Georgia Tech freshman quarterback James Graham (No. 4) at preseason practice August 7, 2018. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

James Graham impressing in first preseason

Georgia Tech freshman quarterback James Graham has shown flashes of his ability that has impressed coach Paul Johnson. Graham has moved up to the No. 3 job with Lucas Johnson undergoing season-ending surgery this past week.

“You just try to get him ready to play,” Johnson said Monday following practice. “He’s dynamic.”

Johnson mentioned a red-zone drill from Monday’s practice, when quarterback Tobias Oliver moved up to the No. 1 offense and Graham to the No. 2 offense after starter TaQuon Marshall left practice early to attend class. Johnson said Graham dropped back to throw before pulling the ball down and scrambling to the end zone.

“Those kind of things, you can’t teach,” Johnson said. “He’s got some ability. So as he learns what to do, he’s going to get better and better. Now, will he be ready to play this year? I don’t know. We’ll see. We’re going to try to get him ready.”

While Tech’s hope is that the team won’t be in a position to count on Graham this season, the appraisal bodes well for the future. After Marshall graduates at the end of this season, Graham could be competing next season with Lucas Johnson (a sophomore this season) and Oliver (a redshirt freshman), both of whom have drawn praise from Paul Johnson at various points.

This season, Graham could be a beneficiary of the new NCAA rule permitting players to participate in up to four games and still be able to claim the season as a redshirt year. Graham could get his feet wet and still go into next season as a redshirt freshman.

“There’s a lot of guys that are going to benefit by the redshirt rule,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of guys who are going to play and then redshirt, probably.”

For Johnson, it was a change in perspective on the rule. He said earlier in the preseason that “I don’t think it’s going to impact a whole lot.

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