Now that spring practice has concluded, here at the TechTalk, we are asking the question: "Which four players had the most impact this spring, and will have the biggest impact in the fall?"Throughout the week, here on the blog, we'll be counting down those top players. Who would make your list? And in what order? Feel free to make your own suggestions or see how your list stacks up to the one compiled here this week.
The countdown begins today with No. 4 -- LB Sedric Griffin...
A hard-hitting force plopped in the middle of Georgia Tech's secondary, Griffin soldified himself as a key component to the Yellow Jackets' defense last season. Finishing the year with 53 tackles, eight tackles for loss and three sacks, he didn't have the most stellar numbers in the world, but he was a key contributor nonetheless. And now, after hearing his linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary question the role the linebackers played last season, Griffin has been fueled even more to succeed at the position and bring it back to the prominence it has long held at Georgia Tech.
A 5-foot-11 wrecking ball of power, Griffin has honed his tackling skills this spring, and quickly turned into one of the Yellow Jackets' strongest weapons at stopping the run. Last Saturday, playing with the first team (Gold) defense in the the annual T-Day Spring Game at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the linebacker had six tackles, including one for a loss. His most memorable moment on the afternoon came during the first play of the day, when he popped quarterback Jaybo Shaw as he was preparing for an option pitch. The hit was timed perfectly as the ball leapt from Shaw's hands as soon as he was hit, and fell to the turf, where defensive tackle Jason Peters recovered the fumble.
That wasn't the only time Griffin got to Shaw, either. He hit him a number of other times at the end of quarterback option keeper runs, or as the signal-caller was pitching out other plays. The abuse -- which Griffin later apologized for, saying "I was just doing my job. ... and (trying) to set the tone for the season ... and let everyone know that this defense is for real."
Although the Yellow Jackets will be missing three NFL-worthy defensive linemen in Darryl Richard, Vance Walker and Michael Johnson next season (the trio is preparing for the NFL Draft this week), the team seems to be in as good as hands as it can be in with Griffin. After his explosive, pad-popping spring, expect Griffin -- the starting defense's likely lone senior when the season starts -- to take charge of Jean-Mary's challenge, and lead his younger position mates in Brad Jefferson, Kyle Jackson, Cooper Taylor, Mario Edwards, Steven Sylvester and A.T. Barnes toward success. Sedric Griffin is TechTalk's No. 4 pick for most influential spring player.
Check back to the blog tomorrow when we'll unveil player No. 3. Thanks for stopping by!