If you can get past the fan boy gushing, there is an interesting observation to be made about this post on Georgia Tech’s quarterbacks. Paul Johnson took a kid away from Nick Saban.
Getting back to the Yellow Jackets, when was the last time a major BCS team had a state 100 meter sprint champion playing at the QB position? Just the thought of Coach Paul Johnson having a weapon like Justin Thomas at QB just puts a smile on my face thinking about the possibilities that can be employed with his unique knowledge of this offense and ability to call plays in game situations. This is just one of the reasons that every Yellow Jackets fan should be looking forward to this season on the Flats with high expectations. Toss in a very experienced and hopefully healthy offensive line and the potential is present for perhaps the best season offensively from the QB slot alone.
Lest we forget that the best coach in college football, Nick Saban at Alabama, wanted Justin Thomas on his team just not as a QB. That speaks volumes about the play making ability of him as an athlete no matter where he was going to play on the field. Also don’t forget that Justin was not only a long time oral commitment to Bama, but the MVP in the Alabama AAAAAA State Championship Game his team won, as well as the state 100 meter Champion. Nick Saban showed lots of class in telling Justin and his family in advance of him ever signing a national letter of intent that he was not going to be receiving any playing time as a QB. That just opened up the door for Paul Johnson to bring in a great player as more times than not, a high school QB will still want to be playing that same position in college.
To some extent, I think that last point’s correct. Pat White’s the most notable recent example of that. And maybe Thomas turns out to be Tech’s version of White. If Tech gets really lucky with a kid like that, it can elevate the program. There is a recruiting niche that Paul Johnson can take advantage of.
There are a few problems, though. For one, some of those high school quarterbacks he mentions may want to play the same position in college, but not on the Flats. (Nick Marshall turned Tech down to play DB at Georgia; that didn’t work out, but he’s now the starting QB at Auburn.)
Another problem is that while some niches open up for Johnson, others close. His is never going to be an offense that attracts top-flight receivers or offensive tackles out of high school.
Third, he’s still got to recruit defensive players. And there, it’s a straight up battle with everybody else.
The triple option makes Tech competitive in the ACC. Anything more means Johnson has to manage those recruiting tradeoffs at a very favorable level.