August 17, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson is faced with a decision he has not had to make in three years: choosing a starting quarterback.

He's in no rush.

The Yellow Jackets must replace Justin Thomas, who led them to a pair of bowl victories -including an Orange Bowl triumph that capped an 11-win season in 2014.

''We had one guy for three years that was way better than everyone else,'' Johnson said. ''That's not the case right now, I don't think. We don't have one that's just way better than everybody else.''

The battle to replace Thomas is still a four-way logjam that includes Matthew Jordan, who was Thomas' backup the last two seasons. Junior TaQuon Marshall and redshirt freshmen Jay Jones and Lucas Johnson are also in the mix.

The coach said all four players are progressing, but none has been able to break away from the pack. It's a competition that could stretch into the season, which begins Sept. 4 against Tennessee at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta's new $1.5 billion stadium.

Jordan has taken the most snaps in the Yellow Jackets' triple-option offense, largely as a short-yardage rushing specialist. In his only college start, he led Georgia Tech to an upset at then-No. 18 Virginia Tech last season while Thomas was out with an injury, rushing for 121 yards and two touchdowns - one of them a 53-yard burst.

Jordan returned to practice Wednesday after missing time nursing a shoulder injury from a scrimmage last weekend. It was his second setback of the offseason, following a foot injury that caused him to sit out the last two weeks of spring practice.

Marshall has served in more of a utility role. He made nine appearances as an A-back as a true freshman in 2015, before switching to quarterback last season, where he ran for a touchdown.

The other candidates are the 6-foot, 188-pound Jones, who was recruited as an all-purpose athlete out of high school, and Lucas Johnson, a 6-3, 210-pound dual-threat.

Georgia Tech finished last season 9-4, winning six of its last seven games.

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