Georgia Tech Football Spring Position Preview: Safeties

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 04: Marquez Callaway
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 04: Marquez Callaway /

Georgia Tech’s safeties group returns one starter and has one player transitioning from corner to safety.

Georgia Tech football’s safety group last season was one of the stronger parts of the Jackets defense. Despite losing a starter in Corey Griffin, it should return as one of the Jackets best position groups overall.

Position Previews:


FS A.J Gray – SR: 

One of the stars of Georgia Tech’s defense a year ago, Gray followed up his tremendous sophomore season with another strong season. The former three-star prospect had 54 total tackles last season including two-and-half tackles for a loss and one sack. He also finished the year with two interceptions, two pass deflections, and one fumble recovery.

As the lone returning starter in the secondary, Gray will be looked as the leader of the Jackets secondary. With 33-career games under his belt, Gray is not only the most experienced member of the secondary but one of the most experienced members of the Jackets defense as a whole.

Gray could be in for a big season for the Yellow Jackets and is certainly an All-ACC candidate at safety.

SS Jalen Johnson – RS JR:

Johnson spent last season as a nickle cornerback but this spring he’s made the move to safety. Last season, Johnson played in all of the Yellow Jackets eleven games and recorded 20 tackles over the course of the season. Johnson along with Gray are both out with injuries currently which may slow down his progress in moving to safety.  Johnson move to safety could backfire but it could also allow Johnson to thrive.


Christian Campbell – RS JR:

A backup last season to A.J Gray, Campbell will look to battle for snaps as his backup once again in 2018. The last two seasons, Campbell has mostly made an impact on special teams but has appeared in 20 games over the past two seasons. Campbell recorded nine tackles, one tackle for a loss, and one pass deflection for his time as a backup last season.

Kaleb Oliver – RS FR: 

A former three-star recruit, Oliver could be in the rotation this upcoming season at safety. Oliver is a ball-hawk type player who loves to find to the ball and get in the play. A player with great speed, Oliver could be used in multiple packages by the Yellow Jackets whether his duty is to pass rush, defend the run, or stay home at home at safety. He’ll grow into a very useful and versatile safety for the Yellow Jackets.

Tariq Carpenter – 

We talked yesterday about Carpenter possibly being in the corner back rotation but he actually is part of the safeties group. He appeared in six games last season including each of the team’s last four games. A tall safety at 6-foot-2, Carpenter does present a useful skill set and physique that the Jackets could use at safety, he could be another versatile safety for the Jackets like Oliver.

Jarrett Cole – RS SO

Cole was a strong player for Norcross in high school that at the time also featured a four-star safety in Clemson’s Van Smith . Cole over his first two seasons has only appeared in three games, all coming last season. This season, Cole will be fighting for time as a backup safety and will have an uphill battle against him.

Next: Georgia Tech Football Spring Position Previews: Cornerbacks

Overall, the Jackets safety group is one of the more experienced parts of the Yellow Jackets defense. The safety group despite having some less experienced guys still has quality experience overall and should be one of the deeper and stronger parts of the Jackets defense come this fall.