DB Jamal Lewis

2006 Statistics

Coach: Chan Gailey
37-27, 5 years
2006 Record: 9-5
TROY WON 35-20
at Virginia Tech WON 38-27
at Clemson LOST 7-31
at NC State WON 31-23
at North Carolina WON 7-0
DUKE WON 49-21
at Georgia LOST 12-15
vs. Wake Forest LOST 6-9
West Virginia LOST 35-38

2006 Final Rankings
AP-31, Coaches-29, BCS-UR

2007 Outlook

Phew…Reggie Ball has left Bobby Dodd Stadium. Not that the kid couldn’t play, but four straight years of five or more losses was way more predictable than Ball ever was (Tech had the No.91 passing offense his senior year). Head coach Chan Gailey’s five years have been primarily tied to Ball’s legacy…it must have seemed like forever before 2007 got here. Replacement Taylor Bennett offers stability and, unlike Ball, won’t lose games due to erratic spells. Also new will be offensive coordinator John Bond, who appropriately coaches the quarterbacks, too. With so many starters back on the line and in the backfield, there is really no reason (save orientation time) why this offense shouldn’t improve under Bennett’s and Bond’s efforts. The defense may seem a bit more vulnerable in the middle up front…otherwise, last year’s No.27 defense (both scoring and total), with nine starters returning, likewise, needs little time before playing to its potential. Starting off in South Bend and ending in Atlanta against their in-state rivals (whom they haven’t beaten since 2000), an ACC with distinct parity means the Ramblin’ Wreck have only three easy tilts. Tech should finish with anywhere from three to six losses. Gailey has never lost less than five in his five year tenure here, so at a traditionally winning program like this, many alumni feel the coach has to break through soon, or his chair’s temperature begins to rise. Most will discount the Yellow Jackets due to their new QB and OC, but don’t be surprised if GT rallies behind Bennett to again win the Coastal and then sneaks into the BCS as league champs.

Projected 2007 record: 7-5
QB - 3.5 DL - 4
RB - 4 LB - 3.5
WR - 3 DB - 4
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Taylor Bennett, 35-58-2, 523 yds., 5 TD

Rushing: Tashard Choice, 297 att., 1473 yds., 12 TD

Receiving: James Johnson, 39 rec., 608 yds., 7 TD

Scoring: Travis Bell, 12-18 FG, 43-43 PAT, 79 pts.

Punting: Durant Brooks, 79 punts, 45.5 avg.

Kicking: Travis Bell, 12-18 FG, 43-43 PAT, 79 pts.

Tackles: Philip Wheeler, 89 tot., 52 solo

Sacks: Philip Wheeler, 9 sacks

Interceptions: Djay Jones, 4 for 29 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff Returns: Jamaal Evans, 20 ret., 22.8 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns:
Andrew Smith, 19 ret., 7.7 avg., 0 TD


P Durant Brooks
OFFENSE: Reggie Ball-QB, Chris Dunlap-WR, George Cooper-TE, Michael Matthews-TE, Mansfield Wrotto-OT, Calvin Johnson-WR (NFL)
DEFENSE: Joe Anoai-DT, KaMichael Hall-LB, Kenny Scott-CB

Junior Taylor Bennett finally gets to make this his team. Bennett set school bowl records after he started Tech’s final game last season, justifying the excitement fans have for the St. Louis native. A pure dropback type, Bennett will ground the offense and allow for more consistency than GT saw under Ball. Little has been procured behind Bennett, so his health is important for Tech to immediately fire on all cylinders and avoid a situation like last year. There will be very little time needed for him to settle in – the Ramblin’ Wreck will be flying full throttle from the get-go, especially with the entire backfield returning. All-ACC senior TB Tashard Choice (second team) is a svelte burner who few realize was 13th in the nation in rushing. Classmate big Mike Cox is a huge reason Tech does well on the ground. Even more developed depth here means Bennett will see more open passing lanes as foes are forced to focus on the box. Most impacting will be the loss of All-American WR Calvin Johnson, but junior James Johnson returns to buoy the corps. Lanky soph Greg Smith, proven as a third receiver, should have a breakout year due to foes focusing on (the newer) Johnson. Watch for the TE’s role to expand under Bennett’s reign – stats here will increase with Austin Barrack and Colin Peek vying for vaunted starting status. With most of the talent positions in place, seeing three senior starters back on the interior line gives even greater promise to what can be on offense. Factor in junior all-ACC left tackle Andrew Gardner and we figure a bit of adjustment time is all the offense will need before it takes Tech back into the top 25.


RB Tashard Choice


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Taylor Bennett-Jr (6-3, 215) Steven Threet-Fr (6-5, 230)
FB Mike Cox-Sr (6-1, 250) Trevor Bray-Fr (6-0, 235)
TB Tashard Choice-Sr (6-1, 205) Rashaun Grant-Sr (5-10, 200)
Jamaal Evans-So (5-8, 196)
WR James Johnson-Jr (6-0, 190) Correy Earls-Fr (6-0, 192)
WR Greg Smith-So (6-3, 195) Demaryius Thomas-Fr (6-3, 220)
TE Colin Peek-So (6-6, 250) Austin Barrick-Fr (6-3, 265)
OT Andrew Gardner-Jr (6-6, 298) ..
OG Matt Rhodes-Sr (6-3, 280) Dan Voss-So (6-4, 305)
C Kevin Tuminello-Sr (6-4, 292) Trey Dunmon-So (6-4, 305)
OG Nate McManus-Sr (6-3, 300) Jacob Lonowski-Jr (6-5, 300)
OT A.J. Smith-Jr (6-7, 300) Cord Howard-So (6-5, 300)
K Travis Bell-Sr (6-0, 220) Mohamed Yahiaoui-Jr (5-11, 220)



This unit kept Tech in many games, and with nine starters back, last season’s No.27 total defense can kick into high gear right off. Senior ends Darrell Robinson and Adamm Oliver are one of the top tandems in the country. Oliver is big enough to slide inside, making for rotations and mismatches that usually favor Tech. Losing Joe Anoai inside won’t be felt too much with juniors Darryl Richards and backup Vance Walker back, and GT seems stacked with eager recruits so last season’s No.20 run stopping unit can perform close to or at the same level(s). Senior Phillip Wheeler, second team all-ACC’er, is a monster and is one of the leading reasons this defense plays so well together. Classmate Gary Guyton is also found around the ball more often than not, and more tough, modestly-sized speedsters are stacked in the wings. Breaking in any new faces here is also eased by having almost the entire secondary back so underneath coverage can remain strong. Rising cover star Jahi Word-Daniels (13 PBUs) joins Avery Roberson to fortify last season’s No.9 pass efficiency defense at corner. These guys, along with nickel back Patrick Clark, can be effective if left alone on the outside. Still, it is their safeties that really tie the D together, even though West Virginia made them look silly (a mediocre ACC lulled them to sleep all year prior). That means all-ACC Jamal Lewis and fellow senior Djay Jones have much to prove, to both themselves and the college football world, to start 2007. Lewis and Jones led the team in interceptions. With only one other team (besides WVU’s No.5 total offense) putting up over 30 against them (Clemson earned 31 points), these guys prove they are quality deep prevention. If Tech can again allow only 31.7% of third-downs to be converted, expect Chan Gailey’s group to be (close to) atop the Coastal Division standings.


LB Philip Wheeler


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Darrell Robertson-Sr (6-5, 245) Robert Hall-So (6-3, 245)
DT Darryl Richard-Jr (6-4, 285) Elris Anyaibe-Jr (6-3, 275)
DT Vance Walker-Jr (6-2, 275) Ben Anderson-Fr (6-2, 270)
DE Adamm Oliver-Sr (6-4, 270) Michael Johnson-Jr (6-7, 250)
LB Gary Guyton-Sr (6-2, 240) Taalib Tucker-Jr (6-1, 238)
LB Philip Wheeler-Sr (6-2, 230) Matt Braman-Jr (6-3, 235)
LB Shane Bowen-So (6-1, 225) Anthony Barnes-Fr (6-3, 235)
CB Laurence Marius-So (5-11, 175) Pat Clark-Sr (5-11, 185)
CB Jahi Word-Daniels-Jr (6-0, 185) Tony Clark-Jr (6-1, 200)
SS Jamal Lewis-Sr (6-0, 199) Joe Gaston-Sr (5-11, 195)
FS Djay Jones-Sr (6-1, 200) Avery Roberson-Sr (6-2, 200)
P Durant Brooks-Sr (6-1, 202) Mohamed Yahiaoui-Jr (5-11, 220)




Senior Durant Brooks, a consensus All-American, affords Tech the second leading returning net punting unit. Senior kicker Travis Bell, while solid at times, needs to work on his distance (2-for-6 from 40+) and consistency (five of his six misses were in succession). Jamaal Evans should take the mantle from Rashaun Grant on KRs and continue his quality efforts while reserves Andrew Smith and Pat Clark battle for PR rights.