Jan. 11, 2017
THE FLATS – Freshman B-back and TaxSlayer Bowl MVP Dedrick Mills, senior center Freddie Burden and senior place kicker Harrison Butker represent Georgia Tech on ESPN’s 2016 ACC all-bowl team, which was published on Wednesday.
The team, selected by ESPN.com’s David Hale, includes 26 players (12 offense, 11 defense, three specialists) that helped lead the ACC to a 9-3 overall record in postseason play, good for the most wins and best winning percentage among all 10 FBS conferences during the 2016 postseason. Georgia Tech contributed to the stellar marks with its 33-18 win over Kentucky in the TaxSlayer Bowl (formerly the Gator Bowl) on New Year’s Eve at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
Mills rushed 31 times for 169 yards (both career highs) and a touchdown en route to earning MVP honors in the TaxSlayer Bowl victory. His 169 rushing yards were the most by an ACC player and the seventh-most by any ball-carrier nationwide during the 2016 postseason.
Burden helped paved the way for Mills’ 169 rushing yards and the Yellow Jackets’ 266 ground total before sustaining an injury in the third quarter of the win over Kentucky. Behind Burden and the rest of the Jackets’ offensive front, Tech quarterback Justin Thomas was not sacked during the bowl triumph.
Butker made 4-of-4 field goals and accounted for 15 of the Jackets’ 33 points (both career highs) during the Jackets’ third win of the season over an SEC opponent. His four field goals (from 23, 26, 44 and a season-long 52 yards out) set a Georgia Tech postseason record and were tied for the second-most in single-game school history. He was also perfect on 3-of-3 extra-point attempts and sent all seven of his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. For his efforts, Butker was also named to the Associated Press national all-bowl team last week.
After finishing the 2016 season with a 9-4 overall record, Georgia Tech returns 16 starters (eight on offense, eight on defense) in 2017. In ESPN’s “Way-Too-Early” ACC rankings for 2017, Hale picked the Yellow Jackets to finish second in the Coastal Division and fifth overall in the conference next season (behind only Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Louisville and ahead of traditional league title contenders such as Virginia Tech and North Carolina). The Jackets were picked to finish sixth in the Coastal Division in the ACC’s 2016 preseason poll.
After finishing 3-0 versus opponents from the SEC in 2016, Georgia Tech opens the 2017 campaign on Monday, Sept. 4 (Labor Day) versus Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta. Georgia Tech’s 2017 season-ticket information will be available in the near future.