Georgia Tech Has Rough Schedule in 2017

By Don Stone - Georgia Tech Express
August 17, 2017

  As Paul Johnson enters his tenth season as head coach at Georgia Tech, he stares at a daunting schedule. The road ahead for the 2017 Yellow Jackets has its share of landmines to maneuver through. For starters, there are the starters. Some pretty significant changes on offense. Tech loses Justin Thomas to graduation. The star quarterback was possibly the best player at that position to run Johnson's offense in his decade on the Flats.
  Center Freddie Burden was an outstanding player and leader, as was Thomas. Both will be a job replacing. Defensive linemen KeShun Freeman and Antonio Simmons, DBs Lawrence Austin and Corey Griffin, receiver Ricky Jeune and lineman Andrew Marshall will be looked at to step into those roles.
A lot of returning Jackets will be bringing their share of talent and experience. Among them, senior DE Freeman, who has been solid since being a freshman All-American and 320 pound sophomore DT Brandon Adams, who was in 10 games last season.
  We'll have to wait and see how much damage the release of star sophomore RB Dedrick Mills will cause. But, at best, it makes the Jackets thin at the B-Back position after also losing the transferred Marcus Marshall last season. Mills had a team high 771 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns in just seven games in 2016 and will be hard to replace. The banished back just enrolled at Garden State Community College in Kansas and will be eligible to play this season. That's their top two rushers, including the graduated Thomas, from last season, gone.
   A-Back Que Searcy brings a lot to the table and will try to build off the momentum of his game winning catch at UGA.
  Then there is that schedule, which ESPN just ranked as the 10th toughest in college football, according to their
ESPN Power Index., higher than any other ACC team. Of course, there are the annual games with reigning national champion Clemson and Miami. Always difficult. But, this year, both are on the road. Fortunately, Louisville and Florida State are missing from the menu. But the season is bookended with a pair of SEC teams in Tennessee and Georgia.
  Along the way, they'll find four other teams coming off winning seasons with Virginia Tech (10-4), North Carolina (8-5), Pittsburgh (8-5) and Wake Forest (7-6).
  The only relative breathers are Duke, who finished at 4-8 and Virginia, with just a pair of wins in 2016.
  And, usually, you can look at the yearly sprinkling of FCS teams as that chance to breathe. But, sometimes they jump up and bite you like in 2012 when Middle Tennessee State shocked the Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd, 49-28.
Tech can't overlook Jacksonville State, who were just picked fifth by a panel of coaches across the FCS. The three-time defending Ohio Valley Conference champions finished 2016 at 10-2. That's followed by what should be an easier game, albeit on the road at UCF in Orlando.
  It all gets under way Labor Day night as Tech helps Christen the new Mercedes Benz Stadium against the Volunteers in the just announced sold out Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

                                                                                                * * *

Georgia Tech Football Awards Scholarships To Walk Ons

  Georgia Tech football awarded scholarships to four former walk-ons during a team meeting on Wednesday evening, August 16.
  The student-athletes awarded scholarships were:
   r-Jr. QB Chase Martenson (Dunwoody, Ga./Marist)
   r-Jr. DB Zach Matthews (Suwanee, Ga./Lambert)
   r-Jr. DB Josh Selembo (Roswell, Ga./Roswell)
   r-Sr. BB Brady Swilling (Chatsworth, Ga./North Murray)


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