Thursday, March 3, 2011

Georgia Tech 2006 Recruiting Review

First part of a five part series (see the bottom for an explanation) looking back at the Georgia Tech recruiting classes from 2006-2009 and how they really panned out versus their projections on National Signing Day. First up is the 2006 class.

Total Signees = 16 Ranking: NR (outside top 50) Ranking: 49
Rivals star breakdown: **** = 1; *** = 9; ** = 6
Scout star breakdown: **** = 1; *** = 6; ** = 7 (Scout does not list Anthony Barnes or Shane Bowen)

Jamaal Evans RB (Rivals - 4 star, Scout -3 star)
The Texas native was Tech's highest ranked signee from Rivals in 2006. The diminutive Evans was stuck behind Tashard Choice for much of his short time in Atlanta transferring out before the 2008 season to SE Louisiana.

Correy Earls WR (Rivals - 3, Scout - 3)
Earls was one of two receivers Tech signed in 2006 and playing as a true freshman. Earls caught 14 passes and returned eight kickoff in 2007. The Macon native was a starter in 2008 at WR before switching to CB for the 2009 season. Earls switched back to receiver in 2010 and caught the game winning touchdown against Wake Forest. He was known as a player with great speed coming out of high school but could never seem to find the hands to be a consistent down field threat.

Laurence Marius DB (Rivals - 3, Scout - 4)
A rare top prospect from Key West, FL Marius played as a backup in 2006 totaling 10 tackles, but left school after Spring practice in 2007.

Demaryius Thomas WR (Rivals - 3, Scout - 3)
Better known as "Bay Bay", Thomas committed to Tech in December and the Jackets survived a late push from South Carolina to secure the services of the 34th best player in Georgia. Thomas redshirted in 2006 before becoming Tech's second leading receiver in 2007. The Montrose, Ga native thought hard about transferring out when Paul Johnson arrived in Atlanta with his spread option offense but stuck it out. Thomas not only survived but flourished in Johnson's offense leading the team in receptions and yards in 2008 and 2009. His '09 season was so good that the Denver Broncos made him the first WR taken in the 2010 NFL Draft's First Round. Read more on Bay-Bay's tough upbringing

Osahon Tongo DE (Rivals -3, Scout - 3)
A native of the Chicago area, Tongo played at LB and DE during his career at Tech almost exclusively in a backup role. Tongo tore his knee in the first practice of his Georgia Tech career in 2006 setting his career back. Tongo played as a backup from 2007-2009 before leaving the team to pursue his degree full time.

Robert Hall DE (Rivals - 3, Scout - 2)
Hall came from the Hawkinsville, Ga pipeline that former assistant Giff Smith had begun to mine in several previous classes. Hall came to Tech as a LB, but played DE for most of his career starting a handful of games. He played in every game as a freshman mostly on special teams. Hall suffered season ending injuries in 2007 and 2009 before playing his final season as a backup in 2010.

Byron Ingram QB (Rivals -3, Scout -3)
Ingram was a member of the AJC Top 50 in Georgia, but never played a down for Tech. After redshirting the 2006 season, Ingram transferred to Memphis. Grades were considered an issue at the time.

DeRon Jasper DB (Rivals -3, Scout - 2)
Jasper was honorable mention all state in class AAA at Dunwoody High. After redshirting the 2006 season, Jasper was a backup cornerback in 2007 and 2008 starting one game against FSU. Jasper left the team following the 2008 season.

Quincy Kelly RB (Rivals -3, Scout - 2)
Kelly came from nearby Decatur as a consensus top 50 player in the state. He redshirted the 2006 season and played as a backup full back in 2007. When Paul Johnson arrived, Kelly was placed in the B-Back position backing up ACC Player of the Year Jon Dwyer. Kelly had to hang up his cleats midway through the 2008 season for a medical issue.

Anthony Barnes LB (Rivals -3)
Barnes was originally slated to enter Tech in 2005, but the NCAA Clearinghouse flagged a high school course of his after transferring schools. A member of the Super Southern 100, Barnes redshirted the 2006 season. Upon arrival it was thought Barnes might grow into a DE, but he stayed at LB his entire career. In 2007, Barnes played in every game starting three. The 2008 season was filled with injuries ending with a broken leg against Georgia. Barnes played a backup role in 2009 and 2010.

Sedric Griffin LB (Rivals - 2, Scout - 2)
Despite his low rankings, Griffin played as a true freshman on special teams totaling 11 tackles. He played mostly a backup role in 2007 before earning a starting job in 2008 finishing as the team's fourth leading tackler. Griffin again started most of the 2009 season accruing 73 tackles.

Ben Anderson DT (Rivals - 2, Scout - 2)
Anderson redshirted in the 2006 season before seeing action in six games of 2007. The Aiken, SC native was stuck behind two NFL DT in 2008 but still saw action in every game but one. In 2009, Anderson moved into a part time starting role before his season was ended with knee injury against Georgia. Just nine months after surgery, Anderson was a key backup at DE in 2010.

Austin Barrick TE (Rivals - 2, Scout - 3)
The Alabama native may have the most winding career of anyone in this class. Barrick saw action in just a few games as a backup TE in 2007. When Johnson arrived in 2008, the TE position was eliminated. His teammate Colin Peek transferred to Alabama while Barrick moved over to the Tackle position finishing the '08 season as a starter and starting most of the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Trevor Bray RB (Rivals - 2, Scout - 2)
Bray never saw the field for Tech after redshirting in 2006 and a knee injury in the spring of 2007 eventually ended his football career.

Shane Bowen LB (Rivals - 2)
The Ohio native enrolled early and played in every game in 2006 mostly on Special Teams. Started 10 games in 2007 finishing the season with 34 tackles. In 2008, Bowen played mostly as a backup but was scheduled to start against UGA when a routine checkup on his shoulder revealed a spinal injury ending his football career. Bowen is now a Staff Assistant at Tech.

Dominique Reese ATH (Rivals - 2, Scout - 2)
Next to Bay Bay, Reese was the most underrated player in this class. He redshirted the 2006 season before gathering 16 tackles in 2007 action seen mostly on Special Teams. Reese started 11 games in Johnson's first year at Safety intercepting three balls. 2009 was a year filled with injuries but the Auburn, AL native played in 13 games, starting six. In the spring of 2010, Reese move from Safety to Cornerback as part of Al Groh's new defense. He is currently trying to improve his NFL Draft stock in Charlotte and recently had glowing things to say about Groh's teaching abilities

As you can see this Georgia Tech class had its fair share of misses with one big home run. Of the 16 players that signed, only eight played all four years, four more had their playing days ended by injury while three transferred and one left the team. Rivals ranked this class 11th in the ACC, behind Duke and only ahead of Wake Forest while Scout ranked it 10th.

This group of freshman either saw limited action or redshirted while Tech played for the 2006 ACC Championship and some were apart of the 2009 ACC Championship team. FSU, Miami, and Clemson were the consensus top three in the ACC by Rivals and Scout in 2006. None of these teams ever won an ACC title.

Next up is the 2007 class, the mostly highly rated class signed by the Yellow Jackets in a long time. This class was so good for Tech I need two parts to discuss it; one to talk about how it came together and two who actually panned out.

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