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Football: Week 13 Depth Chart Update

All systems go—just in time for COFH

NCAA Football: Virginia at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in a long time, and barring any last-minute disasters, Tech looks to be in very good shape in terms of health ahead of this week’s game at U[sic]GA. One offensive starter’s health is in question, but he appears to be ready, and the lone starter who sat out against Virginia is back in the lineup.

The official depth chart is up here. Discussion follows, with changes from last week (and, in a couple cases, changes relative to the official depth chart) noted in bold text.

Offensive Skill Positions

Offensive Skill Positions
Position First String Second String
QB Justin Thomas (R-Sr.) Matthew Jordan (R-So.)
BB Marcus Marshall (So.)
Dedrick Mills (Fr.)
n/a
AB Qua Searcy (R-So.)
Clinton Lynch (R-So.)
n/a
AB J.J. Green (R-Jr.) Isiah Willis (R-Sr.)
WR Brad Stewart (So.) Jalen Camp (Fr.)
WR Ricky Jeune (R-Jr.) Mikell Lands-Davis (So.)

An official starter has not been announced at B-back, but head coach Paul Johnson said after practice on Monday that Marshall has the upper hand on Mills. It's not a major surprise, as Marshall has run for 143 and 127 yards in Tech's past two games and has been a much-improved runner between the tackles compared to earlier in the season. Mills will no doubt have a role, though, and it's possible that Johnson simply chooses to stick with the hot hand after the first couple of drives.

For the first time this season, Camp finds his name on the official depth chart at receiver, as he has replaced redshirt freshman Harland Howell on the second string. Stewart and Jeune are the unquestioned starters, but Stewart suffered an ankle injury against Virginia and could be somewhat limited on Saturday. If that’s the case, then Camp could see extended action for the second straight week.

Offensive Line

Offensive Line
Position First String Second String
LT Jahaziel Lee (Fr.) Eason Fromayan (R-Jr.)
LG Parker Braun (Fr.) Brad Morgan (R-Fr.)
C Freddie Burden (R-Sr.) Kenny Cooper (Fr.)
RG Will Bryan (So.) Shamire Devine (R-Jr.)
RT Andrew Marshall (Jr.) Trey Klock (R-So.)

The offensive line took a step back last week, but the past few weeks have generally seen the young unit improve overall. The most important note for this week is that the top four offensive tackles are all healthy, as Lee returns to the lineup after missing the Virginia game with an injury.

The tackle depth listed here differs from the official depth chart but seems to more accurately reflect the way Johnson has deployed them lately. Officially, as has been the case for several weeks, redshirt sophomore Jake Stickler is the backup to Lee at left tackle; however, Stickler has barely played this season and is realistically behind Fromayan and Klock at this stage. Conversely, Klock has not been listed on the depth chart since his early-season injury troubles knocked him out of the lineup, but he has rotated in at tackle for a few weeks and will spell Marshall at right tackle. Fromayan has bounced between both tackle spots this season as needed, but with Marshall and Klock both healthy, Fromayan’s main role will be backing up Lee on the left side.

Defense

There are no changes from a week ago in the defensive lineup, so to save a bit of trouble, here’s the entire chart at once. A couple items of interest are discussed below.

Defense
Position First String Second String
WDE KeShun Freeman (Jr.) Anree Saint-Amour (So.)
DT Francis Kallon (R-Sr.)
Kyle Cerge-Henderson (So.)
n/a
DT Patrick Gamble (R-Sr.) Brentavious Glanton (R-Fr.)
SDE Rod Rook-Chungong (R-Sr.) Antonio Simmons (Jr.)
WLB David Curry (R-Fr.)
Terrell Lewis (Jr.)
n/a
MLB Brant Mitchell (So.) Chase Alford (Sr.)
SLB P.J. Davis (Sr.) Victor Alexander (So.)
FCB Lance Austin (Jr.) Dorian Walker (R-Fr.)
FS A.J. Gray (So.) Shaun Kagawa (Jr.)
SS Corey Griffin (R-Jr.) Lawrence Austin (Jr.)
BCB Step Durham (Jr.) Lamont Simmons (R-So.)

Simmons’ disruptive play has mostly tailed off in the second half of the season, but Saint-Amour’s strong play in recent weeks has made up for it. The sophomore has done well at both setting the edge against the run and getting to the quarterback over the last few games, and he’s won more playing time as a result. Freeman remains entrenched as the starter for the immediate future, but Saint-Amour could push him for the starting job next season if he maintains this level of play. Regardless, both of them have a tantalizing matchup this week against U[sic]GA left tackle Tyler Catalina, and exploiting that to get pressure on quarterback Jacob Eason would be a huge boost to Tech’s hopes on Saturday.

The other big surprise on the line has been Kallon, who has started alongside Gamble in the past two games and has recorded a sack in each one. Throughout his career, Kallon has been prone to disappearing for long stretches at a time in between recording amazing plays, but things seem to be coming together for him and he’s been more consistently effective in the last few games. He should get the nod against the Bulldogs, though Cerge-Henderson will continue to get plenty of playing time in the defensive tackle rotation.

A possible situation to monitor is that of Kagawa, who missed the Virginia game with an injury. The impact of the injury on the defense will be relatively minor, as fellow reserve safeties Jalen Johnson and Christian Campbell returned from their brief suspensions last week. However, Kagawa did play a key role on special teams as well.

Special Teams

Specialists
Position First String Second String
K Harrison Butker (Sr.) Shaun Davis (R-Fr.)
P Ryan Rodwell (R-Sr.) Grant Aasen (Jr.)
LS Casey Wilson (R-So.) Lucas Patelles (Fr.)
KR J.J. Green (R-Jr.) Nate Cottrell (R-Fr.)
PR Brad Stewart (So.) Qua Searcy (R-Fr.)

The main concerns here surround the top returners, Green and Stewart. Green was able to play against Virginia after missing two games with an injury, and he was listed as the top kick returner on last week’s depth chart, but Cottrell ended up handling kick return duties for one more week. It may well have been precautionary, and if Green is back to full strength this week, he should reclaim his role as the top return man. If Stewart is slowed by his ankle injury, Searcy would be pressed into punt return duty. The A-back hasn’t returned a punt yet this season, but his speed and agility—which he demonstrated on his long touchdown run against Virginia—would be major assets in that regard.