Tuesday (sort of) Tech Review: 9 Jackets on preseason All-ACC team

Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas will be called upon to lead the Yellow Jackets through voluntary offseason workout sessions. (GETTY IMAGES)

Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas received the first of likely several preseason honors that he will receive wit his selection to the Phil Steele preseason All-ACC team. (GETTY IMAGES)

Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas and defensive tackle Adam Gotsis were two of nine Yellow Jackets players named to the Phil Steele preseason All-ACC team. Thomas and Gotsis, both named All-ACC second team last season, were named the Steele’s All-ACC team.

Tech second-teamers were center Freddie Burden, defensive tackle Jabari Hunt-Days and safety Jamal Golden. Offensive tackle Bryan Chamberlain, defensive end KeShun Freeman and linebacker P.J. Davis were on the third team. Guard Trey Braun was a fourth-team pick.

Tech’s nine selections were tied for sixth most, after Clemson and North Carolina (12), Florida State (11) and Virginia Tech (10). Duke and Louisville also had nine.

Becker to NCAAs

The final Tech athlete to compete this season will be pole vaulter Samantha Becker. The senior will compete in the NCAA outdoor championships June 11 in Eugene, Ore. Becker took the 12th and final qualifying spot at the East preliminaries in Jacksonville, Fla., May 28. Becker, in fact, cleared 4.18 meters (13’8 ½“) on her final attempt. Had she not made it, I believe it would have ended her college career.

Tech golf in perspective

The Tech golf team completed its season, again, at the NCAA championships, where they finished ninth out of 30 teams. They were three strokes out of eighth place, which would have put them in the quarterfinals for the third consecutive season.

In my coverage of Tech (and Georgia) at the tournament, I’d say I cast Tech’s performance as a disappointment, seeing as the Yellow Jackets had two of the best players in school history (Ollie Schniederjans and Anders Albertson) playing their final event for the team, and a) they didn’t play as well as expected; b) as a result, the team didn’t advance into the quarterfinals, as it took .26 percent more shots than the eighth-place team, UCLA.

Golf is a funny game. If sometimes doesn’t work out as you expect. Finishing fourth from last after the fourth round was Stewart Jolly of LSU. Jolly was an All-American last year and All-SEC the past two seasons, but he finished 25-over par for the four rounds.

The prevailing emotion from Schniederjans and Albertson after their final college rounds Sunday was probably shock or disbelief.

“I thought I was doing all that I could,” Schniederjans said. “It just didn’t happen.”

A tweet I saw from Tech assistant coach Brennan Webb made me pause, though.

It is indeed noteworthy that, after finishing ninth in the country, none of Tech’s five players looked very happy about it. The success that coach Bruce Heppler’s team has had is, frankly, remarkable. Consider the team’s postseason results just going back to 2009, when the match-play format for the NCAA championships debuted. (“QF” is quarterfinals, “DNQ” is did not qualify and “SF” is semifinals.)

Year ACC NCAA
2009 1st T10
2010 1st QF
2011 1st QF
2012 1st DNQ
2013 4th SF
2014 1st QF
2015 1st 9th

It gave me food for thought this evening. To put the team’s success into perspective, using the final college football AP rankings as a measure, if Tech’s golf team was a football team, who might it be?

Team 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Oregon 11 3 4 2 9 2
Stanford Unr. 4 7 6 10 Unr.
TCU 6 2 13 Unr. Unr. 3
Wisconsin 16 8 11 Unr. 21 13

Considering that in the last six years, Tech has finished outside of the top 10 nationally once, I’d say maybe somewhere between Oregon and Stanford would be the best comparison. Not bad. (I recognize that I only have the past six years for football and the past seven for golf. I realized this too late in my chart-making process and too late in the evening to go back and change. I hope you can live with it.)

There are probably lots of other reasons why this comparison isn’t the most sound. Regardless, Heppler has set an incredibly high standard.

(Sorry for the delay. I’ve been covering the NCAA golf championships the last five days, which has occupied most of my time.)


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