During certain stretches of the Capital One Orange Bowl, it was tough to tell if Justin Thomas of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets was doing his impersonation of Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, or if his triple-option improvisation had been an upgrade and we were seeing the rise of Russell Wilson 2.0.
If Thomas can be the MVP of the Orange Bowl, then he can certainly become a 2015 Heisman contender.
This Yellow Jacket floats like a bee on the gridiron, but changes direction like a Bengal tiger. Against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Thomas showed his ability to reach the proverbial fifth gear while appearing to shift from third. But will sportswriters write in a candidate from a triple-option offense? Or will they view it all as a gimmick?
If you’ve watched enough hours of Georgia Tech football, then you’ll see it’s not smoke-and-mirrors at all. Georgia Tech’s offense is the most organized frenetic attack in the FBS. The Xs and Os resemble the triple-option of old, but executed with lightning-fast fluidity.
Thomas bolted through the holes in Mississippi State’s defense like a muscular Pikachu, transporting from scrimmage to the open field on intelligent reads at will. Speed kills, and it defeated Mississippi State’s chance for Magnolia State postseason bragging rights, but this game was more a coming-out party for Thomas than anything else.
The Orange Bowl showed Thomas’ Heisman potential on a heightened stage. Fans were captivated by his awe-inspiring plays on the ground, but he broke through the threshold when he converted touch throws that nestled interstitially within the Mississippi State secondary. What was the last day in 2014 became an exciting preview for 2015.
If this is a glimpse of what’s to come, then it’s premature to bottle Thomas’ potential. If he can’t be contained on the ground or stopped through the air, then what can you do except consider him a candidate for next season’s Heisman Trophy?
Jerry Landry is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow Jerry on Twitter at @Jerry2Landry, “Like” him on Facebook or add him on Google.