Georgia Tech welcomes two freshman quarterbacks to the mix

Aaron Philo, Graham Knowles enrolled early and are on hand for spring practice
Georgia Tech quarterback Aaron Philo (12) attempts a pass during their first day of spring football practice at Rose Bowl Field, Monday, March 11, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Georgia Tech quarterback Aaron Philo (12) attempts a pass during their first day of spring football practice at Rose Bowl Field, Monday, March 11, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

Georgia Tech won’t need to concern itself with the immediate future of its quarterback position this spring.

Unlike a year ago, when Haynes King, Zach Pyron and Zach Gibson jockeyed for the team’s starting QB spot from January through August, Tech’s depth chart is cemented solidly with King at No. 1 and Pyron at No. 2 as the Yellow Jackets go through spring workouts.

Of course, there never can be too much depth at the position, so Tech added two quarterbacks to the mix ahead of this season in Aaron Philo and Graham Knowles, a pair of highly touted freshmen who likely won’t see in the field in 2024, but will be integral to the Jackets’ offense going forward.

“The best thing for those two kids and their future is they don’t have to play right now,” Tech offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner said last week. “We can bring them along slowly, continue to develop ‘em, get ‘em as many reps as we can get ‘em.”

Philo and Knowles each enrolled at Tech in January to start immersing themselves in Tech football, Faulkner’s offense and quarterback coach Chris Weinke’s expectations. Philo and Knowles are two of eight quarterbacks on the Tech roster this spring and the only two freshmen.

Philo came to Atlanta from Prince Avenue Christian in Bogart, where he threw for a state record 13,922 yards in his career and 159 touchdown passes (56 of those coming in 2023). He led the school to back-to-back state titles.

Once committed to Minnesota, Philo (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) was considered a three-star recruit who reportedly had scholarships offers from Indiana, Central Florida and Cincinnati, among others.

Knowles, like King, hails from Texas and played for powerhouse Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas. He totaled 3,195 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior while collecting scholarship offers from the likes of Colorado State and Memphis.

Standing 6-foot-7, Knowles also was considered a three-star prospect in the 2024 signing class.

“The way they pick up on the offense is pretty fast,” King said of Tech’s two newest QBs. “They’re coachable. They wanna do stuff the right way. They’re falling in line. They’re doing everything the right way. Showing up on time. They’re competing every day.

“I know at times they have to split some reps, and they’re doing a good job of running the offense and just operating. That’s the big thing right now. They’re doing a great job picking up on the offense and operating.”

With King going into the 2024 season as a second-year starter, and with Pyron, a sophomore, likely the backup, it’s conceivable Philo or Knowles could put themselves in position to be the third-string QB on the depth chart come August. Junior Brody Rhodes, sophomore Aidan Semo and redshirt freshmen Ben Guthrie and Colson Brown also will compete for that spot.

But for now, Philo and Knowles simply are getting their feet wet as their Tech careers take hold.

“We’re excited they’re here. We look forward to developing ‘em, and it’s good that they are here because this is gonna be 15 practices that you normally wouldn’t have if you don’t get here until the summer,” Faulkner added. “Obviously all summer they’ll be here and have a chance to compete. They both got bright futures.”