As the season approaches, and Georgia Tech brings in its third defensive coordinator in as many years, we will see a lot of changes on the defense. The biggest one will be the defensive line. Tech loses its top four defensive linemen from last season, so it will be a completely new defensive line. Personally, I think Belgium-native Sylvain Yondjouen will be a big part of that.
Standing at 6-4, 255 pounds, Yondjouen should easily slot into the strongside end position (as opposed to the EDGE guy who will be a hybrid end/linebacker). Joining him at the position will be guys like Justice Dingle and Kelton Dawson. None of the trio have recorded any stats for the Jackets, though Dawson is the most experienced as a redshirt sophomore.
Yondjouen is far from the first international defensive lineman to play for Georgia Tech. Two guys that come to mind immediately are Adam Gotsis and Francis Kallon, and honestly, I don’t think I could think of a more different duo. Gotsis came in as a lowly two-star recruit out of Australia and became one of Tech’s best defensive linemen of the Paul Johnson era, turning that performance into a second-round draft pick.
Kallon, on the other hand, was a touted defensive lineman out of the UK. Many people, myself included, thought Kallon would come in and be an instant impact. He ended up not seeing the field much until his redshirt senior season, where he joined the main rotation at DT, starting six games.
So...which one will Yondjouen end up being compared to?
Unfortunately, I think for the majority of his career, he will be compared to both. Whenever he does something good, he’ll be the next Adam Gotsis, but if he doesn’t make an impact, he’ll be the next Francis Kallon. Truth is, Yondjouen is his own player, and I don’t think it’s fair to compare him to either player.
There’s a lack of film, so it’s really hard to judge just how good Yondjouen can be on the Flats. He certainly has all of the measurables to be successful at this level. He will also be more physically mature than other players coming in as freshmen, as he’s already in his early 20s.
He also benefits from enrolling during the Winter. Statistically speaking, he didn’t do much in the Spring game, recording a single tackle, but he made his presence felt, doing a good job of getting pressure throughout the game.
What benefits him most, in my opinion, is that it will be relatively easy for him to get on the field and essentially get dropped right into the fire. If nothing else, I fully expect him to be in the defensive end rotation against Clemson on August 29. I also think there’s a good chance he’ll be taking the majority of snaps by the end of the season.