Georgia Tech’s Zach Quinney forgoes football for job opportunity

Georgia Tech offensive tackle Zach Quinney takes on a N.C. State defensive lineman Darrell Murchison during the Yellow Jackets' 28-26 win at Bobby Dodd Stadium November 21, 2019. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

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Georgia Tech offensive tackle Zach Quinney takes on a N.C. State defensive lineman Darrell Murchison during the Yellow Jackets' 28-26 win at Bobby Dodd Stadium November 21, 2019. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

A three-year starter and a captain for the 2020 team, Georgia Tech offensive tackle Zach Quinney has decided to move forward from football. He was planning to return for his fourth season until he received a job opportunity that he decided to accept, Quinney told the AJC Monday.

Quinney was initially enrolled this semester after having graduated in December with a degree in business administration, but withdrew to begin his work career, calling it a “very difficult decision” in a text message.

Players making decisions similar to Quinney’s is not unusual. Just before the start of last season, for instance, Yellow Jackets defensive tackle Chris Martin decided to not play his senior season in part to devote more time to his job search. (Martin now works as a project engineer for KBD Group, an Atlanta-based construction and design company.)

From Savannah Christian Prep, Quinney started 34 consecutive games over three seasons at left or right tackle while playing the maximum 35 games. He maintained his starting position through the coaching transition and change in offensive schemes, gaining mass and improving as a pass blocker. His effort and leadership were recognized in being named one of the team’s four permanent captains at the end of the 2020 season. Had he returned, he could have played two more seasons for the Yellow Jackets had he chosen to use the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA.

Without Quinney, the additions of grad-transfer tackles Devin Cochran and Kenneth Kirby stand even more significantly. Jordan Williams returns after starting nine games as a freshman at right tackle. Cochran started 32 games at Vanderbilt and has enrolled at Tech and can take part in spring practice, which is expected to start Tuesday after being delayed last week due to positive COVID-19 tests within the team. Kirby will transfer following graduation this May from Norfolk State, where he started 34 games and twice earned All-MEAC honors.