Reporters’ notebook: Georgia Tech’s Haynes King makes ACC Network appearance

Georgia Tech quarterback Haynes King (10) takes the snap during the Spring White and Gold game at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field In Atlanta on Saturday, April 13, 2024.   (Bob Andres for the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Georgia Tech quarterback Haynes King (10) takes the snap during the Spring White and Gold game at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field In Atlanta on Saturday, April 13, 2024. (Bob Andres for the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

The following, a weekly feature of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, allows our reporters to open their notebooks and provide even more information from our local teams that we cover daily. We think you’ll find it informative, insightful and fun.

King makes ACC Network appearance

Following the annual White and Gold game for Georgia Tech football Saturday, Tech quarterback Haynes King was a guest on the ACC Network show “ACC PM.”

King was asked about his propensity to rack up rushing yards in 2023 and whether he wanted that to be part of his game in 2024.

“I wanna be a guy that’s remembered for winning. It’s doesn’t matter if I have to hand it off, spit it out to players or run it,” he answered. “That’s not my forte, ‘Hey I wanna do this,’ or have these stats, I wanna win. That’s our big goal this year. That’s what I told (Tech) coach (Brent) Key, and he knows that, and we’re all on board.

“He knows I’m not a selfish person in wanting this or wanting the ball more or being able to pass it more. I wanna do what’s best for the team to put them in the best situation possible to win ballgames.”

King, a Texas A&M graduate and Texas native, had a breakout season for the Yellow Jackets last season by throwing for 2,842 yards and rushing for 737 yards. He found the end zone a team-high 10 times on the ground and completed 27 touchdown passes.

The 6-foot-3, 204-pound junior was asked if he considers himself one of the top returning quarterbacks in the ACC, but he deflected that praise to the program instead.

“It’s not just me. Honestly, it’s the people I have around me. They’ve helped me mature, they’ve helped me get better, not just as a player, but as a person,” he said. “Without the people around me right now in the locker room, the coaching staff, (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), it doesn’t matter, the people around me, in this building, they’ve just helped me grow so much and just increased my abilities from day-to-day to even in football.”

North Clayton’s YaYa Diaby name co-defensive rookie of the year

Tampa Bay defensive end YaYa Diaby, who played at Louisville and North Clayton High, was selected as the co-defensive rookie of the year by the Senior Bowl.

He shared the honor with Rams defensive tackle Byron Young. Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua was named the offensive rookie of the year.

After a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, Diaby selected 82nd overall in the third round of the 2023 draft. He played in all 17 games and made seven starts.

He led the Buccaneers in sacks (7.5) and all NFL rookies with 12 tackles for loss. He started his college career at Georgia Military College.

Roddy White to enshrined in the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame

Former Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, who starred in the NFL after a stellar career at Alabama-Birmingham, will be enshrined in the Senior Bowl’s Hall of Fame in June in Mobile, Alabama.

White’s play in the game in 2005 led to Falcons general manager Rich McKay selecting him with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the draft.

“Being invited to the Senior Bowl was special because it gave me an opportunity to compete against the best guys in the nation,” White said in a statement released by the Senior Bowl. “Doing well throughout the week in Mobile drastically improved my draft stock.”

White will be enshrined along with former Jets defensive tackle Marty Lyons (1979), former Cardinals and Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer (2003), former Texans linebacker and current coach DeMeco Ryans (2006) and former Chargers safety Eric Weddle (2007).

“I enjoyed learning an NFL playbook for the first time and meetings with Jon Gruden were intense and full of energy,” White said.

After slow start, White went on to play 11 seasons, make four Pro Bowls and be named All-Pro once. He finished with 808 catches for 10,863 yards and a franchise-record 63 touchdown catches.

In 2010, he led the league in receptions with 115.

The enshrines will be honored in the annual induction ceremony emceed by NFL Network host Rhett Lewis at The Grand Hotel Golf Club & Spa in Point Clear, Alabama on June 30.

Just a glorified scrimmage

Georgia quarterback Carson Beck summarized spring games with one sentence last weekend: “It’s just a glorified scrimmage, at the end of the day.” But hey, at least it’s something for those of us yearning for football when kickoff is months away.

Beck will enter the season a – perhaps “the” – Heisman Trophy favorite. He’ll be atop many of the mock NFL drafts you see (or avoid) in the ensuing months. This could be the year of Beck, which means it very well could be Georgia’s year, for the third time in four seasons.

But Beck said he’ll ignore the noise. A coach’s son, he’s heard a variation of “it’s about the team” his entire life.

“Obviously, I have expectations for myself, but I’d never listen to the expectations other people put on me,” Beck said. “I have very high expectations for myself, but there’s no weight on my shoulders from that. I know what I’m capable of, and I know I have a team around me. It’s not all about me. It’s about the team and getting wins. Whatever I have to do to do that, I’m here for.”

Trevor Etienne slippery and elusive

Georgia coach Kirby Smart on transfer running back Trevor Etienne, who looked slippery and elusive in his seven touches during the spring game:

“He’s explosive. He’s quick in and out of the hole. He’s different than what we’ve had. I think the (D’Andre) Swift analogy is good, the (James) Cook analogy is good. He’s really taken a lot of personal pride in working on his protection. He had a nice pickup today. He’s learning the offense. The guy has been a good SEC player for two years. It’s not like he’s a freshman. He’s a really good player.”

Etienne’s recent DUI arrest means he could be suspended when Georgia opens the season against Clemson at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, though Etienne will play an important role as the lead back whenever he returns.

Winning continues for UGA women’s tennis

Drake Bernstein’s coaching career is off to a pretty good start.

In his first year at the helm of Georgia’s women’s tennis program, the Lady Bulldogs captured the SEC regular-season championship. UGA (17-4, 12-1 SEC) shared the regular-season title with Texas A&M (20-6, 12-1) but earned the top seed in this weekend’s SEC Tournament based on a head-to-head, 4-3 win over the Aggies on March 17 in Athens.

Bernstein, 34, succeeded the ultra-successful Jeff Wallace as the Bulldogs’ head coach at the conclusion of last season. He was deferring most of the credit for this season’s accomplishment.

“Championships are won out here on the courts with the players playing, and it’s a total team effort with the support staff,” said Bernstein, who played for Georgia men’s team and was Wallace’s assistant for 11 years. “I feel like we have the best support staff in the country that’s put us in a position to get out there and play on match days. It’s a total team effort and exciting for the team.”

Georgia’s only loss in the regular season was on the road against No. 17 Auburn. The No. 6 Bulldogs were favored to win the SEC Tournament, which was being conducted at UGA’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex. In addition to No. 12 A&M, they also defeated No. 16 Florida.

-Staff writers Chad Bishop, D. Orlando Ledbetter, Gabriel Burns and Chip Towers contributed to this report.

June 12, 2017, Atlanta: Falcons wide receiver Roddy White is all smiles during his speech while being honored by the Falcons as he officially retires from the NFL as the Falcons all-time leading receiver on Monday, June 12, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

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Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

041324 Athens: Defensive lineman Mykel Williams deflects a pass by quarterback Carson Beck during the G-Day game on Saturday, April 13, 2024.  Curtis Compton for the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Credit: Curtis Compton

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Credit: Curtis Compton

041324 Athens: Carson Beck breaks away on a quarterback keeper during the G-Day game on Saturday, April 13, 2024.  Curtis Compton for the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Credit: Curtis Compton

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Credit: Curtis Compton

Georgia associate head coach Drake Bernstein talking to players during the Bulldogs' NCAA second-round match against FSU at Henry Feild Stadium on Saturday, May 6. Bernstein has since been tabbed to succeed Jeff Wallace as head coach of UGA's storied women's tennis program. (File/Tony Walsh/UGA Athletics)

Credit: Tony Walsh/UGAAA

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Credit: Tony Walsh/UGAAA

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Yaya Diaby (0) greets fans as he jogs into the locker room before an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

Credit: AP

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Credit: AP