Eight Jackets Earn Phil Steele Postseason Honors

Dec. 18, 2014

CLEVELAND – Eight Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets earned postseason honors Thursday from Phil Steele. Highlighting the honors were senior offensive guard Shaquille Mason as second-team All-American and rookie defensive end KeShun Freeman as a Freshman All-American.

Mason has now been named to five different All-America teams. He was a first-team selection by USA TODAY; a second-team honoree by Sports Illustrated, FWAA, and Phil Steele; and a third-team selection by the Associated Press. The Columbia, Tenn., native was a second-team All-ACC selection by both the media and the league’s head coaches. Tech’s highest-gradated offensive lineman in every game this season, he has made 37 consecutive starts – the longest streak by any current Yellow Jackets.

Freeman recorded 51 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss (35 yards), 4.5 sacks (23 yards), one fumble recovery, one forced fumble, and one blocked kick in 13 games (11 starts). Freeman led all ACC freshmen in both TFL and sacks. He was one of four Yellow Jackets that teamed up to block six kicks – tied for the nation’s lead heading into the bowls.

The LaGrange, Ga., rookie was one of five ACC players named Freshman All-American by Phil Steele. Freeman was also named a Freshman All-American by ESPN, USA TODAY, and 247Sports.

Mason was Tech’s lone first-team All-ACC honoree. Five players were named to the All-ACC Second Team – Adam Gotsis, Zach Laskey, Quayshawn Nealy, DeAndre Smelter, and Justin Thomas.

Gotsis ranks second among Tech defensive linemen with 32 tackles (21 solo), 5.5 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks. The junior from Australia has also blocked a pair of kicks.

Although missing three games due to injury, Laskey has helped bolster Tech’s ACC-leading running game. The senior from Peachtree City, Ga., has rushed for a career high 788 yards and nine touchdowns in 10 games, including two 100-yard efforts. He rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns in a win at then-No. 9 Georgia.

Nealy, who has 90 tackles and 6.0 tackles for loss, is one of only six Power-5 players with multiple defensive touchdowns in 2014 (one interception, one fumble return). The senior from Lakeland, Fla., ranks eighth nationally with three fumble recoveries, while his eight career interceptions are tied for the most among active non-DBs in the nation.

Smelter leads Tech in receptions (34), yards (715), and receiving TDs (seven). Earlier this year, the senior from Macon, Ga., became the 21st 1,000-yard receiver in school history.

Thomas has emerged as one of the ACC’s best dual-threat quarterbacks. The sophomore, first-year starter leads the Jackets with 965 rushing yards – the third-most by a Georgia Tech quarterback. He ranks eighth nationally in Total QBR (79.3), with 17 TD passes to just five interceptions. This season, the Prattville, Ala., native became the sixth Tech QB to rush for 1,000 yards in a career.

Junior defensive back Jamal Golden was named to the All-ACC Third Team by Phil Steele. Golden finished tied for second in the ACC with four interceptions, including one returned 85 for a touchdown in a win over Clemson. The junior from Wetumpka, Ala., is Tech’s sixth-leading tackler (53) and has forced a pair of fumbles.

No. 12 Georgia Tech faces No. 7 Mississippi State (10-2) in the 2014 Capital One Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve in Miami. The game kicks at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN at Sun Life Stadium.

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 2014 GEORGIA TECH POSTSEASON HONORS
 Freddie Burden, C  Adam Gotsis, DL
 All-ACC, honorable mention (media)  All-ACC, second team (Phil Steele, coaches, media)
 Bryan Chamberlain, OT  Paul Johnson
 All-ACC, honorable mention (media)  ACC Coach of the Year (media, coaches)
 P.J. Davis, LB  Zach Laskey, B-Back
 All-ACC, honorable mention (media)  All-ACC, second team (Phil Steele, coaches, media)
 Synjyn Days, B-Back  Shaquille Mason, OL
 All-ACC, honorable mention (coaches, media)  All-America, first team (USA TODAY)
 All-America, second team (SI, FWAA, Phil Steele)
 KeShun Freeman, DE  All-America, third team (AP)
 Freshman All-America (Phil Steele, USA TODAY)  All-ACC (ESPN)
 True Freshman All-America (ESPN, 247Sports)  All-ACC, first team (Phil Steele)
 All-ACC, honorable mention (media)  All-ACC, second team (coaches, media)
 Jamal Golden, DB  Quayshawn Nealy, LB
 All-ACC, third team (Phil Steele, coaches, media)  All-ACC, second team (Phil Steele, media)
 All-ACC, honorable mention (media) – specialist  All-ACC, third team (coaches) 
 DeAndre Smelter, WR
 All-ACC, second team (Phil Steele, coaches)
 All-ACC, third team (media) 
 Justin Thomas, QB
 All-ACC, second team (Phil Steele, coaches)
 All-ACC, third team (media)
 D.J. White, DB
 All-ACC, honorable mention (media)

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