Football is back next week! Starting March 28, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will be beginning their Spring Practice. Over the next few days, we'll be looking at some key position battles that will be shaking out this spring. Today, we start with the offense.
Departures: Tim Byerly
It's pretty safe to say that Justin Thomas has the starting quarterback job locked down, but who will back him up? Right now, there are three players on the roster, plus a couple from the recruiting class who won't be here for the spring, that will compete for the job.
On the roster, we have Matthew Jordan, TaQuon Marshall and Chase Martenson. After Tim Byerly got hurt last season, Jordan served as the back-up for the rest of the season and did pretty well with it. Most of his action at quarterback came against Miami. He went 4-for-8 for 59 yards and threw an interception. As a runner, he gained 60 yards on 28 carries and scored a touchdown.
According to the eye test, I would say that despite the outcome of the game and considering the circumstances surrounding his playing time in that game, Jordan did pretty well for himself. With that and the virtual lack of experience other than him at quarterback, I think it's safe to say that Jordan will be the guy.
It's not a guarantee, though, as TaQuon Marshall showed some dynamic playmaking ability at A-back this past season, but I think at this point, he is still behind Jordan. A good spring at quarterback could change that though, and Marshall has the ability to surpass him.
Departures: Broderick Snoddy
And this is where things get fun. There are about five or six players on Tech's roster that will fight for these two spots: the "Big" and "Small" A-back positions.
Starting with the "Big" A-back, the main guys here will be Clinton Lynch and Qua Searcy. Mikell Lands-Davis could certainly be in the competition here, too, but I think he could also spend the spring at B-back. With Lynch and Searcy, these are two completely different styles of back. They are both good receivers, but after that, the similarities end. Searcy is far more dynamic in terms of speed and explosiveness, but Lynch is by far a better blocker. Either way, I think we're good here. I think Searcy's explosiveness will give him the job, though.
At the "Small" A-back, I think JJ Green, Omahri Jarrett and Nate Cottrell will be the main competitors. None of these guys have in-game experience in this offense, so it will definitely be interesting to see how this plays out. Green is the only one with in-game experience at all, though, and I think that will give him the edge
Departures: Patrick Skov
Marcus Marshall had a very good season last year, but that in no way guarantees him a job at the end of the spring. Competing with Marshall will be Marcus Allen, Mikell Lands-Davis, Quaide Weimerskirch, CJ Leggett and Dedrick Mills. Of these guys, I feel like Lands-Davis will be the most likely to win the job away from Marshall, which I think would push him to A-back.
I see this position battle shaking out in a few different ways. Of those ways, I think the most likely is that playing time will be split up between two or three of the B-backs. The two I would like to see take the field are Marshall and Lands-Davis, as those are the only two have had significant playing time outside of Marcus Allen, who would potentially take the third spot in this scenario.
More preferable to happen, though, would be for Marshall, Lands-Davis and Weimerskirch to be the top three with Dedrick Mills right there, only missing out on playing time because of inexperience.
Departures: Micheal Summers
Ricky Jeune will occupy one spot, and that much is certain. The real question is who will start opposite of him. Here, I think there are two or three guys who will be in the thick of things, and even then, just two main ones: Brad Stewart and Christian Philpott.
Of the two listed, Philpott definitely has the higher ceiling, though Stewart brings more experience. At this point, I think it's a coin flip between these two, but both will see plenty of time on the field this season, though I think the dynamic abilities of Philpott will eventually win over.
Behind those two are Harland Howell and Antonio Messick who are also technically in the mix, though I don't think they will factor much into the position battle.
And here is where a good portion of the position battles this spring will take place. Other than center, where Freddie Burden will start barring some random unforeseen circumstance, all four spots are open for competition.
Starting at tackle, I think it's safe to say that Will Bryan and Trey Klock will be the starters, just like at the end of last season. At what position each will start, I don't really know. I decided to swap them from their roles at the end of last season, so Bryan would be at left tackle and Klock at right tackle. The wildcard here is Chris Griffin. Griffin missed last season with an ACL injury and is now a bigger player, who I think will shift in to guard, though tackle is his natural position, so he could definitely stay there.
Moving onto guard, this position battle is a little bit easier. Shamire Devine will probably start at one of the spots with either Chris Griffin, or whichever of Klock and Bryan doesn't start at tackle.
There's a lot of potential for turnover on the offense, but I think that's also a good thing, because it means we have a ton of talented players all fighting for the same positions. It will be a fun
|Position||Projected Starter||Potential Threat||In the Mix|
|Back-up QB||Matthew Jordan||TaQuon Marshall||Chase Martenson|
|B-back||Marcus Marshall||Mikell Lands-Davis
|Wide Receiver||Ricky Jeune
|Left Tackle||Will Bryan||Trey Klock||
|Left Guard||Shamire Devine||Brad Morgan|
|Right Guard||Chris Griffin||Brad Morgan|
|Right Tackle||Trey Klock||Will Bryan||Jake Whitley