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Tailbacks Shine in Tech Scrimmage

April 15, 2006

ATLANTA–Georgia Tech tailbacks Tashard Choice and Jamaal Evans were the standouts in the Yellow Jackets’ second spring scrimmage, held Saturday morning at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field.

Tech has one week of spring practice remaining, with workouts Monday, Wednesday and Friday before next Saturday’s final scrimmage.

“I feel very good about that position right now,” Tech head coach Chan Gailey said of his tailbacks following the controlled scrimmage.

A junior from Riverdale, Ga., Choice inherits the starting position manned the last three seasons by all-Atlantic Coast Conference tailback P.J. Daniels. He rushed for 79 yards on just nine carries in the scrimmage, including touchdown runs of three and 16 yards.

Backup tailback Rashaun Grant, a junior from Tampa, Fla., gained 17 yards on three carries, and true freshman Jamaal Evans had another solid performance with 80 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts. He had scoring runs of 13 and 29 yards. Evans, who enrolled this spring from Irving (Texas) High School, was the leading rusher in last week’s scrimmage with 94 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

“All he did was pick up where left off last scrimmage,” said Gailey of Evans, who stands just 5-8 and 191 pounds. “He has taken advantage when he’s been on the field and shown he can run the football.”

Starting quarterback Reggie Ball was held out of the scrimmage as a precaution as he nurses a minor injury, and third-team Jonathan Garner left early in the scrimmage with an injury that is believed to be minor, so Taylor Bennett and Kyle Manley took the majority of the snaps. Gailey described the performance of his quarterbacks as “average.” Bennett was 8-for-16 for 64 yards, while Manley completed six of 16 passes for 89 yards and threw the only touchdown pass, 25 yards to Greg Smith.

“We’re working with so many combinations because of all the guys missing, so there was no level of consistency on either side of the ball,” said Gailey. “We had some great individual plays, but not much consistency. But I think you expect that in spring practice. Neither side should dominate.”

Senior Chris Dunlap had three catches for 35 yards, and freshman Martin Frierson caught two passes for 44 yards.

Junior all-America Calvin Johnson had just two catches for 17 yards, but the junior all-America provided one of the highlights of the day with a crushing block on Choice’s 16-yard touchdown run.

“He’s an all-around great player, he’s not one-dimensional,” said Gailey.

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