Suspensions leave Georgia Tech short at receiver

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerAugust 29, 2013 

Atlanta -- The good news about the receivers at Georgia Tech is they may be deeper and more talented that anticipated. The bad news, there may be fewer available this week for the season opener against Elon.

"I don't know if there's a Demaryius Thomas out there, but how many times do you the first receiver taken in a draft," coach Paul Johnson said.

The one-game suspension for Darren Waller and Travin Henry leaves the Yellow Jackets short at the position. It could have been worse: an injury prevented DeAndre Smelter from practicing for a week, but he returned on Wednesday and will play Saturday.

hat leaves leaves Micheal Summers and Corey Dennis as the likely starters, with Smelter and walkon Jamie Alvarez available on the shorthanded bench.

The staff even considered using freshman Ricky Jeune, but decided against it.

"When we get everybody back the next week, he would probably be down as the No. 6 receiver and I'm not sure we want to do that," Johnson said. "I feel OK about where we are at receiver. We've got to play the games, but when we get everybody out there I feel that we can be as good as we've been at that position or better."

Smelter has been one of the team's most pleasant surprises. He had not played football since high school, having played two seasons of baseball at Georgia Tech. But last spring he made the decision to play football and has not disappointed. Smelter has been banged up and may not start, but should play a great deal.

Johnson said Summers has had a good camp. He was able to get a head start on the others since he was one of the few receivers available in the spring.

"He had the benefit of being one of the few healthy receivers this spring so he got a lot of work," Johnson said. "He's still a redshirt freshman, but he's got good speed and he's not afraid to be physical. He does need to be a little more physical at times.

"I think he's got a bright future and he's had a good camp.

Notes: Security will be tighter for fans entering the games. Fans will not be allowed to bring backpacks into the stadium. … Stadium announcer John Pendergast returns after a one-year hiatus.

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