After going 3-7 last season, Georgia tech has nowhere to go but up, and with some major players from last year’s team returning with another year of experience under their belt, the outlook for 2021 is bright. Here are the ten players that will determine exactly how well the 2021 season will go for the Yellow Jackets.
Linebacker Quez Jackson
Jackson enters his senior season with tons of experience, seeing action in all 35 of his games at Georgia Tech so far. There was perhaps no defensive player more consistent for the Yellow Jackets than Jackson, who was second on the team in tackles last season with 80 tackles. His two interceptions also tied the team high. Georgia Tech’s defense allowed 36 points per game last season, 110th in the nation. If they want that number to change, Jackson will have to have a stellar season.
Wide Receiver Malachi Carter
In an offense that will try to put Jeff Sims in control of the offense, he will need a reliable receiver that he can trust to put the ball downfield. Enter Malachi Carter. The junior will look to be the number one target for Sims this season after Jalen Camp left for the NFL in the offseason. Carter’s performance will be crucial for how far the Yellow Jackets can go this season.
Defensive Lineman Jordan Domineck
Georgia Tech ranked 67th in sacks last season, which is almost dead center of the pack in FBS. Who led the team in sacks? Jordan Domineck. Domineck was able to get to the quarterback four times last season, good for 15th in the ACC, and has the highest pressure rate of any lineman returning to the ACC this season. The defensive line will need to step up if the Yellow Jackets want this season to be successful, and it all starts with Domineck
Running Back Jahmyr Gibbs
Leading all returning running backs in rushing yards at Georgia Tech this season is Jahmyr Gibbs, who ran for 460 yards and four touchdowns. Despite missing three games last season, Gibbs was able to astonish Georgia Tech fans with his explosiveness in the run and passing game. On top of his 460 rushing yards, Gibbs was also second on the team in receptions, with 24. Gibbs is the only Yellow Jacket featured on the All-ACC first team, making it as an all-purpose back.
Quarterback Jeff Sims
Geoff Collins bringing in Sims before the 2020 season was huge for the program and created quite the buzz with Georgia Tech fans. Sims was rated as the 6th best quarterback in his recruiting class, so getting a high-profile quarterback was a big deal. Causing quite a bit of excitement for Yellow Jacket fans after his week 1 win against Florida State that featured him completing 23 of his 24 pass attempts, Sims shined bright as a freshman, throwing for 1,881 yards and 13 touchdowns while leading the team in rushing yards with 492.
Running Back Jordan Mason
After scoring Georgia Tech’s first touchdown of the season last year in their season-opener against Florida State, Mason went down later that game with an injury. After missing the next five games, Mason ran for 245 yards in the last three games of the season. The Yellow Jackets running game could play a big part in making Jeff Sims comfortable, so Mason and Gibbs will need to be reliable for Georgia Tech to have success this season
Safety Juanyeh Thomas
Georgia Tech ranked 111th in the nation last season in passing yards allowed, along with allowing the second most passing yards in the ACC last season. Juanyeh Thomas will play a big part in the Yellow Jackets secondary, not allowing big plays through the air like they did last season.
Safety Tariq Carpenter
As mentioned before, the Georgia Tech secondary could use some help in not allowing big plays through the air. Carpenter was 5th on the team in tackles last season with 39. The senior should have plenty of opportunities come his way this season. The Yellow Jackets will try to lean on his veteran leadership as they head into this season.
Guard Ryan Johnson
When Johnson transferred to Georgia Tech, for the 2020 season, it was a huge pickup for Collins, as he was searching for a leader for the depleted offensive line. It was a big plus that Georgia Tech was able to pull off this transfer, being that Johnson previously played at Tennessee and had SEC experience. Now, Georgia Tech’s offensive line will look to Johnson to lead the way and mentor the incoming class of linemen, mainly three-star recruit Weston Franklin.
Offensive Tackle Devin Cochran
Before coming to Georgia Tech, Cochran made a name for himself at Vanderbilt, where he was a big part of the offense there. A former preseason All-SEC selection heading into the 2019 season, Cochran decided to transfer to Georgia Tech this season and improve an already decent offensive line. He will play a big part in setting up the outside run for Georgia Tech and playing mentor for incoming freshman tackle Jakiah Leftwich