Jahaziel Lee earns second start at left tackle against Duke

Justin Thomas of Georgia Tech during the Aer Lingus College Football Classic Ireland 2016 at Aviva Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

After using his bye week to build on his first start as a Yellow Jacket, freshman left tackle Jahaziel Lee will make his second start on Saturday against Duke, the first of four consecutive ACC games for Georgia Tech.

With Lee at left tackle and freshman Parker Braun at left guard, the inexperience on the left side of the offensive line could present problems for Tech’s offense in conference play, but coach Paul Johnson remains optimistic in the progress of his young players.

“I think we’ve made progress offensively, we’re not where we need to be, but we are a lot better than when we started,” Johnson said. “We’ve got the two freshmen playing on the left side that are true freshmen, which is less than ideal, but I think they’re going to get better and better. Jahaziel will start this week. I think he’s earned it. Parker’s probably been one of our better players up there. I think the more they play, the better they’re going to get.”

Although Lee felt more prepared ahead of Saturday’s game because of his start against Georgia Southern, the freshman offensive lineman realized he has much to improve.

Lee’s focus is on knowing his assignments and coming off the ball faster against a Duke defense that loads the line of scrimmage.

“A big thing with this week is just really coming off the ball because the (defensive) ends like to squeeze and it’s going to be very difficult getting to those linebackers, so I know I need to come off the ball low which is a big part of what will help me a lot this week,” Lee said.

After playing a full game Oct. 15, offensive line coach Mike Sewak is interested to see how resilient Lee will be against Duke’s defense.

“(Lee) just played 70 snaps,” Sewak said. “He got banged up pretty good and it’ll be good to see him get out there again to see what happens with him.”

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