Laskey, Greene take hold of opportunity

As Georgia Tech’s 2011 recruiting class came together, wide receivers coach Buzz Preston hoped his find in Fayette County could remain a secret.

“That’s what you’re praying for,” Preston said. “You’re hoping that nobody gives him a little more love or offer that he might really want to jump at and cost you.”

In mid-December 2010, room finally opened up for Tech to offer a scholarship to Starr’s Mill High running back Zach Laskey, who accepted on the spot. Saturday, Laskey again validated Preston’s scouting eye, catching a 70-yard touchdown pass on Tech’s first play from scrimmage and adding 43 rushing yards in one half of play as the Yellow Jackets splattered Virginia 56-20 at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Said Preston, “We just lucked up.”

Preston’s efforts mining Fayette for talent were on display against the Cavaliers. On Tech’s second possession, wide receiver Jeff Greene, Laskey’s teammate at Starr’s Mill, plowed a Virginia defensive back down the field to clear a route for A-back Orwin Smith to score on a 77-yard run. Coach Paul Johnson greeted Greene with a hug after the score.

“I said, ‘That’s your touchdown, because you’re the guy who just rolled the corner,’” Johnson said after the game. “I mean, he rolled him, too. He almost had him out of bounds.”

After both played limited roles as true freshmen last season, the teammates on the Starr’s Mill 2010 Class AAAA state finalist team have seized opportunities to get on the field and appear to have entrenched themselves as regulars, if not starters.

“I knew it was going to be difficult, but I kind of came in with the mindset that I’m not going to let somebody beat me out,” Laskey said.

Swift and tall, Greene fit the Yellow Jackets’ wide receiver mold. Preston was steadfast in his pursuit. Since arriving, Greene’s challenge has been learning practice habits and playing with effort on each snap.

Greene’s break arrived with the graduation of Tyler Melton and Stephen Hill’s early departure to the NFL after last season. With his work in spring practice and fall camp, he earned a spot in a three-man rotation. He will start Saturday, his first start since the opener against Virginia Tech.

The starting spot “is because he’s picked up that level in practice and in the game that you have to have,” Preston said. “And as long as he’s doing that, then he’s going to be able to reach his true potential of what he can do.”

To Preston, Greene has shown more attention to things like firing off the line on every play, run or pass, taking the proper pre-snap stance and pushing off with the correct foot.

“It’s just pretty much, every time I go out there, come out there with the same mentality of trying to get better,” Greene said. “Don’t just go through the motions. Just go out there and go 100 percent.”

For Laskey, trying wasn’t the hard part. Getting noticed was. On a five-star scale, he was a two-star player, according to Rivals recruiting service. Besides Tech, his only other FBS scholarship offers that he received were from Navy and Air Force.

After playing special teams and defensive back last season, Laskey was moved back to B-back in the spring. Injuries to David Sims and Charles Perkins in the preseason opened up practice time for Laskey, who showed himself to be hard to tackle, quick-footed and easily coached.

“When you tell him something, you can tell he takes it and tries to do it,” quarterback and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon said.

He has started the past two games and is averaging 62.3 yards per game and 6.7 yards per attempt.

“I was a two star,” Laskey said. “I kind of felt that I was a little bit better than that.  So I kind of play with a chip on my shoulder and kind of want to show everybody that I can play.”

In case you missed it…

Does Miami have Tech’s number?

Former Tech star Wilkes earns Georgia HOF

Notes: Perkins out for long term

Notes: Plenty of mistakes vs. Virginia

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

35 comments Add your comment

[...] Laskey, Greene seize opportunity [...]

FL Jacket

September 19th, 2012
10:09 pm

Go find it in Fayette-nam!

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

September 19th, 2012
10:25 pm

Glad to have both guys in the Jacket family.

SansWorld

September 19th, 2012
10:32 pm

Another very nice article Ken, Thanks for all you do.

GTGirl

September 19th, 2012
10:35 pm

Glad we have both of them too! Laskey you are a 5 star in our book! Go Jackets!

Ga Tech Old Timer

September 19th, 2012
10:57 pm

Another prime example of the “Star” system having it’s flaws. Things that aren’t measurable are – heart and desire. Sometimes – after getting into a college program – that’s the only difference any of the number of stars – from 1 to 5 – and the scale can slide back the other way as well for those “studs” who come out of high school as 5 stars and never produce because they think they’ve already paid their dues and have the name recognition. Great job by coaches and players alike!

Old Gold 2

September 19th, 2012
10:57 pm

Great article…4 Fayette County players that contribute…I Johnson and T Morgan also. Go Jackets!

Ken Sugiura

September 19th, 2012
11:42 pm

Thanks, SansWorld.

ToeMeetsLeather

September 20th, 2012
6:28 am

Keep up the hard work Laskey and Greene!

One thing is for sure, Lee will be stepping in next year with a veteran group of players on offense that should make the transition pretty smooth. We will miss Smith and Uzzi but CPJ can plug guys in their spots that are pretty darn good. And with eight starters back on defense, TECH should be preseason top fifteen coming out of the gate.

Golden White

September 20th, 2012
8:14 am

Just how does one fix the star rating system ? What drives it ? Is it money ? That might explain the difference why one organization awards more stars to a recruit then another one.
Is it the amount of scholarship offers and who is offering them, that drive up a players so called value ?
I am just scratching the surface here. There are too many questions to this process and I doubt there are many satisfying answers. If a recruit can fly under the radar then the process must be flawed. It happens every year and almost every team finds that “one”
that nobody gave a look. The coaches call them diamonds in the rough. Why can’t they be 4 star guy’s that simply were not tracked through their high school career.
GTOT is right. Things that aren’t measurable are – heart and desire.
The most important ingredients.

Tokyo jacket

September 20th, 2012
8:28 am

@TML, do be a preseason Top15, we’ve got to end the season there too. Don’t forget. At a minimum, that likely means beating either UGA, Clemson, or (potentially) FSU AND winning our bowl game. I just want to watch the games man! Can’t wait for road trips to Chapel Hill and College Park – the latter is going to be an offensive clinic.

Tokyo jacket

September 20th, 2012
8:31 am

I do agree, though, that if we finish strong this year, next year could be really special. I’m not willing to make any claims on next year until I see how Tech performs in the next 9 (or hopefully 11) games.

Two star Laskey a diamond in the rough

September 20th, 2012
8:46 am

[...] star Laskey a diamond in the rough Laskey, Greene take hold of opportunity | Georgia Tech Reply With Quote [...]

Marc

September 20th, 2012
9:25 am

Did somebody say Zach Laskey?
I know Zach Laskey!
Runs about 6′9,395.
Used to jog with a refrigerator on his back bin case he got hungry
To Zach Laskey!!

Marc

September 20th, 2012
9:25 am

Did somebody say Zach Laskey?
I know Zach Laskey!
Runs about 6′9,395.
Used to jog with a refrigerator on his back bin case he got hungry
To Zach Laskey!!

Yellow Jacket

September 20th, 2012
9:42 am

You wonder if the lower ranking was that he never did a Scout or Rivals combine. The word was he went to several camps and was a standout. Too many schools rely on scouting services for their leads . CPJ is “old” school. Looks like he knows what he’s doing.

atowndown

September 20th, 2012
9:56 am

You guys talking about Zach Laskey? Ya know, he jumped off the Empire State Building this one time and he only sprained his ankle. To Zach Laskey!

SECspeed

September 20th, 2012
10:14 am

I once saw Laskey scissor kick Angela Landsbury.

GOLD PANTS

September 20th, 2012
10:22 am

@Marc,@Atowndown, @SEC speed…..You are one sick person. Please get help before it is too late.

bb

September 20th, 2012
10:49 am

This is how the star system works (based on my observations). If you are recruited by certain schools (Alabama, FSU, Georgia, etc.) you get more stars. If you are being recruited by multiple teams in that category, you will get 4 or 5 stars, one will get you at least 3 stars. That’s it, that’s how the system works. The people that produce the ratings know little about assessing football talent (or they would on a coaching staff), so they rely on watching which teams are recruiting a player and rate them based on that.

The problem with this system is that if a player commits early to a team not in that upper category and are obviously firm, then those teams are not going to recruit them, hence the BEST they can get rated is 3 stars and will more likely be a 2 star.

WnE

September 20th, 2012
11:10 am

re:
Ga Tech Old Timer
September 19th, 2012
10:57 pm

Another prime example of the “Star” system having it’s flaws. Things that aren’t measurable are – heart and desire. Sometimes – after getting into a college program – that’s the only difference any of the number of stars – from 1 to 5 – and the scale can slide back the other way as well for those “studs” who come out of high school as 5 stars and never produce because they think they’ve already paid their dues and have the name recognition. Great job by coaches and players alike!
_________________

Lots of delusional GT fans that don’t know a whole lot about CFB in here jumping to conclusions.

Good for Mr. Laskey, I hope he graduates and has a lot of success in life.

As far as my FB analysis of his play, he has only done well vs. Presby & UVa., for those that are poking their chests out with the “I-told-you-so” about the star ranking system, remember this, Laskey has not done anything vs. a Defense full of high-3* players & UP (Bama, LSU, UGA, USCe, et al).

If Laskey were gashing those types of defenses then you could make your claims that he’s a diamond-in-the-rough.

Right now he’s a guy that has had 2 nice games vs. spotty competition and MIGHT BE a piece of GT’s future plans on Offense.

Laskey probably isn’t a 1,000 rusher and given the fact that colleges routinely play 12 or 13 games he isn’t likely to be a 1,300 yd. rusher that defenses key on like they did for Dwyer or A.Allen.

Right now he’s a nice story, but don’t rush to judgment with claims that Laskey PROVES that the Recruiting Services don’t know what they are doing.

Tell you what, take Laksey and put his “heart & desire” up against LSU & Bama in back-to-back weeks like Arky’s RBs have had to face in recent years, see how much heart & desire get you then.

Put Laskey in the SEC East and have him face UGA, USCe, & Florida in consecutive weeks like guys from Kentucky or Vandy have to do on occasion.

In summary 2-games vs. spotty competition tells us nothing about Laskey nor does it tell how good the Recruiting Services are.

It is funny how GT fans are always seeking “validation” for every little thing that GT does and every little thing that connects to CPJ ’s offense.

It comes across as a underdogs view of the world, and it proves that deep down inside there is still a lot of uncertainty about whether CPJ is the right man for the job and that is why every little minute thing is amplified as some sort of validation of GT & CPJ.

atowndown

September 20th, 2012
11:16 am

Wne,

How is that different than your view of the world? Where every little minute thing is amplified as some sort of validation for why GT is heading in the wrong direction and PJ is the one leading them there. It’s funny how you are always seeking “validation” for every little thing that GT does and every little thing that connects to CPJ’s offense.

Supsersize that order, mutt

September 20th, 2012
11:20 am

@ atwondown…..IGNORE WnE….He is not worth your time. Most of us on here don’t even read his posts anymore, and we are better for it. He is worthless trash

Supsersize that order, mutt

September 20th, 2012
11:26 am

Sorry, I mean atowndown, not atwondown

WnE

September 20th, 2012
11:35 am

re:
atowndown
September 20th, 2012
11:16 am

Wne,

How is that different than your view of the world? Where every little minute thing is amplified as some sort of validation for why GT is heading in the wrong direction and PJ is the one leading them there. It’s funny how you are always seeking “validation” for every little thing that GT does and every little thing that connects to CPJ’s offense.
_____________

You are wrong and I can prove it.

Laskey has put forth a very small sample size and the masses over-react (not me of course).

I have looked at CPJ ’s record the last 2 YEARS ( a larger sample size) where he has gone 14-12 vs. the 69th & 76th toughest schedules.

I have also pointed out that GT is 3-14 vs. the big 4 since CPJ arrived at GT with all 3 wins coming in year-1, that would make him 0-14 in the last 4+ years vs. the big 4.

You would have a leg to stand on IF I had used a small sample size like Laskey’s 2 games vs. spotty competition, but instead I used 2 full seasons and 5 years worth of games vs. GT’s toughest competition.

My data is a little bit more reliable than is those that are trumpeting Laskey’s emergence.

atowndown

September 20th, 2012
12:10 pm

Wne,

Your data may be correct, and I won’t argue that some of those numbers don’t concern me. But at least admit that you are only citing data that reflects negatively on GT. There are plenty of other stats (such as PJ’s overall win pct., offensive production numbers, ACC championship, players getting drafted to the NFL, etc.) that do not support your negative view of Tech, and you simply disgregard these facts. My point was not that you were wrong, nobody knows how good/bad Laskey will be yet, but that while you claim GT fans are delusional and only look for signs of positive progress, you are guilty of the same thing, only you focus solely on any negative aspect that could possibly show PJ and GT in a negative light. PS. don’t lecture me on sample size, I actually went to GT therefore I understand Statistics/Probablity.

GT Fan

September 20th, 2012
12:29 pm

WnE

September 20th, 2012
11:10 am

re:
Ga Tech Old Timer
September 19th, 2012
10:57 pm

Another prime example of the “Star” system having it’s flaws. Things that aren’t measurable are – heart and desire. Sometimes – after getting into a college program – that’s the only difference any of the number of stars – from 1 to 5 – and the scale can slide back the other way as well for those “studs” who come out of high school as 5 stars and never produce because they think they’ve already paid their dues and have the name recognition. Great job by coaches and players alike!
_________________

Lots of delusional GT fans that don’t know a whole lot about CFB in here jumping to conclusions.
————————

Well, WnE, if that ain’t the pot calling the kettle black IDK what is

GT Fan

September 20th, 2012
12:34 pm

Geeks & wannabes is an analogy for the “recruiting experts” …….. Sadly, these people are like weathermen/women …… they are wrong way more than they are right, yet they continue getting paid.

Born2Buzz

September 20th, 2012
12:50 pm

Ken, you are the best. Using the word splattered to describe the UVA game is right on.

One thing is for sure….WnE is a 4 star douche. Maybe 5 star.

Wrecked

September 20th, 2012
6:09 pm

Laskey and Greene both are fine young men , that probably wouldn’t be on most D-1 programs scout teams.

GT Photographer

September 20th, 2012
9:06 pm

SMHS c/o 2004, GT c/o 2009 (the 5 year plan!). Go Greene/Laskey! Go Jackets!

Holey Smoak

September 21st, 2012
5:04 am

WNE is a tool

yellow britches

September 21st, 2012
8:44 am

Fayette County has been kind to GT over the years. Don’t forget Calvin Johnson came out of Sandy Creek–a full blown powerhouse this year also. I tell you another southside star is Beno from Newnan High School. He is doing a great job along the line. Go Jackets, Take care of Miami!

bb

September 21st, 2012
5:01 pm

WnE,

Not sure who you mean by ‘big 4′. GT is not 0-14 vs any combination of 4 teams since CPJs 1st year (which is actually 3+ years, not 4+). They are 1-9 vs UGA, Miami and VT during that time frame, but have not lost more than once against any other team. I think it’s a stretch to call Miami one of GT’s biggest 4 rivals, I would place Clemson ahead of Miami (as biggest rivals) and they are 3-1 against them in that time frame. For the sake of argument let’s add Clemson to your big-3 and they are 4-10 (3-10 if you don’t count the ACC championship game); not great, but not 0-14. Also, during that timeframe they are 23-6 against all other opponents (including a win over FSU and 3 bowl losses). Maybe you were considering the bowl games as the 4th in your ‘big-4′?

Against, that ‘big-4′ (UGA, VT, Clemson and Miami) during CPJ’s whole tenure at GT they are 7-11 (not horrible, but it would be nice if it were better).

WnE

September 21st, 2012
5:26 pm

re:
bb
September 21st, 2012
5:01 pm

WnE,

Not sure who you mean by ‘big 4′. GT is not 0-14 vs any combination of 4 teams since CPJs 1st year (which is actually 3+ years, not 4+). They are 1-9 vs UGA, Miami and VT during that time frame, but have not lost more than once against any other team. I think it’s a stretch to call Miami one of GT’s biggest 4 rivals, I would place Clemson ahead of Miami (as biggest rivals) and they are 3-1 against them in that time frame. For the sake of argument let’s add Clemson to your big-3 and they are 4-10 (3-10 if you don’t count the ACC championship game); not great, but not 0-14. Also, during that timeframe they are 23-6 against all other opponents (including a win over FSU and 3 bowl losses). Maybe you were considering the bowl games as the 4th in your ‘big-4′?

Against, that ‘big-4′ (UGA, VT, Clemson and Miami) during CPJ’s whole tenure at GT they are 7-11 (not horrible, but it would be nice if it were better).
____________

My “big-4″ has been talked about quite a bit on these Blogs and they are:

VT, Miami, UGA, The Bowl Game.

Whether or not the CPJ apologists like it or not those are the 4 games that DEFINE GT FB to the rest of the CFB world.

CPJ apologists like to point out what CPJ has done vs. Clemson & UNC, but those games don’t “define” GT FB to rest of the CFB world.

In year-1 we beat Miami, & UGA but lost to VT and then lost the Bowl, that made us 2-2

In year 2 we lost to Miami, UGA, and our Bowl game, but maybe we beat VT that yr?, I guess that made us 1-3 that year

In year 3 we went 0-4 vs. that group.

In year 4 we also went 0-4 vs. that group.

In year 5 we are 0-1 so far due to out OT loss to VT.

MY math was off so we are 1-12 in recent games vs. those 4 and NOT 0-14, I thought we had beat VT in CPJ’s first year instead of his 2nd year.

Of course we are 0-4 in Bowl Games vs. a myriad of good & mediocre teams.

So I was WRONG, 3-14 overall and 1-12 since year one vs the “big-4″.

Despite the minor MISTAKE on my part, does any part of that above show you that CPJ is some sort of “coaching genius” like his apologists make him out to be?

CPJ is basically getting fat on weak OOC teams and is LUCKY that the the ACC is as DOWN as it has ever been.

That is the TRUTH about GT FB that I am willing to say that the CPJ apologists refuse to accept.