Former MLB Prospect Impressing Georgia Tech
By Clenaure Carter
Once-promising Major League Baseball prospect DeAndre Smelter is turning heads at Georgia Tech.
Drafted in the 2010 MLB draft by the Minnesota Twins, Smelter decided to follow a different path, trading the baseball diamond for the hashmarks of football. Many watched the transition with a careful eye, believing the young athlete was making a mistake by choosing to stay at Georgia Tech.
Smelter was one of six Georgia Tech freshmen drafted in the talented class of 2010. As a pitcher, Smelter possesed an arm capable of throwing a high strike rate with a plus fastball and changeup. Playing football is not a surprise as Smelter was a highly recruited football, basketball and baseball athlete out of Tattnall Square Academy in Macon, Ga.
While Smelter is known as a dual athlete, it is what he has done on the football field during scrimmage sessions that has landed him on the Top 10 play list at ESPN. Highlights of Smeter's amazing one-handed catch during a recent Georgia Tech scrimmage has been aired and replayed all over ESPN.
More important for Georgia Tech, Smelter is projected to produce at a position causing most coaches and fans to raise eyebrows of concern. The Yellow Jackets entered training camp thin at receiver. The No. 1 question at Georgia Tech this spring and summer: Who will catch the football from talented first-year starter Vad Lee?
Now Georgia Tech envisions the possibilities of Smelter making 36-yard, one-handed snags on Saturday evenings. The Wramblin' Wreck fans are buzzing about Smelter using his athleticism and 6-foot-3 frame to provide a security target for quarterback Vad Lee.
Smelter will have two years of eligibility at Georgia Tech and looks to be making the most of his on field opportunities. While Paul Johnson's coaching staff isn't sure if Smelter will be one of the main targets during the season. Confidence is high that he will be a contributing factor for the Yellow Jackets.