ATLANTA — Micheal Summers knows what's expected of a Georgia Tech receiver — blocking, more blocking and an occasional route to run.
Since Paul Johnson took charge as head coach and installed his spread option offense in 2008, ?Georgia Tech has rushed for more yards than any team in the nation.
Receivers get few chances to make plays. Summers estimates that out of 65 snaps in a game, the Yellow Jackets use between five to 10 routes, and some of them might be decoys.
"Unlike most receivers around the country, we have to have a block-first mindset," Summers said during the second week of spring practice. "We've got to be very unselfish because we're a run-first team. In order to open up the pass, we have to block. That's our mindset."
Summers is trying to replace DeAndre Smelter this fall as Georgia Tech's No. 1 wideout, but he'll have to beat out Antonio Messick and Ricky Jeune for the job.
"He's consistent," Johnson said. "He needs to take on a bigger role this year. It's right there for him. It's up to him what kind of role he has."
It might seem a longshot given his modest career statistics, but Summers, a rising junior, hopes his efforts will pay off with a chance to play in the NFL.
Such was the case for Demaryius Thomas and Stephen Hill, former Jackets receivers who were high draft picks under Johnson. Smelter, last year's top receiver at Georgia Tech, is expected to be a mid-round pick as he recovers from knee surgery four months ago.
Darren Waller worked out at the school's pro day earlier this month and has been told he might get drafted in the later rounds.
At 6-foot-1, 196 pounds, Summers is smaller than Thomas, Hill, Smelter and Waller, but he's encouraged that most NFL scouts give Tech receivers high grades on their blocking skills.
Even so, there's a bias to overcome by those who look only at stats. Summers has started 19 of his 27 career games but has just 17 catches for 245 yards and no touchdowns to show for it.
Summers, Messick, Jeune and other receivers began running routes for quarterback Justin Thomas not long after the Jackets ended their 11-3 season with ranked No. 8 in the Top 25.
"We all got together this offseason and threw with Justin a good bit," Summers said. "Hopefully we'll get that chemistry together and expand upon that this spring and transition that into the fall camp."
Notes: Thomas, who had 2,805 all-purpose yards and 26 touchdowns, is wearing a non-contact jersey early in spring to avoid injury risk. "We've got four offensive linemen out and a bunch of (new) skill guys," Johnson said. "We don't want to put him in a bad spot in case somebody else is going the wrong way." ... Johnson singled out defensive lineman Francis Kallon as looking impressive on film following last Saturday's scrimmage. "He's playing with his hands, separating from blocks," Johnson said. "He had about 12 tackles."