January 7, 2010

Questions arise after Orange Bowl

The Georgia Tech football program is coming off a historic season that concluded with an ACC Championship and an Orange Bowl appearance, but there five major questions facing the Jackets heading into the offseason. Each of the five questions has a major impact on what Georgia Tech looks like on the football field in 2010.

Four of the questions surround the four talented junior leaders, Derrick Morgan, Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas and Morgan Burnett. Those four junior players all have a chance to be NFL draft picks in April and none of the players have made any official announcements.

Derrick Morgan at defensive end is coming off a very impressive junior campaigns and he is one of the top defensive end in most NFL draft projections for 2010. Morgan is waiting to get his NFL draft evaluation back before announcing a decision. He said after the Orange Bowl that he will announce his decision soon.

"I don't know yet," Morgan said when asked if he had a timetable for the decision. "I will have to evaluate some things in order to make the best decision for me."

Dwyer like Derrick Morgan is a highly coveted NFL prospect and draft projections have him going in the first two rounds of the draft. At the conclusion of the Orange Bowl, Derrick Morgan had to help Dwyer off the field because Dwyer was so overcome with emotion. The bad taste left by the loss to Iowa will factor into Dwyer's decision because he feels like he has unfinished business at Georgia Tech.

"Honestly I really don't know. I am just taking it all in and trying to enjoy the experience of being here in a BCS Bowl. That decision will happen a few weeks later," Dwyer said. "Definitely, I hate losing and I hate the fact that we worked so hard with the guys that we came here with and the guys that we told to come here who are going to be a big part of getting us to where we are. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I do not know if I will ever get it out. I might never watch this game. It may influence me into coming back, we will see. A lot depends on my paperwork I get back from the league."

Thomas was one of the top receivers in the country in 2009 in a run heavy offense and he has a certain draft spot in mind that will affect his decision.

"I will make my final decision based off of the evaluation, but I don't feel comfortable talking it right now," he said after the game. "We will see what happens. This game does not influence my decision. After I get my evaluation back and all of the other stuff, I will go off of that."

Burnett slowed by nagging injuries for the majority of the 2009 season was unavailable for comment after the Orange Bowl, but in the past, he has indicated to Jacketsonline in the past his desire to comeback for one final run with his close friend quarterback Josh Nesbitt.

Prospects have until Jan. 15 to fill for early entry to the NFL draft. Many experts predict a record number of players will declare in 2010 because of collective bargaining issues in the NFL that will surface before the 2011 season. One of those issues could include a rookie pay scale that would be less favorable to rookies than the current system.

The last question facing the Jackets heading into this offseason is who will replace A-backs coach Jeff Monken. Monken was hired as the new head coach at Georgia Southern in December and he reported for work there on Wednesday, ending his two-year affiliation with Georgia Tech. Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson has been tight lipped about potential candidates. The remaining assistant coaches have split Monken's recruiting responsibilities in the meantime.

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