Freshman Jahaziel Lee staying in starting lineup

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson looks on during the second half against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 15, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

Georgia Tech freshman offensive tackle Jahaziel Lee will stay in the starting lineup, coach Paul Johnson said Tuesday.

Lee made his starting debut against Georgia Southern as a result of injuries to tackles Trey Klock and Andrew Marshall. For Tech’s game against Duke Saturday, Marshall will be available and is expected to start at right tackle. Lee would be at left tackle, nudging Eason Fromayan and Klock down the depth chart. Klock had started the first two games of the season before he was sidelined with an ankle injury. He can play, offensive line coach Mike Sewak said, “if we need him.”

“Jahaziel will start again this week,” Johnson said. “I think he’s earned it.”

It was a confirmation of a comment that Johnson made last week that, in his mind, Lee would be the starter until he was beaten out.

Against Georgia Southern, Lee showed quickness in being able to release off the line and block linebackers, an assignment often necessary to spring running plays.

“I think he’ll have a bright future,” quarterback Justin Thomas said last week. “That’s just one start out of many, I think.”

Freshman guard Parker Braun will get his third consecutive start at left guard. Lee and Braun are just the third and fourth first-year freshmen offensive linemen to start at Tech in Johnson’s nine-year tenure.

“Parker’s probably been one of our better players up there,” Johnson said. “So I think the more they play, the better they’re going to get.”

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