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2021 Georgia Tech college football preview: The continual build of Geoff Collins’ GT

The Ramblin’ Wreck continued to experience the natural growing pains of a rebuild in 2020. Will they take a step forward this fall?

Syndication: The Greenville News KEN RUINARD / Greenville News via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The growing pains of a second-year coaching staff still trying to scrub out remnants of the triple option was evident with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in 2020, and the bizarreness of a pandemic-shortened season didn’t help matters for the program.

Penalties and sloppiness hindered the Jackets from gaining any type of momentum last fall, a 3-7 campaign where every loss came by 10 points or more and the biggest indignities coming at the hands of UCF (21-49) and Clemson (7-73). As a result, head coach Geoff Collins continued to reach into the transfer portal in the offseason in an attempt to upgrade the talent on both sides of the ball, particular on both fronts.

Now entering his third year in Atlanta with a returning starting quarterback and the basic tenants of his program set in stone, Collins and company are gunning to take a step forward and show proof of concept this fall.

2020 Season Review

  • 3-7, 3-6 ACC, 11th in ACC
  • Tech was killed by penalties all season long, committing 89 penalties in 10 games and 41 of them coming before the snap.

2021 Talent

2021 247Sports Composite Ranking: 48
ESPN Returning Production: 83% overall (13th): 84% offense (21st), 82% defense (23rd)
Returning Talent Index: Positive, 5th in ACC
Returning starters: 6/11 offense, 6/11 defense
* All rankings out of 130 FBS schools

Key Player

Quarterback: Jeff Sims (Freshman)

The first prized quarterback get of the Collins-era, the former four-star prospect from Jacksonville was given the reigns as a true freshman and was allowed to figure things out and work through mistakes in 2020. Sims showed his prowess as a dual-threat force, tossing for 1,881 yards and 13 touchdowns and also running for 492 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

His limitations as a first-year starter were also on full display as he was wildly inaccurate at times, completing only 54.9 percent of his passes and throwing 13 interceptions in the process. Despite these inconsistencies, Collins has publicly praised Sims’ dedication to watching film and improving this offseason. His progression as a QB will a huge factor in Tech taking a leap forward this season.

Offense (non-QB): RB Jahmyr Gibbs (Freshman)

Another 2020 signee who made an immediate impact was running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who exploded as both a running and pass-catching threat out of the Jackets backfield. In seven games, he rushed for 460 yards on 5.2 yards a carry, caught for 303 receiving yards, and scored seven total touchdowns to earn third-place in ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year voting. Gibbs and Sims could prove to be a lethal running combo for opposing ACC defenses for years to come.

Defense: DT Djimon Brooks (Senior)

With newcomers and transfers like former Alabama defensive end Kevin Harris entering the fray, Brooks provides a veteran presence as a senior team captain. Through the 2020 season, he racked up 30 tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery.

Team Stats Projections

2020 SP+ final: 75th overall: 81st offense, 58th defense, 108th special teams
2021 SP+ projection: 48th overall: 61st offense, 47th defense

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

To win national title: +6600
To win ACC: +50000
Win total: 5 (Over -113, Under -113)

2020 Against The Spread: 4-6
2020 Point Total: Over 6-4

2021 Georgia Tech Schedule

2021 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Schedule

Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Spread/Total
Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Spread/Total
Saturday, Sep. 4 vs. Northern Illinois 7:30 p.m./ACCN N/A
Saturday, Sep. 11 vs. Kennesaw State 12:00 p.m./ACCN N/A
Saturday, Sep. 18 at Clemson 3:30 p.m./ABC or ESPN N/A
Saturday, Sep. 25 vs. UNC (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, ATL) TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 2 vs.Pitt TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 9 at Duke TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 16 Open TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 23 at Virginia TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 30 vs. Virginia Tech TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 6 at Miami TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 13 vs. Boston College TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 20 at Notre Dame 2:30 p.m./NBC GT +14.5
Saturday, Nov. 27 at Georgia TBA N/A