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Georgia may be next in line for ‘Fair Pay to Play’ legislation

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The trend sweeping the nation in collegiate athletics appears to be heading to Georgia next. The “Fair Pay to Play” movement will be coming to Georgia, following the lead of California and following similar pushes by other states around the country.

Georgia state representative Billy Mitchell will reportedly be submitting formal legislation that would seek to allow college athletes to be eligible to receive compensation for the use of their image, likeness, and name. This is the same basic principle behind the new law in the state of California which was recently signed and will go into effect beginning in 2023.

If the legislation were to pass within the state of Georgia, it would impact every college football team in the state including FBS programs at Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, and Georgia State. Other states in the southeast to begin getting the wheels in motion for a Fair Pay to Play movement include Kentucky, South Carolina, and Florida. Other states have gotten in on the fun too, including Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New York, Illinois and Nevada.

New York’s proposal went a step farther than the most common proposed legislation in the Fair Pay to Play movement by proposing universities directly share a percentage of an athletic program’s overall revenue with every student-athlete on campus.

Miami announces WR Jeff Thomas suspended for Georgia Tech game

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This is certainly an unexpected development.

Looking to win for the fourth time in five games after an 0-2 start and keep itself in the ACC Coastal mix, Miami will play host to 1-5 Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon.  Ahead of that divisional matchup, The U announced that standout wide receiver Jeff Thomas has been suspended and will not play against the Yellow Jackets.

The only reason given was the standard unspecified violation of team rules.

Thus far this season, Thomas is second on the Hurricanes with 24 receptions and third with 270 yards receiving.  His two receiving touchdowns are tied for the team lead as well.

The suspension continues what’s been a nearly year-long roller-coaster ride for the receiver.

In late December of last year, Illinois announced that Thomas had signed a financial aid agreement and would enroll at the university for the spring 2019 semester.  That move came a month or so after the talented wide receiver was dismissed by then-Miami head coach Mark Richt for unspecified reasons.

Richt, however, abruptly retired on Dec. 30 and was replaced by former UM defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who had taken over as the head coach at Temple a couple of weeks earlier before abandoning the Owls.  The combination of Richt’s retirement and Diaz’s return apparently cracked the door on a future for Thomas with the Hurricanes as it was reported in mid-January that there was a possibility the receiver will return; that possibility turned into a reality a couple of days later as the wide receiver reneged on his commitment to the Illini and returned to the Hurricanes.

At the time of his departure/dismissal in November, Thomas was leading the Hurricanes in receptions (35) and receiving yards (563). The sophomore’s 16.1 yards per reception were second on the team while his three touchdown receptions were tied for third.

As a true freshman the year before, he averaged an even 22 yards per catch on his 17 receptions and caught a pair of touchdown passes.

N’Kosi Perry to get second straight start at QB for Miami

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For at least another week, the starting job under center at Miami is N’Kosi Perry‘s.

Wednesday, Manny Diaz reiterated that a healthy Jarren Williams is the Hurricanes’ starting quarterback.  Right now, though, Williams isn’t 100-percent healthy as the redshirt freshman continues to recover from a shoulder injury he sustained in the Week 6 loss to Virginia Tech and which sidelined him for the following week’s win over Virginia.

With that, Diaz confirmed that, yes, Perry will get his second straight start as The U squares off with Georgia Tech Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.  Not that they should really need the historical mojo against the 1-5 Yellow Jackets, but Perry is undefeated in games he’s started at home.

As a redshirt freshman last season, Perry started six games, including the last three of the regular season.  After a lewd video was posted to one of his social media accounts, then-head coach Mark Richt announced that Malik Rosier would start the Pinstripe Bowl matchup with Wisconsin instead of Perry.

This past offseason, Perry, as well as Ohio State transfer Tate Martell, fell short in the quarterback competition as Williams was named the season-opening starter.  Williams had held onto the job right up until the injury as Perry played sparingly (10 attempts in four games) while Martell was getting reps with the wide receivers.

After replacing the injured Williams against Tech, Perry passed for 422 yards and four touchdowns in nearly leading the Hurricanes out of a 28-0 hole against the Hokies.  In a game-management win over the Cavaliers, Perry started and completed nearly 60 percent of his 27 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown.

Georgia Tech WR Nazir Burnett makes way to transfer portal

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Did you think we’d manage to get through a day, even a game day, without a portal post?

Friday evening, Nazir Burnett utilized his personal Twitter account to announce that he has officially entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.  The development is the first step toward what would be the wide receiver’s eventual departure from Georgia Tech.

Speaking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Burnett’s stepfather revealed that the distance from Atlanta to their home in Pennsylvania played a sizable role in the decision.

“It’s been just me, him and his mom for a long time,” Genaro “Buster” Elam told the Journal-Constitution. “We kind of underestimated that separation.”

A three-star 2019 member of the Yellow Jackets’ 2019 recruiting class, Burnett was rated as the No. 24 player at any position in the state of Pennsylvania.  Three other receivers in Tech’s class this year were rated higher than Burnett.

Burnett had played in two games this year, and will be able to take a redshirt for his true freshman season as a result.

Georgia Tech to start third different QB in season’s first five games

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If at first you don’t succeed, try again.  And then try a third time under center, if you’re 1-3 Georgia Tech.

Tobias Oliver started Tech’s season-opening loss to Clemson before giving way to Lucas Johnson, who started the next two games, a win over USF and then a crushing Week 3 loss to FCS Citadel. To add insult to defeat, Johnson suffered an upper-body injury in that latter loss, opening the door for Oliver to regain the starting job.

However, with a home date against North Carolina on tap, Tech is making another change, with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporting that redshirt freshman James Graham will get the start at quarterback for the Yellow Jackets versus the Tar Heels later today.

Suffice to say, this will mark Graham’s first career start.

A four-star member of Tech’s 2018 recruiting class, Graham was rated as the No. 17 athlete in the country on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Only one signee in the Yellow Jackets’ class that year, defensive back Jaylon King, was rated higher than the Fitzgerald, Ga., product.

As a redshirt freshman last season, Graham appeared in three games, completing his only pass of the year for 22 yards.  He also carried the ball five times for 27 yards.

This season, Graham has completed 15-of-32 passes for 192 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  On 14 rushing attempts, he’s added another 15 yards.

Graham will be given the keys to an offense that’s averaging 13.5 points per game, which ranks 130th out of the 130 teams at the FBS level.  Their 289 yards of total offense a game is 127th nationally as well.