Justin Thomas opens spring practice as the player to beat in Georgia Tech's QB competition

Justin Thomas is opening spring practice as the quarterback to beat as Georgia Tech looks for a starter to replace Vad Lee.

Lee transferred to James Madison after starting every game as a sophomore as the Yellow Jackets finished 7-6 last season. Thomas played behind Lee in 10 games and made his biggest impact as a runner in Georgia Tech's spread-option offense.

Thomas threw only 17 passes but ran for 234 yards. Coach Paul Johnson said after Monday's opening day of practice he believes Thomas will be tough to beat out.

Georgia Tech must replace its top three rushers, including Lee and running backs David Sims and Robert Godhigh. The Yellow Jackets also lose three starters from the offensive and defensive lines.