Posted: 12:56 am Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Former Tech assistant remembers Demaryius Thomas 

By Ken Sugiura

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas could play a starring role in Sunday’s Super Bowl. He has already earned a second Pro Bowl berth by catching 92 passes for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns. His duel with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is one of the most anticipated matchups of Sunday’s game.

Before reaching the game’s brightest stage, however, he was once merely a promising freshman at Georgia Tech. Buddy Geis, Tech’s wide receivers coach for coach Chan Gailey, remembered.

“You knew he was a great athlete,” Geis said. “I remember when he first came to campus, he was over playing basketball. … When he leaped, he kept going up and he’s hanging up there and does a 360 and then slammed the ball like it was nothing.”

Geis coached Thomas for two seasons, his true freshman year in 2006 and his redshirt season in 2007 when he started 10 games and caught 35 passes, a precursor to his standout seasons in 2008 and 2009.

“Everything he did was so fluid and easy,” Geis said.

Beyond that, Geis recalled Thomas’ eagerness to soak up coaching on the practice field and in position meetings. It was the combination of his talent and his willingness to push himself that set Thomas apart, Geis said.

Said Geis, “You know certain guys are going to make it.”

As Geis saw it, Thomas was driven in part by a desire to match the standard set by his 2006 teammate, Calvin Johnson. It is mindboggling to think that arguably the game’s two best wide receivers were both in the same position group at Tech in 2006, sharing drills and meetings.

“Here’s this kid (Johnson) with this overflowing talent, and he’s your hardest worker,” Geis said. “You just shake your head. So ‘Bay-Bay’ said, ‘I’m going to be that good. If not, I’m going to be better than him.’”

Geis now lives in Neptune Beach, Fla., and keeps busy with private coaching. He is working with draft hopefuls like former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, among others.

They’ll have a hard time matching the greatness achieved by his two star pupils at Tech.

Geis coached nine years in the NFL and 19 in Division I along with time spent in the CFL and USFL and, he said, “all of the sudden I’m at Georgia Tech. These two young kids walk in and you say, ‘Holy (moley).’ And, when it’s all said and done, you say, ‘I might have coached the two best kids I’ve ever had.’”

By Sunday night, one of them could be on top of the football world.

66 comments
lvg
lvg

Thomas blew  Tech winning against Georgia by fumbling the ball on a simple catch at the end of the fourth quarter with an easy touchdown in sight. Glad to see him lose!

AseLeslie
AseLeslie

Why cant CPJ recruit any 4star or 5star athletes? And everyone wonders why Tech cant win the big games anymore, CPJ was only successful with the remaining recruits that Chan Gailey recruited!

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Tough night for Bey-Bey.

You don't get a hero's welcome for catching 12 passes when over half of them were bubble-screens that went no-where.

Not that the game wasn't over already butt his fumble was the final nail in the coffin.

Harvin, Kearse, Baldwin & Golden Tate are all better performers than Thomas.

Bey-Bey had no shot against the LOB.

It was the NFL's version of the Hunger Games!!

Too bad Bey-Bey didn't have any red berries to swallow!! :(

jackeee
jackeee

please come back to GA TECH, football needs your help and bring Giff Smith with you

Greentow
Greentow

I enjoyed reading about Damarius Thomas.  Good article, but many of these comments are really inane.


GT football under Paul Johnson has devolved to something resembling CFB, but hardly the same as the real thing.  How anyone can continue to so stridently defend the man as Tech's HC is beyond me.


Damarius Thomas was just a little kid when his family was arrested for drug possession.  Is he to be blamed for that by anybody?  Just shows the mentality and lack of brain power of the mutt people.

wreckmaniac
wreckmaniac

The fact that Thomas is from a gangster background makes his story much more amazing.  Also, credit is due to Payton Manning who is getting the ball to Thomas.  

wreckmaniac
wreckmaniac

T Brown:  Its obvious that many UGA players have had great pro careers.  The problem is that this article isn't about UGA athletes.  The pay -for AJC blog is for UGA fans.  Its equally as obvious that in the past 15 years, the great pros from UGA never won anything worth having while at UGA.  Why is that ?

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

PJ will never be able to recruit another quality WR like DT. Time for the TO experiment to come to an end.

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

“You knew he was a great athlete,” Geis said. “I remember when he first came to campus, he was over playing basketball. … When he leaped, he kept going up and he’s hanging up there and does a 360 and then slammed the ball like it was nothing.”

--------------------

Easy there, Buddy G.  You might begin sounding like one on those guys embellishing William Wallace's conquests in the movie Braveheart.  "Like Moses through the Red Sea"

JacketMan
JacketMan

People tend to forget that Thomas nearly transferred when Paul Johnson became GA Tech's Head Football Coach, but decided to stay after a long conversation between the two of them. PJ helped to show Demaryius that there was more to being a wide receiver than just running routes and catching passes, so he began to perfect his blocking skills as well, and learning how to confuse defenders with his routes when they thought he might be pass blocking, going short, or breaking off for the longer routes.

Because Thomas ended up showing he was a more "diverse" back, and one who was more "team" focused, DT ended up being the 1st WR taken in the 2010 NFL Draft, even over Dez Bryant.

My point is that even with all of Thomas' amazing "skills," the fact that he was willing to do more as a team player, and stick to his word, ended up meaning more to the NFL Scouts and Executives than anyone realized at the time.

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

@lvg   A college kid drops one pass so you hold a grudge against him?  I seem to remember taking a simple screen route 70 somewhat yards when he shoved the corner to the ground and outran the rest of the secondary.  You got problems if you're really still mad over that game.

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

@AseLeslie CPJ did more with those recruits than Chan could have done.  I guarantee you that.  Nesbitt running a pro style offense would have been a disaster.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@AseLeslie  Depending on which service you go by, there are several 4* athletes in the 2014 class.

GTBob
GTBob

@BigCrimson75  He was pretty much the only Bronco to play well. It must be embarrassing for you BC that you cried all week about how much he was going to get shut down and then he sets the NFL record for receptions in a super bowl.

juvenal
juvenal

believe it was #80 who fumbled-only team i ever saw that does not add an initail when more than one player have the same last name......

True Talk
True Talk

@BigCrimson75  He averaged 9 yds per catch...not incredible numbers but 9 yds is hardly "no-where". 


I wished he would have had more big plays, but he played tough...took and delivered a lot of big hits and kept sticking his head back in there for more, and making more catches. 


Unfortunately Peyton had terrible accuracy on the mid level and deep balls, so Bay Bay didnt get many chances for big plays...of course pressure by the Hawks d-line, and very good coverage in the secondary made it tough the whole game.


The fumble does hurt his overall performance score for the night, but it hardly affected the game at that point. The entire Broncos team fell flat, but i dont think any of the blame can fall on Bay Bay....he played tough. He set an NFL record for Pete's sake.

juvenal
juvenal

what a snuzer! fell asleep early second half.......what happened to the Wake game? hit my dvr & 36 had shown vt-md........

GTBob
GTBob

@Birminham__Jacket  Thomas wasn't really some highly touted guy coming out of high school. He was a three star player with a below average offer sheet. I love the guy and how much he blossomed in CPJ's system but lets not pretend like Gailey recruited Sammy Watkins to play here.

JacketMan
JacketMan

While Chan Gailey originally recruited Demaryius to GA Tech, Paul Johnson ended up "recruiting" him to stay rather than transfer, one might say. And it was quite obvious, based on his stats, that DT actually flourished under Paul Johnson's spread/triple option offense MUCH better than Chan Gailey's Pro Style offense, as Bay Bay ended up being the very first Wide Receiver taken in the 2010 Draft (First Round I might add), so he was quite happy he stayed in Atlanta and played under Paul Johnson.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@JacketMan  

Another HALF-TRUTH!

DT was only taken 3-5 picks ahead of Dez Bryant and Dez never played during his Jr. year.

Had Dez played that Jr. yr. he would have  gone in the Top-10-15 draft picks.

It is an outright LIE that DT went ahead of Dez Bryant because PJ taught him how to block from the WR slot!

The flat out  LIES that the CPJ apologists tell to try and make him look good as a HC are laughable!

juvenal
juvenal

i must have a problem cuz i'm still mad at cpj for not trying it on 3rd down.......

AseLeslie
AseLeslie

@BleedingGold you're kind of right, the only problem I had with Chan Gaily was the OC.The play Calling was terrible! CPJ time is running thin with this option offense witch is almost impossible to run these days vs Top teams like Clemson,Fla.State & etc.. I love CPJ but I think he needs to change his offense to the spread option instead of the triple option!

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Hahahaha....haha....

Bob....I'll let you have your homer moment. God knows life isn't easy being a GT fan.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@True Talk @BigCrimson75  

That NFL record meant next to nothing and the ESPN guys after the game talked about how meaningless that record is.

For his first 5 catches when the game was still in doubt, DT had 5 catches for 19 yards.

Only after the game was decided and the Seahawks loosened their coverage did DT make some decent yardage.

5 catches for 19 yds. is less than 4 yards per catch, about 3.2 yds. per catch.

Empty stats, and empty record, and a blowout loss.

DT did the same thing that CPJ does, he runs up empty stats AFTER the game is decided and in CPJ's case he then talks about how the "system works".

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@GTBob Nope.   His other offers were Indiana and Duke.  I believe South Carolina made a late run at him, but South Carolina sucked then.   He's actually exactly the type of player we'd probably get now.   Unfortunately, players like him don't grow on trees.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@GeorgeStein @Birminham__Jacket  

I'm a Tech fan, and I don't like bashing our program or our coaching staff.  I tried to talk myself into believing in Johnson after the Georgia loss.  But after further reflecting on the season, watching the UGA game on replay a couple of times and especially after the loss to a mediocre Ole Miss team, common sense took back over.  

AseLeslie
AseLeslie

@JacketMan thats b/c Chan Gailey didnt have a pro style Qb who was good enough to get DT the ball!!

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@JacketMan  

Wow!

What a friggin liar you are!

DT had already used up a RS year, so the only option he had was to drop down to a lower level or ride out CPJ's gimmicky offense.

Once your RS is burned your choices related to transferring are greatly reduced!

Since you  claim to be a former player, it is very dishonest of you to leave that part out.

Had DT not burned his RS year he would have definitely LEFT GT & CPJ!

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

More nonsense from you, not many facts. Seems like a trend.

juvenal
juvenal

shame-still, already napping by then....

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Negative.

It's GT homers like yourself that feel the need to crow about perhaps the most meaningless record in SB history.

He was SHUT DOWN by better players. Bey-Bey isn't better than Richard "Stanford" Sherman. Was that Clemson's Byron Maxwell that punched the ball outta bey-bey's arms with the game still somewhat in-doubt?

You're the one(of many) using a box score to try & validate bey-bey as an elite NFL player.

..........btw, Julio & Roddy had their way with the LOB last year in the playoffs. :)

True Talk
True Talk

@MikeBanning @True Talk @BigCrimson75  


Yea personal stats and records do become a lot less meaningful when your team gets blown out.


The record isn't the most impressive considering most catches were short routes and screens, I'm not debating that. 


What I am debating is the claim that DT had a bad game or was somehow responsible for the loss. He played as hard as anybody, fought for yardage on multiple screens that were well defended, and at the end of the day had over 100yds and a TD.


His stats on the season clearly speak for themselves...i dont think he has to hang his hat on his "empty" record. 


MB, you're comment about CPJ is about as relevant as me saying that the Broncos did the same thing Mark Richt does...they choked in the big game.

JacketTime
JacketTime

"What liars you guys are!"

I believe this is what they call the pot calling the kettle black?

Bay Bay was definitely not highly recruited.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

What it proves is that you're sloppy with facts (not new) and are dishonest (not new). Grow up, loser.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@GeorgeStein @GTBob  

What liars you guys are!

DT also had offers from Auburn and Clemson, not bad for a 3* guy.

You guys are trying to make DT look like a nothing recruit so that you can play up the "CPJ developed him in to a star" angle to make CPJ look better than he really is as a HC.

juvenal
juvenal

George(AKA little mary sunshine)Stein, if the diamond was not a "silver bullet", they did practice it & it seemed effective against Duke, but was not used in any other big game-they signal in plays, you say, in 2 minute drill situations, but never up-tempo any other time, even when behind, the way most spread options do-& the backs never shift in the 25 seconds thet could do so, employing only a man in motion....nothing "emotional" about this, purely cold, objective post-mortem observations........

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@Birminham__Jacket Not questioning your fandom.   And I don't intend this as a criticism, but I'm thankful the people in charge aren't as emotional as you.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

Really? Have you spoken with him about that?