ATLANTA — Georgia Tech will be without wide receivers Darren Waller and Travin Henry for the Yellow Jackets’ season opener against Elon on Saturday due to a violation of team rules. Coach Paul Johnson made the announcement Monday following the team’s practice.
Johnson did not elaborate on the violation. Waller is a returning starter and the only healthy wide receiver on the roster with any catches or significant game experience at the position. Waller had eight catches last season in 10 starts. Henry, a redshirt freshman, is returning from an ACL tear.
“No time to dwell on the negative!” Waller wrote from his Twitter account Monday evening. “I’ve talked to God we got this.”
Micheal Summers, a redshirt freshman who had already been elevated to the first string opposite Waller, will start for the Jackets at one spot. The other will either be Corey Dennis or DeAndre Smelter, who has been out since last week with an injury but whom Johnson expected to be available for the game. Dennis is a junior who has mostly played special teams. Smelter joined the team over the summer after playing for Tech’s baseball team for the past three years.
The second-string backups are walk-ons Jamie Alvarez and Brandon Oliver. Dennis has played 27 career games. The other four receivers on the depth chart have played a combined four games (all by Alvarez).
Finch returns: Center Jay Finch returned to practice Monday after an injury that kept him out of practice most of last week. Finch had just returned after missing spring practice and much of preseason camp recovering from shoulder surgery.
“As long as I can go (play), I’m going to go,” said Finch, who declined to identify the injury. “It had just gotten really aggravated.”
Finch was advised to not practice for a few days, advice he followed.
“It’s wear and tear,” said Finch, who has a history of shoulder injuries. “It’s something that I’ve had to play with for years.”
A&M APPEARS READY TO PLAY MANZIEL: Despite being surrounded by turmoil and questions about possible NCAA violations and being paid a five-figure fee by a memorabilia dealer, it appears that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will get the start when the Aggies open their season against Rice on Saturday.
The NCAA and Texas A&M have been investigating the Heisman Trophy winner for allegedly selling autographs to memorabilia dealers. Manziel has continued to practice with the team, even though there have been questions about whether A&M would allow him to play if the investigations have not been resolved, according to the Dallas Morning News.
On Monday night, Aggie athletic director Eric Hyman instructed anyone associated with the football program to discuss the status of the Aggies’ “starting quarterback.”
“The focus of our coaches and student-athletes is solely on preparing for Rice this Saturday, and in the best interests of Texas A&M and the 100-plus student-athletes on the team, I have instructed Coach (Kevin) Sumlin, his staff and our student-athletes to refrain from commenting on or answering questions regarding the status of our starting quarterback, Johnny Manziel,” the statement read.