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No. 14: Jackets getting hot in Atlanta

Editor's Note: Beginning with No. 25 TCU and counting toward the release of the 2007 College Football Annuals, Athlon will release one spot in its Top 25 every weekday for five weeks. The No. 1 team will be revealed June 1. Check every day to see who’s next in the countdown as Athlon Sports celebrates its 40th anniversary. The 2007 versions of Athlon’s College Football Annuals hit newsstands June 5th.

No. 14: Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey will have a superb passing quarterback in the lineup in 2007, and wide receiver Calvin Johnson, arguably the best football player in the country last year, won’t be there to share the glory.

Taylor Bennett got the starting nod for the 2007 Gator Bowl and completed 19-of-26 for 326 yards and three touchdowns in a 38–35 loss to West Virginia. He was the most polished passer on the team last season and showed it during his brief forays into game action. Unfortunately, only one wide receiver is back who caught more than seven passes a year ago. Junior James Johnson, however, is proven with 53 career catches, a 15-yard average and nine scores, including one from Bennett in the Gator Bowl.

Tashard Choice, the leading rusher in the ACC in 2006, is back for more in ’07. In his two years since transferring from Oklahoma, Choice has run for just a hair under 2,000 yards. Last season he dented defenses for 1,473 yards and 12 touchdowns. The offensive line features four returnees with 26 or more starts each. Three of them are seniors, but the anchor of the line is junior tackle Andrew Gardner.

The Tech defense was a stubborn group last season, and eight starters are back. End Adamm Oliver, tackle Darryl Richard and linebacker Philip Wheeler are the ringleaders up front. Oliver and Wheeler combined for 25.5 tackles behind the line. The front four is probably the deepest area on the team.

Djay Jones and Jamal Lewis are back at the safeties after combining for seven interceptions last fall, and they ran back one each for touchdowns. Lewis is a first-team All-ACC returnee. Jahi Word-Daniels, Avery Roberson and Pat Clark started 15 games among them at cornerback a year ago. Word-Daniels posted a team-high 13 pass breakups. Tech boasts the nation’s top punter in Durant Brooks.

The 2007 Yellow Jackets pay a return visit to Notre Dame in the opener and host cross-state rival Georgia in the finale. In between are visits from Boston College and Virginia Tech and a trip to Miami.

» Taylor Bennett completed his first eight passes in the Gator Bowl, the longest string of completions by a Tech quarterback since 2001.

» Georgia Tech is enjoying runs of 10 consecutive winning seasons and 10 straight bowl appearances.

» The Yellow Jackets have finished with a winning percentage of .500 or better in ACC play for 12 consecutive years, the longest in the league by four years.

2007 Schedule
S.       1    at Notre Dame
S.       8    Samford
S.     15    Boston College
S.     22    at Virginia
S.     29    Clemson
O.       6    at Maryland
O.     13    at Miami
O.     20    Army
N.       1    Virginia Tech
N.     10    at Duke
N.     17    North Carolina
N.     24    Georgia

Read the entire Georgia Tech preview by ordering your Athlon Sports 2007 College Football Regional and National magazines today!

Also coming to this summer:
– Top 25 Heisman Hopefuls
– Live chats with Athlon editors
– Conference-preview videocasts.

Follow the entire 2007 football season on where we preview every game from every conference in Division I-A and recap the weekend’s BCS action in conference notebooks.

Other in-season offerings:
– Fantasy Games
– Sideline Spirit Voting
– Scenes From Saturday
– Updated Athlon 119
– Much more

Submitted by eddieprice71 on June 1, 2007 - 8:42am.

Yes I read the article and you are right!!! You do have 19
returning starters......and thats it!!! Without a true superstar(i.e..CJ)that took pressure off the entire offense
last year, no defense is really shaken in their boots with
this line-up. I count three loses (Miami,VT,Georgia)with the possibility of four(Clemson or MD)not to mention a coach that is rumored to be ready to jump back to the NFL if given the chance and that doesn't equate to a num# 14 ranking! Signed TRU-2-THA-GAME.

Submitted by freezekalo72 on May 18, 2007 - 2:31pm.

The run game is in part due to Mike Cox. He is a big success for us. Does he have a brother. Is there another Cox on the team, or did you just mean heim coming back from injury?

Submitted by FunkyColdMolina on May 18, 2007 - 11:08am.

They obviously deserve a 14 rank maybe better, they have the Cox brothers at fullback, thats how they are gonna open up the run game, and wait till BIG COX is startin, they will be #1

Submitted by freezekalo72 on May 16, 2007 - 10:11am.

They should have GT in the to 10. Did you not read the article. 17 returners, 19 if you count the all american punter and pk. The defense will always be stout and our offense won't need CJ. Tech is going to be a beast. I bless them in many victories!!!

Submitted by eddieprice71 on May 16, 2007 - 2:32am.

GT loses C.J. and u think they're worthy of a number 14
ranking!!! They can't run the ball if their nobody to
double team constantly downfield!

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