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Georgia Tech defensive changes suit Jeremiah Attaochu

Josh D. Weiss / USA TODAY Sports
ACC quarterbacks have become very familiar with disruptive Georgia Tech DE Jeremiah Attaochu.

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Georgia Tech's Jeremiah Attaochu was third in the ACC with 10 sacks last season. He's excited about this season because he will get to rush the passer even more.

Attaochu, a senior who was born in Nigeria and grew up in Washington, D.C., is moving from outside linebacker to defensive end as Tech completes a move from a 3-4 to a more conventional 4-3 set. Attaochu (pronounced Ah-ta-chew) said the position and scheme changes mean he will be asked to rush the quarterback even more.

Attaochu noted Sunday at the 2013 ACC Football Kickoff media event that the Georgia Tech career sack record is 31, set by Greg Gathers (1999-02).

"I need 13 more," he said. "Well, I need 12 to tie it and 13 to set it."

Attaochu's 19 career sacks are fourth-most among active players. BYU senior LB Kyle Van Noy leads with 22, while South Carolina junior DE Jadeveon Clowney has 21 and Kent State senior DT Roosevelt Nix has 20.5.

Attaochu had six sacks in 2011, his first season as a starter, and three as a true freshman reserve in 2010. He had played linebacker at Tech until moving to end in the spring under new coordinator Ted Roof. Al Groh was fired as coordinator after six games last season -- the Yellow Jackets had allowed at least 40 points in each of Groh's final three games.

Attaochu said Tech's players fit the new scheme. Since he had played end in high school, he felt at ease after two days of spring practice.

Attaochu, who is 6-foot-3, said he wants to play this fall at 240 pounds. He admits he is a little on the light side, but said he is "relentless and aggressive" on the field.

"You can control how you play," he said. "You can't control a lot of other things."

He said he basically will line up in the same spot, just have different responsibilities.

"Certainly he's a guy we need to get pressure on the passer, which he has done in the past," Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson said Monday.

Tech never was very effective getting to opposing quarterbacks in Groh's 3-4. The Yellow Jackets finished 11th, eighth and eighth in the league in sacks under Groh, never averaging more than two per game. Attaochu had eight of his 10 sacks after Groh was fired last season.



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