A word on wide receivers, a note about Paul Johnson (and his players) earning a notable achievement and one short note about a signee.
If I had to choose the most likely position where you’ll see true freshmen make the field this fall and even make a notable contribution, it would be wide receiver. Not a bold prediction, I realize, as it was one of the weakest spots last fall. Second, it’s one of the easier positions for players to step in quickly. Third, I think Johnson likes the group he has coming in.
Stephen Hill and Tyler Melton return as starters with Daniel McKayhan, Jon Lockhart and Jeremy Moore are backups. The latter three have a combined two career catches. Yikes.
I asked Johnson Tuesday at the season preview event in Macon if Melton and Hill have considerable separation in the competition.
“I wouldn’t say that,” he said. “They ended the spring as starters, but I think that’s a position where we’ve got a chance to see some young freshmen play.”
Of the group as a whole, Johnson said, “They’ve got to be way more consistent. There’s not many areas we couldn’t improve and do better.”
Jeff Greene and Darren Waller go 6-4, 200 and 6-5, 204, respectively. Corey Dennis, recruited as an athlete, will get a shot at wide receiver, as well. He’s 6-2, 205. They’ll presumably start working in the player-organized 7-on-7 sessions over the summer when they enroll.
Johnson rated No. 4 for APR score
Brett McMurphy at cbssports.com ranked the 120 FBS coaches by their average APR (academic progress rate) score. Johnson tied for fourth, behind only Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald and Navy’s Ken Niumatolo (who was promoted after Johnson was hired at Tech).
Johnson’s 980 average, which was tied with Rutgers and coach Greg Schiano, is out of a possible 1,000. Johnson’s score includes his years at Navy. But his average for his first two full years at Tech (09-10 is the most recent year for which there are APR scores) is actually higher than his Navy average. Chan Gailey’s average was 954.
APR scores are based on eligibility, retention and graduation rates.
If you’re wondering, and I know you are, Mark Richt’s average is 972, 11th overall and highest in the SEC. Georgia scored a perfect 1,000 in 09-10. (I wonder if this might prompt some posts comparing the schools’ curriculums…)
You can dig around for yourself on the NCAA website. My thanks to Tech sports information maven Dean Buchan for tweeting about the rankings.
Here are the scores for the ACC, with overall ranking (As with Johnson, the scores also include the coaches’ previous schools, which is why, for instance, David Cutcliffe is not higher than you’d expect.)
1. Dabo Swinney, Clemson 988
4. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech 980
7. Frank Spaziani, Boston College 978
8. David Cutcliffe, Duke 976
13. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest 969
29. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State 959
30. Mike London, Virginia 958
33. Butch Davis, North Carolina 956
41. Randy Edsall, Maryland 951
(tie) Tom O’Brien, N.C. State 951
59. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech 943
83. Al Golden, Miami 931
This escaped my attention until I read a little about the signing class, but defensive back Jamal Golden was pegged as a potential early-round pick in the major league draft, held earlier this month. One scouting website even named him the top high school prospect in Alabama. It obviously led to some consternation that he’d get drafted high and take a pass on college football, as Tech signee Jake Skole did last year.
However, presumably because he was so vocal about his intention to play in college, Golden went undrafted, so no worries about him not making it to fall camp. At last check, he also plans to play baseball for Tech.