Georgia Tech Football: Previewing the Jackets spring defensive line group

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 9: Bryant Horn #14 of the Jacksonville State Gamecocks is sacked by Antwan Owens #89 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on September 9, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 9: Bryant Horn #14 of the Jacksonville State Gamecocks is sacked by Antwan Owens #89 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on September 9, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The Georgia Tech defensive line will look to step up their game in 2019 but will need a strong spring performance first.

Last season, Georgia Tech’s defensive line struggled to get to the quarterback at a consistent rate. The Jackets leader on the defensive line was senior defensive end Anree Saint-Amour. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound end put together a quality season with 47 tackles and 12 tackles for a loss but managed just four sacks. It would be the Jackets team high for the season.

That being said, the Jackets defensive line was among the lowest in terms of sack production of any Power Five program last season with just 6.5 sacks as a group. To make matters worse, by our count, the Jackets return zero sack production from last season among both their both defensive ends and defensive tackles. Defensive line coach Larry Knight will have a ton of work to do and it won’t be an easy transition for Knight or the Jackets defensive line group.

Defensive End:

At defensive end, we count six scholarship players for the 2019 season with five of them on campus for the spring as Sylvian Youndjean enrolled on campus this past winter. On campus with Youndjean is a rather young group of defensive ends led by junior Antwan Owens. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound from Tallahassee, Florida put up 21 tackles as a sophomore last season, including 13 solo tackles. He also forced one fumble on the season.

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The next man up in terms of seniority among the defensive ends is 6-foot-3, 275-pound Stockbridge (GA) native Kelton Dawson. The redshirt sophomore recorded just one tackle last season for the Jackets while appearing in two games. There will be two redshirt freshman in the group as well with Quon Griffin and Luke Johns both redshirting last season. 6-foot-0 and 275-pound Rome (GA) native Ja’Quon Griffin appeared in two games as a true freshman for the Yellow Jackets and recorded two tackles in the process. Luke Johns, on the other hand, didn’t play last season but has a nice build at 6-foot-5 and 235-pounds. That build could possibly see Johns make a move to tight end if the Jackets need him to do so but with a nice combination of size and speed, Johns could become a nice defensive end for the Jackets.

Defensive Tackle:

Leading the defensive tackles group is a pair of seniors in Brandon Adams and Brentavious Glanton. Adams is the most experienced defensive lineman for the Jackets returning this season. Adams appeared in all 13 games for the Yellow Jackets last season, recording 24 tackles including five tackles for a loss. He still, however, is looking for his first career sack, he’ll be one of the Jackets starters on the defensive line next season and will be one of our picks for a potential breakout player.

Glanton, on the other hand, has seen as much playing time, playing in just seven games last season and recorded four tackles. It was not what was expected out of Glanton after he appeared in 10 games the season before and recorded 21 tackles including 3.0 tackles for a loss. He’ll most likely be the second defensive tackle in the Jackets 4-3 system.

The lone junior of the group is Loganville native Chris Martin, who stands at 6-foot-1 and 287-pounds. Martin appeared in six games last season and recorded four tackles. That being said, Martin didn’t appear in a game following the Jackets win over Miami on November 10.

That leaves us with a pair of redshirt freshman that will be on campus this spring. First up is former highly touted defensive tackle T.K. Chimezda who saw his stock drop before arriving on campus and appeared in four games last season. In those four games, he recorded four tackles. Chimezda is an exciting prospect for the Jackets and it will be fun to see what Larry Knight could do with Chimezda this spring and next fall. The other redshirt freshman defensive tackle is 6-foot-5 and 295-pound McDonough native Austin Smith who failed to appear in a game for the Yellow Jackets as a true freshman.

The Jackets did recruit two defensive tackles in the 2019 recruiting class bringing in three-stars Jamal Camp and Michal Lockhart. However, neither prospect is on campus this spring but will be enrolled this summer.


The Jacket defensive line entering 2019 is certainly a work in progress. The Jackets lost a lot of leadership in the trenches this offseason and replacing that leadership is going to be highly important if the Jackets hope to have any defensive success in 2019. During the Paul Johnson tenure, the Jackets’ defensive lines were not very threatening and rarely put up big numbers. It will be interesting to see if Larry Knight and the Jackets defensive coaching staff including head coach Geoff Collins can help turn that around and make the Jackets defensive line a bit more threatening in 2019.