Now that spring practice has concluded, here at the TechTalk, we are asking the question: "Which four players had the most impact this spring, and will have the biggest impact in the fall?"Throughout the week, here on the blog, we'll be counting down those top players. Who would make your list? And in what order? Feel free to make your own suggestions or see how your list stacks up to the one compiled here this week.
The countdown concludes today with a pair of key Jackets, No. 2 -- CB Jerrard Tarrant, and No. 1 -- B-back Jonathan Dwyer...
So I missed out on a post yesteraday, and decided to just combine Nos. 1 and 2. So we'll start with No. 2, Jerrard Tarrant first. A speedy, ball-hawking cornerback, Tarrant returned to the team this spring after sitting out the 2008 season due to legal troubles stemming from a rape charge. Back in February, charges were dropped in the case, and Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson lifted his indefinite suspension and allowed him to return to the team. Return? Based on the way Tarrant played this spring, it looked like he never went anywhere. He was all over the field making plays, and had a definite impact on the Yellow Jackets' secondary.
In last Saturday's T-Day Spring Game, the junior corner didn't make the biggest impact, recording just one tackle. But throughout the spring practices, he came down with interceptions on team drills and 7-on-7 drills, and found a way to disrupt Georgia Tech's ever-growing passing game.
On special teams, Tarrant participated in the punt return and kick return games, and seemed to gain confidence in both areas
. A former return specialist at Carrollton High School, it's been more than three years since the sophomore has returned a kick. At this point, it's all about knocking the rust off, and getting right back on his feet. Considering the time he's missed, Tarrant was one of the biggest surprises this spring, and pleasantly left the Yellow Jackets with a strong possibility at the No. 2 or No. 3 cornerback position, alongside Mario Butler.
And now, for No. 1, B-back Jonathan Dwyer
Of course, the reigning ACC Player of the Year had to take the top spot on this countodwn. Not only is he the Georgia Tech player generating the most hype going into his junior season, but he's the guy who has taken that praise and turned it into motivation for an even better 2009 campaign. This spring, he's already noticeably gained weight -- although he suggests otherwise -- and that's not a bad thing. Playing a position that is more of a fullback type position where he constantly runs the ball up the middle and takes a pounding to his body, the more weight, the better. But, the hard part is not letting that added weight slow you down, or hinder your movement.
Dwyer didn't seem to struggle with his speed and agility this spring; in fact, to many eyes, he looked a little faster than he did last season. Blasting through holes during workouts, and cutting past defenders, Dwyer's explosiveness had a dynamic quality to it that could be dangerous if other teams are unsuccessful corraling him in the fall.
A hamstring injury at the start of spring kept Dwyer out of two practices, but that didn't hamper his progress. Besides, as Johnson said on numerous occassions, "I think we know what he can do." What Dwyer did last season was amass almost 1,400 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. He was a bruising back who sparked numerous long runs, and gave the Yellow Jackets a big play threat. This season, with a deep, strong and experienced stable of backs, the Yellow Jackets should have multiple big play threats, with Dwyer being the one most will be on the lookout for.
In the T-Day Game, he only played about one quarter, resting in favor of other players trying to state their case for spots on the Yellow Jackets' two-deep depth chart. But on just four carries, Dwyer -- against a fast defense that is used to facing Georgia Tech's option offense -- rushed for 47 yards, including one 30-yarder.
Alright, I hope you enjoyed the countdown, we'll have another one or two over the summer as we prepare for the 2009 season. Also, for those of you intrested in GT NFL Draft coverage this weekend, be on the lookout at macon.com
, and at twitter.com/macontechtalk
, where I'll have updates, Tweets and coverage from Draft selection weekend. That's all for now, take care Yellow Jackets Nation!