Hope you had a good weekend. I have some stuff left over from the story I wrote for Monday’s paper about Georgia Tech safety Fred Holton, a hard-working guy who will make a run at one of the starting safety jobs.
1) Holton managed to get a spot on special teams last year as a true freshman despite arriving on campus in August. The scholarship normally freshmen arrive in the summer – this year’s class arrived last week – enough time to take part in the offseason strength and conditioning program and get adjusted to college. For personal reasons, Holton had to stay behind in Thomasville and as a result was behind. Still, Holton was on the field for Tech’s opener against South Carolina State. To me, it says a good about his instincts for the game, as well as his physical maturity.
“I just came in, I did what I was asked, I worked hard,” Holton said. “I just went along and eventually it worked out.”
Said secondary coach Charles Kelly, “Anytime you’re that physical and you can run, that gives you a chance to get on the field in special teams.”
2) Holton will have a shot at both safety positions. He’ll push both presumptive starters, Isaiah Johnson and Rashaad Reid. Kelly doesn’t like to distinguish much between the free and strong spots. “The way our safeties play, both wind up being strong and free,” he said.
3) Holton has switched his jersey number from No. 39 to No. 15. Holton said, when he was a high school freshman at Thomasville High, that whatever number he got, he would wear all the way through high school and college. When he got to Tech, wide receiver Correy Earls had No. 15, so Holton took 39. After the season, Holton requested 15 and got it after the spring. Cornerback Louis Young has switched numbers, from 16 to 8.
4) Apparently, linebacker Julian Burnett is the strongest player on the team, pound for pound. I asked Holton who it was, and he said Burnett, although he’s partial. Holton likes working out with his fellow South Georgian (along with B-back Charles Perkins).
Said Holton, “I thought I was strong, but that guy’s really strong.”
I asked strength coach Neal Peduzzi if Holton was among the strongest, pound for pound. Peduzzi said he’d know better after this week, when the team conducts mid-summer strength testing.
“Julian Burnett’s going to be hard to beat, but he’s definitely going to be up there,” Peduzzi said.
5) According to Holton, two players putting in good work in 7-on-7 drills are Young and wide receiver Chris Jackson, who is on track to be re-instituted to the team before fall camp begins after leaving the team last fall.
“In fact,” Holton said of Jackson, “he’s out there individually sometimes working against the DB’s, trying to get a little extra work in. We’ve got a lot of guys who are kind of [working extra] and getting that mentality.”