Today in our position previews, we move to the defensive side of the football and look at the front four. If you want to know more about the defense that we'll be running this year, check out this article I wrote earlier. Now, let's look at the Defensive Line, which has a tough job this season.
Georgia Tech's defensive line lost three starters from last season: the big loss Jeremiah Attaochu, Emmanuel Dieke, and Euclid Cummings. Attaochu was an absolute monster last season, finishing with 12.5 sacks and 16 TFL. He finishes his career with 31.5 sacks and 43.5 TFL and a mean punch on Logan Thomas. Emmanuel Dieke, a two-year starter, had his best season last year, finishes his career with 5 sacks 6.5 TFL. Euclid Cummings started for a full season for the first time this season and finished with 1 sack and 2 TFL.
Also leaving the Yellow Jackets, via transfer, is Anthony Williams. Williams, a backup, transferred to Troy after being dismissed earlier this offseason. He never showed very much on the field, but always had the potential to be something special as a four-star recruit.
Jimmie Kitchen will also be leaving us this season after being dismissed earlier in the year, for unknown (at least to me) reasons. He was a career backup.
The final player lost from the defensive line is a guy that wasn't there very long: Jabari Hunt-Days. Hunt-Days moved to DE during the Spring and looked to be adjusting, but then he was declared academically ineligible for the upcoming season and has since had his scholarship removed after a meeting between his parents and Coach Johnson.
The Yellow Jackets didn't do much about the interior defensive line while recruiting last season. There is a possibility that Trey Klock could play some DT, but at this point I think it's unlikely. Instead of interior D-Line, the Yellow Jackets focused a lot on getting players that could help treat the loss of feared pass-rusher Jeremiah Attaochu. To do this, Georgia Tech added four commitments that identify as DEs: Tyler Merriweather, KeShun Freeman, Antonio Simmons, and Kenderius Whitehead.
Tyler Merriweather was commitment #5 for the Jackets last season. His smarts and his frame make me think that he ends up at SDE. Coming in at 6-3, 230 lbs. Merriweather has plenty of room left to grow into a strong SDE. If you want to check out his film, check out Joey's article on Merriweather from our "Meet the Recruits" series.
KeShun Freeman was an exciting guy earlier in the spring. After the Jabari Hunt-Days debacle, KeShun Freeman really started to come into talks about starting this season (a very realistic possibility in my mind). He and one other recruit will likely split the time at WDE this season. Here's his film.
Antonio Simmons absolutely rocked his senior year of high school, where he recorded a freak-ish 29 sacks. He's a guy that could fit well at DE or OLB. Here's his film.
Kenderius Whitehead is the other guy likely to split time at WDE this season. After beginning his career at NC State, Whitehead played last season at Georgia Military College. He will join the team in August after finishing up any remaining classes at GMC. Here's his film.
Projected Depth Chart
The listed starter at SDE currently is Tyler Stargel. He's a guy that while I haven't seen a whole lot of him, the coaching staff seems to be in love with him (I can't even believe that). Starting at WDE will be some combination of KeShun Freeman, Kenderius Whitehead, and Roderick Rook-Chungong (who IMO could also see playing time at every other D-Line spot). Obviously at DT, Adam Gotsis will start. As for the nose tackle spot, we'll see another combination of guys: Shawn Green, Francis Kallon, and Pat Gamble.
What do y'all think of the D-Line? Will we be able to replicate the production of Jeremiah Attaochu? MVP's of the D-Line?