Written by: Joseph Yun
The rebuilding Ramblin Wreck under second-year head coach Geoff Collins is set to host a middling Cardinals squad coming off a disappointing loss to Pittsburgh, on a Thursday night.
Who are some of the key prospects to watch in this battle for ACC relevancy? Can the young Yellow Jackets hold against a brutally inconsistent veteran Cardinals roster? Who should you invest your hard-earned shekels on in this one? All that and more coming up!
Can the young gun keep pace with a veteran quarterback?
Tech true frosh quarterback Jeff Sims has played like a true freshman playing his first major college season at times and showed his tantalizing potential as a former highly ranked four-star recruit (according to 247 Composite) at others. He was once solidly committed to the currently downtrodden Seminoles but had a change of heart when a new regime indicated that he wouldn’t be the only quarterback in the 2020 class. In swooped Geoff Collins and his collection of merry recruiting bonafide. The rest as they say is history as Sims led the retooling Jackets to a season-opening “upset” win over Florida State. Despite showing his warts as a true freshman with virtually zero valuable spring and summer practice reps, he’s shown potential to be a QB worth watching in draft circles in the future.
On the other side, Louisville quarterback Malik “Micale” Cunningham is currently a two-year starter under Scott Satterfield’s watch. Cunningham is full of unrealized translatable potential too. He has been off to a rocky start in 2020, throwing for seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Cunningham is projected to start Thursday after being cleared of a head injury that he suffered on a last-gasp pass attempt against Pittsburgh (he was carted off during the last minute of game action). Prior to the season, he was ranked very highly as a signal-caller on a few draft boards but just missed on mine. While he won’t remind anyone of Heisman winner and NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, Cunningham is a pretty good athlete in his own right. He’s still developing as a passer and needs to cut down the interceptions as he has matched his 2019 total already. Still, some team will likely draft on Day 3 and stash him as a developmental quarterback in the NFL.
What other prospects should you watch?
For the Cardinals, there’s a pair of dynamic offensive weapons in the form of running back Javian Hawkins and receiver Tutu Atwell. Hawkins in particular is a fun one. He’s a stupefying athlete who can hit a home run on any carry. He tuned up Miami’s stout defense for 164 yards in their loss a couple of weeks ago. Simply put, he’s this year’s undersized, undervalued speed back in the form of Anthony McFarland, Jr. He’s very good and a name to watch as we get further along in the draft process. Atwell is one of the more unheralded receivers in the class. He’s undersized for sure, but wow, he’s an explosive athlete on the hoof with the ball in his hands. That verticality is a major plus as well. To wit, Blitzalytics’ colleague Zach Gartin is a massive fan of his and so am I.
As for the Jackets, linebacker David Curry, receiver Jalen Camp, and graduate transfer offensive lineman Ryan Johnson carry the torch. Curry is currently the second-leading tackler on the team and had a productive 2019 campaign. He could be on the radar as a special teams player at the next level due to his production thus far. Curry needs more hype. Camp is a bigger receiver with decent ball skills and is currently the second leading receiver. Johnson is a graduate transfer from Tennessee who has experience at center, guard, and tackle so that’s a plus. Pay attention to true freshman running back Jahmyr Gibbs. He’s good.
What are the odds?
(all odds courtesy of vegasinsider.com)
The WestGate Superbook has Louisville as -180 favorites while Tech are +160 underdogs. Louisville is favored by 4. The over/under has been set at 64.
William Hill has Louisville as -175 favorites and Tech as +155 dogs. Louisville is favored by 4. Over/under is set at 64.
Caesar’s has Louisville as -180 favorites and Tech are +160 dogs. Louisville is favored by 4.5. Over/under is set 64.5.
LOUISVILLE 35 Georgia Tech 17