They will carry the banner for Georgia Tech in autumns to come. This year, most of Georgia Tech’s 2012 signing class carried out scout-team assignments to prep the first- and second-string Yellow Jackets.
A handful have made an impression on their teammates with their ability and promise. Four of Tech’s 17-member class played this season – wide receiver Anthony Autry, defensive lineman Adam Gotsis, punter Ryan Rodwell and defensive back D.J. White. Of the other 13, the following five redshirting freshmen were repeatedly identified by players and coaches for having stood out on the practice field.
Said quarterback Tevin Washington, “He’s going to be a real special player.”
Both starting safeties, Isaiah Johnson and Jemea Thomas, will return next season, although Thomas could return to corner. Holton and Griffin will be in the mix with Chris Milton, Demond Smith and Coray Carlson.
“Pat sticks out more just because he’s strong, he’s quick,” A-back Orwin Smith said. “He flies around.”
Like all the freshmen, Gamble will begin his first full offseason in the strength and conditioning program and figures to add weight and strength. Smith said that if he and fellow freshman lineman Francis Kallon can develop a more tenacious style, “they can bring some damage to some teams.”
With nose tackle T.J. Barnes and end Izaan Cross graduating, spots will be open in the line rotation for Gamble, Kallon and others.
“Mike, he has great hands, he can catch the ball really well,” he said. “I can’t wait till he starts playing.”
Summers (6-1, 190) and fellow freshman receivers Travin Henry and Autry, both rehabilitating knee injuries, should be ready to compete with Darren Waller and Jeremy Moore next season.
“He might not look like it, but Mike is an athlete,” Sims said.
“I don’t go against Freddie a lot, but he’s quick for his size,” Cross said. “He needs to get a little bit stronger, but he’s very quick for his size. Quick feet.”
Burden (6-3, 292), who figures to back up Jay Finch next season for Finch’s senior season, could have played this season, Attaochu said.
“He’s a competitor,” Attaochu said. “He’s pretty legit.”
“I really don’t know who’s fastest (on the team),” Attaochu said, “but he’s pretty quick, elusive.”
Thomas (5-11, 169) has been impressing teammates since he arrived last summer, back when he stung receivers’ hands with zipped passes in seven-on-seven drills. He’ll compete with quarterback Vad Lee in the spring for the starting job.
“I actually think (Lee) and Justin are going to be fun, watching them in the spring next year,” Sims said, “because Justin is electric.”
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Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog