June 3, 2008
ATLANTA – Six Georgia Tech football players were named to the Phil Steele Preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference teams the magazine announced on Monday. Redshirt senior Andrew Gardner and seniors Michael Johnson and Vance Walker were first-team selections while redshirt senior Darryl Richard and sophomore Jonathan Dwyer earned third-team accolades. In addition, redshirt sophomore Demaryius Thomas earned honorable mention recognition.
Phil Steele’s College Football Preview is one of the nation’s most informative preseason football magazines and hits newsstands June 10th or is available now at www.philsteele.com. Phil Steele’s College Football Previews have always provided a preseason All-American team as well as preseason All-Conference teams.
Gardner was a first-team All-ACC performer at offensive tackle last year and should be considered one of the nation’s top offensive linemen in 2008. He was a key reason why Tech ranked first in the ACC in rushing and ranked near the top of the ACC in fewest sacks allowed in 2007. Walker is coming off a 2007 campaign where he was a First Team All-ACC pick. He also earned Rivals.com First Team All-ACC honors and was a Third Team AP and Rivals.com All-American. Walker was one of the top defensive linemen in the ACC and emerged in 2007 as an outstanding run stopper and pass-rusher.
Johnson is a remarkable athlete who can change the direction of a game in the blink of the eye. He saw action in all 12 games, coming off the bench in basically every passing situation. His three forced fumbles last season were tied for second in the ACC and tied for 35th nationally. He had 20 tackles, including 10 solos, 6.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks. Johnson led the team with four quarterback hurries and two blocked kicks.
Dwyer is an extremely gifted back who served as a back-up to Tashard Choice in 2007. He also saw action as a kick returner and has potential to be a solid receiver out of the backfield as well. A 2007 ACC All-Freshman Team member by the Sporting News, Dwyer played in all 12 games and was Tech’s second-leading rusher as a true freshman averaging 5.3 yards per carry (436 total). He ranked second on the team with seven touchdowns, all by rushing, as well as third on the team in scoring (42 points). He averaged one touchdown every 10 carries. Richard was a 2007 Second Team Academic All-American, Academic All-District and Wuerffel Trophy Finalist. A veteran run-stopper on the defensive line, he is an outstanding student who graduated in three years and is in the MBA program now. He started all 12 games at defensive tackle last year averaging more than two tackles per game with 26 on the year. He produced 10.5 tackles-for-loss and 4.5 sacks while also adding one pass break-up and one forced fumble.
Thomas was a 2007 Sporting News ACC All-Freshman team member as well as an honorable mention freshman All-American. He played in all 12 regular season games and started nine times. He ranked second among all Yellow Jacket receivers in receptions (31) and receiving yards (489). In addition, he had more touchdown receptions (3) than any other Tech receiver. He averaged 15.8 yards per reception.