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Georgia Tech Receivers the ‘Complete Package’

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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While the Yellow Jackets run Paul Johnson's version of the triple-option, they also feature consistent plays downfield.

The NFL guys tell us that they love our receivers because they're the complete package.
~Paul Johnson

It's almost like others want to put asterisk by the position; being a wide receiver, for the Yellow Jackets, has to be followed by the statement "at Georgia Tech", a distinction, among some, that carries a negative connotation. While the Yellow Jackets obviously run Paul Johnson's version of the triple-option offense, they also feature consistent plays downfield. Georgia Tech finished last season with a better team passer rating than Clemson and more passes of 40 yards than Florida State.

Since 2010, wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Stepehen Hill, Darren Waller and DeAndre Smelter have each been selected in the NFL Draft, a number not including multi-year veteran Kevin Cone, who entered the league as a free agent. For point of reference, Texas Tech, arguably featuring the nation's top passing attack over the years, has had one perimeter playmaker selected in that same span. 

The roles and responsibilities, for wide receivers in Atlanta, may be a little "different"; another word worth using may be "better". It might be counter-intuitive, but Yellow Jacket wide receivers might be the professional prototype.

"The NFL guys tell us that they love our receivers because they're the complete package," Johnson explained on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. "Not only will they catch the ball, but they'll block, they'll do all the things that are hard to get receivers to do in today's game."

Despite what the perception is, the foundation, for the next level, is in place.  

"We have NFL routes in our route tree: posts, comebacks, corners," wide receiver Ricky Jeune affirmed. "We have all the NFL routes."

Jeune, who has 49 receptions for 1,019 yards and five touchdowns the past two seasons, has taken full advantage of his downfield opportunities. Last fall, he had at least one catch in each conference contest. Two years ago, Jeune had grabs in eleven of the Yellow Jackets' 12 games. In addition to Jeune's production, fellow wideout Brad Stewart averaged over 20 yards per reception as a sophomore. 

Given the attention the running game demands, playmakers will have chances to put their athleticism on display.

"Being a wide receiver at Georgia Tech, you know you're going to get a lot of one-on-one coverage," Jeune continued. "All that green grass, man, there's nothing like going against one-on-one coverage."

And, yes, Yellow Jacket wide receivers do play an important part in the triple-option through their perimeter blocking efforts. Some may see it as a burden; others, on the inside, see it as team-building. Offensively, Georgia Tech works as one. Though it sometimes seems as if the wide receivers aren't directly involved, there simply are no plays off at the position.     

"If you don't block, you're not going to play at all. You have to take pride in blocking and I've become an excellent blocker," Jeune added.

Yellow Jacket wide receivers will continue to do things their way. It's a process and product that is working.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Matt Osborne and Kevin Thomas on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network and is the sports director for multiple ESPN Radio affiliates based throughout southeast Georgia. @BJBennettSports