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Georgia Tech Football: Spring Practice News and Notes

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Practice Tidbits, Roster Updates, Portal Possibilities, and Recruits to Watch

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 27 Georgia at Georgia Tech

It feels unseasonably early, but Georgia Tech has already completed four of its fifteen allowed spring practices. So far, three of those practices have been open to the media and the most recent two have been in full pads. With the early start to spring ball, the AA staff is making a concerted effort to get the student body involved, as attendance at Saturday’s practice was reserved for students, and a newly announced promotion for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities at the Spring Game clearly has students in mind. It’s good to see these efforts to promote engagement with the current student body, even as the football staff works to develop the on-field product.

It’s a time of year where attention has to be deployed on multiple fronts: the day to day development of the team in practice, roster management, continuing to scour the transfer portal, and recruiting the high school class of 2023 . Let’s take a quick tour around each of those areas to make sure you are up to date on the happenings in and about Georgia Tech Football.

Practice Tidbits

My opening caveat is that it’s not wise to draw big conclusions from spring practice, as our access is limited, and the number of reps at game-like conditions is quite few. We do get to hear from a number of different coaches and players throughout the spring, and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to hear more about areas of focus and needed improvement from their perspective. If you want to hear directly from the coaches and players, you can check out several interviews here, here, and here.

Here’s what jumped out to me:

Coach Key has discussed significant scheme and call changes for the offensive line, which are targeted at reducing the amount of time that pass blocks must be held and reducing the opportunities to allow free rushers a lane at the quarterback. This sounds promising, given the ongoing personnel limitations along the line. I will add that this type of approach, which is going to increase the amount of quick game throws from the QB, fits the skill set of Zach Gibson better than it does that of Jeff Sims. That’s something I will be paying a close eye on throughout spring and summer camp.

Secondly, there has been continued conversation about the struggles that the secondary had in communication last year. The staff has emphasized the move from having two separate secondary coaches to putting everything in the hands of Travares Tillman. Jaylon King added an interesting comment about the new experience of being held “to the same standard in the whole room” now. Time will tell how the secondary performs, but there was clearly an effort to move on from some challenging pieces on both the player and coaching side of things there.

Who is catching the eye of the coaches?

Here’s a few guys who have been especially singled out for their performance thus far by various coaches:

  • Safety Jaylon King — King is almost sure to start at Safety and appears to be stepping into a clear leadership role.
  • Right Tackle Jordan Williams — Williams reported how much he has reshaped his body and looks poised to be the full-time Right Tackle, pending a surprise starter-caliber addition from the portal.
  • Cornerback Zamari Walton — Walton has been my favorite member of the secondary for the last few years, and he seems pleased to be the clear CB #1 heading towards the fall.
  • Defensive Tackle Makius Scott — The South Carolina transfer got limited action last year but has worked hard on his body alongside Jordan Williams, and his path to playing time is more clear without Mike Lockhart in front of him.
  • EDGE Noah Collins — Likewise, the departure of Jordan Domineck has opened up a bigger opportunity for Noah Collins to develop into one of the defense’s primary pass rushers.

Roster Updates

  • As practice kicked off, Coach Collins confirmed that three offensive linemen with eligibility remaining have moved on from football: Mikey Minihan, last year’s starter at center, Nick Pendley, an early season starter at Right Tackle, and Ryan Spiers, who was never able to get on the field. Pendly and Spiers had medical issues that forced their early retirement, but both are still around the time helping from an analyst perspective.
  • This leaves Coach Key with only 11 scholarship offensive linemen, which is far lower than the target of 15 or so in this staff’s roster management philosophy. This is priority number 1 for the portal after spring practice concludes at various places around the country.
  • In a move that slowly began to take shape towards the end of last season, Peje Harris has moved to tight end officially. Harris provides some interesting versatility in both in-line and slot alignments.

Portal Possibilities

  • The most recent offer from Georgia Tech’s coaches to a player in the portal went to Quincy Riley, a DB from MTSU. He recorded 9 PBUs and 5 INTs last year, which is the kind of disruption that we all know was missing from the GT secondary.
  • Expect to see a wave of new portal offers after most teams finish spring ball up in early to mid April, as the coaches could easily add 8 more players to the roster.

Recruits to Watch

Georgia Tech’s 2023 recruiting class continues to sit at zero commitments, but there are some interesting unofficial visits happening in the month of March.

  • High Three Star CB Jermaine Mathews will be on campus on Saturday the 5th
  • Perhaps the staff’s highest target, Four Star QB Dylan Lonergan from Brookwood, has announced that will be at practice on Saturday the 12th. This is a spot where we could definitely see a push for a commitment from him while some of the bigger suitors court higher level prospects (i.e. waiting for the Arch Manning domino to fall).
  • Unrated OL Trovon Baugh, who is sitting on a reported dozen P5 offers, has announced his plans to be at the Spring Game.

As March rolls on, we will be keeping our eye on the possibility of the 2023 class getting going, more portal activity, and the development of the on-field product for GT.

What do you have your eye on in the GT football program right now?