New Tennessee Titans wide receiver Racey McMath has a chance to be a true game-changer on special teams, one of his college coaches said.
“He’s big, athletic, and extremely tough. He came in as a freshman and really bought into the whole culture of our special teams,” said Greg McMahon, McMath’s special teams coordinator at LSU.
The sixth-round pick will bring the Titans elite physical tools and a great attitude. He may even play a bigger role in the NFL than he did in college. McMahon explained why in an interview with A to Z Sports.
When McMath arrived at LSU, he entered a receiver room full of future NFL Draft picks, including Jamar Chase, and Pro Bowlers D.J. Chark and Justin Jefferson.
That meant, to get on the field, he needed to carve out a role on special teams. McMath did just that.
“If you’re not the first, second or third receiver, you can either sit on the bench or you can play, and he elected to really buy into the special teams,” McMahon said. “He did a tremendous job.”
Doing what McMath did isn’t always easy for young college players, especially those who were stars on their high-school teams.
But instead of resting on his high-school laurels, McMath put his head down and did whatever his coaches asked of him.
“He’s like, ‘OK, I’m all in coach. Whatever you’re telling me, that’s what I’m going to do.'”
That attitude will benefit McMath as he looks to make the Titans’ roster in Training Camp as a rookie.
With McMath’s receiving prowess currently limited, he’ll need to prove that he can be a high-quality special teams player in the NFL, just like he was at LSU.
A BIGGER ROLE
Racey McMath said the #Titans told him they know he has the tools to be a great receiver, and they want him to come in and work toward that end.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) May 1, 2021
At LSU, McMath wore a lot of different hats. The 6-foot-3-inch, 225-pounder played wide receiver in addition to covering punts and kickoffs.
In the NFL, McMath has a chance to take on an even bigger role.
McMahon believes that McMath, who ran a blazing 4.39-second forty-yard dash at his Pro Day, has the tools to be an effective kickoff returner. He even regrets not giving McMath that opportunity in college.
“I feel like we were negligent. We should have used him as a kick returner, as well, because he’s fast and he can run violently,” McMahon said.
The Titans could certainly use a kickoff returner after losing Kalif Raymond, the team’s primary returner in 2020, in free agency.
It remains to be seen whether McMath will get the chance to compete for that role, but McMahon has already put in a good word with Craig Aukerman, the Titans’ special teams coordinator.
“I told Craig and some other NFL coaches that if you use this guy as a kick returner, it wouldn’t surprise me if he could do it very well.”
Dane Brugler: “He has star potential as a gunner and special teamer due to his physical traits.”
McMath ran a 4.39 at his Pro Day. https://t.co/fRK8JKRJ5p
— Luke Worsham (@luke_worsham) May 1, 2021
That wasn’t the first time that McMahon talked to Aukerman about McMath.
Aukerman reached out to McMahon, formerly a special teams coach in the NFL, to ask about McMath during the pre-draft process.
McMahon gave him a glowing review.
“I told Craig, ‘you’re going to love this kid because, whatever technique you teach him, he’s going to do it.’
“Craig was just doing his due diligence, saying ‘what do you think about this guy?’ I’ve always respected Craig, and I was just tickled to death that they got Racey and were able to draft him.”
This would seem to indicate that McMath has a decent chance to make the Titans’ 53-man roster.
Not only is the team’s depth at wide receiver sparse, putting the numbers in his favor, but McMath has clearly been on the Titans’ radar for a while.
“He is a big, fast receiver,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson said. “He plays the game with toughness and a physicality component that’s easy to see on film.
“We had him really highly rated for what he’s been able to do on special teams.”
Cover image: Jay Biggerstaff/USA Today