With Jamal Camp’s transition to the offensive line, Georgia Tech will have 8 scholarship interior defensive linemen: Ja’Quon Griffin, Djimon Brooks, T.K. Chimedza, Akelo Stone, Zeek Biggers, Mike Lockhart, D’Quan Douse, and Makius Scott. Let’s take a look at how playing time should shake out in 2021.
34 tackles, 4.5 sack last two seasons, Griffin has consistently improved during his time at Tech, and should continue being a major contributor/starter.
A former walk-on who earned #0 in 2020, Brooks has 57 tackles the last two seasons and joins Jordan Domineck as the pacemaker for the defensive line. With added competition both returning and incoming, I expect Brooks to raise his game and leadership as he looks to stay on the field even more in 2021.
After recording 34 tackles and 1.5 sacks as a starter in 2019, Chimedza missed all of 2020 due to injury. If this group is going to bounce back from an uneven 2020, Chimedza will need to have a big impact inside and push Brooks and Griffin for top rotation/starter snaps.
After 17 total tackles in 2020, including a 5 tackle performance against Boston College, Lockhart should continue to be in the mix for playing time and will look to break into the top rotation in 2021.
Like Lockhart, came on strong towards the end of 2020, and will be in the rotation for 2021. Depth became an issue as the 2020 season persisted, and having players like Douse and Lockhart with game experience will bay dividends moving forward.
Didn’t play a significant role in 2020, and with the new additions in Scott and returning Chimedza, will have to raise his level of play to see the field consistently in 2021.
New in 2021
A transfer from South Carolina who opted out of the 2020 season, Scott comes to Tech with four years of eligibility remaining. He will bring much needed size to the interior DL and will slot in as a strong run defender in this group.
A three-star out of North Carolina, Biggers’ shows a lot of promise and with a bit more seasoning will be a strong addition in both run defense and on passing downs. He is likely to redshirt 2021 as the coaching staff looks to maximize his size and motor as he develops at the collegiate level.
A combination of returning talent and new additions will position the DT group to have a big impact in 2021. Paired with the strength at edge, the DL should be much improved on 2020 and a strength of our developing defense.