Georgia Tech Football: Top 5 Receivers in School History
Georgia Tech, over the past 20 seasons or so, has been known for dominant wide receivers, no matter what offense they happen to be running.
From the late 1990s through the next decade, the Jackets were able to recruit, develop and utilize a whole host of successful wideouts, many of whom went on to the NFL.
This list is dominated by the 1990s and 2000s, as you'll soon see, and finding talented receivers was not the hard part. The difficult task for this list was the order, except for No. 1, of course. Enjoy!
5. Kerry Watkins (1999-2002)
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Kerry Watkins only had one season with over 1,000 yards receiving, 1,050 in his senior season of 2002; but he played four straight years and put up solid numbers in each.
From the late-nineties through the next decade, the Yellow Jackets had a ton of great talent at the receiver position, and Watkins shared the load with the likes of Kelly Campbell, Will Glover, Jonathan Smith and Dez White. Perhaps as a lone star receiver, his numbers would have been more flashy; but even still, he finished his career inside the top five all-time at Georgia Tech.
171 receptions, 2,680 yards, 15.6 avg., 22 total TDs
Second Team All-ACC, 2002
4. Jonathan Smith (2000-2003)
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Jonathan Smith came to Georgia Tech in 2000, eventually working his way into the lineup on a regular basis as a true freshman. He wouldn't even amass 100 receiving yards in that first season, but he would certainly make up for it over the next three seasons.
Smith's best season would be his senior campaign of 2003. He would catch for 1,138 yards at almost 15 yards per reception. His career would be overshadowed by his protege replacement, Calvin Johnson, but Smith's career is solidly entrenched as one of the greatest for a wideout in Georgia Tech history.
174 receptions, 2,248 yards, 12.9 avg., 15 total TDs
Consensus Second Team All-ACC Team, 2003
3. Demaryius Thomas (2007-2009)
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Signed by Coach Chan Gailey in 2006 to play in a pro-style offense, Demaryius Thomas found himself blocking down field play after play in Paul Johnson's option attack after Gailey was fired after the 2007 season.
When he wasn't knocking over safeties and corners to make way for the rushing game, Thomas was catching passes and was making huge gains per reception. His size and physical ability allowed him to dominate the secondary, often left in single coverage.
In his junior season of 2009, Thomas averaged 25.1 yards per reception and racked up 1,154 total yards through the air. He would leave after season's end and, along with legend Tim Tebow, would get picked in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos.
120 receptions, 2,339 yards, 19.5 avg., 15 total TDs
Freshman All-America honorable mention (SN), 2007
Freshman All-ACC (SN), 2007
Preseason All-ACC, 2009
First Team All-ACC, 2009
First-Round NFL Draft Pick, 2010 (22nd Overall)
2. Kelly Campbell (1998-2001)
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Along with receiver Dez White, Kelly Campbell had the honor of hauling in the rockets launched by the legendary Joe Hamilton and his predecessor George "The Goose" Godsey while at Georgia Tech.
Before Calvin Johnson came along a few years later, Campbell held nearly every Georgia Tech receiving record across the board. He is still in a close second at career receiving yards at Tech, only 20 yards behind Johnson, with 2,907.
195 receptions, 2,907 yards, 14.9 avg., 26 total TDs
3-Time All-ACC, 1999, 2000 & 2001
Biletnikoff Award Semifinalist, 2001
1. Calvin "Megatron" Johnson (2004-2006)
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There's no question that Calvin Johnson is the best wide receiver in Georgia Tech history. If Georgia Tech retired jersey numbers, 21 would be plastered somewhere within the confines of Bobby Dodd Stadium in bold font.
Johnson is a once in a lifetime talent for any program, and when you get your hands on that type of ability good things happen. The Jackets never won any championships during his three-year career on the Flats, but it could have been due to mediocre play at the quarterback position from the infamous Reggie Ball.
This is one of the few players that I have seen in person with my own eyes and found it hard to believe how a human being could look so impressive. Johnson was not only one of the best in Tech history but one of the best in history period.
178 receptions, 2,927 yards, 16.4 avg., 29 total TDs
ACC Rookie of the Year, 2004
First Team Freshman All-American, 2004
All-American, 2005 & 2006
First Team All-ACC, 2004, 2005 & 2006
ACC Player of the Year, 2006
Biletnikoff Award, 2006
Paul Warfield Trophy, 2006
10th in Heisman Voting 2006
Shawn Jones to Bobby Rodriguez TD (1990)
Harvey Middleton (1994-97)
Will Glover (1999-02)
Bobby Rodriguez (1989-92)
John Sias (1966-68)