As we move on in our 2020 preliminary position previews, we take a look at the Georgia Tech defensive tackles.
Last season, it’s no secret that the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets struggled on defense and especially against the run. When you struggle against the run, a lot of it comes back to your defensive line and specifically your defensive tackles. So for a team that allowed over 200-yards per game last year on the ground, it’s safe to say that Georgia Tech will need better out of the group in 2020. The good news is, the talent and potential is there for the group to take a big step forward this season.
Entering this season, there’s three players that the Yellow Jackets will have who will by vying for playing time. The one obvious starter is redshirt sophomore T.K Chimedza while Djimon Brooks and Chris Martin will be battling for the second starting spot. Here’s a bit more one each of them.
T.K Chimedza: It feels like Chimedza has been on campus forever already but in reality, the former IMG Academy standout is only entering his redshirt sophomore season for the Yellow Jackets. Last season, Chimedza made seven starts at defensive tackle for the Yellow Jackets including each of their last six games. As mostly a full-time stater for the Yellow Jackets, Chimedza put in a quality season recording 33 tackles including one sack. In 2020, Chimedza is primed to take another step forward as he did in 2019. The biggest question for the 6-foot-3, 295-pounder is will he see a spike in his tackles for a loss and sacks. While it’s a place the entire defense has to improve, you would like to see the former high three-star, low four-star prospect rack up upwards of five or more tackles for a loss and at least two sacks this upcoming season.
Djimon Brooks: A redshirt senior and a former walk-on, Brooks saw himself become a stater towards the end of last season, making three-starts. Overall, he was one of the Jackets better defensive lineman last year and totaled 27 tackles which included a five tackle performance against Duke and a six tackle performance against Virginia Tech. He’ll have a chance to reclaim his starting position heading into the season and will most likely be batting Chris Martin to do so.
Chris Martin: Another redshirt senior, Martin has the most experience of the three defensive tackles discussed so far appearing in 17 games over his career. Last year, Martin made five starts for the Yellow Jackets, all coming in their first five games of the season. An injury would hamper his season and knock him out of the starting roll, he’d still end up playing in 10 games over the course of the season while recording eight tackles.
Jahziel Lee: The redshirt senior and former offensive lineman will make the full time switch to the defensive line and specifically defensive tackle. It’s hard to say how strong of a defensive tackle he’ll be for a Yellow Jacket but adding the depth and size will certainly help.
Jamal Camp: The redshirt freshman is likely the only other defensive tackle who will see the field this season. Camp has beefed up since coming to campus last year and is now approaching the 300-pound mark. Now that he is more up to the size of a college defensive tackle, he’ll get his opportunities to show what he’s got.
Michael Lockhart: I personally think Lockhart is on the border of rotational and likely to sit. At 282-pounds you’d still like to see him add more weight to his frame before he sees the field. He’s got good abilities based off his high school tape but he’s definitely a player who would probably benefit more from another season of limited playing time.
Likely to Sit:
D’Quan Douse: I guess as a redshirt freshman Douse could see the field but based off his official Georgia Tech profile, he’s still only around the 265-270-pound mark which is on the slim side for a Power Five defensive tackle. Based off that alone, I’d be a bit shocked if see Douse at any consistent rate. He’s likely someone we’ll see as a redshirt junior after he adds more weight to his frame.
Overall, the defensive tackle group for the Yellow Jackets is solid. Like the defensive tackles group, it’s not a group that will blow anyone away but it’s a group that should be a good bit better in 2020. There is solid talent at the position from top to bottom but will need to take a step forward in 2020.