ATLANTA -- Although he was listed first in the depth chart, freshman Isaiah Johnson didn't get the start at safety in his first game for Georgia Tech.
Instead, senior Mario Edwards was first on the field Saturday as Yellow Jackets opened the season with a 41-10 victory over South Carolina State at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Johnson, who helped Sandy Creek to the Class AAAA state championship last season, was one of five true freshmen who played in the opener, joining A-back B.J. Bostic, cornerback Louis Young, safety Fred Holton and linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu.
Johnson had two unassisted tackles -- one for a 6-yard loss -- assisted on four more and forced a fumble. Bostic carried five times for 30 yards against South Carolina State, while Holton and Attaochu were each credited with a tackle and an assist.
Freshman defensive tackle Shawn Green from Grayson dressed but didn't play. Barring injuries, he is expected to be a redshirt.
With a wealth of talent at running back, the decision has already been made to hold out Charles Perkins of Collins Hill this season.
Green and Perkins were both Class AAAAA all-state picks, and were named the Gwinnett Daily Post defensive and offensive players of the year last season.
Cross starts at DE
Izaan Cross, a sophomore who began his high school career at Buford before transferring to Flowery Branch, started at defensive end for Georgia Tech and had a big game.
He had four unassisted tackles -- two for losses -- and assisted on two other stops.
Cross played in all 13 games last season as a true freshman, starting twice. He had 10 tackles, 21/2 for losses, and recovered a fumble a year ago.
"Last year I was just trying to get my feet wet," Cross said. "There is a huge difference between high school and college and I was just trying to make that transition. This year I will be out there for more plays."
Staring guard hurts knee
Redshirt freshman Will Jackson, who started at left guard, injured his left knee late in the first quarter and didn't return to the game. There was no immediate update on the severity of the injury.
Nick McRae, a redshirt sophomore from Dublin, replaced Jackson. He played in four games last season.
Zach Krish, a fifth-year senior from South Gwinnett, is the backup to Omoregie Uzzi at right guard. Krish came to Georgia Tech as a walk-on and was awarded a scholarship following spring practice in 2009. He was pictured on the cover of the game program and the subject of a player profile inside.
Former Georgia Tech standout Nick Rogers, who died in an auto accident in May at age 30, was honored by the Yellow Jackets before the game and then paid tribute to by the South Carolina State band during halftime. Rogers was a cousin of director Eddie Ellis.
Rogers starred at defensive end for Georgia Tech and played in the NFL, going to the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2002 draft. He had been married less than a month when he was killed.