May 25, 2017
THE FLATS – Five Georgia Tech football standouts have been named to Athlon’s 2017 preseason all-Atlantic Coast Conference teams. Sophomore B-back Dedrick Mills leads the way as a first-team running back. Sophomore offensive lineman Parker Braun is a second-team selection, senior defensive back Lance Austin is a member of the third team and junior offensive lineman Will Bryan and junior punt returner Brad Stewart round out the Jackets’ honorees on the fourth team.
Named honorable-mention freshman all-America by Campus Insiders, Mills led Georgia Tech with 771 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns and 13 total touchdowns in just nine games as a true freshman last season. His 12 rushing touchdowns were tied for third among all freshmen nationally and, if he had played enough games to qualify for national per-game rankings, he would have also ranked second nationally in freshman scoring (8.7 ppg) and fourth nationally in freshman rushing (85.7 ypg).
Braun was named to ESPN’s true freshman all-America team after starting the final eight games of last season at left guard for the Yellow Jackets. He played a big role in Georgia Tech’s late-season offensive surge, as the Jackets averaged 31.1 points, 277.6 rushing yards and 419.5 total yards per game with him in the starting lineup.
Austin led Georgia Tech and tied for seventh in the ACC with three interceptions last season. Two of the three INTs played a big role in the Jackets’ season-ending four-game winning streak — he returned one 24 yards for a touchdown with 4:03 to go in the ballgame to seal a 31-17 win over Virginia in the final home game of the season and picked off a pass near midfield to set up Tech’s winning touchdown drive in a 28-27 triumph over archrival Georgia in the regular-season finale. In addition ranking among the ACC’s top 10 with three interceptions, he also led the league with 15 passes defended.
One of the ACC’s most versatile offensive lineman, Bryan started 11 games as a sophomore last season, six at right guard and five at left guard. Like Braun, he helped pave the way for Georgia Tech to rank among the nation’s leaders in both rushing offense (ninth — 258.1 ypg) and fewest sacks allowed (17th — 1.23 pg).
Stewart averaged 11.5 yards per return as Georgia Tech’s primary punt returner last season, which would have ranked 10th nationally if he had enough attempts to qualify for the NCAA rankings (he had 11 returns — minimum to qualify for rankings is 16). He also caught 19 passes for 382 yards (20.1 avg.) as a starting wide receiver for the Yellow Jackets.
Coming off a 9-4 campaign and the 25th bowl victory in school history, Georgia Tech returns 16 starters (eight on offense, eight on defense) in 2017 — tied for the 15th-most returning starters in the nation. The 2017 season opens on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4, when the Yellow Jackets take on Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta.
2017 Georgia Tech football season tickets are on sale now, beginning at just $300 per seat. The Yellow Jackets’ highly anticipated 2017 home schedule includes the opener versus Tennessee at MBS and six games at Bobby Dodd Stadium, highlighted by showdowns against North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Georgia. For more information and to purchase season tickets online, visit togetherweswarm.com.