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Georgia Tech Football: Position Previews - Defensive End

With Keion White off to greener pastures, who will step up?

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Keion White anchored Georgia Tech’s defensive line. He is undoubtedly the best defensive lineman Georgia Tech has had in some time, and it paid off for him, earning him a second-round draft pick. Now, Georgia Tech has the misfortune of replacing him.

Before I get there, let me briefly talk about the other DE spot. Kyle Kennard finished the season as the starter with Noah Collins and Kevin Harris right behind him. Kennard finished with 2 sacks and 4.5 TFL. Historically, Kennard has been solid in limited usage, but this past season, he started 9 games and had those numbers.

Harris transferred in from Alabama with some promise but has produced very little in the way of results. Collins is an interesting guy in that he’s younger so he still has some upward mobility. It should be interesting to see how the position battle continues through the Fall. Of note, Collins earned a sack in the Spring game, the only one of these three to do so.

UCLA transfer Christian Burkhalter likely would have been in contention, but the AJC reported that he is no longer with the team.

So, who has the unlucky assignment of replacing Keion White? Looking solely at last year’s depth chart, it appears that it will be one of two guys: Sylvain Yondjouen or Josh Robinson.

Yondjouen is a guy that I have liked since he arrived on the Flats. Originally from Belgium, Yondjouen has a certain energy about him. Every time he is on the field, he looks like he’s about to just murder the offensive lineman blocking him. Last season, he picked up 2.5 sacks as a reserve.

Where he has lacked, though, is his ability to get off of blocks. He might be about to murder the offensive lineman in front of him, but he needs to develop his pass-rushing moves to find other ways to get off of those blocks.

Robinson is a little younger (he’s a year behind Yondjouen) but has a lot less in-game experience. In his two seasons, he has appeared in 22 games and has 8 tackles (2 TFL) and no sacks.

Looking at just these numbers, it’s easy to think that Yondjouen will be the guy to step into that role. Of course, there is always more than just the numbers. This is another battle that I am excited to see play out in Fall camp. I am certainly biased because I’ve been a Yondjouen fan since he arrived, but he’s my favorite to start this Fall. That being said, I still think Robinson will also see a good bit of playing time.

Who will be replacing Keion White this season?