Posted: 8:30 a.m. Monday, April 15, 2013
By Joey Weaver
As I've previously speculated, the distance on the depth chart between Vad Lee and Justin Thomas isn't as much as many would like to think. That's not to say that Lee is not as good as we might think, but more to say that Thomas is being grossly underestimated as a backup. Both guys have had their share of impressive showings between practices and scrimmages, with each making lengthy runs and passes. There's no way that Coach Johnson can afford to keep Thomas and his talents on the sidelines for most of any game this fall -- it's going to be imperative that he and Lee each see significant playing time. Perhaps one will play two drives for every one that the other plays, but in any case we should expect to see plenty of the both of them, barring an injury.
(As an aside, Tim Byerly is looking more and more to be a very serviceable third-stringer in the case that neither Lee or Thomas can go.)
A healthy David Sims is looking to be a pretty major threat this fall, while his backup Zach Laskey is more than capable of filling in when Sims needs a rest. The interesting battle here will be for the third-string spot, which could also see some "special packages" duties in pistol or shotgun sets. The contenders there are Broderick Snoddy, Charles Perkins, the walk-on Matt Connors, and the freshman Donovan Wilson. It would appear as though Snoddy leads, although Perkins is gaining ground now that he's back to full health. With Perkins about to become a redshirt junior this fall, it's fair to say that this is his last shot to get significant playing time in a Georgia Tech uniform. Keep an eye as this position battle continues to evolve.
Emmanuel "Too Tall" Dieke and Euclid Cummings haven't yet done much to set themselves aside as the premiere players on the team at the strong-side DE position. Meanwhile, Anthony Williams is fitting into the new role nicely and should see some time this fall. The interesting name to watch here will be Tyler Stargel, the redshirt freshman who has made some big plays across scrimmages and practices in the past couple of weeks. Plan on seeing some of him on the field this fall, barring injury or someone else really flipping a switch.
Nothing major to report here outside of Beau Hankins standing out as a candidate to be a second-string outside linebacker. He's had success both in pass rushing and pass defense, so get ready to see him in some passing situations where the defense might be looking to use a special package.
This battle is probably the most unique, because the guy who's winning it may well be the guy who's yet to set foot on campus -- Harrison Butker. I say this because incumbents David Scully and Justin Moore haven't really blown anyone out of the water this spring. Their erratic performances have ranged from nearly perfect to nearly fruitless. Expect to hear about an "open competition" (in the purest sense of the phrase) this fall in practice leading up to the start of the season.