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Georgia Tech Football: Position Previews - Defensive Backs

The second-to-last defensive part of this series.

This literally never gets old.
This literally never gets old.

Who Left

We had a major loss from the secondary last season, losing star DB Jemea Thomas. Jemea did it all. He played good run support, he could tackle, and he would intercept passes from EJ Manuel to 6-5 Kelvin Benjamin. It's a huge loss, and Georgia Tech will unfortunately be tasked with replacing him.

Georgia Tech's other loss in the secondary is a guy who was very up-and-down his entire career: Lou Young. When Lou first started at Georgia Tech, he showed some real potential as a good cover guy. But as his career progressed, his talent level seemingly digressed. There were definitely some moments in the past couple seasons that left fans shaking their heads wondering what just happened.

Who's New

Georgia Tech was not messing around this last season in recruiting. They added four (and up to five) defensive backs. The biggest addition for Tech is Step Durham, the young CB from Atlantic Coast High School in Jacksonville, Florida. Durham selected Tech over reported offers from Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. You can find his film and some analysis here.

Next to commit to Tech as defensive backs were twin brothers: Lance and Lawrence Austin. The Austin twins come from Lamar County Comprehensive High School in Barnesville, GA. Lance selected Georgia Tech over reported offers from Mississippi State and South Carolina. Lawrence also claimed an offer from South Carolina. Early on, both players expressed an interest in playing together in college. Here is Lance's film/analysis, and here is Lawrence's.

Georgia Tech's final commit at defensive back is a guy that could also play wide receiver if needed: Jalen Johnson. Jalen comes to Georgia Tech from Oneonta High School in Oneonta, Alabama. He chose Georgia Tech over reported offers from Furman and Southern Miss. He also drew interest from Alabama, Auburn, and Florida State. Here is Jalen's film/analysis.

Projected Depth Chart

Position First String Second String
CB DJ White (Jr)

Step Durham (Fr)

Lance Austin (Fr)

FS Jamal Golden (Jr)

Corey Griffin (R-Fr)

Jalen Johnson (Fr)

SS Isaiah Johnson (R-Sr)

John Marvin (R-Fr)

Jalen Johnson (Fr)

CB Lynn Griffin (R-So)

Chris Milton (R-Jr)

Lawrence Austin (Fr)

Nickel Demond Smith (R-Jr) Domonique Noble (R-Jr)

The major change-up here is the addition of a fifth defensive back. If you want to read more about the shift, go check out this article I wrote.


This group looks to be pretty solid for the upcoming season. There is a nice veteran presence with one senior and three juniors. Something to watch out for will be the amount of playing time the incoming freshmen (Step Durham, the Austin twins, and Jalen Johnson) get.

How do the DBs do this season? Any surprise break-outs?