Georgia Tech football isn’t known for their passing game. They aren’t known for putting out several wide receivers with 1,000+ yard seasons during their college careers. They run. And a lot. As a matter of fact, Georgia Tech is currently 5th in rushing yards in the nation, has rushed for more yards than any FBS team, and just passed the 20,000 rushing yard mark in 5 years under head coach Paul Johnson (47-30 at Georgia Tech since 2008). They are 118th in passing, only throwing for 1,548 yards this season. The statistics obviously show you that Tech’s run game is their bread and butter.
So where does a player like Calvin Johnson come into play? During his time under head coach Chan Gailey at Georgia Tech from 2004-2006, the wide receiver had 178 receptions for 2,927 yards and 28 touchdowns. He is Georgia Tech’s leader in receiving yards, touchdown receptions and 100-yard receiving games. As a freshman, he had 48 catches for 837 yards and 7 touchdowns, a record for freshmen at Tech. He was named a First-team All-American in 2004, as well as ACC Rookie of the year. In 2006, he received the ACC Player of the Year Award. He also received 43 total votes as a Heisman candidate during his junior year.
Coming out of Georgia Tech, it was said that Johnson could be one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play the game. At the combine, Johnson didn’t run the 40-yard dash, but did so at a workout in March of 2007. There, he clocked a 4.35 40-yard dash time and posted an 11 ft 7 in broad jump. If you’ve ever wondered about his jumping abilities, attribute them to his 43 in. vertical leap. Calvin Johnson was the 2nd overall pick (Detroit Lions) in the 2007 NFL Draft, the highest that any Georgia Tech player has ever been drafted.
What makes Calvin Johnson so special is not the fact he was able to do all of this, but that he did it within a system that is known for their ground game. Calvin Johnson is not only a great receiver, he happens to be a great blocker down the field. Standing at 6’5″ and 236 lbs, it’s almost impossible to block or defend him. He’s physical, fast and a great route runner. Whenever there’s a ball in the air going his way, 9 times out of 10, you can count on him to go get it. He was given the nickname “Megatron” by former Detroit Lions wide receiver Roy Williams, and rightfully so.
Since his NFL rookie season in 2007, Calvin Johnson has set and broken several records. He currently holds the record for the most receiving yards in a single season (1,964), most consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards (8), most consecutive games with at lease 2 receiving touchdowns (4, tied with Cris Carter), most consecutive games with at least 10 receptions (4), and he’s the first player in NFL history to have consecutive seasons with at least 1,600 receiving yards (2011, 2012).