Georgia Tech will miss quarterback Justin Thomas. That much is certain. The senior was the best all around signal-caller coach Paul Johnson had in his time in Atlanta.

But for the 2017 outlook, the Yellow Jackets should be fine thanks to a loaded roster of returning talent.

Georgia Tech's 33-18 win over Kentucky, which falls to 7-6 after coach Mark Stoops' first bowl appearance, in the TaxSlayer Bowl featured a heavy dose of B-Back Dedrick Mills. The freshman should be the next great running back to come through the program. Mills finished the day with a nice 169-yard performance and a rushing touchdown. Ricky Jeune and Qua Searcy also came down with big-time catches.

What the Yellow Jackets will miss is Thomas' ability to throw the ball well downfield to create balance within the offense and force defenses to account for the pass. However, Tech should be good to go in the running game once again with most of its skill players and offensive linemen returning.

Defensively, Georgia Tech will have key pieces to replace along the defense line, but the rest of that unit, which held Kentucky to 4.6 yards per play and picked up a fumble recovery for a touchdown, will be back.

The key for Johnson's team will be picking up where they left off this season. The Yellow Jackets have done some great things under Johnson, but consistency from year to year has been an issue at times. There have been some streaky highs and lows.

But for what it's worth, the last time Georgia Tech won nine games in a season was in Johnson's first year in 2008. The next year it won the ACC and went to the Orange Bowl.