* Former All-ACC selection
Throughout spring the Defensive Ends have been the strength of the Georgia Tech football team. They come away with my highest grade and, yes, that is without including former All-ACC selection Greg Gathers. We have enough power behind Gathers to be able to get by without him but, of course, we are even stronger if he is healthy. Gathers is supposed to return in fall close to 100%.
With him sitting out last season, we were able to further develop DEs Tony Hargrove and Eric Henderson into legitimate forces. Henderson has benefited the most from Gathers' absence. He was able to earn a starting spot last season opposite Hargrove and is now one of, if not the, top defenders in our lineup.
Hargrove and Henderspm are two guys you just don't want to mess with. Both are brutally fierce, very strong and play with unmatched intensity. We did more live QB hitting during scrimmages this spring than normal and Bilbo probably had all he wanted to see of those two for a few months. I can't say enough positive things about those two but they are exciting to watch.
The only real knock I could find against them is that both were caught off sides too many times in scrimmages in their over exuberance to terrorize our Quarterbacks.
But the talent doesn't stop there. We have another that is supposed to eventually be as good or better than both, Terron Pullen. Pullen got injured halfway through spring drills, so I didn't get to see as much of him as I would have wanted. But what I did see was very promising. Like Gathers, he's a guy that is able to move from the outside to the interior. He's got some things to learn still but his talents are easily apparent. If we get all 4 healthy for fall it could give Coach Tenuta the "good problem" of trying to figure out how to get all of them in the game.
The depth doesn't stop there because Chirod Williams is back from experimenting with the Linebacker position last season and Darius Williams moved over from Tight End in the middle of spring. C. Williams saw more reps this spring than he has yet. He is not on the level of the others ahead of him but it was nice to see all of his persistence pay off with some good playing time in practice.
D. Williams looks like a much more natural fit at DE after years of languishing behind others at TE and never moving up the depth chart. He was obviously trying to feel out exactly where his assignments were on the defense but looked strong enough to fight off blocks and make a few plays. He is easily the tallest guy on the line at 6'6" and that size really catches your attention.
The rich gets even richer in fall when this group adds newly signed Adamm Oliver and Joe Anoai. I can't see needing to use them next season but if they arrive good enough to compete, then that will just make this group even more formidable. The grade could have been higher even still if the group was healthier and made a few less penalties in scrimmages.