THE FLATS – Tashard Choice, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference rushing champion at Georgia Tech and former National Football League running back, is returning to The Flats in 2019 as an assistant coach, new head coach Geoff Collins announced on Friday. Choice will coach the Yellow Jackets’ running backs.
Choice comes back to Georgia Tech after serving as the running backs coach at the University of North Texas in 2018. He is one of six finalists for FootballScoop’s 2018 Running Backs Coach of the Year award, joining a group that also includes Oklahoma’s Jay Boulware and Clemson’s Tony Elliott.
“It’s good to have Tashard back home on The Flats,” Collins said. “He was a great running back for us here at Georgia Tech, was a great player in the NFL and has done a really good job at the University of North Texas, where he was named one of the top six running back coaches in America. He’s a relentless recruiter, has an enthusiastic personality and will be engaging with recruits and our current players. It’s exciting to have him back home and it’ll be great to have him around our guys.”
Before entering the coaching ranks, Choice enjoyed a six-year NFL career, playing in 88 games with the Dallas Cowboys (2008-11), Washington Redskins (2011), Buffalo Bills (2011-13) and Indianapolis Colts (2013). He totaled more than 2,000 yards as a pro (1,579 rushing, 574 receiving and 89 on kick returns) and scored 10 touchdowns.
The Jonesboro, Ga. native began his coaching career as an intern with the Dallas Cowboys in 2016, where he helped spur Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott to one of the best rookie campaigns in NFL history. His stint with the Cowboys was followed by a pair of record-breaking seasons at UNT, first as an offensive quality control assistant in 2017, then as running backs coach in 2018.
In his two seasons on the UNT staff, the Mean Green posted back-to-back nine-win seasons for the first time since the program joined the NCAA Division I FBS ranks in 1995.
Under Choice’s tutelage as running backs coach in 2018, UNT sophomore running back Deandre Torrey amassed 1,182 yards from scrimmage (977 rushing, 205 receiving) and scored 17 touchdowns, en route to being named second-team all-Conference USA. Making Torrey’s development even more impressive is the fact that he didn’t enter the starting lineup until nearly midway through the season, as UNT junior Loren Easly was C-USA’s leading rusher with 386 yards in four games before he sustained a season-ending injury.
Choice also assisted with the UNT’s running backs in his quality-control role in 2017 and played a part in all of the Mean Green’s running backs averaging at least 5 yards per carry, led by second-team all-C-USA selection Jeffrey Wilson (1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns in 11 just games, good for the nation’s second-highest yards-per-game average – 110.5 ypg).
One of the most decorated running backs in Georgia Tech history, Choice was a Yellow Jacket from 2005-07 after transferring to Tech from Oklahoma. In just three seasons on The Flats, he ran for 3,365 yards and scored 28 touchdowns, which ranks fourth and sixth in Georgia Tech history, respectively.
He led the ACC in rushing as a junior in 2006 (1,473 yards) and a senior in 2007 (1,379 yards). He is the only Yellow Jacket to ever lead the ACC in rushing twice and is one of only three Jackets to ever post two 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
A first-team all-ACC honoree as a senior and a second-team selection as a junior, Choice was also recognized as an honorable-mention all-American as a senior in 2007.
“I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to come back home to Georgia Tech,” Choice said. “I will always be thankful for my time at North Texas but I can’t wait to serve my players, coaches and the community that instilled in me the honor of being a part of the White and Gold.”
A two-time member of the ACC academic honor roll, Choice graduated from Tech in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in history, technology and society.