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April 2, 2012After a bumpy start to his career at Georgia Tech rising junior Euclid Cummings has settled into the defensive end position and become one of the Jackets top linemen. Cummings has a chance to earn a starting position this spring as he battles Emmanuel Dieke in a three-man rotation at defensive end.
"I am very excited about the opportunity and I am very excited about our defensive line with Too Tall (Dieke), Izaan (Cross) and T.J. (Barnes) and we are working as hard as we can."
Defensive Coordinator Al Groh and Defensive Line Coach Andy McCollum made some technical adjustments in the offseason to make better use of the personnel and skills of the current linemen. Cummings says those changes have made a huge difference for all of the defensive ends and nose tackles.
"The changes that the coaches made will make things a little easier for us and make it so we can make more plays. We are going back to 1-gapping instead of two-gap," he said.
Cummings, Dieke and Cross will make up the first three defensive ends and should split the majority of snaps with players like Chris Crenshaw, Anthony Williams, Jimmie Kitchen and the incoming freshmen ends battling for situational substitutions and pass rushing roles. The three top ends feel like they are each starters even though only two of them will be the first ones on the field come game day.
"We have a good rotation and last year we had a good rotation, but we are pushing ourselves to get even better," Cummings said. "Whoever starts will be the two guys that earned it."
After arriving in Atlanta nearly 235 pounds, Cummings is up to 280 pounds and finally feels like he has all the pieces in place for a big season.
"I added some weight and I am up to 280 pounds. I focused in the offseason on agility drills and pass rushing," he said. "I have been working on being more poised and as a defensive lineman you have to use your hands more at the college level. Hands and grinding are our two main focuses this year for the defensive line."
Cummings had 22 tackles as a sophomore as the fourth defensive end.