Five players who shined in August

Greetings-

Hope this finds you getting geared up for Thursday evening. I don’t know how much we’ll learn, given that I don’t think Western Carolina will offer much of a challenge to Georgia Tech, but we’ll see.
I was going to write a story for Tuesday’s paper about the five players who made the biggest splash in the preseason or something to that effect. I have six right now that I’ll go over briefly.
Before I get there, if you haven’t read Steve Hummer’s profile of A-back Tony Zenon, you should do that right now. It will be far better reading than anything on this blog.
Second, my colleague Doug Roberson wrote a story about the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game that included a little detail about Georgia Tech I found interesting. Doug wrote that athletic director Dan Radakovich said he would like to play in the game as soon as possible. I know Radakovich has been interested in playing the game in the past (I wrote over the summer that Tech nearly was lined up to play USC in 2013), but that is stronger language than I’ve read or heard previously.

A 2013 game is still open, to the best of my knowledge, but when I asked Paul Johnson about it in June, he wasn’t overly enthused about it.

On to the Georgia Tech big-splash-in-camp-making-type-guys.

Trey Braun – A true freshman guard, Braun appears to have won a spot in the Phil Smith-bereft starting lineup. Part of his ascension is due to a lack of depth and an injury to J.C. Lanier, but coaches like what they’ve seen from Braun, who has clearly benefited from enrolling in January. (Lanier, by the way, has been ruled out for Thursday’s game, as has defensive lineman Shawn Green. Lanier has been out with a stress fracture, and coach Paul Johnson said he’d be out for about four weeks on Aug. 6. This Saturday will be four weeks.)

Izaan Cross – The defensive end stood out in the second scrimmage in particular and looks like a player to watch this season. Johnson has liked what he’s seen from Cross in the preseason and the starting defensive line in general.

Jeff Greene – The true freshman wide receiver took advantage of injuries to other wide receivers to move up the depth chart into a possible starting role. He would bump, rather ironically, Tyler Melton, the last true freshman to start in a season-opening game for Tech. He has size and has shown good hands and jumping ability. He has a lot to learn still, but he’s on his way to being a productive player for Tech.

Vad Lee – The true freshman quarterback caused Johnson and quarterbacks coach Brian Bohannon to swoon with his desire and capacity to learn the offense and his passing ability. He’s got a long way to go, but he has passed his first test of college football, surviving the rigors of his first camp, easily.

David Sims – The most obvious choice. He came into camp No. 4 on the depth chart at B-back and as of last week he had the inside track to start on Thursday. The new depth chart will be released Monday. (Check back for it) He’s been among the hardest-working players in camp and has good functional strength for the tough-running demands of the position.

Brandon Watts – The outside linebacker may see the field a good bit this year and may end up starting in place of Steven Sylvester before the season is over. Watts has the physical tools and caught Johnson’s attention with his playmaking in the preseason. If and when he puts everything together, he’ll be a dangerous player.

Etc.

I had this leftover from the linebackers story I wrote last week.
It’s a quote from Sylvester about Julian Burnett and Jeremiah Attaochu.
“Julian came in the year after me. He’s always been a fierce competitor, always been one of those guys to go after the ball. Just to see him grow as a linebacker, as a football player, has been kind of fun for me, just to know how smart he is. And Jeremiah’s motor is unbelievable. We could be out there for 20 plays and everyone else will be gassed, and Jeremiah will sprint across the field and make a tackle. Just to see the way he goes, his determination to get to the ball is second to none.”

Also, a few more links, from our preview section.
Paul Johnson Q&A
Tevin Washington Q&A
Five players to watch
Tech will have a good season if…

Mark Bradley predicts an 8-4 season for the Jackets.

Thanks for reading. Please follow on Facebook and Twitter!

By Ken Sugiura, AJC

44 comments Add your comment

Forensicbuzz

August 29th, 2011
8:54 am

Can’t wait for Thursday to get here.

GT Anchorage

August 29th, 2011
9:05 am

I am really excited about this season. Trying to find somewhere in Memphis to watch the game. ESPN 3 doesn’t work on my laptop…

BigTimeTechFan

August 29th, 2011
9:09 am

Oh yea, ready for Thursday, win or lose it will be fun to see Tech play after a long off season.

I’ll be watching these 5 guys, really want to see how Sims and Washington look.

BigTimeTechFan

August 29th, 2011
9:12 am

@GT Anchorage – Does your ISP offer ESPN3? I’m going to watch from our Xbox360, watched some HS games this weekend to test it out.

T3

August 29th, 2011
9:12 am

First, what Mark Bradley has to say isnt worth reading.

Second, GT is gonna be MUCH BETTER than ANYONE thinks.

I’ll re-sate my forecast from 8 weeks ago:

GT goes 10-2, inlcuding a win over UGA.

attention: UGA troll tirades begins in…5…4…3…2…

BigTimeTechFan

August 29th, 2011
9:14 am

@T3 – I just say I like your predictions way better then Mark Brasley’s

BigTimeTechFan

August 29th, 2011
9:17 am

So many new faces playing for Tech this year, going to be fun to watch.

macrotech

August 29th, 2011
9:23 am

I’m SO ready for this season to get started! I can’t wait for this team to right all that the ncaa did to wrong us. I’m blown away by all the silence from the media on the way things played out. The way CPJ has been acting giddy…I have a GREAT feeling about this season! The sky’s the limit!!! GO TECH!!!

Techie

August 29th, 2011
9:50 am

it sucks to be a doggy, who hasn’t been good since hershal walky :)

headley lamar

August 29th, 2011
9:59 am

it sucks to be a doggy, who hasn’t been good since hershal walky

Good enough to beat you 9 out of 10

yeller bug

August 29th, 2011
10:14 am

The key will be the O line. It’s thin and young. If they can make some holes we have the backs that can run to daylight. If they can pass protect, we might actually have a passing game. And if we can establish a passing game—even just a short passing game, then this high school offense will give pro problems to opposing defenses.

Jacket Man

August 29th, 2011
10:14 am

Why do GA TECH fans have to incite UGA bloggers so they respond to your nonsense? All you do is make things more aggravating for the rest of US. It’s time for YOU to grow up as well.

headley lamar

August 29th, 2011
10:16 am

I like guys, so soft!

headley lamar

August 29th, 2011
10:25 am

What was Crittenton’s major at Tech ?

Another fine young man Tech has produced.

headley lamar

August 29th, 2011
10:26 am

I’ll re-sate my forecast from 8 weeks ago:

GT goes 10-2, inlcuding a win over UGA.

You could win allot of money in Vegas with that forecast.

headley lamar

August 29th, 2011
10:30 am

Gotta get back to work as the short order cook a waffle house. Momma is gonna be mad if don’t bring home my room rent check.

reebok

August 29th, 2011
10:36 am

i think tech is embarrassed about last year, pi$$ed off at the NCAA and the sanctions, and much more talented than most people realize. this is going to be a really good team. and the ACC, as well all know, isn’t that good. Tech has a good a shot at beating Virginia Tech and going to the ACC championship as Georgia does of beating south carolina & making it to the SEC championship.

This is a "what if"?

August 29th, 2011
10:38 am

What if you start the season with an easy game? Normally get a win and a small amount of momentum You may not glean much from a lesser opponent but you normally do not lose confidence.

Conversely, starting the season with a ranked team probably will quickly reveal your deficiencies and you might not have any momentum and little confidence.

So, which is best?!?

GTJason

August 29th, 2011
10:45 am

Prediction on Vad Lee: we won’t see his redshirt burned until UNC or NC State. Whomever is beating us and we need a homerun play. He’ll probably have 3-4 big yardage plays learned by then and be able to come in and put up a quick 6 against an unprepared defense.

juvenal

August 29th, 2011
10:50 am

was javaris one of those celtics?

Supersize that order, mutt

August 29th, 2011
10:52 am

juvenal, don’t stoop to the level of headley and the other classless mutts in trying to associate Crittenton with his past alliances

damngooddawg!

August 29th, 2011
10:53 am

” Tech nearly was lined up to play USC in 2013, but” They’d kill ya. Techie, you are not living in the real world. Get over it.. You want to follow GT, ok, but get over it. Enjoy what you can, and accept Tech’s roll in the football world.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 29th, 2011
10:57 am

hmm, damngooddawg!, would that be a Kaiser ROLL or a Hoagie ROLL or a brown and serve ROLL? They all sound pretty good to me. Sounds like you need to get back to class and learn something for a change…..like maybe SPELLING !!!!

juvenal

August 29th, 2011
10:59 am

Super, just happy with the new coach that our recruiting in basketball is going a different direction…..seems like a lot of those aau kids can’t handle success….the Lithuanian nat’l coach told si he did not want his kids to go to the US for college ball, they “regressed”….

juvenal

August 29th, 2011
11:05 am

there are a lot of tragedies that happen to any group of people & it is sad some folks trivialize these things for a sports blog……..

Supersize that order, mutt

August 29th, 2011
11:07 am

interesting comment, but nonetheless, don’t make out like it’s the celtics’ fault Crittenton turned bad; that is no more true than the mutts’ attempted claims that it’s Tech’s fault. Crittenton and others go bad because, for whatever reason and regardless of whatever influence, they choose to do so.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 29th, 2011
11:08 am

by the way, juvenal, I like the way Gregory has hit the ground running. We won’t know how he “produces” until his players take the floor, but I like what I have seen thus far.

yeller bug

August 29th, 2011
11:10 am

Tech goes 10 – 2. We’ll lose 2 of the 4 to VT, UGA, NCSU and Clemson. No way we lose to Miami—they may not have enough players to field a team with all the pending suspensions. UNC—they’ve got more violations than Miami—-their president may even have to step down before that mess is cleared up. It’s an easy schedule if we stay focused and healthy.

GTJason

August 29th, 2011
11:19 am

Yeah Auburn was supposed to kill us every year when we scheduled them a few years ago. That really worked out well for them. Thank goodness we actually play the games instead of listen to dawg fans.

Yellowjacked

August 29th, 2011
11:22 am

I am afraid this will be the year PJ begins to decline. His sorry recruiting tactics has left us with little to work with. We will go 7-5 at best with loses to VT, UGA, and Clemson as sure things. That is not good enough by the way. We need a HC that runs a spread or Pro Style Offense IMO.

secfactcheck.com

August 29th, 2011
11:23 am

Tech goes 11-1. We’ll beat UGA and lose one of the VT or NCState games. CPJ pops the cork on everything in the offense this year. The defense stops more drives and gives the offense more chances. Easy up front schedule gives offense time to get in sync. Vad Lee will be a significant player if not starting by year end. Can’t hide talent.

secfactcheck.com

August 29th, 2011
11:26 am

FSU then beats GA Tech in ACC Championship game and goes on to NC game sending GA Tech or VA Tech to the Orange Bowl.

secfactcheck.com

August 29th, 2011
11:32 am

Yellowjacked… Obviously, I am a bit more optimistic. CPJ is a great coach and one of THE best game coaches. GA Tech is surrounded geographically by AL, TN, UGA, Clemson, USC, FL, FSU and AU. Do you really expect we could recruit and compete against these schools for the same athletes??? CPJ’s offense with a real defense is what Tech needs. The results of the last three years mirrors the results of our defense. Offense has not been the problem. Defense is on the rise with Al Groh. CPJ will score points. Call it a high school offense but CPJ will score even with high school players. The athletes are coming and the defense will improve.

headley lamar

August 29th, 2011
11:38 am

FSU then beats GA Tech in ACC Championship game and goes on to NC game sending GA Tech or VA Tech to the Orange Bowl.

1 The Acc would lose both games. They have the worst ( by far ) BCS record.
2. The ACC has NEVER gotten two teams into the BCS.
3. What have you been smoking ?

BCS Records

ACC 2-11

SEC 15-6

Case Closed

headley lamar

August 29th, 2011
11:40 am

don’t make out like it’s the celtics’ fault Crittenton turned bad; that is no more true than the mutts’ attempted claims that it’s Tech’s fault. Crittenton and others go bad because, for whatever reason and regardless of whatever influence, they choose to do so.

Funny but if this kid wuld have gone to UGA it would have been.

He was a thug. This is the kind of player Richt and UGA recruits blah blah blah.

But since it was a Tech player it becomes.

Well we don’t know what happened. He just “turned” bad

What a load of BS.

headley lamar

August 29th, 2011
11:44 am

Kiddie p*rn for the professors, Rebuen Houston, Matt “DUI” Skole, Multiple Probation’s

Now a former player wanted for Murder ?

Whats going on over at Tech ?

Luke

August 29th, 2011
11:48 am

Actually Headley, the kid was a thug. Typical of the players that Paul Hewitt recruited. They’re kids from metro Atlanta that could play ball, got recruited by AAU coaches, and got put on scholarship. They never went to class otherwise and basically just got a free ride to the NBA.

Now I’m not saying that Tech hasn’t some outstanding guys through the program in his time at Tech (see Mario West, Anthony McHenry), but they weren’t good kids. Which is why GT’s basketball program was at the bottem of the barrel in terms of academics. They just didn’t care about Tech.

headley lamar

August 29th, 2011
11:51 am

Actually Headley, the kid was a thug

How did he get in then? I thought Tech only took the best and the brightest.

secfactcheck.com

August 29th, 2011
11:56 am

Wow, Headley, how long were waiting at your computer to throw those stats out. Sure the ACC has not done well in the BCS. How far are we allowed to go back in time with stats to play your stat games? Can we include FSU’s dominance? Can we even count the number SEC championships TECH has compared to over half SEC teams while GA Tech hasn’t been in the SEC since 1961? Can we say that South Carolina used to be an ACC team? Can we say the SEC had twelve teams long before other conferences and that may have been the reason for so many SEC players in the NFL until now? Can we say GA Tech has won a NC game since after UGA? OK, BCS record is what you hang your hat on. Hang it and have fun. My day will still be a great day…

Supersize that order, mutt

August 29th, 2011
12:10 pm

secfactcheck.com, you can say whatever you want to headley, but he’s always going to come back with the same tired old, irrelevant drivel. He got rejected at both Tech and THUGa, and ended up getting a correspondence degree from Troy, so what do you expect? I just can’t figure out why he’s not equally bitter at THUGa, since he couldn’t get in there either.

headley lamar

August 29th, 2011
12:18 pm

Wow, Headley, how long were waiting at your computer to throw those stats out.

Not long. Its called google. You should check it out.

Sure the ACC has not done well in the BCS.

Thats putting it lightly

Can we include FSU’s dominance?

FSU’s dominance over who? The ACC sure but certainly not the SEC.

Can we say that South Carolina used to be an ACC team?

Sure. Why not.

Can we say the SEC had twelve teams long before other conferences and that may have been the reason for so many SEC players in the NFL until now?

You can. We would have had the most with 10 teams as well.

Can we say GA Tech has won a NC game since after UGA?

Why not. Nobody else considers it legit anyway. Colorado won the AP poll the big one. You guys won the UPI ( which is now defunct ) by one vote. If you call that a National Title then be my guest.

OK, BCS record is what you hang your hat on. Hang it and have fun. My day will still be a great day…

Consider it hung. Nothing could be a better indicator than when the best of your conference takes on the best from another conference.

The SEC has dominated in those match ups. The ACC has been …. well the ACC.

headley lamar

August 29th, 2011
12:23 pm

He got rejected at both Tech and THUGa, and ended up getting a correspondence degree from Troy, so what do you expect

Actually never applied. Would have loved to had the chance but out of state tuition would have been impossible.

Trust me it wouldn’t have been a problem.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 29th, 2011
12:41 pm

You’re from out of state and you love the mutts and hate the Jackets? Why is that?

ghost rider

August 29th, 2011
1:40 pm

Ken, its pretty obvious who you would like to see @ OLB…. Watts over Sylvester….we’ll see @ seasons end who will be standing…my money is on Sylvester