Georgia Tech offensive line coach Brent Key will look to have big improvements on his unit in 2020.
Last season, Georgia Tech’s offensive line struggled for the most part as the offense made the transition from the triple-option to a pro-style system. The Jackets offensive line finished mostly across the bottom of offensive line stats last season including 111th in sack rate (8.6%) and 96th in line-yards per carry (2.36). Overall, it was just an ugly performance for most of the season but that was too be expected.
Following last season, the Yellow Jackets lost five offensive lineman which puts them in an equally tough situation heading into 2020. Those three offensive lineman gone are Brad Morgan, Scott Morgan, and Jared Southers. Not to mention that Jahziel Lee is now a defensive lineman after playing both ways last season. That being said, the Jackets probable offensive line in 2020 has a ton of experience at the collegiate level.
Starting Offensive Line (Right-to-Left):
Right Tackle: At right tackle in 2020 will most likely be Devin Cochran, a transfer from Vanderbilt. Cochran is an experienced lineman who made 32 starts over the last three seasons for the Commodores at both right tackle and right guard. He’ll mostly slide into the right tackle spot due to another graduate transfer.
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Right Guard: At right guard, we see Tennessee transfer Ryan Johnson getting the nod as the probable starter. Johnson has 36 games of experience including 19 starts over the last three seasons. Alongside Cochran, the Yellow Jackets should have a formidable right part of their offensive line.
Center: At center, will be redshirt senior Kenny Cooper who through his first three years on the field has played in 28 games including making 19 starts. He went down with an injury last season early in the season but should be ready to go for this season.
Left Guard: At left guard will most likely be redshirt junior Jack DeFoor who started nine of the Jackets 12 games last season for the Jackets at the position. DeFoor has versatility that will allow him to move to left tackle if necessary but in all likelihood, he’ll be the starter at left guard in 2020.
Left Tackle: Based off last year’s starting offensive line, redshirt junior Zach Quinney is the likely name at left tackle. Quinney started each of the Jackets nine games at left tackle last season after making 12 starts at the position in 2018.
Back-Up and Rotational Players:
Now that the starting offensive line is out of the way, here’s how the depth on the offensive line looks heading into 2020.
Mikey Minihan: A redshirt junior, Minihan made five starts last season with two starts at left guard and three starts at right guard.
William Lay III: Lay III filled in for Cooper last season after he went down with an injury and did struggle but with another year under his belt, he should be better suited for time on the field this season.
Michael Maye: As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Maye made nine appearances for the Yellow Jackets and will be able to fill in at guard if needed.
Charlie Clark: Clark has appeared in 14 games over the last three seasons including seven games last season, he enters his redshirt junior season this year after redshirting in 2017.
The Jackets also have a few other offensive lineman worth mentioning such as freshman Jordan Williams who at 6-foot-6 and 310-pounds as a true freshman could be someone who pushes for playing time as a true freshman. Redshirt sophomore Harrison Jump may also push for his first career playing time after not appearing in any games over his first two seasons.
Overall, the Yellow Jackets offensive line is expected to and should take a step in the right direction entering 2020. The Jackets offensive line is quite experienced even though it hasn’t played as a unit together. The right side of the offensive line should definitely be a strength while the left side will be targeted more by opposing defenses. All in all, the offensive line should see quite the improvement in 2020 from where it was in 2020.