Yates was never on a team coached by Paul Johnson but was the last QB recruit to commit in the summer before Johnson’s final season at Georgia Tech. When Coach Collins took over he agreed to honor the scholarships of any player already committed. With the short amount of time that Collins had to recruit, Yates was as good of a prospect as he could find for the position before signing day. He held a 4-star rating from Rivals and was considered one of the top dual-threat QBs in the nation. The quarterback for the foreseeable future could likely be one who was intended to run the offense of the past.
Last year all the quarterbacks were at square one when it came to running the new offense under Dave Patenaude. However, for Yates, he would have to overcome a seasoned starter, a backup who fit the mold of the new system, and a redshirt freshman who was also a 4-star. Even though it took until the 5th game to settle on James Graham, Yates was too young and raw to get a shot at leading the offense and had to settle for a few drives against VT and UGA where things were well out of hand.
His high school film shows why he was recruited to one day lead the option attack. His elusiveness and ability to make quick reads of the defense would have served well and is reminiscent of the style Justin Thomas once graced The Flats with. Those traits won’t diminish in this offense because for all the things the new-look offense has been called, it is very much a spread. Option plays are featured in all offenses but are run out of more conventional sets and usually in the shotgun formation.
It seems unusual in a year where the offense struggled for a freshman receiver to tie the touchdown reception record by a freshman. That was mainly because the deep ball wasn’t the problem. The intermediate passing game was nearly non-existent and was a big reason Tech failed to sustain consistent drives. Jordan Yates showed good command of his accuracy and when to throw the ball over the middle as a high school senior. If he establishes good timing with his receivers in the offseason expect him to have an edge in this part of the competition.
It was no secret the offensive line would struggle last year while learning new roles and assignments. It will be improved this year but how much will still be up for debate after a shortened spring practice. The Virginia Tech game was a microcosm of all the offensive woes that plagued Tech last year. It was in this game that Yates got the chance to lead a few drives. While none found the end zone he showed off his mobility in a pocket that was quick to collapse. He made quick decisions when it came to getting the ball out of his hands as well. This could help cover up some lingering issues the offensive line could still be working out this season.
The shortened spring may also shed light on the gap closing between Yates and Graham come this season. Yates saw a significant amount of reps in practice and while the cancellation of spring practice stalled his development for now there will have to be a camp when play resumes for him to make another push as the leader of the offense.