Georgia Tech Blog

A sports blog about the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia Tech's redshirt balance with Paul Johnson

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson and assistants have offered hints (or more) of first-year freshmen who will play this season. I posted a story about it last night that you can read here. I’d guess around eight or nine freshmen out of the class of 26 (25 if you do not include quarterback Jaylend Ratliffe, scheduled to arrive in January) will end up playing this season, a pretty high number.

Redshirting is not the preferred option for nearly all freshmen, but it has proven a successful route for a number of Yellow Jackets players past and present under coach Paul Johnson. The list of players who redshirted their first season includes a boatload of offensive and defensive linemen (starting with All-American guard Omoregie Uzzi and New York Jets defensive tackle T.J. Barnes) and quarterbacks (Justin Thomas, Vad Lee and Tevin Washington) who became key starters. Those positions redshirt almost as a matter of course, although standouts Shaquille Mason, Jeremiah Attaochu and Adam Gotsis played as first-year freshmen.

In addition, linebackers Quayshawn Nealy and Brandon Watts, a four-year starter and NFL draftee, respectively, were redshirts, as were current safety Demond Smith, and the core of the Jackets’ A-back group last season (Deon Hill, Charles Perkins and Tony Zenon).

That said, the list of players who played as first-year freshmen is impressive, including 12 players (including Cooper Taylor, who later transferred) who signed NFL contracts. That’s out of 25 players (freshmen up through 2011, not counting three whose eligibility is not complete.)

A list of players who have played as first-year freshmen, with a position breakdown below

2014 - 9 Class size: 21 – not including Myles Autry, who signed but was later released)

CB Lance Austin

CB Lawrence Austin

CB Step Durham

DE KeShun Freeman

S Shaun Kagawa

LB Terrell Lewis

C Andrew Marshall

DE Tyler Merriweather

DE Antonio Simmons

2013 - 4 Class size: 14

LB Chase Alford (walk-on)

K Harrison Butker

LB P.J. Davis

LS Trevor Stroebel (walk-on)

(Among redshirts: OT Chris Griffin, G Shamire Devine, WR Ricky Jeune)

2012 - 4 Class size: 17

WR Anthony Autry

DT Adam Gotsis

P Ryan Rodwell

CB D.J. White

(among redshirts: C Freddie Burden, QB Justin Thomas, DL Patrick Gamble, WR Micheal Summers)

2011 - 10 Class size: 22

WR Corey Dennis

DB Jamal Golden

WR Jeff Greene

DB Zach Laskey (switched to B-back after the season)

G Shaquille Mason

LB Tremayne McNair

LB Nick Menocal (switched to defensive end)

LS Sean Tobin

LB Kyle Travis

WR Darren Waller

(among redshirts: G Trey Braun, OT Bryan Chamberlain, LB/DT Jabari Hunt-Days, OT Errin Joe, QB Vad Lee, LB Tyler Marcordes, S Demond Smith, AB Broderick Snoddy. This was a standout signing class.)

2010 - 6 Class size: 18

LB Jeremiah Attaochu (moved to defensive end)

AB B.J. Bostic

S Fred Holton

S Isaiah Johnson

K Justin Moore

CB Louis Young

(among redshirts: QB/AB/BB Synjyn Days, DT Shawn Green, AB Deon Hill, LB Quayshawn Nealy, BB/AB Charles Perkins, AB Tony Zenon)

2009 - 6 Class size: 21

LB Julian Burnett

DE Izaan Cross

WR Stephen Hill

AB Orwin Smith

CB Rod Sweeting

DB Jemea Thomas

(Among redshirts: OT Ray Beno, DT Euclid Cummings, DE Emmanuel Dieke, C Jay Finch, G Will Jackson, QB/BB David Sims, LB Brandon Watts)

2008 - 6 Class size: 21

AB Embry Peeples

S Rashaad Reid

QB Jaybo Shaw

LB Steven Sylvester

S Cooper Taylor

AB Marcus Wright

(Among redshirts: DT T.J. Barnes, OT Phil Smith, G Omoregie Uzzi, QB Tevin Washington)

Position breakdown

DB - 14

LB - 10

DL - 5

RB - 4

WR - 4

K/P - 3

LS - 2

OL - 2

QB - 1


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About the Author

Ken Sugiura covers Georgia Tech sports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.