Georgia Tech Must Replenish Backfield To Remain Competitive In ACC

By Jerry Landry
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football Orange Bowl celebration
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

For an offense that relies on four ball-carriers, losing three of them is kind of a big deal. Yet Paul Johnson is stone-cold when it comes to sticking with his offense, and like the three-time ACC coach of the year he is, he’s likely to immediately find three more dudes to fill his backfield. But just where will he find them in 2015?

Zach Laskey, Synjyn Days and Charles Perkins are departing from the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, and now it’s become next man up time in Atlanta. Although QB Justin Thomas was the leading ground threat with 1086 yards and a 5.7 average per carry, Days, Laskey and Perkins also pounded their way to 924, 851 and 443 yards respectively in 2014, or in other words, accounted for 46 percent of Georgia Tech’s rushing attack.

In fact, you could argue that Tech loses more than that, as five of the Yellow Jackets’ top seven rushers were seniors in 2014.

If 2015 works out for Georgia Tech, it’ll be dubbed either the “year of the system” or Justin Thomas’ year of transcendence. 2015 will be a proving ground for Thomas, showing the rest of college football whether he really could be a Heisman candidate or that his Orange Bowl performance against the Mississippi State Bulldogs was a byproduct of a well-oiled system. If Thomas truly is as bright a star as we saw in January, it’d be a shame to see it dimmed by his supporting cast.

To counteract the three departures, coach Johnson has at least three remedies: Broderick Snoddy, Omahri Jarrett and Dorian Walker. Both Jarrett and Walker are 3-star recruits who would have to realize their potential in a hurry but also need to honor their commitments through Feb. 4’s National Signing Day. Walker could also play defensive back for the Yellow Jackets, so the snaps he sees on offense could be limited, if not eliminated. Snoddy is still rehabbing a gruesome leg injury he suffered last November against the Clemson Tigers, but he does have four years of experience in Johnson’s offense since he redshirted his freshman year.

Assuming Snoddy makes a strong recovery, Jarrett assimilates the offense in stride and a third candidate emerges early, Johnson may not have to work as hard as initially thought. Then again you know he will put the work in regardless, and he’ll find the right pieces. After all, he is the three-time ACC coach of the year.

Jerry Landry is a writer for Follow Jerry on Twitter at @Jerry2Landry, “Like” him on Facebook or add him on Google.

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