We delve back into our Georgia Tech football spring position previews as we look at the Yellow Jackets linebackers.
Entering this spring, one position to watch that has a strong group of young budding stars is the Yellow Jackets linebacker core. The linebacker core enters the spring with 11 linebackers on official roster but only 9 will be in spring camp as incoming freshman Chico Bennett and Cornelius Evans will arrive this spring.
Leading the group of linebackers are seniors Tyler Cooksly and David Curry. Cooksly appeared in 13 games last season for the Yellow Jackets but failed to record a tackle, playing mostly in mop-up time and special teams. He only has one career tackle but has a good deal of experience with 23 career games played. Curry, on the other hand, is a highly experienced linebacker for the Jackets.
After not seeing much time in his freshman and sophomore campaigns, Curry saw heightened playing time last year as a junior and it resulted in a career-high in tackles. In 13 games, Curry recorded 47 tackles including a half a tackle for a loss. He put up a career high in tackles with 7 tackles against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
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Cooksly will have the opportunity to battle for a starting spot but in all likelihood, he’ll remain a reserve linebacker for the Jackets this upcoming season. Curry, on the other hand, will most likely remain a starter in 2019 for the Yellow Jackets at the middle-linebacker position but he will have a tough battle in the process.
A trio of juniors for the Yellow Jackets return in 2019 headlined by Bruce Jordan-Swilling. The former four-star recruit put together a decent sophomore campaign but saw his numbers drop overall after a promising freshman season. While he and fans alike would’ve seen him with more playing time, he has progressed rather well in his career so far and should be a fun player to watch this season. Additionally, it wouldn’t be shocking if Geoff Collins and the Jackets staff try to use him both sides of the ball as he was also a notable running back prospect coming out of Lousiana in 2017. Look for Jordan-Swilling to make a big impact in 2019.
The other true junior is Jaquon Henderson who despite having quite a bit of experience with 19 games played through two seasons has totaled just 18 total tackles. He’ll look for elevated playing time in 2019 and could do well seeing what he’s done so far in limited time. A promising prospect, Henderson could be in for big things in the near future. The final junior is redshirt junior Jakob Brashear who has the least amount of playing time of the trio with two career games played. Brashear will most likely see a reserve role again in 2019 and limited playing time on defense but may see more time on special teams.
There are two sophomores in the linebacking group for Georgia Tech and the first is rising star Charlie Thomas. Last season, Thomas had a breakout season for the Yellow Jackets and quickly became known for being a hard hitter and always finding the ball. he finished the season with 48 tackles including three tackles for a loss. He also had one forced fumble on the season. If that was his freshman season looked like, it will be fun to see what Thomas could provide as a sophomore. Thomas could be a player who plays a variety of positions this upcoming season for the Jackets thanks to his versatility but also his ability to make plays. Joining Thomas is Quez Jackson who played 13 games as a true freshman and recorded 15 tackles in the process. Jackson looked good in his time on the field last season and played well above his recruiting ranking. We’ll see if he can continue it heading into his sophomore season.
There will be three redshirt freshman this spring with the linebackers. The most notable is that of Justice Dingle. Dingle played in four games last season and recorded one tackle. He has great size at 6-foot-3, and 250-pounds, now he just needs to put it all together. If he can do so, Dingle could become a dangerous player for the Jackets. Joining Dingle, is Jordan Domineck who played in three games as a true freshman and recorded five tackles. Domineck looked good in his limited playing time on the field but does have a good bit of development still yet to go. He’s got good size for a linebacker at 6-foot-3 and 220-pounds. He may need another year of development before seeing a tick up in playing time but for now, Domineck looks to be a great off the bench and reserve option for the Jackets coaching staff.
Overall, the Yellow Jackets linebackers are a pretty strong group in terms of potential. With several high upside players within the group, the Jackets have no shortage of talent. However, outside of David Curry and Bruce Jordan-Swilling, the group does lack experience. It will be worth watching early in the season if that has any negative impacts on the position groups play. But for now, it’s a promising group for the Jackets and one that could be special this season.