Georgia Tech forward Derrick Favors' first-round selection by the New Jersey Nets completed a very successful year for White and Gold talent. A total of four Tech players went in the first rounds of this year's NFL, MLB, and NBA drafts. In fact, if not for NBA teams drafting the entire Kentucky Wildcats lineup, coaching staff, and booster club, Tech's pro factory would have had a more impressive year than any school besides Oklahoma, which dominated the NFL Draft's opening hour.
Defensive end Derrick Morgan, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, and pitcher Deck McGuire were the other Yellow Jackets to hear their names called early. (The argument could be made that outfielder Jake Skole, the Rangers first-rounder, should be included in Tech's tally, as he had accepted a football scholarship with the Jackets before the draft.)
And yes, we're including the NHL Draft, even though the only collegian involved came from Notre Dame, which failed to produce any eligible talent for the other three drafts.
The 2010 NFL/MLB/NBA/NHL Draft First-round Pick Standings:
1. Kentucky: 5
2. Georgia Tech, Oklahoma: 4
4. Clemson, Florida, Oklahoma State, Texas: 3
8. Cal, Cal State, Fresno State, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio State, Rutgers, South Florida, Tennessee: 2
The Jackets were able to spread the wealth better than any school in the nation. Tech was one of only three schools to send at least one first-rounder to three or more drafts, along with Clemson and Texas.
The Favors pick marks the end of Tech's best draft year since 2007, when the school also sent four first-rounders to the big leagues: catcher Matt Wieters to the Orioles, outfielder Danny Payne to the Padres, forward Thaddeus Young to the 76ers, and forward Javaris Crittenton to the Lakers. Favors was the highest-drafted Jacket since Calvin Johnson was picked second overall by the Lions in 2008.
In addition to its four first-rounders, Tech also saw nine baseball players, two football players, and one basketball player selected in the remaining rounds of their respective drafts, including two second-rounders: new Rays shortstop Derek Dietrich and Suns forward Gani Lawal.
Jacket hopefuls for the 2011 NFL/MLB/NBA/NHL Draft include rising junior closer Mark Pope, a 2008 17th-round pick by the Braves; rising junior third baseman Matt Skole, a former Freshman All-American; junior point guard Iman Shumpert, ACC All-Tournament and 16th on Tech's assists list; and junior B-back Anthony Allen, who led the nation in yards per carry last year as an A-back and is stepping up to replace Steelers sixth-rounder Jonathan Dwyer.