Entering his 3rd season starting at Defensive Tackle, Adam Gotsis will be key to Georgia Tech's success this season. Defenses are built from the inside out, and in order for the defense to improve this season, Gotsis will have to play up to his potential.
2014 saw a drop in stats for Gotsis, but that was expected given the lack of depth around him. His TFL fell from 14.5 to 6.5, and his sack totals fell from 5.5 to 3.0. Despite the downturn, Gotsis was still 3rd on the team in both of those statistical categories. In fact, his decrease in production mirrors the struggles of the defense as a whole. Without a player of Jeremiah Attaochu's caliber to take attention away from the rest of the defense, the defense struggled at times. Despite the emergence of Keshun Freeman as a Freshman All-American, the pass rush was the piece of the defense that struggled the most, allowing QBs too much time to dissect an otherwise strong secondary.
One statistical area where Gotsis improved was passes defended. Gotsis batted down 3 passes and intercepted one this year, up from 1 batted down and 1 intercepted last year. In addition, Gotsis blocked a FG and an Extra Point, and is starting to perfect his JJ (S)Watt impression.
2015 and Beyond
With the return of Jabari Hunt-Days and an expected 2nd year improvement from Keshun Freeman, opposing OLs will have a lot to deal with this season. That's great news for Gotsis, who saw a ton of double teams last year. Despite the extra attention, Gotsis was able to hold his own and keep blockers from getting to the second level. With his quickness and strength, Gotsis will be a nightmare to block 1 on 1, and will be a major disruptive force. Expect Gotsis to have a spike in production this year, and don't be surprised if he begins to attract national attention.
Gotsis does, however, have some points on which he can improve. The biggest is his repertoire of interior pass rush moves. Considering his length, strength, and quickness, he has all the physical tools needed to excel in this area, but still needs to refine his technique if he wishes to improve upon 2014's sack totals.
Improving those sack totals will be crucial to raising Gotsis's NFL draft stock. Scouts will be focusing on him all season long, and a good showing could shoot him up draft boards. Gotsis's biggest challenge during draft season, however, may be finding a position at the next level. In his first 3 years at Tech, Gotsis has played as a 3-4 DE, a 4-3 NT, and a 4-3 UT. At 6-5, he has the length to play any of those positions, but he's a bit light to play as an NFL DT and will need to improve his pass rush in order to be considered an elite 3-4 DE prospect. I believe Gotsis's potential could vault him as high as the 2nd or 3rd round, but don't be surprised if he falls down draft boards a bit due to being a "tweener."
Expect a big improvement from Adam Gotsis this year, along with an improvement for the defense as a whole. This defense has a chance to be one of the best in the Johnson era, and Gotsis will undoubtedly play a huge role.