With the new Redshirt rules in place, many Georgia Tech freshmen were able to play this year without penalty. The coaching staff also did a great job of managing the new rule, and I don’t feel that any of the burned redshirts were wasted. With only 1 game remaining, only two players are sitting at 4 games played, so there isn’t much up in the air either. The players that did burn their redshirts were contributors who earned the right to play through the quality of their production on the field.
For fans, the new rule allowed a sneak peek at the future of the team. Many players flashed promise, but were shut down in order to preserve their eligibility with older players ahead of them.
- WR Malachi Carter - 12 games played, 0 starts
- LB Quez Jackson - 12 games played, 0 starts
- JACK/STING Charlie Thomas - 10 games played, 6 starts
- S/KR Juanyeh Thomas - 12 games played, 0 starts S, 12 starts KR/ST
- K Wesley Wells - 9 games played, 7 starts
Freshmen at the 4 game limit
- DE Justice Dingle - 0 starts
- CB Zamari Walton - 0 starts
Freshmen who will Redshirt but played this year
- DT/DE T.K. Chimedza - 3 games played, 0 starts
- JACK Jordan Domineck - 3 games played, 0 starts
- QB James Graham - 3 games played, 0 starts
- DT/DE Quon Griffin - 2 games played, 0 starts
- DE Luke Johns - 1 game played, 0 starts
- CB Jaylon King - 3 games played, 0 starts
- BB Christian Malloy - 1 game played, 0 starts
Freshmen who did not play:
- AB Dontae Smith
- AB Tijai Whatley
- OL Austin Smith
- OL Michael Maye
- WR Peje’ Harris
- OT Harrison Jump
- OL Zakk McKeehan
- ATH Jaylen Jackson
The 5 redshirts who did play were all significant contributors. Wells and Juanyeh Thomas each were huge shots in the arm to Tech’s beleaguered special teams. Charlie Thomas was the most effective Jack linebacker Tech played all year, though the role was somewhat changed when he took over. For the last part of the season, the Jack/Stinger were basically just left/right OLB. Jackson played heavily on special teams and flashed promise at the ILB position. Carter was one of Tech’s top 3 most effective WRs this season, and was needed all year.
Many talented players, including James Graham and Jaylon King, will keep their redshirts regardless of the bowl game. Graham and King were Tech’s 2 Composite 4-star signees last year, so preserving their redshirts this year was huge. They didn’t have much of an opportunity to play with the way the depth chart unfolded, and the new redshirt rule was a huge boost here.
As long as the two players who are at their 4 game limit sit out the bowl game, the coaching staff handled the new rule extraordinarily well, allowing players to get a taste of the action without wasting any vital years of eligibility. Hopefully the next coaching staff will do the same.