Georgia Tech offensive line intent on not being content in 2024

As dominant as Georgia Tech’s offensive line became toward the end of the 2023 season, none of that matters three months later.

“It’s really up to us, and what we put into it is what we’re gonna get out of it. We can’t be complacent based on last year’s success,” Tech senior center Weston Franklin said Tuesday after Tech’s eighth practice of the spring. “We gotta put it to bed and move forward to this year and see where we can go. The sky’s the limit for us. We just gotta continue improving and continuing working well together like we have and just continue to climb.”

Franklin (6-foot-4, 311 pounds) is the fulcrum of a unit that virtually is intact from 2023, save for guard Connor Scaglione who exhausted his eligibility and is now hopeful for an opportunity to play professional football. Tackles Jordan Williams (6-6, 304), Ethan Mackenny (6-4, 292) and Corey Robinson (6-5, 305) and guard Joe Fusile (6-6, 302) are back this spring.

Perhaps just as important, so is Tech offensive line coach Geep Wade.

“Last year was last year, that’s in the past,” Wade said Tuesday. “And I told these guys, ‘Whatever we do now, it’s gonna be harder. We have to elevate our game.’ To elevate your game, you gotta work on your deficiencies. As a coach, I have to work on my deficiencies to be a better coach.

“They have really, really worked hard on their deficiencies. And they’re great leaders. I go up there and sometimes I’ll be coaching the 2s (second string) and (the first string has) run four plays, and I hadn’t even watched ‘em. Those guys, it matters to them, they’re ball guys. That’s what the position should be played like. We’re just trying to build a culture. It’s never gonna be right, it’s never gonna be perfect, but if you have confidence and play fast and you hit someone in the mouth, then it will all take care of itself.”

Tech finished the 2023 season as the nation’s 13th-best rushing attack, reaching that mark thanks to the efforts of Franklin, Williams, Fusile, Mackenny, Robinson, Scaglione and Jakiah Leftwich (now in the transfer portal). Those linemen surrendered only 15 sacks in 13 games (the 15th-fewest in the nation) and a modest 5.39 tackles for loss per game. Fusile, Franklin and Williams were Tech’s top run and pass blockers in ‘23, according to Pro Football Focus.

Georgia Tech coach Bent Key watches as offensive lineman Jameson Riggs (70) and others participate in a drill during their first day of spring football practice at the Brock Indoor Practice Facility, Monday, March 11, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz

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Credit: Jason Getz

But for all that, Wade judged the 2023 campaign on its whole and pointed out there were some clunkers, such as when the Jackets mustered only 69 rushing yards against Bowling Green, 99 rushing yards at Miami or 117 rushing yards at Clemson. Tech gave up three sacks in a loss to Bowling Green and four in a defeat at Clemson.

“One thing I can say, though, is I think we found who we are toward the end of the year, and we’ve continued that. I think that helps the kids out, not doing too many things,” Wade said. “It was a new staff (in 2023), coach (Brent) Key’s first year, I think we found out who we are, what we do.”

Franklin, Robinson, Fusile and Mackenny have continued to work as part of Tech’s starting lineup this spring, but there are still ongoing auditions for that fifth member of the band. Robinson and Middle Tennessee transfer Keylan Rutledge have been out with injuries this spring and, in part because of that, Mackenny has spent recent practices playing guard. Key said Saturday that freshman Jameson Riggs (6-6, 305) from Hiram High School played nearly every snap at tackle alongside the first-team offense during Saturday’s scrimmage.

Freshmen Tana Alo-Tupuola (6-1, 330), Gabe Fortson (6-3, 299) and Harrison Moore (6-5, 260) have been some of the young linemen in the rotation as well, Wade said.

“We’re not slowing down for the young guys, too. With our offense, we’re not a base offense, so we can’t slow down with a lot of motions, the box changes and all that. We don’t slow down, and the young guys have picked it up fast,” Wade said. “They’re football guys. They’re wired the right way, they love football, they’re ate up with it, they’re always over here and that’s what we want in that (group). We want junkies.”

The Jackets are scheduled to return to practice Thursday ahead of Saturday’s scrimmage, the team’s second of the spring.