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Jackets wrap up week one of spring ball in BDS

ATLANTA- Georgia Tech football opened up the first Saturday practice of the year and the first full-pads practice of 2021 on Saturday morning in Bobby Dodd Stadium. Fans were allowed to attend practice and some recruits took advantage of the opportunity to watch from the stands as well.

The Jackets spent the morning knocking some rust off after four months away from padded practice. With it being Saturday, Tech practiced a little longer than they often do during the week going over two hours for the fans watching. Instead of a typical scrimmage, fans got to see a more traditional practice with different periods of activity rather than just 11-on-11 work.

Coach Collins huddles his team up after practice
Coach Collins huddles his team up after practice (Kelly Quinlan/JOL)

After practice, third-year defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Andrew Thacker spoke about the first week of spring ball. Thacker talked about the replenished depth at linebacker with just two rotation players back from 2020 in Quez Jackson and Charlie Thomas and a lot of young faces including Maryland transfer Ayinde Eley and true freshman Trenilyas Tatum who represent opposite ends of the experience spectrum. Tech also has three redshirt freshmen who saw very little action last season in Tyson Meiguez, Khatavian Franks, and Khaya Wright all aiming to push for playing time this spring.

"We've had a longer offseason than normal that the coach Lew (Caralla) has had the opportunity to grab them and really develop them. We have new bodies in the room. Ayinde Eley the transfer from Maryland has brought another level of experience and a level of maturity to the group," Thacker said. "I know we got a young pup in Trenilyas Tatum who's an early enrollee from high school. He is only 17 years old. Charlie Thomas again as always a flexibility guy for us and then when we get the return of guys like Quez Jackson whose played a lot of snaps for us. And then young guys that we're developing this past season, that we're starting to scratch the surface and scratch the depth chart and Tyson Meiguez, Khaya Wright, and Khatavian Franks. We have just got solid dudes in the room, Frickin Taylor McCauley in there as well. Every single period, we have A's, B's, and C's, one, two, threes, right, we don't have an established any depth chart, as always, we talked about but just all three groups the level they are playing at is a very high-level."

New linebacker Ayinde Eley who many call "Ace" said the transition has been very smooth for him adapting to the Jackets' 4-2-5 base defense.

"The transition has actually been pretty smooth. I'm getting here and getting everything settled and then with the team and the coaches, everything's been smooth," Eley said. "Everybody in the program welcomed me with open arms. And since the day I got here, we've been rolling, work out workouts and learning everything and getting everything everybody's been such a great help. Just has helped me make that curve and everything and is going really smooth."

Despite new faces, Jackson the veteran of the group says this is the most bonded group of linebackers he has played with during his four seasons at Tech.

"I'm glad to say from the rip, this is the closest linebacker room has been since we've been here," he said. "Everyone is spending a lot of time with each other when we are in the building and even when we are out of the building. We are intertwined in each others' lives and becoming better friends and we are spending that extra time with each other so that brings a whole other dynamic to the room once you are able to be close on the field and outside the field. It makes everything work more efficiently. All the new guys came in and are working hard and understand what their roles are."