Four Georgia Tech players, including starting safety Mario Edwards and starting wide receiver Stephen Hill, will miss the Independence Bowl because of academic issues.
In addition to Edwards and Hill, both of whom failed to meet Tech’s academic standards, reserve defensive lineman Robert Hall and reserve outside linebacker Anthony Barnes aren’t eligible to play because of their failure to meet the NCAA’s academic requirements, according to a statement from the school. There is some irony involved: Hall graduated in the spring, Barnes in the summer.
The Yellow Jackets (6-6) will play Air Force (8-4) on Monday night in Shreveport, La.
Hill, a sophomore from Lithonia, led the Jackets in receptions (15), receiving yards (291) and touchdown receptions (3) this season. He started nine games. He also rushed three times for 34 yards. Hill’s absence means Tech has just four receivers who have caught passes this season: Correy Earls (8 receptions, 56 yards, 1 touchdown), Tyler Melton (5 receptions, 96 yards, 1 TD), Kevin Cone (5 receptions, 89 yards, 1 TD) and Daniel McKayhan (1 reception, 13 yards). Another wide receiver, reserve Quentin Sims, announced he was transferring earlier this week.
Edwards, a senior from College Park, was Tech’s third-leading tackler (68). He started every game this season. True freshman Isaiah Johnson could start in Edwards’ place. Johnson, who started three games earlier this season, had 41 tackles and an interception. Tech was already thin at the position because Cooper Taylor left the team earlier this season. Rashaad Reid has experience at safety. Dominique Reese played safety last season before moving to cornerback.
– Doug Roberson, AJC