clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Georgia Tech Football: 2015 Pre-Spring Practice Depth Chart - Offense

New, 15 comments

With the 2014 season in the books and the beginning of the 2015 season on the way, it's time to take a look at what we'll expect to see in spring practice.

Will Tim Byerly retain his backup spot?
Will Tim Byerly retain his backup spot?
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Today marks the first day of Spring Break for Georgia Tech students. For a few years now, it's also signified the beginning of a one-week countdown to the beginning of spring football practice. With that in mind, we're going to spend this week previewing the month that is to come -- an oasis in an otherwise football-deprived offseason. First up: the offense.

Who's Gone

Georgia Tech saw major graduation on the offensive side of the ball in the wake of the 2014 campaign. Though the Yellow Jackets return their top two quarterbacks and four offensive linemen, they will have to replace all of their skill-position starters and a player we recently named the offensive MVP. At B-Back, the Jackets lost 100% of their career snaps at that position -- Synjyn Days, Zach Laskey, and walk-on Matt Connors all graduated and took their wealth of experience with them. Likewise, Georgia Tech lost four highly-experienced A-Backs in Charles Perkins, Deon Hill, B.J. Bostic, and Tony Zenon. They also lost both starting wide receivers, DeAndre Smelter and Darren Waller, both of whom could see themselves drafted in the next couple of months. The cherry on top of Georgia Tech's departures was the leader and anchor of the offensive line, RG Shaquille Mason.

The good news is that the quarterbacks and offensive line together only lost one player -- Mason. The bad news is that there's an extremely limited amount of experience returning at all of the other skill position spots, especially at B-Back.

Projected Pre-Spring Depth Chart

For the record, this depth chart reflects only players that are currently on-campus. Players signed in the most recent recruiting class who have not yet reported will not be reflected on this version of our depth chart.

Quarterback
Position First String Second String
QB Justin Thomas (R-Jr) Tim Byerly (R-Sr)

Moving into the spring, this position group should be business as usual from where it left off last season. Justin Thomas will remain the obvious starter, while Tim Byerly should remain the backup. Byerly's role may be a little bit in question as compared to last year, when he was counted on as a ballcarrier in short-yardage situations, particularly early in the season. As the season went on, though, Byerly's snaps dwindled as Thomas got a better handle on making reads and getting tough yards despite his small stature. The wild card to watch here is Matthew Jordan, a redshirt freshman who will be entering his second season of spring ball after enrolling early a year ago. Jordan could push Byerly for the backup spot and some playing time during the season. Whether Jordan ends up overtaking Byerly is yet to be seen, but Jordan showed promise in last year's spring game and could claim the spot a year earlier than expected. Keep an eye out for the backup quarterback position battle as the spring moves along.

B-Backs
Position First String Second String
BB C.J. Leggett (R-Fr) Quaide Weimerskirch (Fr)

This position group is as wide-open as you'll ever see, with zero returning experience in terms of snaps. C.J. Leggett nearly made it onto the field last year before the late-season emergence of Synjyn Days, and looks to be the clear favorite to be the starter as we move into the spring. He should be backed up by true freshman and early enrollee Quaide Weimerskirch, although there's also the chance that someone such as Marcus Allen or Tre Jackson gets a look or two there as well. Additionally, our own Tyler Duke reported this weekend that walk-on QB Brady Swilling has been moved to B-Back, and there's a chance he or Justin Bryan get some time too. (I would expect this group to look different when Mikell Lands-Davis and Marcus Marshall arrive on campus in June.)

A-Backs
Position First String Second String
AB1 Broderick Snoddy (R-Sr) Qua Searcy (R-Fr)
AB2 Dennis Andrews (R-Jr) Clinton Lynch (R-Fr)

This group has a couple of obvious starters in the returning high-performers Dennis Andrews and Broderick Snoddy, although Snoddy's health will be in question as he continues his rehab from a broken leg. (It's not yet been announced whether or not he'll participate in spring practice, but at only 4 months since a gruesome injury, it's unlikely he'll be a full participant.) Behind them, though, is where things get interesting. There are two more returning A-Backs in redshirt freshmen Clinton Lynch and Qua Searcy, the latter of which was recently confirmed to have been slotted there. Additionally, there's a chance that one or both of the Austin twins get a shot here (at least for the spring), and there are a couple of walk-ons who could see time. There should be plenty of fluidity here until the rest of the freshmen arrive on campus, so keep an eye out in the spring game for a couple of different guys beyond the usual suspects to get time here.

Wide Receivers
Position First String Second String
WR1 Ricky Jeune (R-So) Antonio Messick (R-So)
WR2 Micheal Summers (R-Jr) Harland Howell II (Fr)

The departures of Darren Waller and DeAndre Smelter leave an opening here for younger receivers to get a chance to play. Likely to begin the spring as a starter is Micheal Summers, who was the first off the bench for the last two years. On the other side, Ricky Jeune is a big target and the likely candidate to replace Waller. He would theoretically provide a nice alternative to the smaller, faster Summers. Backing Jeune is likely to be Antonio Messick, who performed decently in limited playing time last year but has the physical tools to be yet another big-time receiver on the Flats. Summers will likely be backed by true freshman Harland Howell II, who's already enrolled and will participate in spring practice. This is another position group that could change significantly when the rest of the freshmen arrive, as it'll be interesting to see how Christian Philpott and Brad Stewart mix things up.

Offensive Line
Position First String Second String
LT Bryan Chamberlain (R-Sr) Eason Fromayan (R-So)
LG Trey Braun (R-Sr) Nick Brigham (R-Jr)
C Freddie Burden (R-Jr) Andrew Marshall (So)
RG Shamire Devine (R-So) Gary Brown (R-Fr)
RT Errin Joe (R-Sr) Chris Griffin (R-So)

As mentioned, the offensive line should be the same to start spring practice as it was to finish the Orange Bowl, with the sole change (and a big one) being the graduation of Shaquille Mason. He should be replaced by Shamire Devine, but the question remains as to whether his physical condition will allow him to play a full game. He should be backed up by Nick Brigham (who was the second guard off the bench last year, behind Devine) or Gary Brown (who has been a top performer from the 2014 recruiting class). At tackle, Bryan Chamberlain will retain his starting job at left tackle, but I'm very interested to see what happens at the other spot. Errin Joe started there in the Orange Bowl, although Chris Griffin began the season as a starter there. Those two could have an intense competition for the starter spot at right tackle.

Position Battles to Watch

Quarterback

This isn't in reference to Justin Thomas and his starter spot, but to Tim Byerly and his backup spot. There's no smoke or any rumors to indicate that the coaches aren't fully satisfied with Byerly, but as Jordan continues to develop and learn the system, he could end up threatening Byerly for his backup spot. That's complete and total speculation, though.

Wide Receiver

Micheal Summers is a clear favorite for one starter spot, but Ricky Jeune and Antonio Messick could be a very interesting battle for the other spot. The two both played last year, but only recorded a combined 1 reception -- Messick's touchdown reception late in the N.C. State game. Jeune is thought to be the favorite in this competition, but Messick shouldn't be counted out here.

Offensive Tackle

As mentioned, this was a starter spot that Errin Joe took over from Chris Griffin during the course of last season. There's no guarantee that the spot will remain with the fifth-year senior Joe, but he is the incumbent and was a go-to guy on the offensive line last season.

Which position battles will you be watching this spring? Who are you excited to see more of?