I mentioned just the other day that I thought A-back was one of the deepest positions on our team in 2010. The same can't be said of our wide receivers as heading into 2010 this is one of our biggest question marks. Of the four juniors who declared for the NFL, it will be BayBay Thomas who is the hardest to replace. BayBay's ability to stretch the field & beat one-on-one coverage was key to our success last year & we need to find someone to replace his big play ability and prolific blocking. We're young & very inexperienced at WR entering 2010 & spring practice will be key in determining who is ready to step for us in the Fall. The candidates:
- Stephen Hill (sophomore/6'4", 195); a rare talent, Hill started 9 games for us last season as a true freshman. Terrific frame & amazing leaping ability. Showed how dangerous he could be in the open field on several reverses throughout last season. Has good body control & hands. Showed a willingness to block but needs to work on strength & technique. Hill has the physical tools to be a superstar at Tech. Another off-season adding both strength & practice reps should put him in a position to excel in 2010. Has a chance to be a very special player on the Flats & the heir apparent to BayBay.
- Tyler Melton (junior/6'0", 205): a knee injury cost Melton much of last season but he returned late in the year & gained valuable starter reps during our championship run. A steady, unspectacular player, Melton does many things well but nothing spectacularly. More of a possession type receiver than a deep threat. Good route runner. An adequate blocker but could improve in this area. Melton's experience will be counted on in 2010 as he is one of our veterans at WR.
- Jeremy Moore (redshirt freshman/6'3", 195): not familiar with the name? You will be as Moore excelled in practice as a redshirt last year & was frequently cited as a much improved player over the course of the season by the coaching staff. Added 25 pounds of muscle since enrolling at Tech & has great size for our scheme at this point. Good hands, adequate speed & a very good blocker. Will surprise people in the Spring & Fall. Our guess is after a productive off-season Moore enters 2010 the starter opposite Hill. Look out world...
- Kevin Cone (redshirt senior/6'2", 210): came to Tech as a walk-on & began last year as a starter opposite BayBay until an ankle injury & Stephen Hill greatly limited his time. A legacy on the Flats, Cone is an high effort player who blocks well but has rarely been thrown to. Will be counted on for leadership amongst a young group of WR in 2010.
- Quentin Sims (redshirt sophomore/6'2", 190): a converted high school quarterback, Sims is a fine athlete who is still learning the WR position. Not blazing fast, Sims has great short area quickness & is excellent running after the catch. Has a chance to contribute as a role player in 2010. Don't be surprised to see Sims get some QB reps with our depth issues this spring.
- Daniel McKayhan (redshirt sophomore/6'0", 195): saw time towards the end of last season on kickoff returns. A very shifty & elusive player. Hasn't seen the field as a WR yet but may crack the rotation this year.
Those six players should see the majority of reps this Spring at WR although Zach Fisher & Geoff Greco could put themslves into the mix with a good couple weeks of practice. Hill almost assuredly has a starting spot locked up & we'll really need him this year to replace the majority of BayBay's production. He certainly has the talent to do it, it's all about execution & experience at this point. We expect Moore to push Melton for the starting spot opposite Hill & eventually win the battle sometime this Fall. It will be interesting to see how Sims & McKayhan develop & if they are able to push for playing time this year. We lost a huge weapon with BayBay's departure and will need our young guys to step up & fill that hole this season. It all begins with Spring practice & wide receiver will certainly be a position to watch. It will be interesting to see how things sort themselves out.