Player of the year (and other made-up awards)

Yesterday, we looked at the plays that defined Georgia Tech’s season.

Today, let’s discuss the player of the season. Since I’m making up the awards, I’ll also make up the criteria. The player needed to play most of the season and can come from either side of the ball.

Had Joshua Nesbitt not suffered a broken arm, this would likely be a much livelier discussion.

As it stands, I’m not sure that anyone other than Anthony Allen, or perhaps Julian Burnett, would, or should, win.

Allen’s stats:

240 carries

1,316 yards

5.5 yards per carry

7 touchdowns

101.2 rushing yards per game

He also had three receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown.

If you’ll remember, Allen got off to a slow start. He had 330 yards after five games. He also didn’t have a touchdown.

Coach Paul Johnson said after the win against Wake Forestin which Allen carried 10 times for 63 yards, that Allen needed to be a more punishing ball-carrier.

“He’s broken through the line three or four times. He’s got to finish them,” Johnson said.

Allen listened.

In the next eight games, the senior rushed for 986 yards and all of his touchdowns. Had he played in one more game, he likely would have rushed for more yards than Jonathan Dwyer’s (1,395) 2009 total.

Defense, anyone?

On defense, there are two candidates to consider: Inside linebackers Brad Jefferson and Julian Burnett.

Jefferson, a senior, finished second on the team in tackles (84) to Burnett (89). However, Jefferson did lead in sacks (4). Amazingly, those were the first of his career. The knock against him is that he didn’t make many game-changing plays.

What’s somewhat shocking about Burnett is he didn’t start until the sixth game of the season against Virginia. At that point he had 20 tackles and that included an 0-fer against Kansas. So, doing some quick cipherin’ (socks and shoes off; Holly, where’s my abacus?), he had 69 tackles in the next eight games.

With Jefferson now out of eligibility, I would imagine you can pencil Burnett into one of the inside linebacker spots for next season.

Rookie of the year

Burnett isn’t eligible because he did play last season.

The candidates to consider are safety Isaiah Johnson, outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, offensive linemen Jay Finch and Will Jackson, and  A-back B.J. Bostic.

Bostic was exciting, but really didn’t get to play enough to qualify in my made-up scenario. Johnson started off the season very strongly, but was eventually moved into a nickel-back position. Attaochu had three sacks, which isn’t a big number but is impressive because he played mostly in pass-rush situations.

I would say that Finch and Jackson are the newcomers of the year. I know that offensive linemen rarely win anything other than awards that are specific to offensive linemen (don’t ask me what they are, I don’t watch that contrived season-ending awards show), but consider that Tech led the nation in rushing with a 327-yards-per game average, pre-bowls. Those two linemen were on the field for much of it (though they had trouble being on the field together because of various injuries. At one point Paul Johnson said they should just share a helmet).

Players I look forward to seeing next year

Aside from those already mentioned, I’m excited about seeing these players, some of whom redshirted and some of whom have given us glimpses of their potential:

Linebackers Quayshawn Nealy and Brandon Watts (Watts competed for a starting spot in August, but then lost ground to Burnett);

B-backs Richard Watson, Charles Perkins and Daniel Drummond (Watson had a difficult time getting onto the field because of the depth at B-back. Two of those players will be gone);

Defensive linemen Shawn Green, Denzel McCoy, Anthony Williams, J.C. Lanier and Emmanuel Dieke (Dieke had 0 tackles this season playing mostly in pass-specific situations, Lanier couldn’t get off the scout team);

Quarterback Synjyn Days;

Offensive linemen Catlin Alford and Morgan Bailey;

A-back Deon Hill;

Secondary players Rod Sweeting, Ryan Ayers, Louis Young and Fred Holton (Sweeting has played the past two seasons, but I think he’s going to have a breakout year next year; Young and Holton played on special teams this season)

Kicker Justin Moore (had a few impressive kicks early in the season, but then was benched in favor of Blair. Tech will need a kicker next season);

Punter Sean Poole (when he was on, he was very good. Unfortunately, he was erratic. An injury sidelined him).

Players who we need to see more from next year

This is another category I made up and is reserved for players who perhaps had a bit too much expected of them too soon, played but didn’t stand out, or were important players in previous years but disappeared for whatever reason this season. However, they could be important players for next season:

Nose tackles T.J. Barnes and Logan Walls (if Barnes can learn to stay down he could be a force in the middle; he could also be one heck of an offensive lineman);

Wide receiver Stephen Hill (the team’s leading receiver, but he dropped way too many passes);

Defensive back Rashaad Reid (he started the Independence Bowl, but had a five-game stretch in which he didn’t make a tackle in limited duty);

A-back Marcus Wright (an injury sidelined him toward the end of the year, but before the injury he wasn’t the explosive player like he was in 2009);

Outside linebacker Steven Sylvester (got off to a fast start with two sacks against Kansas in week 2; had just one more);

What say you? Who are you looking forward to watching next season? Who are you predicting will step up and lead next year’s team?

– Doug Roberson, AJC

77 comments Add your comment

Resign or Re-Sign?

December 31st, 2010
6:58 am

What about Orwin(?) Smith; #17?

Paul Johnson

December 31st, 2010
7:59 am

I should get an award for getting the most out of a gimmick offense and having the worst D. Oh….and having the biggest bunch of under achievers!

Original Spike

December 31st, 2010
8:18 am

Six bowl losses in a row. From the Orange Bowl to losing to Air Force ni Shreveport. Wow. Still have the man crush on the “New Sheriff in Town”? The perfect option, indeed.


December 31st, 2010
8:38 am

This is all about making adjustments. Coach Johnson will make the adjustments needed and where changes are necessary, he will make those too.

Half the teams playing in bowl games will lose this year. We are just one of them.

And please tell me specifically, what is gimmick about this offense? It led the nation in rushing. So that’s not it. I think Coach Johnson knows that he has to get more from the passing game. If he does, look out.

Pow Wow

December 31st, 2010
8:44 am

Isaiah Johnson played with a groin injury all season. Will back back to form next season. After the first 3 games he lead the team in tackles.


December 31st, 2010
8:48 am

Who gets the award for loing 6 straight bowl games?


December 31st, 2010
8:48 am

Ryan Ayers in the secondary.


December 31st, 2010
8:59 am

I believe O Smith is a play maker, and should get a few more touches some way or another. We HAVE to have a leader emerge! Julian will be one, but I don’t know who on O.

GT Letterman

December 31st, 2010
9:02 am

Paul John is one of the most intelligent minds in CFB. But this season was not about brains. We need our talent to play better, and obviously need our QB position to be a little deeper in case of injuries, though Washington didn’t play badly.

GaTech will get better, but it would have been nice had this season seen the improvement.

Ted M

December 31st, 2010
9:07 am

The AJC’s sports TV listing is still showing Thursdays listing.

Ted M

December 31st, 2010
9:17 am

I’m looking forward to seeing what CPJ does with the special teams. They were sicking in every way this year, all year long, except for Blair.


December 31st, 2010
9:26 am

Stephen Hill is over-hyped; he needs to go to class and start making plays..

Paul H

December 31st, 2010
9:36 am

Your latest loss is once again on “genius” CPJ’s offense.

GT fan & supporter

December 31st, 2010
9:37 am

Looking forward to seeing improvements Drads makes with programs at GT… =Paul Hewitt?
Looking forward to see Coach Johnson add a passing game and special teams coach.
Looking for Lady jackets to get to big show and win afew.
Baseball going to College World Series.
Paul Hewitt going to –el?.


December 31st, 2010
9:40 am

Paul, CPJ didn’t drop two punts, fumble the ball going into the endzone, or throw the interception. While I would love to see a little more passes, reverses, or screens, he can’t get on the field.


December 31st, 2010
9:43 am

@roughrider: not sure but I can gell you who gets the award for most player arrests…great job oh holier-than-thou Richt….yeah….dream team….what a joke….the Bumpkin By Lumpkin


December 31st, 2010
9:50 am

In 2009 GT won some games at the end because things bounced their way and Nesbitt refused to lose. This year they lost those games when the bounces (fumbles) went the other way and Nesbitt wasn’t there. You can also attribute at least two or three wins in 2009 to the players that left early for the NFL. I think they will rebound in 2011 for a respectable season and some stiff competition in the spring for the critical QB and B-back positions. Hey, just my opinion, but some contributions might also be made by incoming freshmen. (At UGA too)


December 31st, 2010
9:53 am

Thank you nerd fans for giving me yet another hilarious year of Yech sports!!! The worst athletic program in the entire nation!!! LOL!!!


December 31st, 2010
10:02 am

c’mon, dogs. so you found graceland this year. name something else on your list of goals you accomplished…….


December 31st, 2010
10:13 am


assuming you’re a dumbass dog fan just remember, your team is 6-6 and had to beat tech to get there. STFU dipsh#t.


December 31st, 2010
10:28 am

Anyone else notice that Army and Air Force (both triple option offenses) include short and medium-range passes? When we throw, it always seems to be a “heave and hope” regardless of the down and distance.


December 31st, 2010
10:37 am

Look at passes defensed compared to the rest of the secondary. I think Rod Sweeting had a breakout year THIS year given that (for whatever reason) he didn’t play every down. I know I am a little biased, but I think Rod Sweeting is an all-ACC CB in 2011.


December 31st, 2010
10:37 am

I am very anxious to see Orwin get the ball more, he is like lightning in a bottle. He averaged just under 10 yards per carry, you gotta get the ball in his hands. Also looking forward to seeing more of BJ Bostic. He is very exciting to watch. I wanna see David Sims get some snaps, he looks more like a punishing type runner like Nesbitt. I know b-back is probably gonna be Charles Perkins to lose, but I would love to see Daniel Drummond running over some d linemen and linebackers, he is a punisher!! Hope that Stephen Hill works hard and gets his head right. He started to make plays in the last 2 games against Duke and UGA, was hoping that he continued it in the bowl game, but then he slipped up with his studies, hit the books young man. We wanna see you live up to expectations. CPJ will right the ship. I am the eternal optimist and I know we will be better next season, we just didnt catch the breaks this season. Would like to see CPJ install some shotgun and run a little more faster pace like Oregon. Hope we have a productive off season and strong finish recruiting. THWG!! Fire Paul Hewitt!!

The Dream

December 31st, 2010
10:42 am

As with any past years, we always have hope for next year and we expect stars to emerge from the list of folks we have. I did expect a better year this year, but it didn’t work out and it’s time to finish licking our wounds and move on. I will renew my tickets when they are due and I will be back expecting a better product next season. I want so bad for the defense to show maeked improvement and I think that recruiting the right fit players will show by mid season next year. The offense is still too narrow and no matter what, we have to have a couple of go to receivers. PJ must develop them or we will not be able to say that we can learn from our mistakes. I support him and the staff and what they are doing. I am not always happy with the outcome, but I have been a season ticket holder since 1989 and will continue to be one for many years to come. I hope to be supportive in the new year and I hope that all fans will get positive and hope that PJ sees the light with special teams play and with showing us that the players he is recruiting will give us the results we hope for. I am always at a loss for why grown people feel the way we do about college football, but we do feel that way and it is a part of our life and it does hurt when we get results like we did this year. I’m hoping for a great 2011 and may all the Tech fans, Coaches and Players have a healthy, productive up coming year.

Not Ridin' the M-Train

December 31st, 2010
11:14 am

How about top anime personality for 2010?

I say Ruri Hoshino.

Paul Johnson

December 31st, 2010
11:41 am

TDone…it’s an offense. More to an offense than rushing. We should lead the country, you rushed 150 more times than everybody else. Net result 6-6, lose to UGA…AGAIN!!, and a bad UGA team at that, lose countless big games over the years, and what’s our Bowl losing streak? GIMMICK!!!

Thanks for the post but it sounds like the same post we read about GT at the end of every season. If we only had a passing game we wouldn’t suck, we’d beat UGA, and maybe one day we will win a Bowl game. Keep the laughs coming. And did I mention…GIMMICK!!

Paul in RDU

December 31st, 2010
11:56 am

2010 was a disappointing season. I expected 8-4 going in and GT definitely underperformed – I certainly expect losses to Kansas and NCSU.
I have to agree about Anthony Allen – definitely GT’s POY in 2010 – he’ll make an NFL roster.


December 31st, 2010
12:06 pm

6 bowl losses in a row.

9 losses to UGA in the past 10 tries.

6-7 losing season in the weakest BCS conference known to man.

Now, consider that a year ago Techies were running their mouths about how “on the rise” their football program was.

Thank you Tech fans for all the laughs. Simply hysterical.


December 31st, 2010
12:13 pm

who was that guy that kept dropping punts? I hadn’t seen him all year. And why, pray tell, did Johnson put him in to field the SECOND punt?? I think Johnson is a good offensive mind, but that was just retarded.

Old GT Geezer

December 31st, 2010
12:14 pm

To GT45 – By your logic no football coach should ever be replaced.

Mark Richt

December 31st, 2010
12:20 pm

hey dont i get an award for having a bald spot, a fake tan and the ability to advertise ford trucks to retards who cant afford a sports car? dont forget the ability to Tech every year except one (Lord knows we should win every year by a lot since our recruits are great and thiers should be at State or Southern. plus we run a real offense not some gimmicky high school offense that Buford could stop. luckily the idiot fans will brag about 9 of 10 most barely wins and forget that 51-7 should be the norm. but hey will just leave to the real programs in high school and the pros who in our situation who destroy and never lose to program like Tech. thank God our fans are too stupid to be embarrassed by our mediocre performances. Bless the Lord and buy a ford!!!!


December 31st, 2010
12:28 pm

Tech would be proud to be able to win a bowl game. Also the state of Georgia would be proud too. Six straight bowl losses is embarrassing to the state.


December 31st, 2010
12:55 pm

Congrats ACC!……Dawg fan here and I was pulling hard for UNC last nite…..They deserved something good to happen after this tough year!…..Plus, I would actually pull for Tech over Tennessee!…….But hand it to the Vols too, I kind of wish we had their coach…..He’s young and still learning but he’s gonna be a good one…….Go Dawgs, but I’m not counting on a victory…….you guys can relate …..

Manjuggs Johnson

December 31st, 2010
12:59 pm

I’ll tell you what, I’m coach of the year or I’ll punch you in the face


December 31st, 2010
1:07 pm

as much as I think Anthony Allen outperformed the rest, I would still give the award to Nesbitt who broke two ACC QB records or at least have co-winners. Still disappointed that CPJ didn’t give David Sims a chance at some snaps. CPJ said himself that the backup takes as many snaps in practice as the starter and that Sims was doing great, so why not? Especially on option teams, never hurts to play two qb’s to avoid qb injuries from all the pounding. Doug, glad you have Synjyn Days listed as a player to look forward to but Sims in not one to ignore.

Mike Lum

December 31st, 2010
1:28 pm

More reverses? Reverses seem to lose as many yards as they gain. More passes? I agree…IF Tech has a QB who can throw AND receivers who can catch. If not, I’d just as soon see them run every play, like Pepper Rodgers had them do back in the 70’s.

And I’m happy to see Blair graduate. He missed several clutch kicks every year!


December 31st, 2010
1:58 pm

I expect David Sims to take the QB position by the first game. He is quicker, faster and makes quicker decisions than Washington.

I am really looking forward to seeing incoming freshman Jabari Hunt-Days
at linebacker next season. Will he play inside or outside?

And not least, I am expecting an OL that is actually able to block so we can see the BBack get 4 yards on a bad play, not the 0 yards we got this year.

And the big mystery, JC Lanier at DT or Nose. He came in with such great fanfare ( 4 star) only to disappear. What happened?

Where will Tony Zenon contribute next season? Too much speed not to be on the field in some role.

Caleb Queen

December 31st, 2010
3:06 pm

Caleb Queen

December 31st, 2010
3:07 pm

Are you smoking crack doug? Brad Jefferson is the worse middle line backer ive seen at gt. The guy cant ever get off his block. and not to mention his 3 tackle games at starting lb.


December 31st, 2010
3:12 pm

My brother graduated from Gt and I am a proud Gt loyaist. i think we should put more emphasis on recruiing J. Farmer and L. Carter. They could really help next year. C. Garrett could really run the ball in our triple option. Let’s not forget these players and let UGAG or Florida snag them.


December 31st, 2010
4:28 pm

Player of what year? This year? Puhlease! Put a bag over it and move on. This season was disgusting as was the bowl game. Johnson; 1-2 vs UGA, 0-3 in bowls, 1st losing season in 14 years. He’s that much better than Gailey????

offensive sets

December 31st, 2010
6:08 pm

How can you look for most valuable players from a team that didnt have a winning record!!!!


December 31st, 2010
7:15 pm



December 31st, 2010
7:16 pm



December 31st, 2010
7:17 pm



December 31st, 2010
8:37 pm

5 STARS is what UGA sees after meeting O’Leary’s D…


December 31st, 2010
8:39 pm

Central Florida=C-USA and SEC Preseason Champs!


December 31st, 2010
9:51 pm

Raid – Thanks for your gracious comments, I know it is not popular as a Tech Fan but I wish both teams would do much better and get the national eyes on Georgia. If both teams can get their game up we could have the State of Georgia end of the year championship have the same national excitement as the Miami – FSU game in the 90’s. Most Tech fans believe that the Tech – UGA relationship is a zero sum game with a UGA loss equal to a Tech win, I rather would like both teams to win until our annual showdown. Also would like us to keep all of the good Ga HS players in state, once again the zero sum would be with the rest of the SEC and ACC. So good luck with your recruiting class and hoping that Tech closes on their primary targets.

Delbert D.

December 31st, 2010
10:41 pm

1 – Anybody resembling an actual wide receiver.
2 – Special teams that are mediocre or better.
3 – Some laminated play lists so Coach can resist bad impulses.
4 – Consultation with Coach Calhoun of Air Force on multiple sets.


December 31st, 2010
10:49 pm

Hire the FRIDGE, dump this sucky offense…….