Georgia Tech '08 Recruiting Review – WR

With National Signing Day over and Georgia Tech's recruiting class completed, is taking a position-by-position look at the 2008 recruiting class. Today, we will look at the wide receivers.

Wide Receivers

New Additions (2):
Quentin Sims, Daniel McKayhan

Depth Chart:
WR: Correy Earls, James Johnson, Austin Barrick, R.B. Clyburn, Quentin Sims
WR: Greg Smith, Demaryius Thomas, Andrew Smith, Tyler Melton, Daniel McKayhan

Position Needs:
The need for the wide receiver numbers Tech carried before went down with the coaching change and subsequent shift in offensive philosophy. With fewer, if any, 3-wide and 4-wide sets in the plans now Tech won't need to recruit as many each year. Another unique issue is that with tight ends being phased out of the offense, those players need to find another position and WR might be the closest match in some cases.

You wouldn't think it would be completely imperative to bring in more than a couple of new receivers into this class. And it would probably be a good idea if the ones you do bring in have the ability to play other positions – most importantly this year: slot back.

As for who Tech returns at WR, in addition to the guys everyone knows about – Earls, JJ, Smith, Bebe, and even "Tweeter" – Tech also can list others at the position. Barrick would seem like a logical choice to move there from TE. R.B. Clyburn is supposed to be a high quality walk-on to the program last year. To me he looked like he had the frame to become a TE but with that option (no pun intended) off the table, he could still figure into the mix down the road at receiver. Also, you can't forget that Tyler Melton – though we've known about him for some time – is just now officially a member of the receiving corps.

Just in terms of class size continuity, I would like to have at least one WR in the class but two would be fine as well. Any more would seem overkill.

Spring Practice Report:
I'm going to assume, for the time being, that all receivers I listed in the above depth chart stay there in spring; although, from the backs report, you can read my speculation on possibilities with Correy Earls playing a different position. Currently Tech has four receivers who could all start and none are really so far ahead of the others that they could be considered locks to start. Each of Smith, Earls, Thomas and Johnson have their strong points and you could make an argument for just about any two of them to start initially.

After the top four, it's a free-for-all. There are nice opportunities for several guys to compete to become the #5 guy – or #4 guy if one of the starters move positions – which would put him on the two-deep chart. Barrick, Andrew Smith, Clyburn and Melton will all be around in spring to try and impress the new coaching staff.

I'm personally going to be very interested to see which of these guys rise to the occasion. They are all built very differently. Barrick is thick and barrel-chested, though I could picture him dropping some weight if he's to play receiver. He was a pretty good receiver as a tight end – and we don't know for sure he'll be at WR – but it will be interesting to see if his receiving skills translate there. He should be fine as a blocker.

Melton is basically a prototypical receiver. I'm told he's added some nice muscle mass since he originally signed last year, so if he can shake off the rust of not being on any football team for a year, he'll be one to watch.

"Tweeter" Smith is an undersized receiver who has great hands. And Clyburn is freakishly tall with a nice build to add a lot of muscle – part of the reason I suspected last year he'd be a candidate to be a TE, though that won't be the case now. As walk-ons go, these two show a lot of potential to contribute. Smith and James Johnson are the only two seniors in the bunch.

Who GT signed:

Quentin Sims

Height: 6'3"
Weight: 190
Home Town (High School): Cincinnati (Colerain H.S.)
Other offers included: Buffalo
Lead GT Recruiting Coach: Jeff Monken Stars: ** State Ranking: NR Southeastern Ranking: NR National Ranking by Position: NR National Ranking (Regardless of Position): NR

Sims is an interesting case. He's what you'd probably call a "sleeper" but is a super athlete, with a nice frame and has familiarity with option offense. "We ran a similar offense in high school, so I feel I will fit right in with his offense," said Sims. "I was very familiar with some of the terms and schemes [Coach Paul Johnson] was talking about, so I think I have a good feeling about his offense." Quentin, who is built similarly to Greg Smith, will start off at wide receiver for Coach Johnson. There is a possibility he could play slot back if needed or maybe even quarterback – which he played some for his high school team in the playoffs when their starter went down. Sims was originally committed to Buffalo, so it was a very pleasant surprise for him when Tech came calling. He moved from potentially playing in the Mid-American Conference to the ACC.

Recruiting Analyst Dave Berk on Quentin Sims:
For those outside of Cincinnati, Colerain High School is one of the top prep programs in Ohio. Loaded with talent, Colerain sends players to Division One programs each season with some of the best being those going under the radar. (See Terrill Byrd – Cincinnati All-American) The lack of camps and combines didn't place Sims on the recruiting radar but the talent was there waiting to shine.

For most of his career Sims found himself on the field but doing so in a back-up role as he posted rushing numbers of 308 yards on only 33 carries as a junior. That all changed his senior season as the talented Sims would be a triple-threat before the season was over. For the first eight games Sims found himself running and catching the ball in the Cardinals offense. Then as the season was coming to a close, Colerain's starting quarterback was sidelined with a medical condition and Sims responded in grand fashion being placed in the quarterback spot. Playing in an option offense, Sims wouldn't be asked to pass the ball much, but he did get to use his legs posting games with 128, 228 and 119 yards rushing in three of his five games at quarterback. The only games that found him under 100 yards came his first week when Colerain won 35-7 and then in their final game of the season in the playoffs against one of the top teams in the country Cincinnati St. Xavier when Sims picked up 59 yards while passing for 61 yards and two touchdowns in a 29-14 loss to the eventual state champion.

With the change in coaching at Georgia Tech, Sims is the right type of player that Coach Johnson will need as he makes the changes in schemes. The offense is very similar to the one Sims was part of at Colerain and will allow him to come in and be comfortable when he arrives on campus. While I see Sims staying at receiver, a look at quarterback may come if another option is not available. Sims has a great upside with his physical stature and athletic ability. He'll have no problem fitting in with other top athletes because he's accustomed to being around them on a daily basis.

- WR Quentin Sims

Daniel McKayhan

Height: 6'0"
Weight: 180
Home Town (High School): Lithonia (King H.S.)
Other offers included: Memphis, all MAC schools
Lead GT Recruiting Coach: BJ Stars: ** State Ranking: NR Southeastern Ranking: NR National Ranking by Position: NR National Ranking (Regardless of Position): NR

Like Sims, McKayhan was snatched away from a smaller conference and asked to help Tech compete for supremacy in the ACC. Conference USA's Memphis lost out in the end to the Yellow Jackets for Daniel's services. Because Daniel came up from under the radar late, he's understandably seen as a sleeper to Tech fans.

Most kids can put together great highlight tapes but when I watched Daniel's there were a few things I saw in there that I particularly liked about how he played the position. Though his clips weren't always spectacular, I thought he seemed like a smart receiver and did things in the right order. He seemed good at finding soft spots in zones and creating separation. He looks the ball in and makes sure the catch is there first before trying to make yards after the catch. Then when he is in the open field, he has some nice moves and a desire to make a big play.

I think he could be a solid receiver at Tech and that he'll continue to be strong fundamentally. "I'll hit. If you need me to block, I'll block. I'm team oriented," said McKayhan, who also seems to have the right attitude when asked how he felt about the need to be a good blocker in this offense.

Recruiting Analyst Scott Kennedy on Daniel McKayhan:
"I watched him play a little bit. He didn't drop anything – good hands. He caught four passes in the game I watched and three of them were quick-stop patterns but he wasn't able to make anyone miss. One of them was a slant and he went down and got it. So they threw it at him four times and he caught it four times."

- WR Daniel McKayhan

The one who got away:
Chris Jackson

No need to rehash all of the drama of Chris going from first commit in the class and a fan favorite to the tough-to-stomach switch to Alabama. In a recruiting season full of twists this one was probably the most talked about and most shocking to many of us. Though most people have moved on from it, I think many will be very interested in following his career at Alabama to see how he makes it with the numerous other talented receivers they brought in this year, including Julio Jones – also offered by GT.

There were many other super receivers offered early in the process last year for Tech. Another one, A.J. Jenkins was also committed to Tech but jumped ship to Illinois. He was a shaky commit from the day he announced so him leaving really wasn't as much of a surprise.

Others offered at some point along the way include: Brice Butler (Southern Cal), Tavarres King (Georgia), Avis Commack (Florida State), Darvin Adams (Auburn), Rodriguez Wilks (Tennessee), Gerell Robinson (Arizona State), and Derek Winter (Auburn).

Final Analysis:
The wide receiver position was a source for a lot of disappointment this recruiting season, and that's not knocking the guys who signed as receivers. Any time you have two highly rated guys at a position who later turn away from their commitment then it's going to affect how people perceive the results of recruiting here. The two guys landed in place of Jackson and Jenkins did not have near the level of name recognition or the lofty list of offers. Like the two we lost, the two we gained jumped over from commitments elsewhere: Buffalo and Memphis.

It's not to say either won't be a star but they also aren't thought of as the cornerstones of the class. The good thing is that they won't necessarily be needed to contribute early with the depth already on the team. It will give them time to possibly redshirt and be molded by the new staff to become perfect fits into their vision of this offense.

Thanks to Scott Kennedy, Dave Berk, Alan NeSmith, Dale McDuffie, Rod Mackenzie and Kamden Robb for contributions to this article! Top Stories