The College Football Performance Awards watch list includes two Red players who will assume central roles in the 2013 offense — senior wide receiver Grant Gellatly and sophomore running back Luke Hagy. Both on the heels of productive seasons, Gellatly and Hagy are the only pair of teammates on the 32-player list.
In his first season after converting from tailback, Gellatly showed that former head coach Kent Austin and his staff’s decision was a wise one. The 5-10 crafty playmaker caught 61 passes for 940 yards and five touchdowns, though he still trailed teammates Luke Tasker ’12 and Kurt Ondash ’12 to finish third on the club in receptions. Because Tasker — the Red’s second consecutive triple crown receiver — and Ondash both graduated, however, the receiving corps is now Gellatly’s to lead.
“Grant has been unbelievable in helping out the receiving corps,” said senior quarterback and Cornell’s all-time leading passer Jeff Mathews. “He’s the veteran guy, everyone comes and asks questions of him and he keeps everyone on the same page.”
Mathews will throw to a mostly unfamiliar set of targets for the first time in his career, as no returning player besides Gellatly and Hagy caught more than 10 balls in 2012. Therefore, Gellatly is crucial not only for providing Mathews a security blanket in games, but also for guiding the inexperienced receivers in practice.
“Grant is the focal point of our offense,” Hagy said. “He’s very humble, which makes it easier for younger guys to approach him. We obviously lost some great wide receivers and we have a lot of young talent that could fill those big shoes. Grant is helping bring them along very well.”
As for Hagy, who put together a superb freshman season to become the Red’s first every-down back in years, the focus is to just keep improving and growing in the offense. In 2012, the two-time Pittsburgh Male Athlete of the Year had 528 rushing yards, 513 receiving yards and scored nine total touchdowns. However, Hagy believes he hasn’t come close to reaching his ceiling.
“It’s going to be a lot easier for me because I know the offense a lot better — my second year I’ll be more comfortable with everything,” he said. “I’ve put on some weight to match up better with linebackers in pass protection, I’ve been working on my speed and everything else looking to help out the team any way I can.”
Original Author: Quintin Schwab