Yesterday was another eventful day for Georgia Tech alumni and sports! There is a lot of ground to cover, so lets get started!
Former Georgia Tech OLB/DE Jeremiah Attaochu cannot wait to go pro, and who could blame him? His draft stock has climbed lately as he gains more and more attention from media and NFL front offices leading up to the NFL draft in May. Attaochu, who is projected as a second or third round pick in most mock drafts, has even begun to see his name penciled in at the bottom of the first round by some experts as his versatility and athleticism continue to garner national interest. He is currently the fifth ranked OLB in the nation and a top fifty prospect overall. Attaochu finished his career at Georgia Tech with a school record 31.5 sacks(!) and 134 total tackles after spending his first three years as a linebacker (in a 3-4 defense) and then converting to defensive end for his final season (in a 4-3 defense). He had a career high 12.5 sacks in 2013 including 4 against Georgia alone (4! In one game! Against an SEC team!) and I can't think of another player I have missed seeing in white and gold more than him.
In case you are a nostalgic Attaochu super-fan (like me), enjoy these career highlights to get one more taste before the draft comes around.
We move on from fan-favorite Jeremiah Attaochu to not so fan-favorite Vad Lee, the former quarterback who decided to transfer to FCS school James Madison this off-season. He is expecting big things for his team at James Madison and is thought to be the clear-cut favorite to start for the Dukes during his last two years of eligibility. Lee's decision to transfer came as a shock to many, but looking back now it seems a bit more apparent as to why he made his decision. While it is hard to argue that he was not a fit for the offensive system coming out of high school (he had a lot of success backing up Tevin Washington during his freshman season as well), Lee did look very uncomfortable making reads and struggled to gain yards while carrying the ball in his first season as a starter. While he will be missed (mostly because of his highly touted arm), Justin Thomas is a better model of what an "option quarterback" is and should fit in a bit better in the system, so we wish Vad the best- there is surely a slew of JMU fans up in Harrisonburg who are thrilled to have him.
Now that the Vad Lee era is officially over, Justin Thomas is thought to be the next man up at Tech, but Tim Byerly and Matthew Jordan are going to give him a run for his money as the off-season progresses. Byerly spent all of last season as the third-string quarterback behind Lee and Thomas respectively and Matthew Jordan is a true freshman this year (a three star prospect out of Alabama). It is almost certain that we will see all three quarterbacks in action at some point during the season (barring injury) given Paul Johnson's history of using two different quarterbacks in a season for different situations, especially when the starter hits a rough patch in a game, and the third will probably see some snaps against FCS opponents or blowout games.
Georgia Tech fans around the country may need to have words with Mr. Andrew Coppens, a writer for Bleacher Report who lists Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate as one of ten rivalry games which "won't even be close" in 2014, citing questions at quarterback as the main reason for a UGA blowout. I personally can't see a situation in which a UGA blowout occurs, a big reason being they lose quite a few key offensive starters and will go up against a Tech defense which is poised to have another good season this year with some solid commitments to bolster the pass rush and a number of key returning players, including Jabari Hunt-Days, Isaiah Johnson, Jamal Golden, and Adam Gotsis on defense. It also doesn't hurt that UGA lost a very good safety in Josh Harvey-Clemons to some off-field antics.
To round things out today, we will broaden our horizon and focus on Clemson, who Georgia Tech will play at home in football this season. The big news for the Jacket's Atlantic Division rival Tigers is that they have dismissed quarterback Chad Kelly for "conduct detrimental to program". This move leaves Cole Stoudt as the probable starter to face Georgia Tech in November at Bobby Dodd (where the Tigers and Jackets have not played since Georgia Tech upset then #5 Clemson in 2011). Stoudt, a senior this season, has had plenty of success both throwing and running against Georgia Tech in limited action, most of which came last time the teams faced when Tahj Boyd (who no Tech fan should miss) was injured on a play early in the game and was removed from the game for a few drives.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your Wednesday!
Note: If you happen to come across an article that you would like to see included in an edition of Technical Tidbits, contact me (Cade Lawson) in the comments or via twitter (my account is listed above).