2023 Georgia Tech Football Season Preview

Oct 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets interim head coach Brent Key looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the fourth quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Georgia Tech won 26-21. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets interim head coach Brent Key looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the fourth quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Georgia Tech won 26-21. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

After three straight three-win seasons, Georgia Tech football faithful were rightfully running out of patience with Geoff Collins and his marketing gimmicks.

The start of 2022 didn’t do anything to calm their concerns, as the Yellow Jackets continued to be a wreck with three blowouts in their first four games. Coach Brent Key took over and the Jackets stunned a ranked Pittsburgh squad and a ranked North Carolina team on the road and finished the season 5-7 after starting 1-3. Aside from Western Carolina, all four wins occurred by five points or less. They got blown out in all of their losses with the exception of Virginia.

Former Athletics Director Todd Stansbury, a Georgia Tech alum along with Geoff  “Clown” Collins were fired together on Sept 26, 2022. Brent Key was named Interim Head Coach and J Batt was named the 10th full-time director of athletics in Georgia Tech history on Oct. 14, 2022. On November 29, 2022, Coach Key was named the 21st Head Coach of the Georgia Tech Football program.

Coach Key made some aggressive moves to his staff quickly bringing back legend Marco Coleman as the DL coach along with a new OC and OL coach in Buster Faulkner and Geep Wade. Coach Key also had 16 transfers added to the roster and a true quarterback battle on the Flats for the first time since the Paul Johnson era.

While Haynes King won the quarterback competition, it was noted from some folks inside the program that there isn’t a wide margin of separation between Haynes King and Zach Pyron. Zach Gibson seemingly slots into that capable backup role, but the fire that he possesses allows Georgia Tech football to sit with its deepest quarterback room in years. It will be interesting to watch if Zach Pyron keeps pushing Haynes throughout the season.

Coach Key has let it be known that the running back will be by committee this year. This year Dontae Smith gets the chance to be the starter. However, transfer Trey Cooley will also make an impact each game. Jamie Felix and Jamal Haynes figure to get some time after having impressive camps.

It’s a completely new look offense for the Yellow Jackets in 2023 who lacked playmakers in 2022, except for the offensive line that brings back 4 of 5 starters from last season. The receiver room looks really good after the transfers arrived on the flats. What may have been a weakness in 2022 may have the most depth on the offensive side of the ball in 2023. Three names really stood out in this group. Transfers Abdul Janneh and Christian Leary have impressed in fall camp. Malik Rutherford and Dominick Blaylock have done well in the slot. DJ Moore’s stock is also trending up after a solid camp.

At tight end, Georgia Tech football returns their top tight end, Dylan Leonard. The Jackets added transfers Brett Seither (Georgia) and Jackson Long (USF). Seither played 116 snaps in his four-year career with Georgia. Long redshirted last year as a freshman. Another year of experience should help Leonard and the transfers should provide added depth.

The Yellow Jackets have some continuity and depth on the offensive line, where they return five players with starting experience. The leader is right tackle Jordan Williams, who played 777 snaps last year. Jordan Williams, Corey Robinson, Weston Franklin, Joe Fusile, and Jakiah Leftwich were the starters for many games last season and all five guys are back. Tech also added former Princeton standout Connor Scaglione and Charlotte transfer Jordan Brown to bolster depth on the offensive line.

Can Georgia Tech football reach a bowl game?

There’s enough returning experience on defense for Georgia Tech to potentially take a step forward and be a strength of the team this year. The linebacker position has seen Trenilyas Tatum and Andre White rise to the occasion in fall camp. The defensive line should be improved with D’Quan Douse leading at the nose as he’s a nice all-around interior presence next to veteran Makius Scott or Clemson transfer Etinosa Reuben. Sylvain Yondjouen should be able to bring the heat from the edge.

Fortunately, they have two full-time returning starters at defensive back in Myles Sims and K.J. Wallace. The Yellow Jackets also return Jaylon King. Ultimately, the safety group should be the strength of the defense in 2023.

Freshman kicker Aiden Birr is really good. Birr impressed those in fall camp attendance with his leg. Special teams coach Ricky Brumfield noted in his press conference that both kickers looked good. It appears that Tech has depth in special teams for the first time since the Pau Johnson era.

Last year Georgia Tech was 5-0 when running for more than 150 yards, 0-7 when it didn’t. Coach Key proved he is the right man for the job as he led the team to a 4-4 finish. The Yellow Jackets play a non-conference schedule consisting of South Carolina State, Ole Miss, Bowling Green, and Georgia.

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Within ACC play, they draw Clemson, North Carolina, Louisville, and Miami among the top end of the league. They do dodge Florida State, but this remains a difficult schedule. The 2023 Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket team feels like its bowl game-or-bust season, particularly in a new-look offense. Look for the team to go 6-6 and make their first bowl game since 2018.