New QB, NFL talent, Shaq

Jeremiah Attaochu, DE

Uncommonly fast and agile for a player his size, Attaochu is bringing his NFL-bound skillset to defensive end from linebacker. Going into his senior season, Attaochu has trained to develop the attributes he’ll need at his new position, namely an explosive first step and quick hands to combat offensive tackles. He had 10 sacks last season; he expects plenty more this season.

Vad Lee, QB

After three years of buildup that dates to his senior year of high school, the time has arrived for the sophomore quarterback. He can run with power and speed and throw with accuracy and seems to be gifted with preternatural leadership skills. It would be something else if he were to actually live up to the considerable expectations that Tech fans hold for him. He presumably expects to do so.

Shaquille Mason, OG

The Yellow Jackets have placed an offensive lineman on the All-ACC first team for the past six years. Mason, a powerful guard going into his second season as a starter, is the most likely candidate to continue the streak. While former Jacket Omoregie Uzzi won all-conference honors last season for the third time, Mason probably was his equal in consistency and production.

Jemea Thomas, CB

Perhaps the most clutch playmaker on offense or defense, Thomas is a withering combination of ball hawk and punishing tackler. Largely ignored for postseason honors last season, the senior cornerback finally was recognized this summer by making the watch list for the Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s top defender. If his numbers lag this season, it will be because teams are avoiding him.

Darren Waller, WR

A constant throwing partner of Lee’s, the wide receiver from North Cobb High has much to live up to himself. Waller may be the successor to Demaryius Thomas and Stephen Hill as the Jackets seek the deep threat who can make defenses pay for their attention to the run. Waller has the size, speed and dedication.With not many experienced options at wide receiver, he’ll get his chances. If he can be a consistent pass receiver, the sky’s the limit.