Johnson talks about Signing Day

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson sat down with the media Wednesday evening to discuss Signing Day. He also gave his thoughts on what commitment means, as well as how the process can be improved.

Here are some paraphrased quotes from Johnson:

That time of year again where you finish up the recruiting cycle. We felt like it went well. We received 22 letters in this morning. Got them in early, didn’t have to sweat that.

We didn’t get everybody we tried to recruit but we got a good group that will help to propel our football team forward. It’s a relief but you start on next year. It was good that it went kind of like what we thought.

On the abundance of linebackers and offensive linemen:

When we changed defenses you added a position. You’ve got four linebackers now. We felt like there were some good players. A couple of those guys may grow into defensive ends. Our numbers were down at those positions. You want a certain amount at each positions.

We didn’t take a guy because we are set at defensive line right now; we have 11 on scholarship. That’s about as many as you want.

We redshirted three guys last year that are defensive linemen.

Offensive line was a big priority. Linebacker was another.

On signing as many as seven players who were quarterbacks in high school:

Those guys are great athletes. We are looking forward to seeing those guys at different spots. Most of the high school teams put their best player at quarterback. You know they are good athletes. A guy like Chris Milton could play a bunch of different places.

On the fact that many of the players already seem big enough to challenge for playing time as true freshmen:

It’s like every class. There will be a handful of these guys that will play next year. The true measure is two-three years down the line. If you have more than a handful that are playing you either had a dynamite class or you are in trouble.

On the challenges of signing a class with more scholarships available:

The deeper you go into it … if you are only going to sign a few you can be more selective. We felt like everybody we signed would be a contributor.

Recruiting is becoming different. There are two ways you can recruit: You can take the commitments for the number you have and hit it close, or if you have 15 you can sign 28 guys and they bear the brunt of it on the back end. I don’t feel good about doing that. I want to be as straight up with these kids as a I can and hit it as close as we can.

On Jamal Golden, Mr. Football in Alabama:

We think he’ll be a great corner, and that’s where he’ll start. You can work some of those guys in every position you have. He can play a lot of places.

On signing just 10 players from Georgia:

It just happened. Every year is different. There were some really good players in the state this year. There’s a niche that has to fit your program and fit your school. Academics come in a great deal in this state. That doesn’t preclude us from everyone. Unless education is a big deal, unless there’s something that draws you. If you want to find a place with a bigger stadium you can. I think every class is different. The year before, we did very well with what are considered the top players. We feel like we got a lot of the top players this year. Time will tell.

On the uniqueness of signing Tyler Marcordes, whose father started the process by recruiting Tech:

We’ll have a lot of people stop by because a lot of people come in and out of Atlanta on business. Most of the time, it never materializes. When we met Tyler you could tell he was going to be a big kid. We watched the tape and got interested. He’s going to be a big guy. He can run. We were up there right before Signing Day. He’s a big guy who can run. He’s every bit of 6-3, 235 and he looks skinny. He’s going to grow into being a really big guy who is an athlete and can run. When you saw the highlight type today he played quarterback.

On signing a long-snapper:

We felt that he was one of the best we’d seen in a long time. You see a lot of schools do that. It’s not that unusual. This kid had scholarship offers. He wasn’t going to walk on.

On players who commit and de-commit. Johnson didn’t name the player, but everyone assumes he was talking about Tre Jackson, a Tech commitment who decided last week that he wanted to visit other schools. Afterward, Johnson said he wasn’t speaking about Jackson.

Every case is different. Don’t believe everything you read. The situation that they are talking about didn’t happen the way it has been reported about forever. We didn’t talk to the young man that you’ve been reading about, for four days he wouldn’t take a phone call. He wouldn’t return a phone call. It was pretty clear to me that he if he won’t take a phone call or return a phone call he’s not coming to school. You can spin it any way you want.

My basic policy is don’t do that to us on the last weekend of signing when we don’t have a chance to replace that thing.

We’ve had guys who have decommitted early, or decided they wanted to look around. My policy on that is if you are going to look around we are going to look around. If somebody takes your scholarship before you come back and say you’re committed, then you lose it. I don’t know any other way to do it, unless you take 30 for 20 and have a free-for-all. That stuff gets all blown out of proportion. The thing about recruiting, because of the rules, you get one side of the story because we can’t comment because of the rules.

It’s a crazy thing. There are times you lose guys and you don’t expect it. They are 17 years old. they change their minds. But at the same time you have to have a philosophy on how you are going to do it. Like I said,  there’s only two ways you can do it. You can match the number with the scholarships or you say OK, if I’ve got 20 I’ll sign 30 and at the end I’ll decide who gets to come. I don’t feel good about doing that. I don’t think it’s the right way to treat people.

On committing and then taking visits:

Every case is different. Certainly if a guy is trying to take visits behind your back. I would like someone to explain to me how you are committed but still take visits. What you are doing is holding a reservation. ‘I don’t want to lose this scholarship. You don’t go get anybody else, but I want to look around’. If you’re going to look around then don’t commit, because you aren’t ready to commit. Certainly, we should have the opportunity to replace that spot. It’s clear to me you aren’t satisfied with what you’ve got because you’re still looking. If it ends up being that we don’t find anybody that we like, and you don’t find anybody that you like, then we’ll do something at the end if there’s time. But it’s not going to happen in the last week. You’ve got to protect the school and your interests.

If kids are visiting, they aren’t committed. If you aren’t ready to make that decision, then don’t make it. We’ll keep recruiting you. We had guys early in the process that wanted to commit. Even before the season started they changed their mind. We’ll still try to recruit them but the success rate isn’t too good.

They are looking around for a reason, they feel like they’ve made a bad decision and they want to move on.

On improving the process:

What I’d like to see happen, but I’m probably by myself: if you have 85 scholarships, and you can sign 25 a year or however many you have. When they commit, they sign the papers and you stop. It would stop all the verbal commitments and all the hats. The guys who weren’t ready wouldn’t commit. You’d call their bluff. They couldn’t make their reservation. We’ll talk to kids all the time, juniors right now, who are committing. We’ll say ‘Are you sure you want to do that?’

“Oh coach, I’m open.”

In my mind that’s not committed. That’s saying I’m going to hold this in my back pocket and I’m going to shop it around.

On the nature of recruiting kids who are committed to other schools and other schools recruiting kids who are committed to Tech:

Recruiting’s a contact sport. Bottom line is the kid wants to come to your place or he doesn’t. We’re looking for guys who want to be at Georgia Tech and want to be in the program. Not everybody wants to come to Georgia Tech, just like everybody doesn’t want to go to Florida or Alabama.

– Doug Roberson, AJC

141 comments Add your comment

buzzinjacket

February 2nd, 2011
7:18 pm

first. this class will be better than the “Dream Team”. Plus i cant wait to see the arrest record for the “Dream Team” over the next few years.
Great Job PJ

Wesley Chandler

February 2nd, 2011
7:28 pm

Paul did a good job recruiting and he is a GREAT coach, I’m giving Al some time to make the adjustments and get players for the 3-4. Talent is such a small thing I want a guy who bust his butt, gets good grades, and is a joy full guy not worried about the draft as a junior but wants to play for Tech. Full support for CPJ.

GT Trumpet

February 2nd, 2011
8:11 pm

lol @ buzzinjacket
I hope they stick to more regular ugag crimes like DUI and stealing, and not terrible, deplorable crimes like that Ohio State recruit. Although it would be funnier, in a horrid way…

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
8:25 pm

Everything he says makes sense. He’s just not the best at sugarcoating it. I think that’s why I like him.

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
8:48 pm

Paul!….were you committed at Navy when you spoke to Tech?….Seems noone can answer this one with any intelligence…….These are teenagers and if anyone should know about lack of commitment you should!….Otherwise you would’nt have left Ga Southern for Navy, then Navy for GT………..You my friend are one sick, two faced S%$!

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
8:50 pm

The person who loses in his so-called commitment policies is Al Groh!……Groh should walk into his office and punch CPJ in the face!

mowreck

February 2nd, 2011
8:51 pm

I totally agree with the first 4 comments. I think we served out “needs”, which to me is more importantly than getting a bunch of 4 or 5 star guys that don’t fit the need, PLUS, they are the type of guys that suit our offense and defense.

GT GRAD

February 2nd, 2011
9:03 pm

Very strong class……..these kids will be solid players for GT!

I respect Paul Johnson more and more every time I read his comments and opinions.

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:07 pm

He was under contract and he honored that contract, RAID. Satisfied?

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
9:10 pm

Oh, I see, It’s pick and choose on the definition of being committed huh?

George

February 2nd, 2011
9:12 pm

RAID you obviously dont understand the difference between a player and a coach and if you were in CPJ position you would have done the same. GO WITH THE MONEY! CPJ is a brilliant man that has more integrity than most coaches.

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
9:14 pm

I will agree that this class seems to fill some needs for Tech and thats good…….But CPJ has lost tons of credibility with many HS coaches………Have heard probably more than a dozen today who spoke of his tactics being unfair to the kids……Maybe T Jackson just wanted to go down to FSU and have a fun free trip…..If CPJ is so confident why wouldnt he let him?……At the end of the day if an athete is a Tech commit he will sign irregardless!

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:18 pm

It has nothing to do with that, RAID. Further, the two situations are not parallel.

The parallel would be if Johnson said he was coming to Tech and then decided to interview for other positions. More importantly, though, is that he was under contract with Navy and he honored that “commitment.”

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:18 pm

Irregardless is not a word, RAID.

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
9:19 pm

George….So its about money?….once again hippocracy…..Ok, maybe the kid thinks he’ll eventually be in position to make more money by looking at another school!…..Is that so wrong?……should u not honor a scholly because someone wants to better himself?…….You made my point!……CPJ left Navy because he saw what he thought was a better oppurtunity……Should’nt he pay the same respect to the kids he recruits?

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:20 pm

Read Chip’s earler posting, RAID. Actually the head coach at Jackson’s school said Johnson was completely up front and honest and he’d be welcome back at the high school. But don’t let facts get in your way.

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:20 pm

What is hippocracy?

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:23 pm

Except that he honored his commitment to Navy, RAID.

The two situations are totally different though.

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
9:23 pm

He honored that commitment by doing what?…..Leaving……You and everyone else on earth knows he is playing a game of double standards…….Turn on ESPN…..Even they say johnsons tacticts killed his class!

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:24 pm

He honored the contract by paying the buyout.

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
9:24 pm

Stein……This isnt spell check here!….Grow up!….you got the point anyway!

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:25 pm

Well if it’s on ESPN, it must be true. Of course if that was the case, Les Miles would be at Michigan right now.

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
9:25 pm

He payed nothing!….Tech did

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
9:26 pm

Not true…..Miles turned down the job quickly

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:26 pm

I guess I think if you can’t spell or you use made up words, you probably can’t think your way through the Johnson’s policy either.

SF Jacket

February 2nd, 2011
9:29 pm

@George I think it’s when a hippopotamus is hypocritical in some regard. Maybe talking about how they don’t trust anyone with big mouths or animals that like to wade in shallow waters?

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:31 pm

Herbstreit reported he was going to Michigan on Game Day.

And as to the buyout, it doesn’t matter if Navy was made whole. Who cares who footed the bill?

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:32 pm

Nice, San Fran.

Congrats on the Series even if it did come at the Braves’ expense.

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
9:32 pm

OOOOOOOH!……..You got me there!…..Feel better now sweetie?…..lol……..Look not trying to be an A-hole……..I simply think CPJ’s stance is going to burn him in the end……….I want you guys, and my Dawgs to get the best possible classes so it’ll be worth while to smack talk each other come Nov!……Neither of us wants to deal with what we dealt with last year!

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
9:32 pm

As we say in the mtns, I’m jus funnin witcha!….

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:37 pm

Apparently you don’t have to try to be an a-hole; it seems like it just comes naturally.

And I think Johnson’s policy is just fine as it happens to be a two way street. The day he offers a kid and the kid follows his rules and Johnson doesn’t deliver the scholarship – for any reason – I’ll be right there with you saying that his policy is nuts (and that he should be terminated). That hasn’t happened yet and I don’t think it ever will.

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
9:49 pm

Well George, at times it does come naturally….But thats not the point…I’m simply saying this. CPJ is committed to Tech, right?…..Lets just say that, I don’t know, Notre Dame, Alabama, USC, (u get my point) comes calling for his services and he takes a visit, just for the potential of bettering himself, the same as some of his recruits have done, would Tech fire him?….I doubt it…..So why would he treat an immature teenager the same?

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
9:51 pm

Or any differently…..Is what I meant to say

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
9:57 pm

Assuming the school received permission from Tech, which is customary for a coach under contract, and the buyout was paid (I have no idea how much it is), I have no problem with that. But I think the permission custom is what you’re missing.

If he got on Bobby Lowder’s plane and, say, had a secret meeting at an airport like a certain former Falcons head coach, then I think he should be terminated.

The most important issue here is that Johnson isn’t going to allow a recruit to save a spot and continue looking. The recruit may still be welcome at Tech but Johnson should look for someone else too.

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
9:59 pm

Also, answer me this?……Are you happy that you don’t have Tuitt and T Jackson because you believe in commitment cause you had them and they both might be wearing the proud GT if it was’nt for your coaches stance

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
10:00 pm

The other issue here is how committed Tech is to the recruit or, in your example, Johnson. I’m only committed to Johnson as long as his performance is good. If it isn’t, then our commitment to him goes down the drain.

With the player, as I said earlier, Johnson’s policy is logically air tight as long as a player that meets the regulations doesn’t have it yanked. If he does, then Johnson is asking the kids to make commitments to him he is unwilling to make for them. It’s wrong on both sides and I think that’s what he’s getting at.

If you think his policy is foolish practically, then that’s an arguement I can accept. After taking it on the chin the past two weeks, I can’t say I haven’t had similar thoughts.

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
10:02 pm

No, I would love to have both of those players. I’m not sure either would have ended up at Tech even if we had a different policy, but the direct answer to your question is that based on what everyone has said about them, they will be good players. Our defense has sucked for two seasons now so, yes, I’d love to have anyone that would help keep teams from running for 200 yards a game on us.

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
10:05 pm

you’re missing the point George…..It has nothing to do with slipping on to a plane in the middle of the night !……..As CPJ says (its full commitment}….And CPJ knows nothing about it unless its for his own benefit!…..If he is so about his definition of “commitment” then why does he still pursue commited athletes……..Wants his cake and eat it too!

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
10:07 pm

Ok, then CPJ commits to the players that he’ll be their permanent head coach and won’t look elsewhere for employment?

Matt

February 2nd, 2011
10:08 pm

George, I believe it’s government ruled by hippos

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
10:08 pm

By the way, no hard feelings, jus enjoying the debate!…..You are pretty sharp

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
10:12 pm

I don’t know that he promises that he’ll be at Tech during the players’ four or five years.

Johnson addresses the very point you’re trying to make in his comments. If Johnson wants to consider another job, he needs to tell his employer. Tech may or may not terminate him at that point. Similarly, if a recruit wants to consider another school after committing to Tech, Johnson doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. But the kid needs to understand that his scholarship is no longer secure.

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
10:15 pm

I believe if Johnson wanted to interview for, say, the Florida job two months ago and he did so without notifying D-Rad, he would have been fired.

RAID

February 2nd, 2011
10:23 pm

Point taken….All I’m saying is that the teams who are recruiting top notch tallent expect that their recriuts will still be taking visits to other schools….sometime just for the fun of getting out of town for the weekend…..afterall they’re just teenagers and many of them have never had the oppurtunity to leave their own town before……After all I Crowell has been a silent commit to UGA for a couple weeks, Ray Drew as well, It would’nt have been in UGA’s best interest to deny these kids that oppurtunity……I just think CPJ should lighten his stance on this issue thats all……Been good talkin to ya buddy…….We’ll take this up again soon!….See ya

George Stein

February 2nd, 2011
10:30 pm

Those are fair points. And they speak to whether the policy is the practical or not. The policy may not be practical but it certainly isn’t hypocritical.

I support his policy now and I actually think more schools will adopt it as they can’t have situations like UGA had last year with Rogers. If we have more years like this though, I reserve the right to change my mind!

Ramblin Man

February 2nd, 2011
10:44 pm

RAID,
Read what CPJ said one more time. Tre could have helped himself if he was at all interested in keeping a relationship with GT by simply answering the phone. I believe CPJ still would have told him that GT was not going to hold the scholarship for him, but admitted that they may be able to talk at another date. I will admit I have not watched ESPN to see what they have sayed about CPJ and his “policies”, but I just cannot understand why being straight up honest is such a bad thing. Do you really believe that when these oversigning schools recruit a kid they tell them it’s a tryout and not a slated spot on the roster? I have not heard any high school coaches bashing CPJ and Jackson’s coach even said it was mutual and honest. CPJ has said repeatedly do not commit unless you know what you want and that he will not oversign I just fail to see why this makes him a bad guy in so many peoples eyes.

DDPO

February 2nd, 2011
11:14 pm

This is always the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for a Dawg. Then October, November and December set in…

tommy

February 2nd, 2011
11:31 pm

I can’t believe so many people are so hard on Johnson about his recruiting beliefs. At least we ain’t paying players. Hey Raid-Get the plank out your eye and leave Johnson’s splinter alone. Bunch of cry babies.

Very Concerned

February 2nd, 2011
11:44 pm

I would love to be optimistic about this class, but this class ranked 40-60 nationally and is in the bottom third of the conference. History clearly shows that you end up middle of the pack when you recruit middle of the pack.

Yeah, UGA may lose 1/3 or 1/2 of their recruits to jail and suspension, but even 1/2 of what they signed is still better than this entire class. And what is CPJ talking about when he says depth at DL. Our DL was pathetic the last 2 years, and will likely be worse the next 4. Scheme, hard work, and tireless commitment cannot overcome a lack of talent. Teams like UGA will do what they have done the last 2 years………get off the bus with their underachieving sub-par record, bad attitudes, distractions, poor coaching, and beat you on talent alone. It’s shameful this is the best we could do.

I’ll continue to buy season tickets and I’ll continue to support and show up every Saturday, but this is more disappointing to me than last year’s poor play and lack of effort.

Tech Man

February 3rd, 2011
12:23 am

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