SHREVEPORT, La. — Three Georgia Tech players, including starting outside linebacker Anthony Egbuniwe, were suspended from the first half of Monday’s Independence Bowl against Air Force because they missed Friday night’s curfew.
The other two players are reserve defensive backs Michael Peterson and Louis Young.
The temporary suspension will further weaken a defense that will already be missing a starter and two reserves for the game due to various academic suspensions. Starting safety Mario Edwards was ruled ineligible earlier this week after failing to meet Tech’s academic standards. He was joined by reserve outside linebacker Anthony Barnes and reserve defensive end Robert Hall, both of whom failed to meet the NCAA’s academic standards.
In addition, starting wide receiver Stephen Hill was ruled out, also for failing to meet Tech’s academic standards.
Egbuniwe, a redshirt senior from Greenville, S.C., started 12 games this season. He is fifth on the team in tackles (59). The absence of Barnes and Egbuniwe may mean more playing time for true freshman Jeremiah Attaochu. Playing mostly in passing situations he has three sacks — just one off the team lead — as part of 17 tackles. Malcolm Munroe may be the backup at both outside linebacker positions.
Peterson, a redshirt junior from Tampa, has six tackles. Young, a freshman from Washington D.C., has 10 tackles.
Edwards, a senior from College Park, was Tech’s third-leading tackler (68). He also started every game. Rashaad Reid, a junior, will likely start in place of Edwards, coach Paul Johnson said on Sunday. Reid has eight tackles this season as a reserve. He started three games at safety last season.
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. He will be able to participate in spring practices.
– Doug Roberson, AJC