In the final part of our spring position previews, we take a look at Georgia Tech’s special teams which truly have a chance to be special in 2019.
Last year, Georgia Tech’s special teams were up-and-down at times. They had their struggles and they had their fair share of successes. That being said, in 2019, the Jackets special teams truly has a chance to be a special unit.
The Jackets have one scholarship kicker on the roster in Brenton King but if last year is any indication, King will not be the Jackets starting placekicker in 2019. Instead, walk-on Wesley Wells seems like the more likely option heading into 2019 and will have a chance to prove himself once again this spring.
Wells last season was perfect for the Yellow Jackets in the most literal sense. Wells was a perfect 39-for-39 in extra points and was 9-for-9 in field goal attempts. It will be tough for Wells to have that type of consistency again this season but he has a chance to be one of the better kickers in the ACC. The biggest question mark for him going forward is he if has the leg strength to be consistent in longer attempts.
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Entering his junior season, Pressley Harvin III will look to bounce back from a season that he had his struggles at times. Harvin last season averaged 41.3 yards per punt, about 3-yards less than his freshman average of 44.1. Harvin has the skillset and potential to be an All-ACC punter, if not All-American punter. That being said, he will need to find more consistency in 2019 if he hopes to reach those heights. Either way, having a punter like Harvin is a game changer for any program. His leg will be a big advantage if the Jackets ever have offensive struggles.
The Jackets kick returner in 2019 will be without a doubt, Juanyeh Thomas. The freshman All-American was electric last season for the Jackets in the kick return averaging 25.3 yards per return as a true freshman. He also returned two kickoffs for a touchdown last season including one against Georgia. He’s a terrific return man and easily one of the best in the country, having him back there will make any team think twice about kicking to him and like Harvin above, Thomas is a true game-changer on special teams.
Last season, the punt return duties primarily belonged to senior Brad Stewart. With Stewart gone now, the Jackets will have to look elsewhere. That being said, the obvious choice in our mind is obviously Juanyeh Thomas. While punt returning is a whole different animal from kick returning, Thomas has the abilities to excel in the punt return just as much as he has from kick returning. He showed a few those abilities last year, with 5 punt returns for 43-yards. The punt return duties will be an interesting battle to watch this spring and heading into the fall.
Overall, the Jackets special teams are headlined by three top guys at their position in the ACC. While Wesley Wells hasn’t shown a ton of leg strength early in his career, he’s been on target and consistent. Pressley Harvin III had a tough sophomore season but he’s still one o the best punters in the entire country while Juanyeh Thomas has the chance to return a kickoff for a touchdown each and every time he’s on the field.