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Georgia Tech Football: Position Previews - Edge

This has potential to be Tech’s most improved position in 2020

North Carolina State v Georgia Tech Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

As we covered in previous articles featuring Jordan Domineck and Antonneous Clayton, the 2019 Georgia Tech defense particularly struggled in stuffing the run and creating pressure on passing down. The group of edge defenders on the roster in 2020 has great potential to make big strides in both of those areas. Let’s go through the retuning players and the new faces, and I’ll offer my best guess whether each guy will be Above the Line this season.

Returning Players:

Jordan Domineck — 6-3, 225 RS SO, 25 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 QBH in 2019

Jordan Domineck was a three star prospect in the 2018 recruiting class, who really began to pop in the second half of last season. He was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his performance against NC State, only 6 weeks after working his way above the line for the first time. The trajectory of improvement from last year is promising, and I expect him to be the best pass rusher on the team this year. ATL? Yes

Sylvain Yondjouen — 6-4, 255 SO, 14 tackles, 1 TFL in 2019

Sylvain Yondjouen joined the 2019 recruiting class as one of Coach Collins’s first commits. He was a three star prospect who came to Atlanta all the way from Belgium after playing only a few years of organized football. Appearing in 11 games as a true freshman, he began to pick up on some of the subtleties of leverage and footwork that will enable him to make full use of his great athleticism in the years to come. ATL? Yes

Jaquan Henderson — 6-1, 211 SR, 16 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 QBH in 2019

Jaquan Henderson joined the Yellow Jacket roster as a three star prospect from the 2017 recruiting class. He played extensively on special teams as a freshman and was beginning to make an impact from outside linebacker as a sophomore before an injury cost him the second half of the season. He continued to battle back last season, playing in 11 games and providing some occasional havoc plays on defense. Look for him to continue to get backup reps in his final year. ATL? Yes

Justice Dingle — 6-3, 265 RS SO, 6 tackles, 1 TFL in 2019

Justice Dingle entered Georgia Tech as a three star prospect from the class of 2018. As a true freshman, he played in his maximum of four games before taking a redshirt, and he made appearances in 11 games as a redshirt freshman. He has added about 35 pounds since coming to Tech, and he is expected to play an important role in helping to hold the edge against the run this season. ATL? Yes

Curtis Ryans — 6-5, 240 RS SO, 9 tackles, 1 TFL in 2019

Curtis Ryans walked on at Tech in the 2018 season and redshirted that year. He surprisingly appeared in 7 games as a redshirt freshman, as the defensive line suffered injuries but also as his own effort in practice stood out. Ryans provides reliable depth, but unless similar injuries occur, his playing time will be more limited this year. ATL? No

New Faces:

Antonneous Clayton, — 6-2, 265 RS SR

Most Tech fans know the back story on Clayton. He was a four star recruit in the class of 2016 for Florida before transferring to Tech in the summer of 2019. He had limited production at Florida as he battled injuries, but he will bring a combination of power and speed to the defensive edge that Georgia Tech has sorely lacked. ATL? Yes

Jared Ivey — 6-6, 225 FR

Jared Ivey was a four star prospect from North Gwinnett, GA, who exploded in production his senior year of high school. Playing in Georgia’s largest classification, Ivey had 80 tackles, 32.5 TFL, 20 sacks, and 14 QBH as a senior. His burst off the edge should enable him to contribute almost right away to the Georgia Tech pass rush, and the S&C program will help him bulk up for every down durability. ATL? By mid-season

Emmanuel Johnson — 6-5, 260

Emmanuel Johnson was a three star member of the 2020 recruiting class from North Charleston, SC. During his sophomore season (the only one I could find statistics for), he recorded 90 tackles and 7 TFL. He also played basketball throughout high school, and the sole focus on football should allow him to develop his strength and physicality in ways that will benefit in the years to come. ATL? No

Conclusion:

The Edge group returns all of its production from last year while adding three newcomers, two of whom I expect to contribute significantly. This should be one of the most improved positions on the team, with the sophomores Domineck, Yondjouen, and Dingle and the new faces in Clayton and Ivey leading the way. Expect more pass rush and more effective edge setting on runs plays from this group in 2020.