If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s a good enough reason for me to write about Jordan Domineck as an Impact Player for the second year in a row. Last year, Domineck oozed after he crawled out of the doghouse and appeared in 7 games to close the 2019 campaign. He popped in those 7 games, particularly against NC State.
In 2020, he appeared in 9 of Georgia Tech’s 10 games, starting in 4 of them. His production more than doubled from 2019, as he finished second on GT’s defense with 8.5 TFL (4 of which were sacks), broke up one pass, hit the QB twice, and forced 3 fumbles. His 12.5 havoc plays led the team even though he was regularly involved in a rotation at the defensive end position.
Diving deeper using data shared by David Hale, Domineck had an individual 14.7% pressure rate on pass rush attempts. That ranked 4th in the conference for all defensive linemen, ahead of NFL Draft picks Jaelen Phillips, Boogie Basham, and Quincy Roche. He created 7 incompletions and had 10 tackles for loss or no gain, which tied for 7th among DL in the conference. We need more Jordan Domineck on the field next year! Let’s take a look at some of the plays that highlighted his 2020 campaign.
In what might have been my favorite play of the season, Domineck freight trained through the poor Duke running back trying to block him, earning a strip sack and recovering the fumble for a touchdown all by himself. This was an elite play, in a pivotal moment. The ACC named Domineck the conference’s defensive lineman of the week for this outstanding performance, a feat that paired nicely with the same late season honor he picked up in 2019 following the NC State game. He was one of only 2 GT defensive players to appear on a conference player of the week list all season.
While the Notre Dame contest was still in the balance, Domineck knifed past All-American Liam Eichenberg to secure a huge loss on the opening play of an ND drive that started with the score tied. He closed on the ball beautifully and secured the TFL without giving the running back any chance to shake free.
On a third and short play against Syracuse, Domineck used a killer first step and a speed rush to generate a sack that ended the drive for the Orange. Plays like this are what we expected when we identified him as an Impact Player for 2020, and he came through even in somewhat limited playing time. Both David Hale’s numbers and the more conventional stats show that Domineck was by far the most effective pass rusher for GT last season, and it remains a bit of a mystery to this author why he isn’t on the field for significantly more snaps. This year, the hope is that Domineck will have a lock down on the edge in any likely passing situation and also on most first down plays as well. He’s the best we have, and it’s time to use him like that.