During the 2021 season, Georgia Tech had one of the worst secondary in the nation and lost most of that team’s key contributors heading into this past season. There have been some ups and downs, but the unit has improved significantly in some areas, and with cornerback Zamari Walton’s decision to return for the 2023 season, Georgia Tech is on track for 2023. It was set to have one of the ACC’s best secondary.
One of the reasons for the improvement was the emergence of a safety duo of LaMiles Brooks and freshman Clayton Powell-Lee. According to PFF (Pro Football Focus), Brooks finished as Georgia Tech’s highest-performing player, with Walton and Powell finishing him third and him fifth. An entire defense, and possibly an entire team.
After safely losing Tariq Carpenter and Juanie Thomas, Georgia Tech had to replace both experienced safety for 2022. King suffered a season-ending injury early in the season and Allen was replaced by Powell Lee, which proved to be the right decision. I responded by
Brooks finished the season with a team-leading 52 tackles and 3 interceptions. His best performance came when he finished with nine tackles and a pick six, in a loss to Virginia. Brooks was the best player on the field that night and I hope he continues to perform like Brooks.
With a true freshman stepping into the starting role, there can be a lot of ups and downs in that play, but week after week, Powell Lee stepped up big and provided a consistent presence on defense. back side. He finished the year with 46 tackles, two pass deflections, and an interception. He played well in the win against Virginia Tech, having a total of six tackles and an interception in the game, and was named the ACC’s defensive back after that performance.
Walton started on Day 1 against Clemson, but his improvement was the highlight of the season for the Georgia Tech defense. He’s played some intense snaps the last few seasons, but hasn’t reached the level he reached in the second half of the season. Walton finished the season with 36 tackles, 1 interception, and 6 pass deflections. This was second on the team behind Brooks.
Georgia Tech finished the season 6th in ACC and 6th in interceptions in pass defense. There’s plenty of room for improvement in those numbers, and with Brooks and Powell Lee heading into his second season as a starter, we hope to see those numbers improve.
One thing the Georgia Tech defense should be looking for next season is players who aren’t coming back. Yellow tops his jacket, his pass rusher Kaion White, and his two main tacklers on the team last season, Charlie He Thomas and Ace His Ealy, both all gone. The secondary will be a strength for this team until others step up to those positions and take over. Even without a dip in production, this unit will be what Yellow Jackets should be able to rely on. I can do it.
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