1. Georgia Tech long snapper Tyler Morgan’s first interaction with coach Paul Johnson was memorable. When Morgan, who grew up in a family of Georgia fans, found out that Johnson was going to make a recruiting visit that evening, he had to call his parents to tell them to hide all of the Bulldogs paraphernalia around the house.
The rest of his career has progressed more smoothly. Morgan came to Tech from Fayetteville as a walk-on in 2009, earned a spot in the lineup that season, won a scholarship and has played ever since.
“He’s done a great job,” Johnson said. “I think he’s had a very successful career.”
After snapping for punts as a freshman and sophomore, he’s been the snapper for punts, field goals and extra points for his final two seasons, winning his job back this year after suffering a season-ending injury midway through the 2011 season. This season, in special-teams coordinator David Walkosky’s protection scheme, he’s had to block after snapping rather than running downfield.
“The first three years, I’d snap and go cover, but this year, I think my snapping’s gotten better than it was,” said Morgan, crediting work done over the summer with punter Sean Poole.
Morgan has made it through four seasons averting major disaster, like a snap over the punter’s head, “which I guess is pretty good for four years,” he said.
Morgan will graduate at the end of the spring term with a management degree. He hopes to get a shot at the NFL.
As for his family’s Bulldogs keepsakes, “I don’t think we have anything left, honestly,” he said. “We hate ’em now.”
2. Johnson released the team after Thursday’s practice, one day earlier than planned. Players will be off until Wednesday, when the team will travel to El Paso, Texas, for the Sun Bowl. All told, including practice in El Paso, the Jackets will have had 13 bowl practice sessions and one walk-through in preparation for USC.
“I think the attitude and energy level’s been really good,” Johnson said.
3. The team placed 35 players — roughly 30 percent of the roster — on the dean’s list. Of the 35, 23 are on scholarship, including offensive tackle Ray Beno, safety Isaiah Johnson, inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy, kicker David Scully and Morgan. Students need to average a 3.0 GPA for the term to make dean’s list. The team had an average GPA around 2.56, Johnson said.
Said Johnson, “It’s pretty good for Tech.”
4. Tech and USC share a connection involving perhaps the greatest family in NFL history. Clay Matthews Sr. played for Tech in the late 1940’s for coach Bobby Dodd. Both of his sons, Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews and four-time Pro Bowler Clay Matthews Jr, played for USC, as did his grandson, Clay Matthews III, now with the Green Bay Packers.
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Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog