Now that the insanity of Signing Day is over, it's time for all of us bloggers to rationally dissect this signing class to determine which guys will do what, and when. Of course, Mitch Albom says that we should be ashamed of ourselves for doing this. Yeah, like a guy who makes Mike Lupica look like Aristotle is going to sway my opinion. So here goes. The 2009 Signee Awards are:
The Knowshon Moreno Memorial "Redshirt of Infamy" Award: This one goes not to the player most likely to redshirt, but to the player whose redshirting will make us all shake our heads ruefully two years from now when he leaves after having only played two actual seasons of football.
Unfortunately, after scanning the list of signees, comparing that list to our current depth chart, and doing some totally unscientific calculations, I'm afraid we may do it with a running back again. I'm not saying Washaun Ealey is the next Knowshon Rockwell Moreno. Though his running style reminds me a lot of everyone's favorite audiophile lego enthusiast. No, I'm picking Ealey for this award because I just don't see how we can play Ealey, Caleb King, Richard Samuel, Dontavious Jackson and Carlton Thomas. Somebody's gotta sit. It might be the rookie. That said, I am incredibly high on this kid, as I've already pointed out. I think he's a football player who's had the ball in his hands a lot over the years, and done very well with it. Along the way he's developed great instincts and a willingness to finish runs. He'll leave his mark in the Classic City, just not next year.
C.J. Byrd Memorial "Burn, Baby Burn!!!" Award: This one goes to the player who won't redshirt, even though it would be best for his overall development if he did. Named for the recently graduated safety who played, let's see, like, 8 snaps as a freshman, thus getting less out of a full season of eligibility than anyone ever has.
The frontrunner for this one in my mind is another defensive back: Jordan Love. The coaches, well, love his size and aggressiveness. With our dirth of experienced corners, I could easily see him playing some, though not a whole lot. I just don't know that he has the coverage chops at this point to be an every down corner, though I too enjoyed watching him piledrive opposing running backs on film. Much like C.J. Byrd and Vance Cuff before him, Love will play just enough to avoid redshirting, but not enough to get his money's worth. What is it with us halfway playing freshman defensive backs, anyway?
Fred Gibson Memorial "Surviving By His Wits Alone" Award: Goes to the freshman who will play in 2009 based on sheer athletic ability, if nothing else. Named for the Ware County product and current NBA D-Leaguer who freely admitted that he spent most of his freshman year running like hell for the endzone because of the sheer terror that SEC linebackers would smear him on the turf.
Continuing with our position lineage pattern, the Freddie goes to Marlon Brown. I've been telling Darius Dawgberry for months now that Brown was the best "big" receiver in the south this year. His performance in the Under Armor game only cemented my opinion. A guy that big and that fast can be very difficult to defend. I don't think I want to be the safety playing "cover-1" who has to choose between rolling over to help against A.J. Green or Marlon Brown. His route running still needs some work, and I'm not convinced that he can dominate college DB's the way he did in small high school ball, but barring injury, Marlon Brown will see the field as a true freshman.
Reshad Jones "Double Check the Program" Award: Goes to the guy who you won't recognize in two years because he'll look like an entirely different human being. Like our current 215 pound safety, who was our 175 pound safety on signing day. I'm fairly certain this feat is accomplished by a) eating three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a night, b) mainlining protein shakes, and c) having the strength and conditioning staff get so far up in your business that you walk funny. But you'll have to ask Reshad to find out for sure.
My money is on Montez Robinson to make the biggest physical advances in a short period of time. He's currently a lean 6'5 and 230 pounds. But he has a long frame. Long arms and legs that are borderline skinny. Montez Robinson will hopefully end up in the 260 pound range. That said, if he can improve our pass rush off the end I wouldn't care if he played on a wooden pirate's leg and took the field with a parrot on his shoulder.
David Pollack/Kiante Tripp Memorial "If This Is Tuesday, I Must Be Playing Tight End" Award: A lot of people forget that David Pollock came to Athens as a fullback, saw his first playing time at defensive tackle, then ultimately became an All-American and campus legend at defensive end. Kiante Tripp, well, let's just say that if players got S&H green stamps for position changes, he'd own a brand new blender by now.
This one goes to the player who might end up at literally any position on the football field by the time he leaves the Classic City. My vote goes to ECI linebacker/defensive end/tight end Dexter Moody. Some even project Moody as a safety in college. Moody is listed at 6'2 and 205 pounds now, and to me looks a little skinny. Will he be a 250 pound defensive end? A 230 pound linebacker? A 215 pound safety? Heck if I know. Only time will tell. But I do know that I like Moody in coverage, and think he could be an excellent will linebacker.
Tra Battle Memorial Metamusel Award: Let me say first that I am a huge Tra Battle fan. Always have been, even when he was in high school at Mary Persons in Forsyth. But I have to admit more than once wondering how we could not have another guy on the roster capable of dislodging him from his starting safety spot. This award goes to the guy who will become a fixture on the Sanford Stadium turf, if not an unmitigated superstar. A "regular", if you will.
This one goes to Dartmouth, Massachusetts tight end Arthur Lynch. Lynch is a highly thought of prospect, an all around performer with the size to block, good hands for a tight end, and better than average athleticism for his position. He could probably even slide across the line and play defensive end in a pinch.
But unfortunately for him, he will be in Athens as A.J. Green grows into his prodigious talent, Marlon Brown learns how to follow in his footsteps, and one or two or our seventy-bajillion blue chip tailbacks comes into his own. Not to mention what happens if Aron White finally puts it all together and/or Orson Charles comes to Athens and lives up to his substantial billing. Lynch is too good an all-purpose football player not to contribute. But I think he'll spend a lot of time being overshadowed.
Am I right? Wrong? Who did I misplace?