Our final recap piece from the Florida State game, is defensive position grades for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Game one has come and gone for the Jackets and their defense, while hard to assign them defensive grades after only one game, they still showed many aspects that prove they put in work. When talking about the defense, we have to remember Coach Geoff Collins history. When Coach Collins coached at Florida in 2016, great things were happening (defensively at least). Under Collins, the Gators allowed just 14 points in three games. They held their first three opponents in that season to just under 200 yards per game. So, knowing how great things worked out for Collins in Gainesville, I have high expectations for Tech’s defense this year.
Defensive Line: A
Let’s start off with the star of the game defensively, Curtis Ryans. Ryan’s doesn’t really even need an explanation but I’ll give you one anyway. He was recognized by the ACC and nationally for his effort, racking up four tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles speak for themselves. It was one of the best single game efforts by a Tech defensive lineman in a long time. Djimon Brooks did a great job at staying with Blackman throughout the game. He also recovered a forced fumble. Overall, the Jackets defensive line helped produce three sacks and seven tackles for a loss for the Yellow Jackets. They also helped keep FSU to just 109 rushing yards on the day and an average of 3.1 yards per carry.
Let’s start with LB Quez Jackson. Not only was his interception impressive, but his seven solo tackles really seal the deal. It was only his first career interception, but I predict many more to come. Beyond Jackson, it was a great effort from the unit as a whole including David Curry who has six tackles in the game including one sack and two tackles for a loss, he has also had one fumble recovery. Demetrius Knight also looked solid with four total tackles.
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The Yellow Jackets secondary was a strength early last season and will look to be throughout this season. On Saturday, they allowed just 198 yards passing by Florida State and kept the Seminoles to a completion percentage of just 51%, you’ll take those numbers any day of the week. That being said, early in the game, the secondary did allow some wide open receivers across the middle. Luckily James Blackmon and FSU just isn’t sharp enough to take advantage of those miscues too much. They’ll get hurt this year if they’re not careful and clean that up. Zamari Walton is one who stood out on Saturday with seven tackles including four solo tackles.
In his few punting opportunities on Saturday, Hardin did just fine averaging 41.7 yards per punt including a long of 53. You’d like to see the average a bit higher but it’s a good start for the senior punter.
Overall, it was a high quality defensive effort from the Yellow Jackets and one to build momentum on. There was certainly a lot of good but also quite a bit that better opposing teams will be able to take advantage of the Jackets are not careful. But for the first game of a season against a quality opponent, you can’t really complain if you’re a Georgia Tech fan.