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Georgia Tech Football: A-Back Competition All About Experience and Depth

Though the Yellow Jackets could have one of the most talented groups at the A-Back position, they are very short on playing experience. Who could develop and emerge for the Jackets this season?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Talent is not a problem for Georgia Tech... especially in regards to the slot backs position. Even though this is a young group, this position may boost the most collection of talent with the ball is in their hands.

But when it comes to playing A-Back for the Yellow Jackets, talent and production are to completely different issues. In this competition, only one player will return with significant, on-field experience. The determining factor as to who will make the regular rotation comes down to who can learn where to go in the offensive packages and who can execute blocks when they get to where they are going.

2014 in Review

It took some time for senior Broderick Snoddy to find his niche in the Yellow Jackets potent offense. But when he did and established himself as a weapon on the perimeter, the 5-9, 190-lbs Snoddy provided significant big-play ability. Snoddy reportedly has recovered from the broken leg he suffered against Clemson late last season.

With the departure of rising junior Dennis Andrews, Tech brings back four slot backs who were on the roster a season ago. Isaiah Willis, Austin McClellan, Clinton Lynch and Qua Searcy have been in the system, but have not seen game action. Being in the system for at least a year provides an advantage as far as knowledge and familiarity. But not having any game experience could be an advantage for the in-coming freshmen in 2015.

Post Spring Depth Chart

1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team 4th Team
Broderick Snoddy Qua Searcy Austin McClellan Nathan Cottrell (Fr.)
Isaiah Willis Clinton Lynch TaQuon Marshall (Fr.) Omahri Jarrett (Fr.)

Intriguing players

Qua Searcy has as much ability as any freshman in the ACC. He is quick, fast and decisive with the ball. Searcy's vision and explosiveness could also allow him to help in the return game. Clinton Lynch is another redshirt freshman from the 2014 class. His size and catching ability could make him not only a dangerous blocker, but a huge weapon in play-action passes. Preferred walk-on Chris Turner may catch some attention in the fall camp. He may not make an impact for the 2015 season, but at 6-0 and 190 lbs., Turner offers a big and physical presence that could ultimately become an advantage. Learning the offense will be key in his development.

Impact freshmen

Like Searcy, TaQuon Marshall could be one of the most physically gifted athletes Tech has had in a long time. A quarterback in high school, Marshall could prove to be a fast learner and could push for immediate playing time.

When Nathan Cottrell learns this offense, I think he will be fun to watch. Not only does the incoming freshman have remarkable speed, but he also boost incredible explosiveness that will bring a tingle to Tech fans when the ball is pitched to him.

Omahri Jarrett's football knowledge sometimes overshadows his natural ability to make plays. His instincts could provide a great feel for the game... And as Coach Paul Johnson says, knowing who to block gives you a leg up. Jarrett has not been the most heralded recruit, but whether he plays this season or redshirts, he will open some eyes this fall.

Outlook for 2015

What separates Georgia Tech from other "Big 5" schools who boosts strong academic commitments with a competitive approach to college football? The obvious answer is talent and depth. At slot back, the Yellow Jackets will not have a lack of talent. Plus, Georgia Tech employs an ‘all-hands-on-deck' approach, where slot backs have to be just as strong blocking as they are carry the ball.

No matter who plays, the group will be young and will have to do a lot of learning while on the job. The team brings back one player who has started and/or had a significant amount of playing time. However,

Snoddy was not a focal point for defenses early in the year. After the Pittsburgh game, his name was mentioned probably more than once in defensive staff meetings. Even coming off an injury, teams will be very concerned where he lines up becomes there is no film on any other player.

Redshirt junior "Ike" Willis looks to be in position to play a lot, but will likely be the only other player taking snaps who is not a freshman in 2015. This means there will be a lot of growth from the position as a whole. There is a good chance for a spot in the rotation from one of the incoming freshman. I also would not be surprised to see one of the Austin twins moved to A-Back for immediate depth.