Kyle Efford, a redshirt freshman linebacker for Georgia Tech, has had a major impact defensively for the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech faced UCF in Friday’s Gasparilla Bowl, coming away with a 30-17 come-from-behind win in its 1st bowl appearance since 2018 — finishing with a winning record for the 1st time since that 7-6 2018 campaign, Paul Johnson’s last as head coach.

Efford finished the game with 9 tackles to end the year with a team-high 81. According to Jackets broadcaster Andy Demetra, he is the 1st freshman to lead the team in tackling in 23 years:

Smith, who started all 4 years at Georgia Tech, went on to be a 2nd-round pick in the NFL Draft and enjoyed a successful career of 13 seasons in the league.

Efford has set a solid foundation with a terrific 2023 season in the rearview mirror, and he’ll be one of the centerpieces of the Yellow Jackets’ linebacking corps — and defense — as they look to build upon some positive momentum gathered under Key over the past 2 seasons.