The Quarterback: Tevin Washington. In his first full season as the starter, he led the Yellow Jackets to a solid season. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound rising senior finished last season with 1,652 yards passing, 11 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Like most Tech quarterbacks in recent years, he did most of his damage on the ground while directing their triple option offense, finishing the season with 987 yards and 14 touchdowns. He's a terrific runner, who also had over 500 yards on the ground in limited action in 2010. Miami's defense did an excellent job against him last season, limiting him to just 36 yards on the ground (63 passing) on 20 carries. He has thrown 12 interceptions over the last two seasons and his completion percentage is under 50-percent so he's not real accurate throwing the football and that will have to improve if Tech wants to improve on their performance from a year ago.
Best Offensive Player: Omoregie Uzzi. At 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, the rising senior has been an All-Conference selection in each of the last two seasons. He's arguably the best interior offensive lineman in the league. He's a devastating run blocker and really excels in their offense. He's their leader up front. He considered leaving a year early for the NFL Draft but was dealing with a lot of nagging injuries, that prevented him from playing spring football this year. He's back healthy, a member of the Outland Trophy preseason Watch List, and he'll be one of the best linemen Miami plays all season.
Top Defensive Player: Isaiah Johnson. At 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, the rising junior has ideal size for a safety at the college level. He's a good one, too. He can drop down into the box and play like an extra linebacker, and finished last season with 78 tackles and 2.5 for loss. He can be physical in the running game and he can also drop back into coverage and be a quality cover guy. He picked off three passes last season, too. He is Georgia Tech's best defensive back and probably their top overall player on the defensive side of the ball.
2012 Outlook: After a 6-0 start last season, the Yellow Jackets struggled down the stretch. They ended up losing five of their next seven games. Consistency was an issue for Tech on both sides of the ball last season. Washington returns at quarterback. The line looks solid. The top two running backs return. However, they lost receiver Stephen Hill to the NFL. One of the fastest players in all of college football last season, he was a dynamite part of their offense and really helped keep defenses honest with his speed. Without him, they're going to have a very hard time throwing the football, which means teams will be able to stack the line of scrimmage even more. Defensively, just about everyone returns from what was an average unit a year ago. They should be solid on defense but the loss of Hill might make it tough getting back to eight wins again in 2012.