Choice adds depth to Georgia Tech backfield

From Staff Reports

Tailback appears to be the deepest position on the Georgia Tech football team as Oklahoma transfer and former Lovejoy standout Tashard Choice joins returnees P.J. Daniels, Chris Woods and Rashaun Grant in the Yellow Jackets' backfield.

Daniels, a senior from Houston, Texas, rushed for 714 yards and eight touchdowns in an injury-plagued junior year after leading the Atlantic Coast Conference with 1,447 yards as a sophomore in 2003. Woods, a senior, and Grant, a sophomore, combined for 757 yards when Daniels was out last fall.

Choice, a sophomore, rushed for 100 yards on just 22 carries last fall at Oklahoma.

After Tech endured rain most of Sunday afternoon to complete its second preseason practice, head coach Chan Gailey was asked if it was possible to get enough reps for his four talented backs.

"Probably not, but I don't see how you do that," said Gailey. "I don't see how you can give four guys enough work. We've got a lot of good backs, and as the season goes on, we'll see how that plays out.

"The great thing is that three of them have a good deal of experience in this offense. And of course, Tashard was here in spring practice, so he has a great jump on things, too."

Redshirt freshman Loyall Gause adds even more depth to the backfield. Sophomore Mike Cox and senior Ajenavi Eziemefe are handling the duties at fullback, where Tech graduated two-year starter Jimmy Dixon.

On the offensive lineman, sophomore Eddy Parker is now working at center as Tech seeks a backup for projected starter Kevin Tuminello.

"We've been searching for a second center, so we're trying him," said Gailey. "He's an intelligent player. He came on well in the spring, which was the first time he was really healthy since he's been here. We'll see if he can handle the duties."

Freshman Anthony Barnes, one of the most highly-touted players in Tech's incoming class, is working at outside linebacker. Barnes, 6-3 and 210 pounds, was a safety and wide receiver at Cartersville High School.

"We decided to go ahead and move him to linebacker," said Gailey. "We're probably a little deeper at safety right now. He's going to be a big man, so that's probably where he'd end up anyway. So we put him there to start learning, and maybe he can help us this year.

Georgia Tech opens the season Sept. 3 at Auburn, ranked 15th in the preseason coaches' poll.