Analyzing the Impact Thomas Gore Will Bring To Georgia Tech's Defense

How much of an impact will Miami transfer Thomas Gore make on Georgia Tech's defense?
Miami Transfer Defensive Tackle Thomas Gore
Miami Transfer Defensive Tackle Thomas Gore / 247 Sports

Georgia Tech has been busy this spring trying to add talent to its defense in hopes of improving what was one of the worst defenses in the country last season, especially when it came to stopping the run. Trying to fix those issues has been priority No. 1 for Georgia Tech head coach Brent Key this offseason. He started by overhauling the defensive staff, bringing in four new assistants on that side of the ball including new defensive coordinator Tyler Santucci from Duke. The Yellow Jackets have brought in eight transfers on the defensive side of the ball, including Miami transfer Thomas Gore, who committed to Georgia Tech this week.

Arguably the biggest concern for Georgia Tech heading into the season was on the defensive line, but they have made important additions to that group and the interior of the defense could be much improved. The pass rush still might be a concern, but I think that Gore could be an instant impact player for Georgia Tech next season.

Let's look at some numbers that showed Gore's impact while he was with Miami and before that, Georgia State (who Georgia Tech faces on Aug. 31st).

Though he only played 167 snaps, Gore was the 4th-highest graded player on Miami's defense last season according to PFF (Pro Football Focus), finishing with a 76.7 grade on defense. The best number though was his 79.2 grade on run defense, which is where Georgia Tech needs him to make the biggest impact.

His best season (according to PFF) came during his 2021 season at Georgia State. Gore played 386 snaps and finished with an excellent grade of 90.2 on defense, including an elite mark of 92.0 on run defense. Some of that might be due to playing in the Sun Belt, but it does show that Gore has the ability to be effective against the run. During the 2022 season (his last at Georgia State), Gore posted a pass-rushing grade of 89.6 in 313 pass-rushing snaps. With 13 career sacks, Gore can be an effective pass rusher from the interior, which helps bolster any defense, but also an effective run stopper. I don't know if an All-ACC type of season is on the horizon (though it would be welcomed on the defense), but there is a chance for Gore to be immediately impactful and help improve Georgia Tech's defense.

There might be some concern about his height at 6'0, but I think his production offsets those concerns.

His presence will help shore up the interior of the defensive line, which has the possible makings of being a potential strength now. Gore and Penn State transfer Jordan van den Berg join a group that includes Zeek Biggers (All-ACC honorable mention), Horace Lockett, Makius Scott, and red-shirt freshman Shymeik Jones.

The 6-foot-6, 333-pound Biggers stuffed the stat sheet with 35 tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, three pass breakups, a fumble recovery, and a blocked kick from his defensive tackle position. He could be in for a big season in 2024.

Will Gore grab a starting spot immediately? I don't think it can be completely ruled out. He could start alongside Biggers and this rotation would have a nice mix of veteran players as well as young talent like Lockett and Jones.

The main question for the defense now will still be about the pass rush, even with the addition of Height from USC. Kevin Harris, Sylvain Yondjouen (coming off of a torn ACL), Josh Robinson, freshman Jordan Boyd, and Jacob Cruz will have to help provide this team with pressure off the edge. Scott did also show the ability to play on the edge as well last season.

How much this defense improves might be the difference in what kind of season Georgia Tech can have in 2024. They should have one of the best offenses in the country and if the defense makes enough improvement, they could be a dark horse contender in the ACC. Gore helps this defense inch a little closer to that goal.

Jackson Caudell


Jackson Caudell covers Georgia Tech Athletics and the Atlanta Hawks for FanNation