Wide receivers coach Kerry Dixon joined the chorus Thursday after practice, categorizing Carter’s development as “unbelievable.” If he can grow in his recognition of coverages and leverage and continues to work, Dixon said, Carter could be “really special.”
“He has really good speed, he has great length,” Dixon said. “His catch radius is off the chart. He’s still learning the game, which is a good thing for a young player going into his sophomore year.”
At slot receiver, early-enrollee freshman Ahmarean Brown looks like he’ll be getting a lot of playing time. Brown doesn’t have great size at 5-foot-10, but he’s among the fastest players on the team and ran the 100-meter dash in 10.4 seconds in high school. Brown was a late addition to Tech’s 2019 signing class, recruited by Tech only after Collins’ hire.
“I’ve never seen speed like that from a slot receiver,” Sanders said.
Brown is unusually smart for a freshman, Dixon said, able to grasp an adjustment made in a position meeting and promptly execute it on the practice field.
“He has uncanny ability to get open on the second level,” Dixon said. “He knows how to use his speed, he knows how to decelerate and accelerate whenever he has to, which makes him a huge weapon on the inside.”
Perhaps the most unlikely receiver to emerge is slot receiver Josh Blancato, a walk-on from Kell High. Blancato was an A-back in Johnson’s option offense who appeared in one game last season as a redshirt freshman, but he has repeatedly made plays in practice and wowed coaches and teammates with his effort.
He is running No. 2 at slot receiver behind Brown, an example of the opportunity that awaited players in the coaching transition. Dixon said that his scores on the Catapult system (the team’s wearable GPS technology that tracks player movement in games and practice) are “out the door” and assured that “he’ll be a guy that can definitely help us this year.”
“Josh is the man,” Carter said. “That’s a little man with a lot of confidence right there. He’s real tough, real strong, real fast, and he’s just shown a lot of confidence in the way he plays.”
They’re not the only ones who could emerge. Sanders has made strides in the spring and in the preseason as he returned from a collarbone injury suffered last season. Jair Hawkins-Anderson, who has played both receiver and corner, also is loaded with speed.
Omahri Jarrett could be useful as he can play both slot and running back. Miami transfer Marquez Ezzard is waiting to hear on his request for an immediate-eligibility waiver. Dixon called PeJé Harris “a breakout player for us.” Stephen Dolphus has fought injuries but has enviable size. Dixon even said of freshmen Nazir Burnett, Kalani Norris and Zach Owens that “they’ll be able to help us this year” as they continue to develop.
Coaches likely will find out more at the team’s first scrimmage of the preseason, taking place this Saturday.
But, for a start, Carter, Brown and Blancato, along with Camp, are three to watch.