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July 15, 2010

Top 25 Countdown: #24 Georgia Tech


2009 Record – 11-3, 7-1, ACC Champions
Bowl Game – Orange Bowl – Lost to #10 Iowa 14-24
Letterman Returning: 54
Stadium – Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000)
College Location – Atlanta, GA
Coach – Paul Johnson (3rd year) 20-7


Key Returnees – QB Josh Nesbitt (below), RB Roddy Jones, RB Anthony Allen, C Sean Bedford

Key Losses – RB Jonathan Dwyer, WR Demaryus Thomas, G Cord Howard

- A lot of people questioned whether or not Paul Johnson’s flexbone option style offense could compete in a major conference like the ACC. It’s safe to say now, many were wrong. Johnson has had one key player over the last two seasons that has run the option attack to near perfection, that of course being Joshua Nesbitt. Nesbitt has left doubters looking like brokers who invested in Enron stock. The numbers for Nesbitt may not all be there yet, although his 18 rushing touchdowns a year ago stand out, so does his 46% completion percentage and 116 ranked passing offense. The wins speak for themselves however, with a 2009 ACC Championship and a 13-4 conference record since Johnson took over. The loss of running back Jonathan Dwyer and his 1,400 yards rushing will hurt the offense, as he was a rare player. Senior back, Anthony Allen, 6’ 239, is in a similar mold to Dwyer and will take the reins of the main running back duties after a 2009 campaign in which he rushed for over 600 yards on a 9.7 average. Perhaps the biggest loss of the offense though comes from standout wide receiver Demaryus Thomas, who brought in 46 of Nesbitt’s 75 completions last season. The second leading receiver on the team, sophomore Stephen Hill, caught just six passes and with that, a lot of pressure this season is put on both Hill and junior Tyler Melton to step up. The offensive line will also need to replace three starters, two at the guard position.


Key Returnees – MLB Brad Jefferson (below, #51), CB Jerrard Tarrant, CB Mario Butler

Key Losses – DE Derrick Morgan, S Morgan Burnett, OLB Sedrick Griffin

- The good news heading into the 2010 season for the Yellow Jackets defense is the fact that they lose just three starters from last year’s unit. The rather bad news is that the three players lost were without a doubt the defenses three best players. Stepping into his first year as defensive coordinator will be ex-Virginia head coach Al Groh who brings with him his 3-4 defensive scheme. The key to success will be getting pressure on the opposing passer and that is exactly what the 3-4 is designed to do. Derrick Morgan, an NFL first round pick, takes with him 12.5 of the team’s 25 total sacks from last season, so finding a rush won’t be easy. Senior middle linebacker Brad Jefferson, the team’s leading tackler, returns, as does junior linebacker Steven Sylvester, who will be making the move to the other middle position. Seniors, Anthony Egbuniwe and Anthony Barnes, should be counted on to bring the rush from the outside ‘backer positions. At corner, junior Jerrard Tarrant and senior, Mario Butler, form an impressive duo in the secondary.


In their 11 wins last season the Yellow Jackets averaged 335.7 yards rushing a game. In the three losses, Miami, Georgia and Iowa, Tech averaged just 147.6 yards an outing on the ground. It’s clear that when it comes to shutting down Georgia Tech, it starts with the ground game. The past two seasons under Johnson the team has struggled against speed defenses, like Miami and Georgia last season and North Carolina and LSU in 2008. This season, after a cupcake Sept. 4 game, action kicks off Sept. 11 in a trip to Kansas, which opens a two game away stretch. On Sept. 18, the Jackets head to Chapel Hill to take on UNC, before hitting a breather conference stretch that features the likes of NC State, Wake Forest, and Virginia. Oct. 23 the team travels to Clemson for its fourth meeting with the Tigers in three years. A brutal November lies in store with a trip to Blacksburg against Virginia Tech Nov. 4, followed by a home visit from Miami, Nov. 13. As usual the last game of the season comes down to an out of conference meeting with Georgia, Nov. 27.

Schedule rating: B+

Red = Toughest Game. Blue = Pivotal to conference.

Top Incoming Freshman:

1.) Louis Young, *#11 CB, 6-0 177, Olney, MD

Once a Stanford commit, Young made the switch to GT on signing day to bolster the 2010 Yellow Jacket class.

2.) Ryan Ayers, #16 CB, 5-10 180, Douglasville, GA

An Under Armor All American, Ayers had offers to many of the top teams in the country.

3.) Denzel McCoy, #53 DT, 6-4 275, Duluth, GA

A defensive tackle in high school, McCoy may play end in the Jackets new 3-4 scheme.

4.) Shawn Green, #31 DT, 6-0 270, Loganville, GA

Green has room to grow into a space eating nose guard for Tech in the future.

5.) Charles Perkins (above), #39 RB, 6-1 205, Suwanee, GA

Tech’s first 2010 commit, Perkins is a powerful one cut runner, who can burst through a hole.

*Rankings by

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All writing and views subject to © Drew P. Kochanny, All Rights Reserved. Photo's credited to rights owner.