The best football players Georgia Tech will face this season

Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk. Chuck Liddy / News and Observer

Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk. Chuck Liddy / News and Observer

Here is the best player on each team Georgia Tech will face in football this season.

The best player is determined by a proprietary formula that I can’t divulge, other than to reveal it’s purely subjective and I welcome your feedback.

Vs. Boston College

Date: Sept. 3

Best player: Patrick Towles.

Position: Quarterback.

Class: Graduate student.

Stats that matter: Towles transferred to the Eagles after passing more than 5,000 yards with 24 touchdowns and 11 more rushing, mostly as a two-year starter at Kentucky.

How has he done against Tech? He has never faced the Yellow Jackets.

Vs. Mercer

Date: Sept. 10

Best player: John Russ.

Position: Quarterback.

Class: Senior.

Stats that matter: Has passed for more than 6,200 yards and rushed for more than 1,600 as a three-year starter for the Bears. Has accounted for 82 touchdowns.

How has he done against Tech? He has never faced the Yellow Jackets.

Vs. Vanderbilt

Date: Sept. 17

Best player: Ralph Webb.

Position: Running back.

Class: Redshirt junior.

Stats that matter: He has rushed for more than 2,000 yards in two seasons with 11 touchdowns. He is durable, evidenced by his school-record 277 carries last season. He can also catch out of the backfield.

How has he done against Tech? He has never faced the Yellow Jackets.

Vs. Clemson

Date: Sept. 22

Best player: Deshaun Watson.

Position: Quarterback.

Class: Junior.

Stats that matter: He is 18-2 as a starter, was the school’s first Heisman Trophy finalist and led the Tigers to the national championship game last year. He owns 39 school records in becoming the first FBS players to pass for at least 4,000 yards and rush for at least 1,000 in a season.

How has he done against Tech? He completed 21-of-30 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown, and rushed six times for 16 yards in last season’s 43-24 win in Clemson. He completed 5-of-7 for 27 yards and rushed seven times for 40 yards in 2014 before leaving the game with an injury.

Vs. Miami

Date: Oct. 1

Best player: Brad Kaaya.

Position: Quarterback.

Class: Junior.

Stats that matter: Led the ACC last season with an average of 274.5 passing yards per game. … Has passed for more than 6,400 yards with 42 touchdowns against 17 interceptions in two seasons.

How has he done against Tech? Went 16-of-25 for 245 yards and a touchdown in 2014. Added 300 yards on 16-of-25 attempts and a touchdown in 2015.

At Pittsburgh

Date: Oct. 8

Best player: James Conner.

Position: Running back.

Class: Redshirt junior.

Stats that matter: The first stat is that he has recovered from both cancer diagnosed in December after a knee injury suffered early in last year’s season-opening game. … Before that, he rushed for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2014 to earn several postseason honors, including ACC Player of the Year.

How has he done against Tech? He rushed 10 times for 120 yards and three touchdowns in 2014.

Vs. Georgia Southern

Date: Oct. 15

Best player: Matt Breida.

Position: Running back.

Class: Junior.

Stats that matter: Has rushed for more than 3,000 yards in two seasons with 34 touchdowns. … Averaged 7.9 yards per carry last season and 8.7 yards in 2014.

How has he done against Tech? I earlier wrote he hadn’t face the Jackets. He rushed for more than 100 yards two years ago, including a long touchdown run.

Vs. Duke

Date: Oct. 29

Best player: Thomas Sirk.

Position: Quarterback.

Class: Redshirt senior.

Stats that matter: Has passed for almost 2,700 yards in two years as a starter and rushed for more than 1,000 yards. … Has been sacked just 12 times. … According to Duke’s sports information department, Sirk among active ACC QBs, ranks second in rushing yards per attempt, tied for second in total TDs, third in rushing attempts, third in rushing yards, fourth in rushing yards per game (43.48), sixth in passing yards, sixth in total offensive yards, seventh in TD passes and 10th in passing yards per game (112.17)

How has he done against Tech? He completed 17-of-25 for 114 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed 13 times for 52 yards last season. He rushed five times for 10 yards and two touchdowns in 2014.

At North Carolina

Date: Nov. 5

Best player: Elijah Hood.

Position: Running back.

Class: Junior.

Stats that matter: Rushed for more than 1,400 yards with 17 touchdowns last season. … It was the second-highest rushing total in school history. … He averaged 6.7 yards per carry.

How has he done against Tech? He rushed 12 times for 60 yards and two touchdowns last season.

At Virginia Tech

Date: Nov. 12

Best player: Isaiah Ford.

Position: Wide receiver.

Class: Junior.

Stats that matter: Set a school record last year with 75 receptions for 1,164 yards and 11 touchdowns (also a school record) to bring his career totals to 131 receptions for 1,873 yards and 17 touchdowns.

How has he done against Tech? Had five receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown last season, and had eight catches for 114 yards in 2014.

Vs. Virginia

Date: Nov. 19

Best player: Matt Johns or Connor Brewer.

Position: Quarterbacks.

Class: Seniors.

Stats that matter:  Johns passed for 2,810 yards with 20 touchdowns but 17 interceptions last season. He was also sacked 20 times. Brewer has no significant stats.

How has he done against Tech? Johns completed 17-of-28 passes for 175 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 27-21 win in Atlanta last year. He completed 4-of-9 for 32 yards in 2014. Brewer hasn’t faced the Yellow Jackets.

At Georgia

Date: Nov. 26

Best player: Nick Chubb.

Position: Running back.

Class: Junior.

Stats that matter: After rushing for more than 1,500 yards with 14 touchdowns in 2014, Chubb had 747 and seven touchdowns last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He has averaged 7.1 and 8.1 yards per carry.

How has he done against Tech? He didn’t face the Yellow Jackets last season, but had 25 carries for 129 yards and three receptions for 36 yards in a 30-24 overtime loss to Tech in 2014.

 


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