Tide coach Dennis Franchione names Givens as one member of a talented trio of young receivers, along with Triandous Luke and Dre Fulgham. "Tarry Givens has improved himself as a football player, without a doubt," Franchione said. "He's running and catching the ball well. That height that he adds makes him two-tenths of a second faster, in a way."
For Givens, his added height is an advantage, but it also ensures that the defensive backs will keep a wary eye on him. "I'm 6-5, so I've got an advantage to go up and get the ball," Givens said. "That puts a lot of pressure on you, because a lot of DB's want to come at you just because you're tall, and they want to get extra physical."
Even so, Franchione said lanky wide receivers can give defensive coaches headaches. "I've always felt like height at corner and receiver can offset speed to a certain degree," Franchione said. "A 4.6 [in the 40-meter dash] tall guy is about like a 4.4 shorter guy. I think you worry as a defensive coach about the mismatch in height."
Givens was a prep star in football and basketball at Godby High School in Tallahassee. He followed teammates Carlos Andrews and Aries Monroe to the Capstone. "I wanted to come somewhere where they had good tradition," Givens said. "I also wanted to stay with a couple of the guys I played with--Carlos and Aries. So they helped me out and we stayed together."
Although blessed with raw talent, Givens was a bit rough around the edges last year and was given a red-shirt season. Even Givens admits that he wasn't prepared for college ball last year. "Last year I really couldn't catch on to plays," he said. "They were kind of difficult for me to learn."
Being red-shirted turned out to be a blessing, Givens said. "I got to sit out and learn a lot of things that I didn't really know--getting off the ball good, a lot of techniques. I just sat out and watched the older guys--Freddie Milons and A.C. [Antonio Carter]. I just learned a lot from them."
This year, with a new coach and a new system, Givens said he's glad for the fresh start.
The corps of receivers, under coach Kenith Pope, has also built a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. "All these guys are unselfish," he said. "We're always backing each other up."