Saturday Spotlight: Georgia Tech at Clemson

It's a big game in the ACC for this week's "Saturday Spotlight" article as the Ramblin' Wreck of Georgia Tech head into Death Valley to face the Clemson Tigers in one of the biggest matchups in college football this weekend. Seahawks.NET's Scott Eklund takes a look at the players who will battle it out in Clemson, South Carolina on Saturday.

Chan Gailey's Yellow Jackets – ranked 13th – have some explosive players on both offense and defense and they've finally seemed to buy into the system the coaching staff has installed. They're also playing stellar defense ranking 17th in the country in overall defense while also holding teams to only 71.7 yards on the ground, good for seventh in the nation.

As good as Georgia Tech is on defense, Clemson – ranked 12th – may be that much better. The Tigers rank fourth nationally in overall defense surrendering only 234 yards per game and 11th overall in scoring defense at only 13.3 points per game.

Here's a look at several players who will be facing off on Saturday from Clemson, South Carolina at 7:45 p.m. (EST).

Clemson

DE Gaines Adams – He's big (6-5, 265), he's mean and he's a hell of a football player. Adams is one of the premier pass-rushers in the college ranks this year and he's got the stats to back it up. Through seven games he's posted 21 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. He's also posted one fumble recovery that he returned 80 yards for a touchdown and two forced fumbles. Scouts love Adams' intensity and his speed off the edge. He's also strong and holds up relatively well against the run. Where he struggles is getting too amped to rush the passer and forgetting his assignments, but for the most part he's the complete defensive end. Definite first-rounder who is likely headed to be a top 10 selection.

OT Barry Richardson – Richardson is a mountain of a man (6-7, 340), but he's got surprisingly quick feet and a huge wing-span that allows him to keep pass-rushers at bay. Richardson is only a junior, so there is still a chance he could return to the Tigers and finish out an excellent career and be a top 10 selection. He needs to refine his run-blocking, but he's the real deal. Most likely a late first or early second-round selection depending on how he performs in workouts.

LB Anthony Waters – He suffered a season-ending knee injury in Clemson's first game, but Waters is still an incredible player and someone that NFL scouts will be taking a long look at next April. Assuming he will be doesn't have any setbacks before his rookie season takes place, Waters could hear his name called sometime during day one. When healthy, Waters runs very well, is a sure tackler and is a heady player able to diagnose plays before they take place. Where he struggles is in his backpedal and in space. He's probably a better fit at strongside linebacker. Whoever selects him will get a great player in a year.

Other Clemson players to watch:

QB Will Proctor (6-2, 205)
RB Reggie Merriweather (5-8, 210)
WR Chansi Stuckey (6-0, 190)
OT Marion Dukes (6-4, 315)
OG Dustin Fry (6-2, 320)


Georgia Tech

WR Calvin Johnson – Arguably the top wideout in the country this year, Johnson has an NFL-ready body (6-4, 235) and the speed (4.5) to get deep when teams need him to stretch defenses. Johnson is a threat to take it the distance with his ability to break tackles and his excellent skills in the open field. On the season, even though he sees coverages geared to stop him, Johnson still has put up some amazing numbers – 35 reception, 559 yards and eight touchdowns in six games. He's only a junior, but Johnson could end up being the top overall selection in the draft depending on what teams garners that choice.

LB KaMichael Hall – He plays on the outside in the Jackets' system and he's a perfect fit for a strongside spot. Hall is strong against the run and also can rush the passer a bit (19 sacks for his career) as he's able to utilize his closing speed to his advantage. Hall isn't very big (6-0, 225) but he has a big heart and he can run well. He'll likely end up a first day selection at some point and probably be an excellent special-teamer with a chance to earn some time early in his career at outside linebacker if the opportunity presents itself.

Other Georgia Tech players to watch:

QB Reggie Ball (5-11, 195)
TE George Cooper (6-5, 260)
DE/DT Joe Anoai (6-3, 280)
CB Kenny Scott (6-2, 185)
LB Philip Wheeler (6-2, 225) **underclassman





Other games to watch this weekend: (5) Texas at (17) Nebraska; Alabama at (7) Tennessee; (16) Oregon at Washington State; (19) Rutgers at Pittsburgh; (22) Boston College at Florida State.

SeahawkFootball.com Top Stories