December 12, 2018 - Atlanta, Ga: Milton quarterback Jordan Yates, left, and wide receiver Dylan Leonard (2) celebrate their 14-13 win against Colquitt County in the Class AAAAAAA State Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Wednesday, December 12, 2018, in Atlanta. Milton won 14-13. (JASON GETZ/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)
Photo: Jason Getz
Photo: Jason Getz

What Georgia Tech signee Jordan Yates saw at spring practice

Georgia Tech signee Jordan Yates saw plenty of his future team during spring practice, paying visits to the Yellow Jackets’ practice fields five or six times. The state championship quarterback from Milton High liked what he saw.

“For an offense that ran something completely different last year, they look really good for it to be this early,” Yates told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I think everything looks pretty sharp. Of course, you have a long way to go, but for it to be this early, it’s definitely very promising.”

Yates will join the quarterback competition after he graduates from Milton in May and enrolls at Tech in June. He’ll have catching up to do – Lucas Johnson, Tobias Oliver and James Graham, along with walk-ons Liam Byrne and Ryan Lantz just spent this spring working with offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude. Further, Oliver, Johnson and Graham have varying amounts of college game time under their belts, as well as time in the weight room. But Yates believes that visiting spring practice helped speed his transition.

“It’s cool being on the sidelines and getting a feel for things before I’m actually out there full go in pads,” Yates said.

RELATED: Georgia Tech’s spring game Friday: Rosters, time, how to watch

He also has one advantage as he prepares to be indoctrinated in Patenaude’s spread. Yates said that, earlier in the year, Patenaude visited with Milton coach Adam Clack, who asked him about the offense.

“Coach Patenaude started to explain and he goes, ‘It’s exactly what you guys run,’” Yates said. “Once I heard that, I felt pretty good I can definitely get this down.”

Yates did well enough with the spread at Milton. As a senior, he led the Eagles to the school’s first state championship, defeating nationally ranked Colquitt County in the Class AAAAAAA championship. In his final two seasons, he passed for 4,601 yards and 43 touchdowns and ran for 1,851 yards with 22 touchdowns on the ground. Yates, listed at 5-foot-11 and 186 pounds, was named the AJC’s state offensive player of the year for Class AAAAAAA, the largest classification.

Yates said he received the Tech playbook a few weeks ago and had been studying it nightly.

“So hopefully, I think by the time I get there, I’ll have everything down,” he said.

He’ll be joined at Tech by Milton tight end Dylan Leonard, who will enroll as a preferred walk-on. The two are close friends.

“If he doesn’t earn (a scholarship) in the next year, I’ll be very surprised,” Yates said.

Since basketball season ended – the Eagles won their region but lost in the first round of the state tournament – Yates has been working out five days a week and throwing three days a week and also ran track. He also has been helping coaches in recruiting the 2020 class, communicating with prospects.

He’ll attend Friday’s spring game.

“Pretty much everybody I’ve talked to (in the signing class) is going to be there,” he said. “It should be pretty exciting.”

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