Several changes to Georgia Tech’s ‘Above the Line’ chart

Coming out of the second open date of the season, Georgia Tech has a number of changes to its “Above the Line” chart for Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Nine Yellow Jackets players have either been added or subtracted from the most recent chart, for the Miami game Oct. 19. The chart was released Thursday.

Perhaps the most intriguing is the elevation of freshman walk-on linebacker Taylor McCawley. A graduate of East Coweta High, McCawley was a preferred walk-on who caught the attention of Tech coaches in the preseason. Defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker held him up this week as an example of the advantages of having players on the developmental team (Tech coach Geoff Collins’ term for the scout team) run Tech’s offensive and defensive plays rather than simply following the opponents’ plays drawn up on a card.

“He has been on the developmental squad for eight weeks and the calls that we call on defense, he has been playing them on the developmental squad, as opposed to just looking at a card and lining up and doing whatever the card says,” Thacker said.

Depth shortages at linebacker precipitated the promotion. Linebacker Bruce Jordan-Swilling could be out for the season with a foot injury suffered in the Miami game.

Another freshman on the chart for the first time is defensive tackle Mike Lockhart. Defensive line coach Larry Knight said last week that Lockhart had been “attacking the weight room” and developing on the practice field. Lockhart did not play football in high school until joining his team at Huffman High in Birmingham, Ala., for spring practice as a junior. Lockhart was listed at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds when he signed with Tech in February and is up to 282 pounds.

“It’s been exciting to watch him,” Knight said last week. “I’m excited for his future.”

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Other additions included redshirt freshman Christian Malloy at flex (a hybrid running back/receiver position), freshman defensive back Kenan Johnson at nickel/dime (Johnson was on the chart earlier in the season and played in the first two games of the season) and offensive tackle Charlie Clark, who made his season debut against Miami.

Offensive linemen Hamp Gibbs and Michael Maye and flex player Jair Hawkins-Anderson are off the chart, as is freshman defensive end Chico Bennett, who is out for the season after undergoing season-ending surgery last week.