Sunday, June 27, 2004

Ranking the ACC Wide Receivers

Well, they've done the QB's and RB's. Now they tackle the WR's. Link here. Here is how the rankings shake out:

1. FSU
2. NC ST
3. Miami
4. UVA
5. Clemson
6. UNC
7. VT
8. WF
9. MD
10. GT
11. Duke

Here is what they are saying about GT:

10. Georgia Tech – The Jackets lost their top receiver, Jonathan Smith, to the NFL. Nate Curry is a talented player, who should step up to replace the void left by Smith. TE John Paul Foschi is an imposing target, however, no other returning receiver recorded more than 10 catches in 2003.

As usual, I think this underestimates our receiving core. There is no doubt that losing J.Smith is a big deal. That cannot be denied (and Foschi is gone too of course).

Here is the line-up:

N.Curry (senior) - Caught 37 passes for 426 yards last season. He is ready to step in as the #1 guy. I expect him to have around 1000 yards for the season. He is 5'10" 190lb and fast. Hopefully the reminants of his knee injury are gone.

L.Thomas (junior) - A 6'0" 195 lb guy who caught 10 passes for 101 yards last year. Has a great shot at winning a starting job.

M.Logan (RS-senior) - caught 4 passes for 55 yards last season - is 5'11" 200lb. Came to GT as a QB, but has seen action at WR mainly in 3-receiver sets. In the spring he was moved back to QB with the injury to Pat Carter - they needed someone to push Ball. It is not clear if he will move back to WR now that Carter is healthy. He has a shot to be the #3 guy this year.

C.Johnson (true frosh) - This guy is 6'4" 215lb, but he is a true frosh so there are question marks. Ranked as one of the top 10 receivers in the country in high school. He is a physical big play receiver and the real deal. He should step in opposite Curry in the starting role. I don't this would surprise anyone. As always, freshman are freshman, no matter how good they are.

D.Bilbo (RS-junior) - is D-Bo ready? It doesn't appear he is ready yet, but he really has not been at the WR position that long. Give him time to develop. We are talking about a guy 6'3" 225lb with good speed.

C.Dunlap (soph) - only caught one pass last season at the H-Bowl and got snaps on special teams. He is 5'11 200lb.

E.Ivery (RS frosh) - was a running back in high school but has been plagued with injuries the past two seasons. Not likely to see much PT. He is 5'10" 165lb.

X.McGuire (RS Soph) - A 6'3 205lb who caught 4 passes for 25 yards last year, mainly in 3-receiver sets. Has a great chance to become an option

R.Rollins (RS Junior) - A 6'2" 192lb walk-on. A good all-around athlete, but not likley to get PT.

P.Clark (frosh) - a Top100 prospect in Florida - 5'10" 175lb and fast. Played WR, RB, CB, you name it in high school. Had 4 games where he rushed AND caught for over 100 yards. However, not likely to see much PT.

J.Johnson (frosh) - #55 prospect in Florida, 6'0" 180lb. Good size and speed. Again, will probably not see much PT, but could develop into a nice receiver in a couple of years.

In my eyes, what the rest of the group lacks is experience, not talent. N.Curry will be the #1 guy and should have a breakout year, but it really looks like Calvin Johnson is going to step in and play. Word is he is really impressive in the weight room and he is working out hard this summer. The spring practices were frustrating because none of the receivers were stepping up. A lot of dropped balls, which frustrated Coach Gailey and the staff.

What will be interesting about this year's group is their size. We are talking guys who are 6'4", 6'3", 6'2", etc. Curry is just under 6'0", but overall this is a big strong group. That certainly should help Reggie B. as he looks for targets.

One caution. We all recognize the huge potential of Calvin Johnson, and I also get excited about the two other freshman WR's we have signed. However, it is rare that a WR puts up big numbers as a true frosh. All of our best WR's at GT had mediocre or low-key freshman years. You just cannot expect too much. Having said that, CJ is best equipped to change that - so we will see what happens.

Time will tell how good this group is bee, but I think experience, not talent is the issue.

On one last note, for next year's recruiting class, we have to remember how critical academic capabilities are at GT. Here is an example. A 6'4" talented WR out of NC (Geron James) has GT in HIS top 3. Unfortunately his grades are one thing preventing an early offer from GT - story here.
“Recruiting is going well,” says the 6-foot-4, 175 pounder. “It is still the grades and my GPA holding me back for Georgia Tech and NC State to offer. Virginia Tech and Maryland have offered me already, but I am doing work during summer school to get my grades up. I am taking world geography and another class next summer session.

James says Georgia Tech, NC State, and Virginia Tech are the teams to beat right now.
“With Georgia Tech, I like the big city, I like Atlanta. The environment is great, the coaches and players were pretty cool.