Georgia Tech B-back Dedrick Mills won the starting job in the preseason and held it when he wasn’t suspended or injured. With Marcus Marshall’s decision to transfer at the end of the semester after two seasons, Mills’ standing as the starter would appear secure.
Marshall will not play in the bowl game, the identity of which the Yellow Jackets will learn Sunday. Mills was an early enrollee in January from Ware County High, and his participation in spring practice gave him a head start on challenging Marshall for the starting job. By August, coach Paul Johnson had declared Marshall and Mills to be “1A and 1B” on the depth chart.
Mills started six games, including the season opener, and played in eight. He missed three games for suspensions for violations of team rules — the Mercer game and then the Virginia Tech and Virginia games — and he also sat out of the Duke game after suffering a concussion in practice during the week leading to the game. Marshall started against Georgia on Saturday in the final regular-season game and split time with Mills.
Mills has earned praise from coaches for his willingness to engage in contact, his pass blocking and understanding of the game, among other things. His skill for gaining tough yards was evidenced in his 11 rushing touchdowns, nine of which were seven yards or fewer. His 15.2 carries per game were the highest for a B-back since Anthony Allen averaged 18.5 in 2010.
For the season, Mills has gained 602 yards on 121 carries, a 5.0 yards-per-carry average. He was fourth in voting for ACC offensive rookie of the year. His backup in the bowl game likely will be Marcus Allen, a senior who will be playing his final game.