ATLANTA -- In a sense, it was a busted play.
When Kevin Cone stepped from inside the Georgia Tech huddle early in Saturday’s third quarter against Miami, he was somewhat oblivious.
As the huddle broke, all the senior receiver heard from quarterback Tevin Washington was a base formation call, and that was it. He had no idea what route he was supposed to run or where exactly he was supposed to go.
But that’s when intuition and smarts kicked in.
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“I knew from what I heard that it was a play where Tevin was supposed to roll out, and if he did that, I knew I just had to run to a certain area downfield,” Cone said after the game. “So I just ran up the field and went out and I got open, and he threw it to me.”
The result was a Tevin to Kevin hookup for six.
Thanks to injury and inconsistency by those around him, Cone, a veteran backup, has found his obligations in the Yellow Jackets’ offense grow throughout the season. More than at any point during his career, his abilities were put on full display last Saturday when he hauled in a 22-yard touchdown reception that appeared to give Georgia Tech some life.
It was his first career touchdown reception for the Yellow Jackets.
“I don’t know where the ball is,” Cone said earlier this week. “Right after I scored, everyone started jumping on me, so I didn’t know what was going on. I know I need to find it, though.”
A transfer from Shorter, the 6-foot-2 pass catcher is the son of Ronny Cone, himself a former Georgia Tech player. While both of his parents attended Georgia Tech, Kevin’s younger brother, Zach, enrolled at Georgia, where he is a sophomore on the baseball team.
“He really liked me at Shorter,” Kevin said of his father. “It was a smaller community, I was playing. He really like the fact that I was playing over there, but he understood the real reason that I was transferring to Georgia Tech was for school. He was all for that.”
To this point, Kevin has been all for his expanded role in the Yellow Jackets’ offense.
Lost some in the shuffle last season, he appeared in six games after being overshadowed by eventual NFL first-round draft pick Demaryius Thomas, as well as then-true freshman Stephen Hill and Tyler Melton.
This season, with Thomas gone a year early for the professional ranks and with Hill having battled injuries throughout the year, Cone has earned time in the receiving rotation.
“I’ve loved it,” Cone said. “They always say you’ve always got to be ready. Someone could get hurt, and you’ve got to be ready just like that.”
His position coach, receivers coordinator Buzz Preston, had long noticed Cone’s dedication to preparation and was glad to see him finally break through with a major career milestone before he departed Georgia Tech.
“It’s always pleasing to see a guy do that. You come to college to catch a touchdown pass,” Preston said. “I’m always happy for every one of the guys when they have an opportunity for success like that because they do work hard. If people realize how hard these guys work and see some of the things these guys have to go through, to see a guy get that kind of reward, it’s really pleasing.”