Thursday, February 2, 2012

Georgia Tech Signing Day Event Recap

Yellow Jackets Head Coach Paul Johnson met with the public Wednesday night in Atlanta to talk about the 2012 class as well as recruiting questions in general.  Below is my recollection of the evening.

GT Associate Athletic Director Wayne Hogan opened the evening by talking about how much recruiting has changed. Hogan talked about when coaches would actually go out to the players' houses and get the signature on the Letter of Intent in person. Sometimes you would have four or five coaches standing around in the yard waiting if a kid had not committed yet. After getting the signature, the coach would drive to a pay phone and call the school about signing a kid.

Now, we have fax cam girls! (my comment).

Head Coach Paul Johnson introduced the entire football staff and talked about how much of the heavy lifting they do in recruiting and how little the head coach is able to do with NCAA rules. 

Johnson went through each signees' highlights talking a little bit about each player.

I have not watched one highlight video of any signee for any school this year until tonight. I know they all look good on film whether they are a five star or a two star so I don't bother. I pay a lot more attention to whom is offering the prospect and how the overall class ranks than individual stars.

BUT....here is a quick run down on what stood out to me in the highlights. I apologize for the rambling in these comments, just trying to get as many of my thoughts as fast as possible.

-Marcus Allen reminded me a little bit of Jonathan Dwyer with his knack for cutting to the outside and bouncing off hits.

-Michael Summers lined up in a bunch of positions on offense on his film but he might start out on the defensive side of the ball. Johnson mentioned he knew his dad from his days in Statesboro.

-Freddie Burden was shown as a blocking TE in most of the highlights. He will start out at Tackle. Again Johnson mentioned his prior relationship from Statesboro with the family.

-Dennis Andrews lined up exclusively in the shotgun at QB; displayed nice touch on down field throws. He is already enrolled this semester.

-Francis Kallon was described as having a high motor and up to 275-280 lbs now (was 240 last Spring) and still growing. Johnson said Kallon and Adam Gotsis could talk to each other in an accent.

-DJ White is a player Johnson thought could contribute next season; he mentioned the line of players from Union Grove formerly or currently at Tech (Kyle Jackson, Steven Sylvester, Anthony Williams)

-Anthony Autry is a player Johnson thought came on late in his high school career and was over looked; has the chance to add a lot of weight to his frame.

-Chase Roberts is a legacy as his dad attended Georgia Tech. He had a really good Junior All-Star Game that got him on Tech's radar.

-Pat Gamble sounded like one of Johnson's favorite players to recruit. Johnson said Gamble committed last summer and never wavered in his commitment despite lots of other offers early and late.

-The Adam Gotsis highlights were interesting considering he has been playing in Australia. Johnson said he is every bit of 6'5" 297-298. Not surprisingly he looked like a man amongst boys in his film, including a nice close line on a runner. The coaching staff is now fighting over who gets the Melbourne territory.

-Travin Henry is a big kid who is still growing. He will start at WR, but could move to OLB if he grows out of it. Johnson said Henry was kinda off the beaten path in Cook County and that may have been why he didn't have more offers. He thought it might have been helpful for Tech offer late in the recruiting process so that everyone wouldn't be alerted to go check out "this Georgia Tech commitment"

-Ryan Rodwell will give the current punter Sean Poole some competition which will be good for both of them. Johnson relied on some people he knows in the area and they gave Rodwell high marks.

-Tyler Stargel is already a big kid who could play ILB or OLB. (I am drawing a blank on what else was said about Stargel)

-Also drawing a blank on Lynn Griffin. I may have been getting more food during this time.

-Rod Chungong was recruited by Al Groh out of Maryland. Johnson thought it was interesting that Chungong put an interception on his highlight film as a defensive lineman.

-Justin Thomas was originally committed to Alabama but he wanted to play QB. Thomas led his team to the state championship and definitely has some "quicks". Was Alabama offensive player of the year at his classification.

-Beau Hankins was the last signee and a player Tech started recruiting later in the process. Johnson said that Hankins started recruiting Georgia Tech first. He canceled a visit to Penn State this past weekend to visit Tech. Was Alabama defensive player of the year at his classification.

All the signees highlight videos can be found here.

Johnson then took about a dozen questions from the audience and I will try to best remember them below.

The question was asked if Marcus Allen had breakaway speed. Johnson said he probably isn't as fast as Jon Dwyer, but Dwyer had great football speed and wouldn't time that well. Broderick Snoddy ran a 10.4 100 meter dash but may not be the fastest player on the team when you get on the field. Johnson said the B-Back production last year was not what they were used to, but that wasn't all David Sims fault.

A question was asked about stock piling Quarterbacks Johnson answered with they are trying to find someone really, really good. He is very interested in seeing Synjyn Days and Vad Lee this Spring and how they have progressed. The staff knows what Tevin Washington brings to the table, but the other two have to beat him out. Thomas and Andrews will work themselves out regarding their position on the depth chart.

A question was asked about recruiting rankings and Johnson went on a pretty good rant about stars and rankings. He mentioned the ESPN article ($) that said Georgia Tech was 2nd worst at signing ESPN Top 150 players in their state. Three teams in the top 10 played in BCS bowls and nine of ten played in bowl games. Johnson said the same three schools are ranked at the top of the ACC every year in recruiting, but in his four years they have combined to win just one ACC Championship and that one occurred this year. Johnson said Virginia Tech is never ranked at the top in recruiting, but they always seem to end up there. He gave the Hokies compliments on how they coach and develop players. Johnson said he ranks recruiting classes on how many games they win which drew a clap from the crowd.

A question was asked of how good Georgia Tech's Dining Hall is because he heard one kid picked a school based on the food they served (the questioner was obviously talking about Todd Gurley who made note of UGA's food when explaining his decision). Johnson said by the looks of him and some of his staff that Tech's food must be pretty good. Johnson talked about why players choose certain schools mentioning how some kids say education is their top priority, but their list of schools they are considering says otherwise.

A question was asked if Tech planned on adding any more recruits to this class.  Johnson said they only way they would add anyone is if someone they already know about falls through the cracks due to a numbers crunch somewhere else.  He did mention they have had a few players from other schools inquire about transferring to Tech. 

A question was asked where does the team stand with the amount of scholarships.  Johnson said that they will likely be a few under the 85 limit.  He talked about wanting to balance classes in terms of numbers.  Currently, there are only 10 seniors for next year, but you want to sign more than 10 players in a class so they may hold back a few one year to have more spots for next year.   He talked about how he thought oversigning is wrong.

A question was asked whether or not the Yellow Jackets will be playing Virginia Tech on Labor Day night. Johnson said that there is a very good chance. Tech would play a home game the following Saturday.

Finally, with the amount of discussion surrounding Georgia Tech and its academic requirements I asked Johnson if he would like more leniency with admissions. He said every coach would like to be able to recruit more kids, but that he and the staff knew what the standards were at Tech when they took the job. Johnson said it takes a lot for kids to get through Tech and if they are going to be miserable trying to make it academically they probably won't perform very well on the football field either. He said a school in the ACC currently has seven kids taking online courses to try and get eligible, but they won't know until August if they are. Georgia Tech is not going to change [their requirements].

That is about all I can remember. If you are still reading I congratulate you for working through my thoughts.

If you were at the event and have anything to add or correct, please do so in the comments.

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