The third position that is featured in 2017 position previews is the small but quality wide receiver group.
Georgia Tech wide outs aren’t known for putting up big numbers in college but it’s safe to say the Jackets put out their fair share of wideouts. In fact, ESPN named Tech the best wide receiver factory in college football.
The most recent well-known product from Tech is now Denver Broncos wide out Demaryius Thomas. He finished his career at Tech with just 74 receptions, 1,185-yards, and seven touchdowns. Since arriving in Denver, Thomas has 546 receptions, 7,704-yards, and 52 touchdowns over his career.
But now it’s time to focus on the current group of wide receivers that roam the flats. First up is the three main names you should know in the 2017 receiving group.
Ricky Jeune (Sr.)
The veteran of the wide receiver group returns for his final season on Flats. Last season, Jeune was the Jackets leading receiver bringing in 25 receptions for 427-yards and one touchdown. In the passing game, Jeune will once again be the Jackets top target but with a new starting quarterback, his numbers may be lower than they were last season. When it comes to his blocking, it’s arguably the best out of the entire group.
Brad Stewart (Jr.)
Stewart last season saw an increase in his targets in the passing game which allowed him to see a relatively big increase in his receiving numbers. Stewart saw his seven receptions for 93-yards in 2015 jump to 19-receptions and 382-yards last season. Another strong blocker, Stewart will be starting full-time alongside Jeune this upcoming season.
Jalen Camp (So.)
If there is any player that could have a surprising breakout season for the Jackets, it may be Jalen Camp. In the spring game, Camp was the white team’s leading receiver, with four receptions for 44-yards. He’s a pretty solid blocker in his own right and could be fighting for more playing time if he takes advantage of his time when on the field.
Other names to know:
Alan Bussoletti (RS Fr): He was a four-year starter in high school before redshirting in 2016. Had one reception for nine-yards in the spring game. Probably won’t see much of the field in 2017.
Stephen Dolphus (Rs Fr): A big receiver at 6-foot-5, Dolphus provides the Jackets with an interesting red zone threat if ever needed. When it comes to the short passing game, he has the quickness to get past defenders in the second level.
Jair Hawkins-Anderson (RS Fr): After having a strong high school career, Hawkins-Anderson redshirted his true freshman season in 2016. He did play in the spring game and showed a flash bringing in two receptions for 12-yards. He probably won’t see much time in 2017 but he could be a back end of the rotation receiver who shows glimpses towards the end of games or if the Jackets are involved in any blowouts.
Antonio Messick (Rs Sr): So far in his time on The Flats Messick hasn’t made a huge impact and hasn’t seen too much playing time. In the three seasons he’s played in, he has appeared in 19 games, making one reception for 16-yards. Messick may see playing time in 2017, perhaps due to his time and experience in the system overall.
The wide receivers will never put up huge stats in Paul Johnson’s system but their one of the most integral positions in the offense. With Ricky Jeune and Brad Stewart, the Jackets outside edge is in good hands, both are reliable receivers and blockers. The depth at wide receiver appears to be strong but is relatively unknown. As long as any replacement is a strong blocker, the Jackets receiving group will be just fine.
2017 Position Previews:
Wide Receiver (you’re reading it)
Offensive Line (7/26)
Defensive Line (7/28)
Special Teams (8/5)