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Position Previews: Quarterbacks

Our Countdown to Kickoff continues today as we embark upon a new mini-series, wherein we'll look at each position grouping for this fall.


Countdown to Kickoff: 29 Days...

Departed Players

Tevin Washington

Depth Chart Speculation
Position First String Second String Third String
QB Vad Lee (R-So) Justin Thomas (R-Fr) Timmy Byerly (R-Fr)

It's going to be interesting to see how things pan out this season at quarterback. The incumbent (if we can really call him that) is Vad Lee, the rising redshirt sophomore out of North Carolina. Lee is extremely talented, both at throwing the ball and running it, and is widely recognized as the team's leader. He had a successful freshman season, seeing significant time in every game from Week 2 on, and even playing most of the game at UNC when he was on a major roll.

After reading all that, where on Earth do the questions reside here?

Georgia Tech may have the best kind of problem at QB, where the backup is also an extremely talented player at both throwing the ball and carrying it. Justin Thomas is a redshirt freshman out of Alabama who flipped to Tech from his prior commitment to Alabama when the Crimson Tide acquired a commitment from another QB and requested that Thomas play another position for them. Thomas basically told them, "I want to play quarterback," and they responded, "Sorry," to which he said, "Me too," and promptly called up CPJ to commit to play at Georgia Tech. Thomas was the 100-meter dash champion in the state of Alabama his senior year, which is simply an illustration of his blazing speed.

The difference between Thomas and Lee will be situational. Thomas will likely take most of his snaps from the pistol and the shotgun, where he'll be able to use his speed and vision to find lanes and openings in the defense. Lee will run a more balanced set, where he can maximize on his combination of passing abilities, speed, and strength. Speaking of Lee's strength, I consider the team of Lee and Thomas to be similar to James Davis and C.J. Spiller up at Clemson a few years ago, who were referred to as "Thunder and Lightning". Lee is bigger and stronger, without losing much athleticism, while Thomas is smaller, shiftier, and faster, but has a slighter build.

Overall, I expect Lee to play 75-80% of snaps, while Thomas will play in the neighborhood of 20% of plays on offense. Look for Lee to be the guy in situations where it's a close game late in the fourth quarter, but know that Thomas will be worked in to keep defenses on their toes.

It should also be mentioned that third-team guy Tim Byerly is extremely serviceable for a third team guy. He transferred in from Middle Tennessee State and reportedly did a phenomenal job running the scout team last year. Nobody ever wants to be forced to use their third team QB, but if it becomes necessary this year, it's comforting to know that Byerly should be capable of manning the helms while it's needed of him.

What are your expectations of the QB position this fall? How much time do you see each QB getting?