Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Georgia Tech Player Poll

People like lists. If they didn't, journalists wouldn't use them so much. Barnhart lives off them. They're an easy gimmick to start discussion. Not necessarily a bad thing, although I would say they're a bit lazy for many writers who use them in leui of true reporting.

The good news for me is that I'm not a reporter. Therefore, I'm creating a new totally meaningless list - The Top 25 Players on the Georgia Tech squad. Totally subjective and really quite irrelavent since 1) I haven't seen enough of the players play and 2)they play different positions and 3) there's a balance between "talent" and "fitting the system". However, I am also basing the ranking on best "football players", not the best athletes. So my list weights guys with experience who have proven something at the collegiate level over "phenoms" in high school. Therefore you won't see any of the incoming freshman class in my list and very few of last year's class.

So here's my list - help me fine-tune it:


1. Vance Walker
He's been hard to keep off the field from the moment he arrived. He's an everydown guy in the middle of the line who still manages to break through and blow-up plays. At least one website lists him as the best player in the ACC

2. Michael Johnson
There's a case to be made for MJ as #1 on the team as well. The only thing keeping that from happening is proving he's an every-down type guy with a strong run-stopping mean-streak. He could be a top 5 NFL pick and could establish himself quickly this year.

3. Andrew Gardner
A starter every year since he arrived. He's seen it all and done it all. He's the anchor of the O-Line and even with a totally different OL philosophy he's still the key leader and best player out there. He should be a legit NFL guy

4. Jonathan Dwyer
This is a pretty high ranking considering he's only had one year and played 2nd fiddle to Tashard Choice. However, he showed enough to make it clear that he's the feature back in an offense that technically doesn't have one. He's big. He's fast. He's versatile. Paul Johnson can do a lot more with this guy than just run him up the middle, so it will be interesting to see how he's used. Even with the "spread" of carries, he should put up monster statistics this season.

5. Morgan Burnett
There are some guys you watch and it is totally clear that they are just different. Morgan's one of them. He's hugely athletic and just has a nose for the ball. He's a true "football player". He's going to anchor the defensive backfield for at least 2 more seasons and will probably have a great shot to be drafted after that. He's a special player with serious game.

6. Daryl Richard
Leadership. That's what this guy is all about. Graduated in 3 years. Accepted to the MBA program. Involved in all kinds of student activities. Unprecedented role as the only student on the committee to "elect" the next president of Georgia Tech. With all that, it's easy to forget that this guy can play. Richard was a dynamo in limited action his freshman season but an injury forced a medical redshirt. His senior campaign could be his coming out party, particularly since O-Line's are going to have to decide very carefully who they want to double-team.

7. Derrick Morgan
This might be a little high on the list for a true sophomore, but it's clear Penn's #1 player from a two years ago won't be denied the starting spot at DE. He's big, fast and has a motor. It's going to be fun watching him the next few years.

8. Anthony Barnes
Athletic for sure. Once Barnes really gets a handle on playing LB he could be a force. He got by on just natural talent and insticts last year. Has a lot to learn, but a serious player.

9. Josh Nesbitt
So much is riding on this guy right now. He's not a vocal leader but his teammates do view him as a key team leader. He's got the tools to play a lot of positions, but he's going to get a real shot to put his talent to work in the spread option.

10. Jahi Word-Daniels
Experience. That's why he's here on the list. Jahi has been through the battles. It should be interesting to see how the change in defensive philosophy suits his game.

11. Demarius Thomas
BeBe is almost the physical speciman as Calvin Johnson. While he is no CJ, nobody else is either. Thomas has the toolset to excel though. Big, fast and can go up and get a ball. Even though this year's offense won't be a prolific passing offense, BeBe could easily eclipse his passing stats from last season.

12. Brad Jefferson
13. Greg Smith
14. Shane Bowen
15. Calvin Booker
16. Jason Peters
17. Dominique Reese
18. Roddy Jones
19. Jerrard Tarrant
20. AJ Smith
21. Dan Voss
22. Jason Hill
23. Correy Earls
24. Mario Butler
25. Cord Howard

The list isn't right and it isn't wrong. It's just a point for discussion. So what are your initial thoughts? Totally whacked out list? What would you change?