Today we'll wrap up the series by taking a look at the final few prospects who didn't have roles quite as big as the one's we've discussed so far, but still played and will factor into Georgia Tech's success in 2016 and beyond.
After a dramatic recruiting battle with UCLA, Victor Alexander finally signed with Georgia Tech and immediately garnered a large amount of hype from the fan base. His high school film was an exciting blend of crushing hits and big-time interceptions. With Quayshawn Nealy leaving, many Jacket fans felt that Alexander would take over the starting position at MLB as early as this season. At the outset of the season, however, Alexander was listed behind PJ Davis at the WLB position. He stayed there the entire year, getting occasional snaps. When Davis was injured, however, it was Noble who often got the snaps instead. As a result, Alexander probably wasn't given enough snaps to warrant burning his redshirt.
When he did play, he was very much the nasty player that was seen on his high school film. There was a play during the Virginia Tech game where he flew into the hole like he was shot out of a cannon, and knocked a much bigger OL on his backside. However, the play was made far away from where that hit occurred. This showed that Alexander needs to clean up the finer points of being a linebacker, including play recognition and pursuit. He wasn't given many opportunities in coverage or as a blitzer, so it was tough to evaluate those aspects.
With Tyler Marcordes graduating, it would seem like the LB position has opened up, but fellow classmates Tyler Cooksey and David Curry will be gunning for positions in the 2-deep this fall, as well as 2016 Early Enrollee Emanuel Bridges. Alexander's position is not secure despite the fact that he has playing experience. Don't be surprised if he moves to MLB to back up Brant Mitchell, or if he redshirts this year.
Originally, Lands-Davis was never meant to play this year, but was forced into the starting lineup due to a historic string of injuries at the AB position. Originally recruited as a B-Back, MLD was the most heralded recruit at his position in the 2015 class. Marcus Marshall stormed the scene however, and took the B-back job, leaving Lands-Davis buried on the depth chart. Coach Johnson recognized that Lands-Davis was too talented to not put on the field, and he was transitioned to AB.
MLD played a good bit of WR in HS, and it showed immediately when he stepped on the field. He was able to do more damage through the air than on the ground early, catching a beautiful TD pass during the UNC game. He also brought much needed size and durability to a position that had been plagued by injury. He was given many snaps soon after his debut, but towards the end of the season Clinton Lynch, Isaiah Willis, and Lynn Griffin were earning more of the snaps.
The reasons for his reduced workload were mainly blocking and speed. He was originally slated to redshirt due to the learning curve on edge blocking, and his speed and size are more suited to the B-back position. Don't be surprised if he moves back to B-back at some point during the spring. He did have his moments as a blocker, where he was able to use his size to make some devastating blocks on the edge, but he will need to continue to work on consistency before he's ready to play a full-time role
Due to the log jam at both RB positions this Fall, don't be surprised if Lands-Davis sees a redshirt in his second year. He is too valuable to the future of this team for the coaches to use a year of his eligibility when he isn't getting a large number of snaps.
Marshall is another interesting case at AB. After starting the season strong, his opportunities diminished as the season progressed, and he was barely getting snaps at the end of the year. An option QB in high school, Coach Johnson has alluded to moving Marshall to the QB position to see if he is fit to be Justin Thomas's successor. However, that change will likely not take place until at least part of the way through the spring, and will be dependent on whether some of the current QBs wish to stay at that position.
Marshall was extremely adept as a receiver and showed speed with the ball in his hands. Like Lands-Davis, he was never consistent enough as a runner or blocker to see a good number of snaps. While Marshall may move to QB for the next year while depth at AB sorts itself out, I still believe AB to be his long-term home. I never saw enough passing film from his high school days to make be believe he'll stick at QB, though he could prove me wrong with time.
Marshall will likely redshirt in 2016 in attempt to balance classes and try him out at QB. If the move doesn't work, he will be back at AB in 2017. With Willis and Griffin graduating at the AB position, it should be slightly less crowded when he returns.