing this to be true can really be narrowed down to just a few: the spring, his size and his talent. I'll be tackling these in reverse order of the way I listed them.
Coming from New Jersey, Jeune was one of the top players in all of the state, as well as a top-100 receiver nationally. He was rated as a three-star recruit.
Watching his film, it's easy to understand why Georgia Tech had interest in him. He is exactly what Georgia Tech looks for in receivers: big and strong with the ability to catch it. He's also not afraid of the deep ball at all.
At 6'3 214 lbs., Jeune will fit in nicely in terms of size at receiver. Both Demaryius Thomas and DeAndre Smelter were around the same size -- maybe a little heavier.
With that size, both Thomas and Smelter were able to overpower nearly any defensive back that tried to go up against them. That size -- something that Micheal Summers doesn't have at 6'1" 196 lbs -- will give Jeune an edge, I believe.
Now the great thing about size at receiver in this offense is that it allows for a bigger frame. That bigger frame allows you -- obviously -- to get bigger and stronger. When that happens, it makes it more difficult for defenders to get past your blocking attempts. Both Thomas and Smelter were pretty well known for some of their blocks, specifically Smelter. I remember in the Music City Bowl a couple seasons ago, Smelter put down a block on Ole Miss free safety Cody Prewitt and knocked him out of the game. If Jeune can block anywhere close to that, and at his size, he'll have no problems being the No. 1 guy for the Yellow Jackets.
And now, onto my main point. Ricky Jeune had a really good spring. Being listed as one of the "Players who Helped Themselves" by Ken Sugiura, that certainly paid off as Jeune finished the spring as the No. 1 receiver opposite Micheal Summers.
I really liked what receivers coach Buzz Preston had to say about Jeune to Sugiura: "He’s doing some good things, making some plays, catching the ball, picking up on some things. There’s still a lot Ricky has to learn, a lot to do — details, the little things."
Those great things have now earned him a starting job with the Yellow Jackets for the time being. What will help him cement himself as Tech's next great receiver will be when he figures out all the minute details, something I believe will happen with real-game playing time, which he should get this season.
He could very well start off a little rough, since he's never played receiver in college for extended amounts of time, but by the end of the season, I'm confident in saying that Justin Thomas will have his next go-to guy in the form of Ricky Jeune.