Georgia Tech quarterback Matthew Jordan expects to be ready for the Yellow Jackets’ first day of preseason practice Aug. 4. That’s the first order of business for Tech at that position, where Jordan is the expected successor to Justin Thomas, the best quarterback coach Paul Johnson has had in his first nine seasons.
Jordan is something of a known quantity, having started one game last season (the upset of then-No. 18 Virginia Tech in November in Blacksburg, Va.) and played parts of others. He has shown the ability to gain tough yards up the middle, and Johnson said that he has the respect of his teammates. At the start of spring practice, Johnson said he hoped that Jordan would “solidify” his hold on the top spot.
However, the door opened slightly when Jordan suffered a foot injury halfway through spring practice. Aspirants TaQuon Marshall, Lucas Johnson and Jay Jones received more practice time and a chance to show coaches what they can do.
Johnson has said that the job is Jordan’s to lose, which is an indicator of which way the wind is blowing, but also meaning that the competition is not necessarily over.
First team after spring: Matthew Jordan, junior.
Notable reserves: TaQuon Marshall, junior, Lucas Johnson, redshirt freshman, Jay Jones, redshirt freshman.
On the way: Tobias Oliver, freshman.
Analysis: We’ll yield the floor to Johnson.
“Jay Jones is very talented. He’s got to learn to value the ball. That’s his big thing. That’s his struggle. And sometimes, for young guys, that’s an issue. Lucas plays well beyond his years. He’s got a little moxie. … For him, it’s a confidence level (issue) sometimes. And until he gets out and has success and does it, (he’ll continue to have that challenge). And TaQuon’s (challenge) is just experience. I mean, TaQuon’s very confident. If you ask him, he’ll tell you right now he’s the best. I think they all will. And that’s what you want.”
Johnson, speaking at the ACC Kickoff, went on to say that this is the best group of quarterbacks that he has had “no question.” Johnson has said that he is confident in all four to play this season, despite the fact that Jones and Johnson have yet to play a single college snap and that Marshall has played 14 snaps at quarterback for Tech.
But Jordan has a clear advantage in experience. He arrived in January 2015 as an early enrollee; this past spring practice was his third. Further, he has played meaningful snaps as a freshman and as a sophomore and has spent the past two seasons practicing as the No. 2 quarterback.
He has demonstrated his toughness and an ability to move the offense, and should he prove to be the starter, he’ll be surrounded by an offense with eight returning starters.
“Matthew Jordan’s been around for a long time,” Johnson said. “He’s waited his turn. He’s hungry. I mean, he wants to play.”
If Jordan claims the starting job, the competition to be his backup could be fierce. Marshall has playmaking ability and improved as a passer in the spring. Jones is the fastest of the three. Johnson might be the best passer in the group and showed off his speed with a 70-yard run in the spring game.
Factoid: Jordan graduated from Tech in May with a degree in business administration and plans to earn a master’s in supply-chain engineering in his remaining two years at Tech.
Statistic: In Paul Johnson’s tenure, there has been only one regular starting quarterback from the state of Georgia (Joshua Nesbitt). The other three were from Alabama (Tevin Washington, Justin Thomas) and North Carolina (Vad Lee).
Prediction: Jordan will be the starter and, barring injury, will hold the job. In a competitive race, Marshall will be the No. 2.
The series continues Thursday with a preview of the defensive line.
The series so far:
Part 1: Wide receiver
Part 2: Offensive line
Part 3: A-back
Part 4: B-back
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