May 1, 2017
THE FLATS – Shortly after place kicker Harrison Butker was selected in the seventh round of the 2017 National Football League Draft on Saturday, four more members of Georgia Tech football’s most recent class learned that they will receive shots to make NFL rosters. Linebacker P.J. Davis signed as an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars, defensive lineman Patrick Gamble inked a deal with the New York Jets, defensive lineman Francis Kallon agreed to join the Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Justin Thomas received an opportunity to try out for a spot with the San Francisco 49ers.
Davis led Georgia Tech in tackles as a sophomore (119 in 2014) and junior (77 in 2015) and, despite missing the better part of three games due to injury, ranked second on the squad with 76 stops as a senior in 2016. He led the Yellow Jackets with 6.9 tackles per game as a senior and finished his career with 313 total stops, good for fourth among all ACC players active in `16. He returns to Jacksonville after returning a fumble 38 yards for a touchdown to kickstart the Yellow Jackets’ 33-18 win over Kentucky in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl on Dec. 31 at the Jaguars’ EverBank Field.
Gamble made 27 starts at defensive tackle over the course of his collegiate career, including all 13 games as a senior, when he racked up 7.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss and three tackles. His three forced fumbles were tied for sixth in the ACC in 2016 while his 7.5 sacks were tied for 10th. He turned in perhaps the finest game of his career in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl win over Kentucky when he tallied seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a career-high two sacks, the first of which caused the fumble that was returned 38 yards for a score by Davis.
Kallon, a London, England native who did not start playing organized football until his junior year of high school, had his most productive collegiate campaign as a senior, appearing in 12 games and making six starts at defensive tackle. He recorded 15 tackles as a prominent part of the Yellow Jackets’ rotation at defensive tackle in 2016, including three tackles for loss and two sacks.
In three seasons as Georgia Tech’s starting quarterback, Thomas amassed the fourth-most yards of total offense in program history with 7,166. He also ranks among the Yellow Jackets’ all-time leaders with a 141.8 career pass-efficiency rating (fourth in school history), 40 touchdown passes (fifth), 4,754 passing yards (sixth) and 2,412 rushing yards (ninth). As a senior in 2016, he accounted for 2,163 yards of total offense (1,559 passing, 604 rushing) and 14 touchdowns (eight passing, six rushing) while throwing only two interceptions. Along the way, he became the 39th player in NCAA Division I FBS history and the first at Tech with 4,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in a career. Having run a sub-4.4 40-yard dash at Georgia Tech’s Pro Day, the 49ers are bringing Thomas aboard to tryout at wide receiver.