The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are looking to improve on their 7-7 2012 campaign in 2013 and get back to the ACC Championship game. To do that, they will need to get a bit more out of their defense which surrendered more than 28 points per game last season. They’ll get a boost on their defensive line with Jeremiah Attaochu making the move to defensive end from linebacker, where the pass rusher should flourish.
Attaochu has spent the last three seasons as an outside linebacker and has developed into their best pass rusher off the edge. He comes into 2013 as the No. 8 all-time sack leader in Georgia Tech program history. Last season, he led the team with 10 sacks to go along with 69 total tackles. Now, he will try and become an even bigger force in offensive backfields rushing on every down as a defensive end.
The move isn’t completely new for the senior. He spent quite a bit of time in a three-point stance last season, but that came mostly in passing situations and third down when he was clearly rushing the passer. This spring, he’s been learning how to come out of a three-point stance on every down, using his leverage to hold the edge and take on offensive tackles with more than just a speed rush.
His ability to rush the passer will be a major boost to the Tech defensive line next fall. The Yellow Jackets lose their top two defensive linemen from 2012 due to graduation and their returning defensive line combined for just eight sacks last year. GT finished No. 59 in college football in sacks last year, and will need Attaochu to step up his pass-rush game to maintain (and hopefully improve) on that ranking.
The move has looked natural so far, and it will allow Attaochu to do what he does best in 2013: rush the passer. Will the move give the GT defense extra bite next fall?