This is a discussion on Looking Ahead - WR within the Georgia Tech Football forums, part of the Georgia Tech Sports Message Boards category; TECH went into the 2012 season without a single career reception by anybody in the WR depth chart. This coming ...
TECH went into the 2012 season without a single career reception by anybody in the WR depth chart. This coming season won't be a whole lot better, as WR remains the biggest question mark on offense.
Gone are Jeff Greene, Jeremy Moore, and Chris Jackson. Each of these three had major issues and never really came close to reaching their potential. Greene and Moore are leaving early, although not for the NFL as many do. Greene was a head case and was obviously unhappy with his lot in life. All signs of body language screamed bad attitude. Many thought he would become a great player. I never really saw anything that impressed me other than a good tall frame. He wasn't a tenacious blocker and had trouble using his body to shield defenders and win contested balls. Things that most receivers do naturally, like locate the sideline, seemed to mystify him. Jeremy Moore was starting to make strides as a receiver. He got behind the defense a few times late in the season to make some important catches. However, he was maddeningly inconsistent blocking defenders, as he lacked the physicality and tenacity to get it done. Jackson had many of the qualities needed to become a good player, but off the field issues burned much of his eligibility without him seeing much of the field.
Returning are Darren Waller (JR), Anthony Autry (SO) and a slew of walk-ons that will not be mentioned here. Despite having a huge frame and pretty good speed, Waller still hasn't established himself as a consistent threat. He started to emerge some, making big catches in the latter part of the season. However, he has not yet established himself as a "go to" guy and he has a lot of work to do to become the force we require, blocking on the perimeter. Autry showed some flashes as a true freshman that would lead you to believe that he can be a contributor before falling with a knee injury. Despite a petite frame and a genuine lack of top end speed, Autry plays with a lot of attitude and fire, something missing among his peers. He moves well in tight spaces and knows how to create creases for himself, but the most important quality he has is that he is a "gamer". He blocks hard and plays with the kind of ferocity we need.
New to the mix will be Michael Summers (RFR), Travin Henry (RFR), Ricky Jeune (FR), and Antonio Messick (FR). Although I have seen none of these guys play on a college field, there are some positive reports coming from within the program about Summers especially. Evidently he would have played as a frosh if he hadn't been sidelined with injury for a little while. Henry is an intriguing prospect as he spent a lot of time in the trenches at DE in HS. This tells me that he understands leverage and is used to engaging combatants with a little "hand to hand". He has a large body and I have to believe that he will be able to re-establish a little "law and order" blocking on the perimeter. Lord knows our offense needs it. WRs don't cut block much for us. I hope his "stand up game" is as good as I imagine it will be.
There is a lot to like about the HS film with our two newest members. Jeune has a large body and seems adept at getting deep and winning balls. He isn't flashy but looks physical. As we would all hope, he completely dominated at the HS level. It is time for him to move up. Looking at Messick's tape, I don't have a good idea about his speed, but I really like the way he uses his hands to catch, his body shielding defenders, and his feet getting separation in tight spaces. He will get some YACs too as he is a pretty nifty runner. We will see. The move up to college is a tough one and hard to predict.
So, in summary, we are a total of 3 deep at the two WR positions, which sounds good at the surface, but when 4 of the 6 are freshmen, it is hard to feel confident. If there is a silver lining, we were pretty crappy at WR last year and still had a good offense. It is hard to imagine this group being worse. In a perfect world we will hit it big with a couple of these new guys. As GOL used to say: "the further you are from the ball, the easier it is to make an impact early". Hopefully, that, combined with a real passer at QB, will give us better production at the WR position this fall.
Vad should make this years WR's look better than last year's even if they aren't. With each completion to a WR, our running game will be bolstered. As defenses adjust to the run, our passing game should get some real opportunities. It's a theory, but it might work.
The lesson we can learn from Autry is that WRs don't need to be 6'3+ 200+lbs to contribute. The guy was 180 lbs with his pads on, and he was starting become a big contributor before he got injured. Unlike guys like BeyBey and Stephen Hill, Autry wasn't a physical blocker, his blocking was more technique. Blocking is about want to, and Autry did what he had to do to get on the field.
I hope Travin Henry is 100%. I really liked his film coming out of HS...it's a shame he lost a year of development to injury. He was probably one of the steals of the class that recruiting year.
I think Jeune and Messick have a good opportunity to see the field. Messick may surprise some as he didn't put up stats, but he came from a run heavy offense that asked him to block. From what I've seen of his film, he was a BeyBey type blocker who wanted to destroy his guy on each play. Jeune is just a great natural receiver. Best natural receiver CPJ has recruited IMHO...it's just a matter of whether his blocking is to CPJ's standard. He can definitely help us in the passing game.
Thanks Boomer. I am pinning my hopes on Summers and your last paragrah: we had bad wideouts a year ago and still got it done. And as Yukon notes, Lee should be able to help the situation there.
Did the staff ever tel us how Autry got a knee injury? Was from "combat" or a freak accident you see a lot of times when a player plants wrong?
Our system does require a lot of WRs. They are going to have to block more in space than most. However, I am not so sure how that correlates to knee injuries. Running routes and cutting can cause that too.