Georgia Tech’s offensive line in 2018 returns four starters with a ton of talent and also gets back a huge piece in Andrew Marshall.
Georgia Tech’s offensive line last season was up-and-down throughout the 2017 season. While the left side of the line was pretty strong an was hard for opposing defenses to penetrate, the right side at times was like turnstiles.
In the rushing attack, the offensive line helped the Jackets rush for 3,381-yards throughout the season, an average of 307.4 yards per game. The offensive line saw Tech ball carries pick up an average of just over 5.0-yards per carry last season which is on par with what the Jackets usually average over the course of the season.
The Jackets passing game last season was horrific. Not only did TaQuon Marshall struggle with throwing the ball throughout the season but the offensive line didn’t help out Marshall at all either. Last season, the Jackets attempted 139 passing plays, the offensive line allowed sacks on 20 of those plays meaning 14% of the Jackets passing plays. It simply has to improve for the Jackets to be more balanced and successful offensively in 2018.
The projected starter at left tackle this upcoming fall is junior Jahaziel Lee. Lee returns to The Flats for his junior season, with 19 career games under his belt including eleven career starts. Last season, Lee played in name games for the Yellow Jackets, starting in eight of them. The only game he didn’t start that he played in was the Jackets matchup against FCS opponent, Jacksonville State. He also missed games against North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
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For being a defensive end coming out of high school, Lee’s transition to the offensive line has been pretty good all things considered. In 2018, Lee will need to take a step forward if the Yellow Jackets offense hopes to eclipse it’s marks last season. With being a former defensive end, Lee should be able to use his past knowledge to continue his development in protecting the outside.
Next to Lee on the left side will be Parker Braun who may be the best player on the Jackets roster regardless of position. Last year, Braun was the biggest contributor on the offensive line as the Jackets rushed for over 3,000-yards on the season. Through his first two seasons as a Yellow Jacket, Braun has done nothing short of being impressive and has developed into one of the top offensive lineman in the country. A 2017 All-ACC offensive lineman, expect Braun to have an even better 2018.
Starting in the middle for the Jackets will be Kenny Cooper who started all 11 games last season for the Jackets. With the full season of experience under his belt, Cooper now has 16 career games and 12 career starts. With Cooper in the middle of their offensive line, the Jackets know they have stability in one of the most important positions.
At the right guard spot will be senior Will Bryan who is the most experienced offensive lineman for GT with 28 career starts including 11 starts last season. Bryan isn’t a polished right guard but with plenty of experience, the senior should be noticeably better than he was a season ago.
Andrew Marshall will return to the field in 2018 after missing all of 2017 with a foot injury. While he wasn’t back to full health in time for spring ball, he will be back to full health in time for next fall. If Marshall is able to return fully healthy and is ready to go by September, expect him to take back his starting spot at right tackle. If Marshall is in fact healthy, it would be a huge boost for the Jackets offense that didn’t nearly have the same success on the right side and struggled at the right tackle position last season. Marshall will bring nine career starts to the right tackle position next season.