Synjyn Days embraces A-back role at Georgia Tech

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Synjyn Days embraces A-back role at Georgia Tech

Synjyn Days can still wing it. At Monday’s practice, as the Georgia Tech quarterbacks took part in a passing drill, Days took a shot at putting a ball through a target that he said was about 40 yards downfield.

Bull’s-eye.

“So I was like, I told you I still got it,” Days said in a playful tone.

Days, though, has thrived at A-back, his position for the past 1 1/2 seasons. After Robert Godhigh, he has become the most adept blocker among the A-backs and has developed as a ball carrier. In Tech’s 56-0 win over Syracuse on Saturday, he did both, taking a pitch from quarterback Vad Lee for a 4-yard touchdown run, his first score as an A-back, and later toppling a Syracuse cornerback with a textbook cut block to clear a path for Lee to score a 3-yard touchdown.

“I told Vad, ‘Thank you for my touchdown, so I got you one, too,’” Days said.

Saturday was a unique afternoon for the Days family. Just as Synjyn was excelling, Synjyn’s brother Jabari Hunt-Days did not play much, having been demoted from first-string middle linebacker in favor of Anthony Harrell. Synjyn had a tailor-made lesson to share with his younger brother.

“The way my parents have raised me and, I guess, taught me, if something doesn’t go your way, you just put it in God’s hands,” Synjyn said.

Little brother faced his disappointment admirably. His father, Calvin, said he watched his younger son, rather than pout, support Harrell from the sideline.

“I’m like, ‘That’s what this is about,’” Calvin said. “That may have been the most significant moment that I’ve experienced with Jabari since he’s been at Georgia Tech.”

Hunt-Days likely will return to the lineup for Saturday’s game at Virginia, as Harrell suffered a season-ending leg injury while playing in Hunt-Days’ place.

Moving to A-back wasn’t a pain-free transition for Days, who came to Tech from Hillgrove High to play quarterback. Last year, with Lee moving up the depth chart and coaches wanting to get Days’ athletic ability on the field, he began the move to A-back over the summer. However, he still held out hope he could beat out Tevin Washington for the quarterback job and trained with a private quarterback coach over the summer. The plan did not work as designed.

Because of the nature of the position, quarterbacks often are resistant to position changes, but coach Paul Johnson praised Days’ attitude.

“That’s the kind of guys you want: You want guys that just want to play and aren’t just all ‘me’ guys,” Johnson said.

Days said he was down about the move, but was helped by encouragement from his father. Calvin Days had shared his son’s hope to play quarterback. More important was for his son to be respectful of authority and to appreciate the opportunity to play football.

“Some things don’t work out the way you want them to work out, but still there can be other options,” Calvin Days said.

Days’ playing time grew over the 2012 season while he continued to serve as Tech’s emergency quarterback. In the spring, he threw himself completely into the new position and earned a spot in the A-back rotation in preseason camp. On Saturday, he made his first career start.

“In the last few weeks especially, I think he’s kind of embraced the position and his role,” Johnson said. “He’s a physical guy and he’s turned into a really good blocker.”

He can throw the ball, too.

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