Coach: Chan Gailey
1st year
2001 Record: 8-5
@East Rutherford, NJ
Syracuse WON 13-7
at Navy WON 70-7
at Duke WON 37-10
at Virginia LOST 38-39
at Wake Forest WON 38-33
at Florida State LOST 17-28
Stanford WON 24-14

2001 Final Rankings
AP-24, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

Kerry Watkins and company give Tech some of the league's most dangerous receiving weapons. - (AP Photo/Bob Jordan)
2002 Outlook

There is a new sheriff in town, and his name is Chan Gailey. The head coach inherits a team with nine returning defensive starters, some athletic talent on offense here and there, and three return specialists extraordinaire. Face it, outside of a major victory over Stanford in the Seattle Bowl, last year was a complete and total let down, a classic example of high expectations - high disappointment. The preseason of 2001 had the Jackets tagged as the team to beat, not just in the ACC, but pretty much on a nationwide scale as well. What Tech fans saw was a lackluster offensive performance, losses to teams they were flat out better than, and mental mistakes that seemed to plague the entire group from "Out of Bounds Burns" to "Godsey's helium passes", it was disappointing. Now there is a new start with new coaching in place. Unfortunately there is not a grace period. Georgia Tech just never seems to get the respect it deserves after winning 42 games over the last five years, while playing second fiddle in the league to FSU time and time again. Beliefs still exist that Joe Hamilton and Godsey were products of ex-coach Ralph Friedgen. That theory has come nowhere close to being dispelled. The bottom line for 2002 is that the team must at least maintain it's current status as a conference/bowl contender. Keys include quarterback A.J. Suggs obviously and his ability to work with a very inconsistent running game, the defensive standards improving on an already stellar rating, and the receivers getting continued production. The schedule is exceptionally light. Although most would not consider Georgia Tech to be anywhere near a national title contender, the season should be considered a success if they can finish at least second in the conference. It's rare that a team loses its star quarterback, running back, and number one receiver, yet is still considered in the running for the front of their respective conference. Three words to keep in mind with that frame of reference…defense, defense, and defense!

Projected 2002 record: 8-5

QB - 3 DL - 3.5
RB - 2 LB - 5
WR - 4 DB - 4.5
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Damarius Bilbo, 1-0-0, 0 Yards, 0 TD's

Rushing: Sidney Ford, 69 att., 290 yds., 1 TD's

Receiving: Jonathan Smith, 53 rec., 590 yds., 4 TD's

Scoring: Luke Manget, 19 FG, 40 PAT, 97 pts.

Punting: Dan Dyke, 29 punts, 41.2 avg.

Kicking: Luke Manget, 19-28 FG, 40-40 PAT, 97 pts.

Tackles: Recardo Wimbush, 96 tot., 63 solo

Sacks: Greg Gathers, 10 sacks

Interceptions: Marvious Hester, 3 for 10 yards

Kickoff returns: Kelley Rhino, 7 ret., 21.7 avg.

Punt returns: Kelley Rhino, 48 ret., 10.7 avg.


OFFENSE: George Godsey-QB, Kelly Campbell-WR, Russell Matvay-TE, David Schmidgall-C, Jason Kemble-OT, Joe Burns-TB (NFL), Andy Hall-QB (transferred)
DEFENSE: Merrix Watson-DT, Nick Rogers-DE, Chris Young-CB

The starting quarterback job has been a battle that seems to have been taken over by Tennessee transfer A.J. Suggs, who saw some action while at Tennessee and seems to be the Jacket's best rocket with experience. His entrance to the program has to be of utmost importance, as two-year starter Godsey has departed while his backup Andy Hall has transferred. Redshirt freshman Damarius Bilbo played one game last season before a thumb injury ended his 2001 campaign. Coaches have been experimenting this spring at tailback since Joe Burns declared early for the NFL. Defensive back Tony Hollings has been moved over, giving the slot a burst of power and speed. Senior Sidney Ford brings the most numbers and accolades after rushing for 605 yards in his career with 290 last year, making him the returning leading rusher. At least the depth factor is existent, as coaches now seem to have numerous options on who to handle the rock. A steady and consistent number one back would be more beneficial. All-time leading receiver Kelly Campbell is no longer available, but the cupboard is stocked with goodies and may well be the best offensive unit available. Glover, Watkins, and Smith give GT some of the league's most dangerous outside weapons. Enough talent is here to keep Suggs happy with target practice. When talking about great offensive line names, young sophomore Nat Dorsey is the real deal at tackle. The man literally took the ACC over by storm as a freshman in 2001 allowing very few sacks and garnishing All-ACC First Team honors as an 18-year old frosh, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since Dre Bly in 1996 for the Tar Heels. The right side of the line is not quite the same and question marks still exist in the depth department. In a nutshell, the offense was hit hard by graduation as some good names dot the key loss classifieds. You have a new coach in Chan Gailey and he has been handed the task of setting up a winning game plan with new running backs and a new quarterback. No one is claiming the raw tools aren't there; let's just say his hands are full. When it comes to kicking, Luke Manget is near the top. He is a two-time first team All-ACC selection and has made a conference record 131 consecutive extr points. The NCAA record is 161.


Returning Starters in Bold
QB A.J. Suggs-Jr Damarius Bilbo-Fr
FB Brian Johnson-Fr Johnathan Jackson-So
TB Tony Hollings-Jr Gordon Clinkscale-Sr
WR Jonathan Smith-Jr Will Glover-Sr
WR Kerry Watkins-Sr Nate Curry-So
TE John Paul Foschi-Jr Will Heller-Sr
OT Nat Dorsey-So Garren Findlay-Sr
OG Leon Robinson-So Brad Honeycutt-Fr
C Hugh Reilly-Jr Andy Tidwell-Neal-So
OG Raymond Roberts-Blake-Sr Clay Hartley-Jr
OT Kyle Wallace-So Salih Besirevic-Fr
K Luke Manget-Sr ..



Mentioning defense in Atlanta means talking about defensive end Greg Gathers, one of the nation's premier All-Americans. Already Tech's career sack leader with 30 pile drivers, he led the ACC in 2001. His partner in QB harassment crimes on the other side is gone. Replacing Nick Rogers will be difficult, as he was the other end of the All-ACC performers on the outside of the haystack. Both starting tackles are back in the fold, but the interior needs more production than last fall offered. The starting three linebackers combined to make 250 tackles in 2001. What a crew, as all three are back with Smith in the middle and Wimbush/Fox on the outside. Other than receiver, this is by far Tech's deepest and most proficient aspect. Wimbush has led the Jackets in tackles two of the last three years, while Smith may be the best overall defensive player aside from Gathers…quite a blessing for the coaching staff to operate with. It can't be stated enough how impressive this defense looks on paper, on film, and on the field. The defensive back units continue the positive outlook. Marvious Hester returns as the team's top cover man after leading GT with three interceptions last fall. Muyres is one of the country's prime time safeties. Aiding the defense will be an academic All-American punter Dan Dyke. When digesting last year's numbers, Tech comes up ranked 2nd in ACC rush defense and pass defense, and there is still room for improvement. With eight to nine starters back, this is one nasty swarm. Yes, the sting hurts.


Returning Starters in Bold
DE Greg Gathers-Sr Fred Wright-Sr
DT Gary Johnson-Sr Reggie Koon-Jr
DT Alfred Malone-So Travis Parker-Fr
DE Tony Hargrove-So Hobie Holiday-Jr
LB Recardo Wimbush-Sr Matthew Etheridge-Sr
LB Daryl Smith-Jr Tabugo Anyansi-So
LB Keyaron Fox-Jr Gerris Bowers-Wilkinson-Fr
CB Marvious Hester-Sr Reuben Houston-Fr
CB Jonathan Cox-Jr Albert Poree-Jr
SS Cory Collins-Sr James Butler-So
FS Jeremy Muyres-Sr Nathan Burton-Jr
P Dan Dyke-Sr ..
Mentioning defense in Atlanta means talking about defensive end Greg Gathers, one of the nation's premier All-Americans. (ALLSPORT/Chris Stanford)