Georgia Tech kicker Justin Moore distinguished himself in the 2011 season with a school-record performance on extra points. The rest of his career has been a little more of an adventure.
In spring practice, though, Moore has begun to make good on the promise he showed at the Marist School that led coach Paul Johnson to make him the first kicker he had brought to Tech on scholarship.
“He has the ability to do well and right now he’s doing it,” special teams coordinator David Walkosky said.
In Saturday’s scrimmage, Moore connected from 23 and 53 yards. The week prior, he made field goals from 43 and 47 yards. In his two seasons kicking field goals, his longest conversion in a game is 41 yards. Thus far in the spring, he has kicked off well, too, an area of inconsistency for him in the past.
In 2011, Moore made all 56 of his extra-point tries, a single-season school record for most PATs and most consecutive makes. But he was 11-for-17 on field goals. He lost his job to David Scully last season and took just four field-goal attempts, making two.
At this point in spring, Walkosky said, Moore has “kind of stepped up as the starter, a little bit ahead of Scully.” Walkosky has said he is showing more focus on each kick. Both will compete in the fall with Harrison Butker, a highly touted signee from Westminster.
“That’s what you want every signing class to be, great competition coming in,” Walkosky said.
Ryan Rodwell and Sean Poole are competing at punter, with Rodwell “probably a little bit ahead” of Poole, Walkosky said.
In the secondary: Johnson gave praise to safety Chris Milton, who returned an interception for a touchdown in Saturday’s scrimmage and also made a tackle for a loss on a play near the goal line. Last year, as a redshirt freshman, Milton starred on the special teams units and also started at safety in the Sun Bowl.
“He’s had a pretty good spring,” Johnson said. “I can see him playing a lot this fall.”
Safety Isaiah Johnson, a two-year starter, will be coming back from a knee injury. Fred Holton is a much-anticipated player who has missed the past two seasons with an Achilles injury and then suffered another lower-leg tendon injury last season.
Cornerback D.J. White has tentatively taken the No. 3 spot on the depth chart behind starters Louis Young and Jemea Thomas. He is ahead of Domonique Noble, who suffered a sprained ankle in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“He continues to need to do a good job with his eyes, hands and feet, and make sure he re-sets that after every play and make sure he doesn’t guess on any plays, trust what his eyes tell him,” secondary coach Joe Speed said.
Friday night: Johnson said he and the coaching staff will divide the teams for Friday night’s spring game later this week. Typically, he has put the first-string offense and second-string defense on one team and the first-string defense and second-string offense on the other. He said he will talk with the coaches about how they’ll use quarterbacks Vad Lee and Justin Thomas.
The spring game will begin at 7:30 p.m. Fans will note that construction on Bobby Dodd Way will complicate parking and traffic.
Two more: Monday’s practice was the 13th of 15 spring practices, the last conducted in full pads until August, not counting the spring game. Wide receiver Darren Waller, who has been battling a hip pointer, returned, although he was limited.