Best Yellow Jackets of the past decade: Part 3

By Justin Hubbard

justin@lakeoconeenews.us

 

We keep inching closer to the return of college football, and we here at Lake Oconee News are nearing the end of our best Yellow Jackets of the past decade series, too.

So far, we’ve listed three of the top five Georgia Tech football players since 2007. The fifth-ranked player was Jonathan Dwyer, Jeremiah Attaochu was fourth and Demaryius Thomas was third. This week, we reveal the man we think was the second-best Yellow Jacket of the past 10 years: Justin Thomas.

Thomas is the most recently active player on our list. He was the Yellow Jackets’ quarterback from 2013 to 2016.

During his redshirt freshman season, Thomas backed up then-starter Vad Lee. He looked promising, completing nine of his 17 pass attempts for 131 yards and a touchdown. Thomas picked up 234 yards on the ground, too, and rushed for two scores.

Lee transferred the next year which opened the door for Thomas to become the team’s starter. He made the most of his opportunity.

In his first season as the team’s starter, Thomas went 96-for-187 for 1,719 and 18 touchdowns, quite an accomplishment in a run-centric offense. Thomas only had six interceptions. Thomas added another 1,086 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns to his resume as well.

Thomas’ work led Georgia Tech to an unexpected 11-3 record and ACC Championship game appearance, which the Yellow Jackets narrowly lost to Florida State 37-35. All’s well that ends well, though, and the 2014 season ended well for the Yellow Jackets: They knocked off Mississippi State to win the Orange Bowl 49-34.

Georgia Tech couldn’t replicate its 2014 success the next two years, though. The Yellow Jackets’ record across the 2015 and 2016 seasons was 12-13. They went 9-4 and won the TaxSlayer Bowl last season, but it paled in comparison to what the team accomplished two years prior.

He graduated with the sixth-most passing yards in program history (4,748) and the school’s fifth-most touchdown passes (40). Thomas saw his production decrease the past two seasons thanks in large part to injury issues, which likely cost him the chance to pad his legacy at Georgia Tech.

However, his career will always be remembered fondly by Yellow Jacket faithful.

Next week, we will unveil our No. 1 Yellow Jacket of the past decade.

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