While Georgia Tech guard Omoregie Uzzi has won wide recognition for his play, neither safety Jemea Thomas nor A-back Robbie Godhigh received a single vote from coaches or media for All-ACC selection. All three, though, earned plenty of respect and acknowledgement of their teammates.
Fifteen Tech players were asked for their choices for the Yellow Jackets’ top offensive and defensive players for the season, selected the two playmakers. Thomas won by a wide margin as the top defender, while Godhigh and Uzzi tied for having the best seasons on offense.
Even during the rockier moments of the season, “people don’t really realize this, but Jemea, he always played at his peak,” outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu said.
Said Thomas of Godhigh, “Robbie’s phenomenal. Robbie just does things when he gets the ball.”
Said guard Shaquille Mason of Uzzi, “Most people don’t see how effective he is, but as a one-on-one blocker, he’ll win the battle every time.”
Going into Monday’s Sun Bowl
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.
The Sun Bowl isn’t just college football’s second-oldest bowl game, tied with the Sugar and Orange. it’s also a game with a tradition of providing hair care for the mothers and girlfriends of its participants.
Having been there last season, as well, Georgia Tech players know the routine. Among the bowl gifts given to participants in the Sun Bowl, where Tech will play USC Dec. 31, is perhaps the oddest present of all 35 bowls – a hair dryer.
When told last year about the hair dryer, defensive end Izaan Cross said, “I was like, O.K., my mom gets another Christmas present.”
By NCAA rule, up to 125 bowl participants per team can receive up to $550 worth of gifts from bowl game organizers. Typically, the most awarded gifts are watches, gift cards and gift suites, in which players are offered a variety of merchandise. This year, the Sun Bowl package also includes a Timely watch, Majestic fleece, Top of the World cap and a coin in addition to the hair dryer. The $350 gift suite from
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
There’s little difficulty in selecting the highlight of Georgia Tech’s special-teams efforts this season – kick returner Jamal Golden’s two kickoff returns for touchdowns.
After that, it gets a little murkier.
After four years of largely sub-par special-teams play, coach Paul Johnson went against his career-long pattern of dividing up kicking-game coaching among the staff and hired David Walkosky to be his first assistant to coach only special teams. As Golden’s touchdowns would suggest, the change has paid off in some ways and has yet to return an investment in others.
“It’s been a lot like the team,” Johnson said. “It’s been hot and cold.”
The biggest weakness was the placekicking. Tech’s three kickers have made 11 of 18 attempts, 10th in the ACC at 61.1 percent. Remarkably, Tech was also 11-for-18 last year, all but one kick off the foot of Justin Moore.
This season, all but one of the misses came in a stretch against Clemson, Boston College and BYU when David Scully and
USC stood up Georgia Tech for a Sun Bowl dinner Wednesday night, reportedly showing up more than 90 minutes late for a function. By the time the Trojans party arrived, Tech had already left to return to its team hotel.
A later-than-scheduled practice was partly to blame, according to an online report from the L.A. Daily News.
It is another faux pas for USC in its relations with the host city of El Paso, Texas. Shortly after the team was chosen to play in the Sun, a Trojans linebacker sent out a Twitter message critical of El Paso. Another USC football player sent out a tweet Wednesday describing El Paso as an “(expletive) city.”
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog
Former Georgia Tech signee Denzel McCoy was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing a woman’s purse in a Buckhead nightspot and then using four of her credit cards. Because of a heart condition, McCoy never played for the Yellow Jackets and was placed on medical scholarship.
Link to story here.
A year ago, Louis Young did not travel with Georgia Tech for the Sun Bowl, having to sit the game out with an NCAA suspension. The Yellow Jackets lost to Utah in overtime in a game that the cornerback could well have made a difference.
This season, Tech is back in the Sun Bowl, arriving Wednesday in El Paso, Texas, to play USC Dec. 31. This time, Young is with the Jackets.
“I guess it’s just fate,” Young said. “I guess it’s bittersweet thinking about last year, but the good thing about it is I feel like, just me being here this year, I can contribute in a major way and help us get that win.”
Young’s trip through the calendar pretty much hit for the cycle of college athlete woe, some of it self-inflicted – NCAA suspension, injuries, the firing of the coach who recruited him and poor play on the field. On top of that, the Jackets failed to live up to the expectations they held for themselves. They reached the ACC Championship game but will face the Trojans with a
After her son Nick graduated from Georgia Tech in August, Lisa McRae hung up his diploma on a wall in her bedroom.
Said Lisa McRae, “I get to wake up and look at it and smile.”
Nick McRae’s playing career at Tech never lifted off; the offensive lineman from Dublin has played 42 games for the Yellow Jackets line but started only two. However, McRae can lay claim to a more noteworthy achievement. Out of the 15 players in the 20-member 2008 recruiting class – coach Paul Johnson’s first – who were on the team four or more years, 13 have graduated. The final two, nose tackle T.J. Barnes and outside linebacker Malcolm Munroe, are on track to graduate in the spring. (What’s more, the five who transferred earlier have either graduated or are on track to graduate at their schools, which would produce a stunning 20-for-20 mark.)
The senior Jackets will complete their playing careers against USC in the Sun Bowl, Dec. 31 in El Paso, Texas. Starting with the 2009 season, their on-field
Updated, 8:15 p.m. – Georgia Tech wanted The Citadel to come to McCamish Pavilion so badly the school even agreed to pay for its bus ride to and from Atlanta on top of writing a $75,000 check.
Saturday’s game made the reason for Tech’s interest fairly clear. The Yellow Jackets claimed an easy win that provided plenty of playing time for their reserves in a 73-41 win over the Bulldogs. It was Tech’s fourth consecutive win, the first time the Jackets have done that since the 2009-10 season.
“We’re making some progress, there’s no doubt about it,” coach Brian Gregory said. “And we still have a long way to go.”
The Citadel, which entered the game No. 347 out of 347 Division I teams in RPI according to realtimerpi.com, never had a chance against a Tech team that has loaded up on relative weaklings in its final five games before the start of ACC play in January.
Playing before an unusually revved-up holiday crowd of 7,769 that was supported by hundreds of walk-up customers, Tech