The last week or so, we’ve been going over the different offensive position groups. Today, we start on the defense with the defensive ends! Throughout this article, I will be separating the defensive ends into base ends (which is what you would normally think of as a strongside end; typically the guys that aren’t putting up big sack numbers) and edge players (your big pass rushers at defensive end that will hopefully put up big sack numbers).
Unlike when I did Tight Ends last week, we actually have some pretty notable players that are not returning to the team this season. Please note that these will be listed in alphabetical order by last name.
Chico Bennett, Jr.
I did this in alphabetical order and still started with the loss that hurt the most. As an edge rusher for Tech, Bennett showed incredible promise. He dealt with some injuries along the way, but was consistent in applying pressure. Back in January, Bennett transferred to Virginia, staying in the ACC.
Shortly after Bennett announced he was going to Virginia, base end Emmanuel Johnson announced that he was transferring as well. The AJC article includes a quote about Johnson wanting to move closer to home. I was unable to find out where he transferred to, but he is not currently listed on Georgia Tech’s roster.
After Bennett, I think Owens is the biggest loss. He was a stalwart who played at base end and at defensive tackle during his time at Georgia Tech. Owens left Tech as a grad transfer and is joining Deion Sanders at Jackson State.
Ryans is an interesting one, in that he had random spurts where he was arguably Tech’s best defensive end while also dealing with some injuries. Like with Johnson, I could not find where Ryans transferred to.
Tukes started as a linebacker at Tech before moving to tight end during Geoff Collins first season. After not seeing much action, he moved back over to defense playing at end, where he still did not see much playing time. He graduated back in May and is no longer listed on the roster.
Carroll was an early commit for the 2021 class, committing in March last year. He chose Tech over a number of ACC schools, and can slot in as either an edge or a base end. He stands at 6-3, 260, so he looks to be growing into more of a base end. In his film, Carroll showcases a quick first step and stays strong in pursuit. He very much plays with a bit of a fiery attitude, and it shows in his film.
After being committed to UCF for a little while, Collins flipped to Georgia Tech in May, joining fellow Grayson footballers like Ryan King and Jamal Haynes. He’s a little lighter than Carroll, standing at 6-4, 225, so he should be slotting in as an edge player. Collins has good length, but needs to continue to develop his pass rushing moves to make a more significant impact at the college level.
Kevin Harris (transfer from Alabama)
Speaking of defensive ends from Grayson, here’s Kevin Harris! He transferred from Alabama and should also be slotting in as an edge rusher.
It’s his high school film, but it’s all I have to work with. And it’s also a whole lot of fun to watch! Harris is electric and gets his way all over the field. He also has good eyes, seeing that the quarterback is about to make a pass and goes for the tip.
Robinson committed to Tech back in May while being recruited by a number of larger schools. He’s a guy that could come in at either end position, standing at 6-4, 235. Watching his film, he mostly works as a speed rusher, so he will need to develop some more pass rushing moves. He also tends to get a little hung up on blocks and can take a few tries to bring down the ballcarrier.
Keion White (transfer from Old Dominion)
If Kevin Harris isn’t my favorite acquisition at end for Georgia Tech, Keion White is. While Harris is absolutely an edge guy, White has the flexibility to paly at the base or edge spot. Given Tech’s depth, I feel pretty good in saying that he has a good shot at being Tech’s starter at base end. In 2019, White was 10th in the country in tackles for loss with 19. That’s a whole lot of fun, and I’m very excited to see what he can do. He has two years of eligibility left.
If White doesn’t end up being the starter at base end, it should be Clayton who opted out of most of last season and will use his final year of eligibility this year. As a former five-star recruit, there’s clearly some potential here. He has just yet to live up to that potential. This will have to be the year if he’s going to do it.
And here’s where things are exciting. Domineck played a limited role for most of the season before starting the last few games for Tech. He finished with 1.5 sacks, but was able to put consistent pressure every time he was in.
QB pressures, returning ACC:— ️♈️ (@ADavidHaleJoint) July 9, 2021
Tomon Fox, UNC - 27
Domineck, GT - 26
Bresee, Clemson - 24
Jonathan, Cuse - 22
Henry, Clemson - 22
Hopper, UNC - 19
Kancey, Pitt - 19
Joseph, NCSU - 19
Domineck - 15.2
Henry - 11.8
Bresee - 9.9
Fox - 9.3
Barlow, BC - 8.3
Hopper - 8.3
Obviously it was a limited sample size, but it was a very impressive sample, causing pressure on 15.2 percent of his snaps.
Ivey could also be a lot of fun at edge. He is long and fast. Ivey played a limited role last season, and with Domineck’s emergence, I think he’ll stay “the guy,” but Ivey is almost certainly the next man up.
Kennard played well in limited action last season, getting 2.5 sacks. Just like Ivey, I think he’s one of the next guys up after Domineck.
I really want Sylvain Yondjouen to be successful. I think he’s an incredibly talented football player and could easily be the starter at base end. Unfortunately, he lost most of last season due to injury after a strong start to the season. If he can come back healthy, Tech will have a strong group of defensive ends.
Outside of the guys listed above, here are the other guys that were listed on the roster, though they did not record any stats last season.
If I’m being perfectly honest, I think defensive end is one of Tech’s strongest positions. At base end, Tech should be lining up Keion White and/or Sylvain Yondjouen with the possibility of Antonneous Clayton also contributing there. At edge, I think you’re looking at Jordan Domineck being the starter, with Kevin Harris, Jared Ivey, and Kyle Kennard all rotating in.
How do you think the defensive ends will look this season?