Last week, Georgia Tech DL Trent Sellers announced his intention to transfer out of the program, and in doing so became the fifth such player in as many weeks. On Thursday, two more players added their names to that list, pushing the total to seven players that have announced their intent to transfer since the end of the Yellow Jackets’ regular season.
Rising sophomore DB Meiko Dotson played in each of the final 12 games of the season, primarily in a special teams role, making a solo tackle in the Duke and Kentucky games. After the departure of fellow defensive back Dorian Walker, Dotson was in line to compete with redshirt freshman Ajani Kerr and incoming freshmen for the #4 CB spot in 2017. He announced his transfer on Twitter on Thursday.
Shortly thereafter, rising sophomore WR Harland Howell II’s intent to transfer was announced on Twitter by Kelly Quinlan of JacketsOnline.com. Howell enrolled early as a member of the class of 2015 and redshirted that fall, before playing in six games this fall without recording any stats. There are at least 5 players ahead of him on the depth chart set to return in 2017, and that’s not including Steve Dolphus or Jair Hawkins-Anderson who redshirted in 2016.
After Sellers’ transfer last week, I told you that the recent trend of departures wasn’t a particularly big deal. Thursday’s transfers make for two more departures from young players who weren’t in a position to see significant playing time in 2017, and now makes five such players who would have been redshirt sophomores in the coming fall. Clearly, these departures don’t seem likely to make a major impact on the team’s fortunes in 2017 (a major run of injuries would change that).
However, it’s concerning from a long-term perspective, particularly from a depth standpoint. Aside from Marcus Marshall, 2 to 3 of these transfers would have been in line to serve as key backups in 2018 or 2019. That they’re off the roster doesn’t necessarily mean that the team is in for trouble beyond 2017, but it does increase the pressure on the coaching staff to recruit the right players in the mean time to be able to fill those roles when the time comes.