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2019 Key Position Battle: Offensive Line

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Who the hell knows?

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the greatest change in technique and scheme will happen on the offensive line. After spending years with their weight heavy forward and being taught to fire off fast and low, the offensive line will play a more traditional technique and even have the tackles in a two-point stance. With the shift to a more balanced offensive attack, this technique change will allow the line to be better prepared to pass block.

Another big change this fall will be the lack of a traditional depth chart. Coach Collins follows the philosophy of a player is either above the line, able to contribute and play, or below the line, not ready to contribute. This makes much more sense, given the staffs insistence that you should expect to see a lot of rotation at both the offensive line and other positions. The drawback is it makes it hard to examine where each guy will slot in, both in terms of the starters and the next man up. The presumed starters are Quinney – Cooper – S. Morgan – Southers – Defoor, we’ll assume that holds and here we will look at a few of the next men up.

Tackle

Jahaziel Lee – 6-2 295 – Senior. Lee is a well-known quantity to Jacket fans. He has played in 31 games in his Tech career, starting games at both tackle and center. The biggest thing that will impact how much Lee plays at tackle in the fall is how much he impresses the staff while playing defensive tackle. He spent a good bit of time there in the spring and has been impressive. He also has some position flexibility on the offensive line, and it will be interesting to follow Lee’s progress during fall camp to see when the staff feels he will help the team the most.

Charlie Clark – 6-4 290 R-So. Clark played in six games last season for the Jackets. He was also a starting tackle on the White offense during the spring game. Clark will have a lot to re-learn from a technique standpoint, seeing as Clark played in an option offense in HS was well as his two years at Tech. He does seem to be the favorite to be the first man up as the reserve tackle.

Harrison Jump – 6-5 260 R-Fr. Jump was red-shirted last season. He came to Tech as a 3-star prospect; the 1662nd ranked prospect nationally, 149th ranked offensive tackle, and 162nd ranked player in the state of Georgia. Jump started opposite Clark at tackle for the White team in the spring game.

Guard

Austin Smith – 6-5 295 R-Fr. Smith was another player that was red-shirted last season. He was a 3-star prospect; the 1209th ranked player in the nation, 82nd ranked as a defensive tackle, and the 123rd ranked player in the state of Georgia. He started at guard for the White team during the spring game. Smith also took some reps at defensive tackle during the spring and could be a player who sees time on both sides of the ball.

Conner Hansen – 6-2 320 Junior. Hansen is one of the more experience linemen returning. He played in 11 games last season and started 9 of them. His biggest struggle is that he missed much of the spring with injury issues and will start the fall a bit behind the other guys.

Michael Maye – 6-3 310 R-Fr. Maye was another member of the class of 2018 that redshirted during the season. He was a 3-star prospect out of high school; the 1229nd ranked player nationally, 51st ranked offensive guard, and 42nd ranked player in the state of Alabama. He started opposite Smith at guard for the White team during the spring game. He is another player who spent time getting reps at defensive line as well during the spring.

Center

The depth at center could come from either Jahaziel Lee or Kenny Cooper, both have experience playing center at the college level. Lay II was the starter for the White team in the spring game.

William Lay II – 6-2 300 R-So. Lay is a former walk-on who started for the White team during the spring game. He could be the next player in a long line of walk-on offensive linemen to earn playing time for the Jackets.

There will be a massive shift in technique for the offensive line this fall. How quickly they are able to master this technique and gel as a unit will go a long way in determining how successful the season can be for the Jackets.