1. Georgia Tech safety Isaiah Johnson will not play in the Sun Bowl with a lower-body injury suffered in bowl practice in Atlanta, coach Paul Johnson confirmed. Isaiah Johnson is Tech’s leading tackler and had started 26 consecutive games. His likely replacement in the starting lineup will be Chris Milton, although Demond Smith and Jamal Golden will likely get snaps at safety also.
2. USC quarterback Matt Barkley sent out a Twitter message Thursday saying that he hasn’t been cleared by doctors, so he won’t be playing in the Sun Bowl. Barkley, the Pac-12’s career record holder for passing touchdowns and yards, suffered a shoulder injury against UCLA Nov. 17.
He’ll be replaced by Max Wittek, a redshirt freshman who was 14-for-23 for 186 yards (one touchdown, two interceptions) against Notre Dame in the Trojans’ final regular-season game.
3. Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu called submitting his name to the NFL draft advisory board “basically the thing to do as a junior.” He said he wasn’t yet sure if he will stay for his senior season or declare for the draft.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen between now and next year,” he said. “I’m just looking at Monday.”
4. Attaochu on the Wednesday Sun Bowl dinner for which USC was late in arriving: “We ate, we listened to music, we just waited for a while. That was about it.”
5. Tech practiced for the first time Thursday, a full-pads workout, and will continue Friday afternoon at a local high school. After Thursday’s practice, about 20 players visited a local children’s hospital. The team also went to nearby Fort Bliss to visit with soldiers stationed on the base.
Players are scheduled to receive their bowl gifts Friday.
6. Said Attaochu about practice, “It feels good getting that El Paso air in our system. In the altitude, it’s a little different, you have to adjust to that so it was good getting back out there to practice.”
7. Guard Omoregie Uzzi on the team’s mindset: “Of course, we’re excited. USC’s a great program. They have great players on the team, a couple young guys, but they get after it. It’s going to be a huge test to take those guys down, but we’re up for the challenge.”
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Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog