How is Georgia Tech's defense stacked up going into the summer? It might look something like this, an unofficial projection of the Yellow Jackets' depth chart. Notes below.
1. With eight returning starters, this looks like a group that could be decent. Solid in the secondary, experienced defensive ends, one returning starter at linebacker with a couple possibilities that could turn into playmakers for the Yellow Jackets.
2. Unlike the offense, which includes several untested players in the second string, defensive end Anree Saint-Amour, linebacker Terrell Lewis, cornerback Lamont Simmons and safety Shaun Kagawa have played at least some snaps at their positions, and in some cases a lot of snaps. Lewis figures to compete with Victor Alexander for the second linebacker spot in the 4-2-5.
3. Safeties A.J. Gray and Corey Griffin have the potential to be a pretty good pairing. They’re an underrated facet of this team, I think. I suspect Gray will take a step forward in his second year as a starter and Griffin is a physical player and sure tackler. Obviously, the faster the front four can get the ball out in the passing game, the better these two will look.
4. Perhaps the biggest unanswered question with this team is how the rotation at defensive tackle will hold up. Brandon Adams’ size makes him an obvious candidate to significantly help the defense, but he also lacks experience and is only a sophomore. His size alone won’t make him a star player.
5. Coach Paul Johnson said Wednesday on the ACC post-spring coaches teleconference that he thought the pass rush was a little better in the spring than it did last fall.
“I don’t know if that’s good or bad,” he said. “Maybe it means our pass blocking’s not as good.”
6. Five starters have eligibility remaining after this season. Nine in the second-string 11, though, are non-seniors, and five are sophomores.
7. Once the freshmen arrive, there figure to be a number of candidates to get into the two-deep, starting with linebackers Bruce Jordan-Swilling and Jaquan Henderson, safety Kaleb Oliver and early-enrollee cornerbacks Gentry Bonds and Jaytlin Askew. Then again, it could be anyone. P.J. Davis is only one example of an unheralded signee making a quick impact.