It’s no secret that Georgia Tech’s offensive line has struggled in recent years. Moving into Year 4 of the Geoff Collins experiment, it is clear that there needs to be some sort of improvement there this year. With the losses of Kenny Cooper, Mikey Minihan, Nick Pendley, Ryan Spiers (not sure what happened here, but he is not listed on the roster), and Ryan Johnson, the interior OL group is suddenly a lot thinner.
There isn’t much in the way of individual offensive line stats, so I will just list the players here and then touch on a couple of them: Paula Vaipulu, Weston Franklin, William Lay III, Michael Maye, and Cade Kootsouradis. The latter two have not done much of note at Georgia Tech, so I’ll be focusing on the first three in reverse order.
Lay has become a versatile offensive lineman in his time at Georgia Tech, playing at both guard and center during his career. Though he isn’t the most gifted player, he has been a bit of stabilization for a rocky offensive line.
Vaipulu and Franklin came in Geoff Collins’ first and second full recruiting classes and finally carved out more of a role this last season. As new players, they both struggled throughout the season. Franklin in particular is a player I am pretty high on, but I think both could show improvement with more clearly defined roles this season.
Georgia Tech looked to the transfer portal to help fill some holes along the offensive line, adding two interior guys: former Clemson OL Paul Tchio and former Kentucky OL RJ Adams.
Tchio is certainly the bigger name, being a former highly rated recruit coming from a team like Clemson. He should easily fit into one of the guard positions at Tech. Unfortunately, Tchio struggled a bit last season by all accounts. Clemson’s offensive line was ravaged by injuries this last season, but Tchio was still only barely used.
Coming from Kentucky, Adams is fresh off a redshirt season and still has four years to play, so it’s tough to say what we are getting. Regardless of his reason for transferring, I’m happy to have another offensive lineman!
The lone incoming recruit, Brandon Best, is an interesting one. At 6-4, 300 pounds, Best was a mid-level 3-star on both Rivals (5.6) and the 247 Sports Composite (0.8552). His only other reported P5 offers were Kansas State and Virginia Tech, so it’s tough to make anything of that.
Watching his film, there are some things to like. For starters, he is quick on his feet. Often times, an offensive lineman can be very sluggish, but Best seems very quick. He also seems to have a good driving force in run blocking, which seems promising!
Who’s Above the Line?
There is a decent chance that Tech’s offensive line will continue to struggle this season. But I think there is also a chance to seem some growth during the season. At least to begin the season, I think you will see Vaipulu, Lay, Franklin, and Tchio above the line. Vaipulu, Franklin, and Tchio will be the starters, and Lay can back up any of the three. In addition, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the other two returnees or RJ Adams above the line as a reserve to provide more depth.
How do you see the interior offensive line shaking out?