The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets made headlines this offseason when starting quarterback Vad Lee announced that he would be transferring following his sophomore season. While losing a starting quarterback is never an ideal situation, GT may end up coming out ahead in this instance. Lee’s departure has opened the door for Justin Thomas to take the reins and the Jackets could be better off for it.
For all his talents, Lee was never a natural fit in the triple-option offense. That led to a lot of frustration both for Lee and head coach Paul Johnson. As athletically gifted as Lee was, he struggled to really take advantage of the rushing opportunities in the Georgia Tech offense and managed just 2.82 yards per carry in 2013.
Thomas, on the other hand, is a more natural option quarterback and will settle in easily under center in 2014. He showed off excellent athleticism and control of the offense in limited action last season, averaging 7.09 yards per carry on 33 attempts with a pair of touchdowns. Having a trigger-man in the option offense who is comfortable in the role and can run it properly will help the Georgia Tech offense immensely.
There are some questions about Thomas. Chiefly, how will his passing ability develop in his sophomore season? The Yellow Jackets have some talent at receiver in 2014 but Thomas has yet to show he’s as proficient through the air as he is on the ground. In 2013, he completed just 9-of-17 attempts for 131 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
But the passing game is never the top priority of a Paul Johnson offense. If Thomas can step into the starting lineup and run the triple-option efficiently and effectively, Georgia Tech will be a dangerous opponent in the ACC title race this season.