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Georgia Tech Football: Position Previews - Defense Overview

Now that we've examined each defensive group separately, let's take a look at them combined.

Look! It's an actual picture of Jeremiah Attaochu!
Look! It's an actual picture of Jeremiah Attaochu!
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Who Left

Coming into the season, Georgia Tech has been tasked with replacing seven starters on defense, including 3-of-4 starters on the defensive line. Easily the three biggest losses from last year's defense are Jeremiah Attaochu and Jemea Thomas, and Brandon Watts. Jeremiah Attaochu accounted for 12.5 sacks last season. The next closest was Adam Gotsis, who finished the season with 5.5 sacks. Attaochu will be playing for the San Diego Chargers this season, after being drafted by them in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Brandon Watts and Jemea Thomas will also be severely missed. Thomas was selected by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and Watts was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the seventh round.

Who's New

Georgia Tech added a lot of really good players during the recruiting cycle last season: Step Durham, Tre' Jackson, Keshun Freeman, Antonio Simmons, and Kenderius Whitehead. Step Durham and Keshun Freeman both made enough of an impact during the Spring to be listed in the official Pre-Season Depth Chart. Tre' Jackson also some playing time during the spring game.

Antonio Simmons and Kenderius Whitehead will be counted on for a lot of pass rush in the coming years. The Yellow Jackets will lean more on Whitehead this season, but Simmons and Keshun Freeman in the years to come. Antonio Simmons really showed off his pass-rushing ability in his senior season of high school, finishing the year with a freak-ish 29 sacks. If he manages to stay at DE, he'll definitely be a good one.

Projected Depth Chart

Position First String Second String
SDE Tyler Stargel (R-So) Nick Menocal (Sr)
DT Adam Gotsis (Jr) Francis Kallon (R-So)
Darius Commissiong (R-Fr)
NT Shawn Green (R-So) Pat Gamble (R-So)
Darius Commissiong (R-Fr)
WDE Kenderius Whitehead (R-So)
KeShun Freeman (Fr)
Roderick Rook-Chungong (R-So)
SLB Tyler Marcordes (R-Jr) Anthony Harrell (R-Jr)
Tremayne McNair (Sr)
WLB Quayshawn Nealy (R-Sr) Paul (PJ) Davis (So)
Beau Hankins (R-So)
CB DJ White (Jr) Step Durham (Fr)
Lance Austin (Fr)
Nickel Demond Smith (R-Jr) Domonique Noble (R-Jr)
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)

Clearly, there is a lot of change here from last season. This comes from the 4-3-to-4-2-5 shift. In this shift, which I explain more fully here, the defense does away with a linebacker on the field and brings in another defensive back.

Season Outlook

In Ted Roof's second season, I believe that Georgia Tech's defense will improve slightly, despite the losses. I think the linebackers and the secondary will be fine. I also fully put my trust in Mike Pelton to make something out of this defensive line.

What do y'all think about the defense this season? Better/Worse? Do I have too much trust in Mike Pelton?