Georgia missed out on one blue chip wide receiver recruit on Sunday afternoon but picked up another when Pace Academy receiver Trey Blount announced his commitment to Georgia. Blount had been rumored to be leaning toward the Bulldogs (his childhood favorite team) despite a recent visit to Alabama. But the composite four-star recruit's UGA commitment was far from a fait accompli. Blount also had offers from the likes of not only the Crimson Tide but also Auburn, Florida, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Oklahoma. That kind of an offer list does not happen by accident. We are talking about a player who, despite not being ranked among the top 20 wide receivers in the nation by some recruiting services, is nevertheless very much in demand among elite college coaching staffs.
So what is Georgia getting with Blount? For one thing he's a guy who has the measurables. At 6'2, 195 pounds he has the size to play on the outside if necessary, an important detail for a Bulldog receiving corps which is on the small side as currently constituted. Blount is lean, and I don't know that he's ever going to pack on many more pounds than what he currently has. His arm length is average to above average, and his long legs may help him stride away from defenders, but my sense is that they also can get tangled up in close quarters. Let's take a look at Blount's junior highlights to see some of what he can do on the field.
One of the things I like most about Blount is that he catches the ball with his hands. Not only that, he has what I call "quiet" hands. There's not a whole lot of wasted movement when he goes for the ball. Never forget, a wide receiver's primary responsibilities include blocking and catching the balls that are thrown to him. I am often amazed at the number of highly ranked wide receiver recruits who get open with blazing speed and NFL size only to drop every third or fourth pass. That doesn't move the sticks, and it's why I'll take a guy with average speed or size and hands like flypaper. Blount seems to have those hands.
I also really like that Blount gets upfield in a hurry once he catches the ball. He is not a "dancer." He's a bit of a long strider, which has a tendency to reduce change of direction quickness. But he does break tackles well, using effort and a pretty decent stiff arm. He has enough shakes for a big receiver, though he's never going to be Isaiah McKenzie elusive in the open field. I would grade Blount's route running a solid B. He gets to the right spots, and turns some high school defensive backs around here, but no one's going to confuse him for Antonio Brown. And again, as a taller guy with long legs he's never going to have as low a center of gravity as a smaller, thicker receiver.
As you can see in the back half of this video, Blount could move over to safety. But I think he likely stays at receiver. If these defensive highlights are the ones that showcase his best tackling I would hate to see the ones that showcase his worst. Blount is a true ball hawk in the defensive backfield, going up to get balls thrown in his general direction. His decision-making from his safety spot is certainly not instantaneous, there are a couple of plays where it seems to take him a moment to recognize the play. That's a coachable issue, though again I don't expect Blount to be in position to receive that particular instruction. In my eyes he's a receiver all the way.
Blount is also a reasonably aggressive blocker on plays away from him with good foot Drive in pretty decent hand positioning for a high school wide receiver. It is always tough to evaluate a wide receivers blocking skills solely from a highlight tape because coaches inevitably cut out the plays that they take off. and high school players take points off. But there is nothing in these highlights to tell me that Blount doesn't have the basic skills to be a decent blocker from day one in Athens.
There's one other aspect of Blount's game that I'd like to showcase, using these highlights uploaded by the folks at Scout.com from the recent The Opening event in Orlando.
Notice how Blount finds the ball, even when it's not a perfect throw, or when he has to reorient to get to it? I love that concentration. It's one of the skills that young wide receivers generally develop early or not at all. The fact that Blount has that bodes well for his collegiate career.
All in all Trey strikes me as a guy with the ability to contribute early in college. I think that his concentration and hands are two explanations for his early, impressive offer list. This is a guy most coaches realize could play for them, and could develop into a #1 receiver. Even if he does not, his "floor" is still pretty high.
I would personally rank Blount above where some of the recruiting services have him now because I am prioritizing some of these skill attributes above 4.3 speed and turn-on-a-dime change of direction, neither one of which it appears Blount possesses. That being said, he appears to have great "football speed", speed in the open field, and I imagine that if the first guy to get to him doesn't make the tackle he could become a real problem after the catch. This is definitely a good pick up for a Bulldog team which needs some receivers with size and the ability to go up and get the ball downfield.