Projected starter: Tevin Washington (Jr., 6-0, 205)
Others to watch: Synjyn Days redshirted last season and stayed No. 2 through behind Washington in spring practice. He often struggled with ball security, though he acquitted himself well in the spring game. Vad Lee is an anticipated incoming freshman who has fans atwitter with his passing ability. Demond Smith is another freshman who will get a look.
Key losses: Joshua Nesbitt was a three-year starter and the heart of Georgia Tech’s 2009 ACC championship team. Including the game in which he sustained a season-ending broken arm, the Yellow Jackets finished the season 1-4.
Key fact: Coach Paul Johnson has made it clear that Washington is the starter going into fall camp. It could change once practice begins, but Washington did enough last season and in spring practice to maintain a lead on Days.
Key fact II: Washington had two 100-yard rushing games in his four starts and averaged 105 yards in those games. Nesbitt didn’t get his second 100-yard rushing game until his 17th career start. They both averaged 4.4 yards per carry last season. This isn’t to suggest that Washington is Nesbitt’s equal, but that his play following Nesbitt’s loss had its merits.
Key question: How good can Washington be? He didn’t put a vise grip on the job following Nesbitt’s injury, and he didn’t help himself with a dismal performance in the spring game. As a result, fan sentiment has ridden high with the backup (Days) and the incoming freshman (Lee).
However, coaches were encouraged by Washington’s play overall in the spring, and it’s worth pointing out that Tech finished No. 1 in the nation in rushing with Washington running the offense for almost a third of the season. He lacks great arm strength, but if he makes progress in the passing game and ball security, he could be a surprise.
Key developments: Both Washington and Days have been working hard over the summer in strength and conditioning sessions, and Washington has taken a leadership role among teammates. Lee made a strong early impression in summer 7-on-7 passing drills.
Outlook: Questionable. It’s hard to get away from Washington’s 1-3 record as a starter, but it’s also not fair to pin it entirely on him given the way the Jackets offense was able to move the ball in those games. Losing Nesbitt last fall may have helped accelerate Tech’s spiral last fall, but the experience it gave Washington could prove beneficial come September. Having Days, who has shown playmaking flash but whose next college snap will be his first, as the No. 2 isn’t the ideal.
Your turn: What do you think?
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