March 28, 2016 Atlanta: Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson during the first day of Spring football practice Monday March 28, 2016. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM
Photo: Brant Sanderlin
Photo: Brant Sanderlin

Paul Johnson has decided on a starting quarterback

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said he knew who his starting quarterback will be in the season opener. He is not tipping his hand, however.

“I’ve known for awhile,” Johnson said after Thursday’s practice.

Matthew Jordan, TaQuon Marshall, Lucas Johnson and Jay Jones have been competing to be the starter since the first preseason practice Aug. 4. On Monday, Johnson said that the competition was open and that “there’s no one who’s really separated themselves from the pack consistently.”

Johnson may not publicly name the starter going into the season opener against Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game Sept. 4 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. He went so far as to say he might not tell his players, although he allowed that they could figure it out themselves.

“They’re not stupid,” Johnson said. “They see who plays and who’s playing the best.”

Jordan, the backup to Justin Thomas for the past two years, was the No. 1 going into the preseason and was coming off a foot injury that kept him out of the second half of spring practice. Jordan missed practice the first part of this week with a shoulder injury suffered in Saturday’s scrimmage, but was “full go” Thursday, Johnson said.

Marshall, who was the No. 3 quarterback last year, was elevated to the No. 1 spot in Jordan’s absence in spring practice.

“I think he’s just more confident, more experienced, getting more reps, just like all of them,” Johnson said of Marshall. “When Matthew went down and Jay was out (earlier in the preseason), he and Luke got all the reps.”

Jones has been out in recent days with an injury, but Johnson said he expected him back for Friday’s practice in advance of Saturday’s scrimmage.

“Anytime you don’t practice, you hurt yourself in a competition, but he’ll have a chance,” Johnson said. “He’s coming back (Friday). He’ll have a chance Saturday in the scrimmage.”

Johnson did say his mind could change before the opener.

“It’s fluid,” he said. “I can change my mind (Thursday night) coming home.”

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