Georgia Tech Football: Charlie Thomas And Other New Players Shaping Georgia Tech’s Defense

Georgia Tech Football Charlie Thomas (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)
Georgia Tech Football Charlie Thomas (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images) /

Georgia Tech Football has new defensive life this year under first-year defensive coordinator Nate Woody and multiple new players.

Charlie Thomas was a three star safety coming out of high school, and had offers from Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Indiana among others. He chose to go to Tech, despite Georgia Tech Football wanting to change his position.

That decision ultimately paid off heavily for Tech, as they’ve found some hidden talents with Thomas.

Charlie Thomas was an early enrollee at Georgia Tech, but still didn’t start until the Bowling Green game. Even though he has only started four games and played in five, Charlie Thomas is the 4th highest tackler on the team. Charlie averages the highest tackles per game at 5.6. He has also recovered two fumbles (team-high) and forced one (second on team).

Georgia Tech’s defense hasn’t been great this year, but under Nate Woody the defense has been more aggressive, and overall better, than what Ted Roof put out during his years here. Part of that is due to Woody’s philosophy, but also due to some new faces on the team.

The most important of those new players, surprisingly, hasn’t been a freshman. It’s the graduate transfer Malik Rivera. Along with multiple other analysts, I have run out of words to describe this young man.

A triple major at Wofford in only four years while playing football, Rivera decided to come to Georgia Tech for graduate school and football. He was immediately given the starting job,

alongside Tariq Carpenter, and he has not disappointed. Rivera not only leads the team in tackles but he also leads the team in interceptions.

Another “new” face is Malik’s partner in crime, Tariq Carpenter. The hard-hitting safety only played in two games last year primarily as a special-teamer, so I count him as a new face to this defense. Carpenter leads the team in solo tackles with 22, and also leads the team in pass break ups.

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Georgia Tech’s defense is still not great, but Woody has transformed this defense into a ball-hawking, aggressive defense, full of blitzes and press coverage. Ultimately with players like Charlie Thomas, Juanyeh Thomas, and Tariq Carpenter here for years to come, Woody’s defense will be a top ACC unit in the near future.