Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson hit on a hot-button issue when he made it a point to talk about what “commitment means” on signing day.
UGA coach Mark Richt was recently asked what “commitment means.”
“When we offer a kid, we don’t ever want to renege that offer,” Richt said. “If we offer a QB, and we’ve assigned one scholarship to that position, and we offer five or six, we tell each one of them that ‘We’re looking to sign one.’ When one gets committed, and we trust that he’s solid, then we let everybody know we’re full. I don’t really look at that as reneging an offer. I think everybody offered has the chance to take that one. It one of those ‘whomever takes it first, gets it’ type of things.”
“That’s why I tell our coaches ‘Don’t be quick to offer. If you offer him, and he commits, he’s ours. We’re not backing off that. So, at times, we probably offer a little bit slower, in some cases, than other schools.”
“You hope that a young man is going to stand firm with his commitment. The [prospects] are going through all kinds of pressures. And there are a lot of other people besides these young men that get involved, and it can get crazy and confusing.”
“When I talk to a young man, I’m not one to press a kid really really hard to commit. Because if he does, and I pushed him into it, then they usually walk out the door saying ‘Man, I don’t know if I should’ve done that or not.’ Automatically, they walk out the door with some kind of doubt. Our style is more to lay it out there, and say ‘If you want to [commit], that’s fantastic. We want your heart, we want you to be serious about it. And if you don’t want to decide today, then call me on your way home. Call me tomorrow, call me next week, call me when you’re ready.’ I’ve had [many] guys walk out of my office saying ‘I wish I would’ve committed instead of walking out.’ Then we’ll get a call from a kid on his ride home from an unofficial visit where it’s ‘Coach we want to come to Georgia.’”
“So, I think that’s part of it, too. You don’t try to squeeze the commitment out of him. If I can talk him into committing to me, then probably someone else [another college] can probably talk him into de-committing.”
What did Paul Johnson say about what “commitment means?” He touched on it when discussing quarterback Dontae Aycock of Tampa, who had “secretly committed” to Tech in mid-January. However, less than a week away from signing day, Auburn entered the picture with a last-minute scholarship offer.
“I reiterated that to him: ‘Dontae, don’t get on that plane [to Auburn].’ His high school coach told him, ‘Dontae, don’t get on that plane,’” Johnson said. “When he chose to do that, he was telling me, in my mind, he didn’t want to come to Georgia Tech, and so we moved on [rescinding Aycock's scholarship offer from Tech].”
Johnson explained that Tech recruited Aycock for nearly a full year, which included visits by Aycock to Tech for spring practice last year and to a summer camp. During Aycock’s recruiting trip last month, Johnson said he explained “commitment” to the prized prospect.
“We talked about what that meant,” Johnson said. “That commitment means, especially two weeks before signing day, is that we’re through with the recruiting process. … I’m giving you my word you’ve got a scholarship. You’re giving your word you’re coming.”
Aycock signed with Auburn.