Tech loses its chief recruiter, and that’s a major loss

Bringing football players to Georgia Tech isn’t easy. The competition for Georgia players is wicked, and not just from the state’s flagship university. All the heavy hitters come here to poach, and Tech has to fight twice as hard just to hold its own.

Other considerations: Paul Johnson’s spread option has further siphoned the pool. (Tight ends need not apply, since Johnson doesn’t deploy any, and receivers aren’t apt to be overused.) Al Groh just arrived as defensive coordinator, and recruiting for the 3-4 is a bit different. And this being Tech, there’s always the calculus requirement.

Giff Smith was landing players at a high rate by Tech’s standards, which shouldn’t be confused with Rivals.com’s rankings. Tech is never apt to duel Florida or Texas or  Georgia for space in the top 10 — the famed class of 2007 was rated only 18th nationally by Rivals and contained no 5-star signees — but that class  powered the Jackets to the 2009 ACC title.

Trouble is, three of those players just left early for the NFL, and now Smith is gone. That’s not good news.

Smith is leaving to join Chan Gailey with the Buffalo Bills as linebackers coach. Smith managed to do good work under both Gailey and Johnson — somewhat different personalities, you’d have to concede — and it was a credit to the chief recruiter that the Jackets’ talent base was as imposing as it was.

The kneejerk response is to say Smith’s departure delivers an immediate blow to Tech, coming as it does eight days before Signing Day. That’s probably not true. Players who’ve committed to the Jackets aren’t going to switch because the recruiting coordinator is Buffalo-bound. (The head coach would be a different story.) Where Smith’s loss stands to hurt is in 2011, when Tech was gearing up to sign its best class since 2007.

Smith is a Georgia guy — grew up in Mableton, graduated from Pebblebrook, played and worked at Georgia Southern, even did a stint at UGA as a grad assistant. He knows the state in a way even Johnson does not. Smith was the one man on this staff Tech could least afford to lose, and Gailey just hired him away.

Yes, Tech fans. Just one more reason to raise a glass to good ol’ Chan.

249 comments Add your comment

Big Al

January 26th, 2010
5:15 pm

Sonny Clusters

January 26th, 2010
5:15 pm

Mark Bradley

January 26th, 2010
5:15 pm

A Clusters reappearance! The day is saved!

Sonny Clusters

January 26th, 2010
5:15 pm

Make that Clusters

Technophobia

January 26th, 2010
5:18 pm

Well, this is a big loss but “you win some, you lose some.” That’s life. Good luck to Johnson and Groh in finding a good replacement. Should be easier to recruit after last season so hopefully we’ll get a good one. GO JACKETS!

Sonny Clusters

January 26th, 2010
5:20 pm

We was robbed! Congrats to Big Al.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

January 26th, 2010
5:20 pm

What’s that? Rats deserting a sinking ship? Maybe he got fed up with the ever diminishing prospect of ever beating Ga again or winning a bowl game ever on a green field. Or maybe it was the money. I’m guessing it was the money. Because he signed at GT he wasn’t counting on the other options to begin with

gtcivil

January 26th, 2010
5:21 pm

Ah Chan…the gift that keeps on giving. Only 8 days until signing day, too. Thanks Chan and Braine.

Clay

January 26th, 2010
5:24 pm

Can’t believe Clusters didn’t have a comment on MB’s last posting ….

Technophobia

January 26th, 2010
5:26 pm

Mark, too early to speculate on replacements right?

Phil

January 26th, 2010
5:26 pm

Smith was a great asset, but everyone is replaceable.

Paul Johnson did a fairly good job of finding talent without Smith’s services at Navy and Ga. Southern, and based on his ability to find talented staff (see: Al Groh), I’m confident he’ll do fine in replacing Smith.

The Girthiest Man in the World

January 26th, 2010
5:26 pm

Tech needs a new rush chair to give out all the bids

Stay girthy my friends!

Mark Bradley

January 26th, 2010
5:28 pm

I almost used that very phrase, gtcivil — “the gift that goes on giving.”

Mark Bradley

January 26th, 2010
5:29 pm

Kudos to Big Al, if belated kudos. I was so stunned anybody beat Sonny C. that I was rendered senseless.

Sonny Clusters

January 26th, 2010
5:30 pm

We was in important meetings at the plant today and missed the other blog but we was wondering what that is stuck on the bill of Bobby’s cap? Bobby is a nice man and we have talked with him some and he calls us “Clusters” so we don’t have a nickname from him like “Brad” or “Roachy” or “Sweet Cakes”. Everybody knows about Sweet Cakes, right? We was noticing that pitchers and catchers report in just 23 days and we are ready. Put us in, Coach, we’re ready to play . . . today. We was thinking we might help Brad some this season when he blogs about baseball. We was state championship.

bp

January 26th, 2010
5:30 pm

sonnys back?

wiley

January 26th, 2010
5:31 pm

I think Groh will be able to pick up the slack. This next year is looking more and more like a rebuilding year. Hopefully we can keep the bowl streak alive!

Foothills football fan

January 26th, 2010
5:32 pm

Good luck to Giff! That said, I agree with Phil

Irwin M. "Fletch" Fletcher

January 26th, 2010
5:33 pm

Good luck Giff your gonna need it because you will be looking for a new gig in two years when Gaily gets fired!!! It’s a loss but I am sure that CPJ will find a guy that has ties within the state. We keep winning on the field and everything will take care of itself…

THWG!

lucky21

January 26th, 2010
5:33 pm

Ive been noticin all this past season how wonderful Giff has been here and now he leaves this is not good at all

StraightJacket

January 26th, 2010
5:34 pm

Lesseee here: If fans, head coaches, and programs had a choice, would they want …

(A) A Peter-Principle coach on the staff who stays on WAY beyond any reasonable parting time? … or

(B) A mover, shaker, get-it-done guy who produces, but may well be shaping his career to leave for further advancement?

OK Fans, one of the above is Willie “Shaken-not stirred” Martini of Ugag and the other is Giff Smith.

See if you’re smart enough to figure out who is (A) and who is (B). Bonus points if you explain WHY you’d rather have (A) or (B) in your program.

HINT: There is a “right” answer.

-SJ

Dominique Wilkins

January 26th, 2010
5:35 pm

Chan Gailey just had a heat check.

Jerry

January 26th, 2010
5:37 pm

If Giff could Coach like he can recruit, his loss would have been a major one. Unfortunately, he did not get much performance out of some pretty talented players including 4 that are in the NFL now. The reality is Paul Johnson has a very strong relationship with a majority of the high school coaches in the State of Georgia and will not miss a beat based on the loss of Smith. Lastly, I have to question Giff’s judgement aligning his families future with an underacheiver like Chan Gailey. I appreciate what he did while at Tech but his leaving gives Coach Johnson another chance to upgrade his staff.

Go Jackets!

wiley

January 26th, 2010
5:37 pm

just to clarify by “slack”, I mean experience and appeal to recruits. Hire Bobby Bowden as our recruiting coordinator lol!

bp

January 26th, 2010
5:38 pm

has he been replaced?

LAKE OCONEE DAWG

January 26th, 2010
5:39 pm

You knew ole Chan would want some revenge for the way he was treated on the way out…Can hear him laughing all the way from Buffalo…Lost a good one in Giff…Thought he might be promoted to DC, think he might have thought the same thing…He is certainly ready for that…Pay was at 189K, which is pretty weak…There are some high school head coaches making $125K….Would have possibly doubled his salary if promoted to DC at Tech…Paul ran the gamble that Giff would not leave if not offered the DC job and the big raise, but the gamble did not pay off…Probably at 400K with the Bills, can’t really fault him for leaving…Good luck to ole Giffer, who played at Georgia Southern University and is a credit to his school…Recruiting coordinators are hard to replace, ask CMR….

daugs ruin this blog

January 26th, 2010
5:39 pm

Just curious, what pay does his pro job command? He may be better off working just two years as a pro vs $189k

The McRib - why only here for a limited time?

January 26th, 2010
5:39 pm

Hey “elviskl” – you’ve graciously blessed us all with your powerful wisdom on many a UGA board… so ease up on ol’ Kum Fang.

2HLLWGA

January 26th, 2010
5:40 pm

I am thinking this might allow Groh to get his own line coach, given the change to a 3-4. The issue will be a recruiting coordinator. That will be the more interesting development.

Sonny Clusters

January 26th, 2010
5:41 pm

We was selected for Governor’s Honors when we was a senior and we almost went but Coach said, “you need to work on your game so you’ll be ready for the show” and we told the Governor, no thanks. Still, we write pretty well and can type almost 85 words per minute while holding a Coca-Cola. That said, we would be playing baseball today if one of us hadn’t been selected by the Braves and walked out on the other during a tobacco spitting orientation at Clemson University. We just came on home and took second shift and it has worked out except for the signing bonus not being as good. We was thinking we should make a comment about Tech losing a recruiter but Paul Johnson should be the star recruiter in the state with what he’s done for the Tech program and sending 4 young guys off to the NFL this year.

Clay

January 26th, 2010
5:43 pm

Hope PJ handles this better than he handles the bowl challenges, Alabama Jack …

Benjamin

January 26th, 2010
5:44 pm

Sadly, MB, you didn’t make my day by offering kudos on my Bobby Cox “first” from earlier. But I had Arby’s for lunch, so I’m good.

wiley

January 26th, 2010
5:45 pm

I agree with Alabama Jack…wouldnt the flagship university have a higher endowment?

Tech- 1.609 Billion

UGA -618.8 Million

Not that anybody on this blog cares…

bp

January 26th, 2010
5:47 pm

we will be alright.

dawgfan

January 26th, 2010
5:49 pm

Bradley, the calculus requirement is a myth and a lie. The management majors that make up the vast majority of Georgia Tech’s football team are not required to take calculus. Again, this is a bold faced Techie LIE. I guess it would be too much to ask for the AJC to ever call Tech fans out on BS like this.

NYJacket

January 26th, 2010
5:50 pm

Good ole Chan. When Tech I mean Braine hired him, he didn’t show up until after the recruiting season so we lost big time his first year on the job.

Now, he hires away Giff just before signing season.

Too bad Braine didn’t have to pay Gailey’s salary himself when Tech finally dumped him.

Technophobia

January 26th, 2010
5:53 pm

Not sure how familiar Giff was with the 3-4 but I bet the next guy will be. That could be a plus if he can recruit as well.

Alphare

January 26th, 2010
5:54 pm

In year 2007, Tech brought in 7 4-star recruits. Among the 7, 3 of them are potentially 1st round NFL draft picks. 3 out of 7, 43%. Can any other college in the nation make that claim.

In that same year, UGA brought in 12 4-star players. How many will be 1st round draftee this year, you may ask? Zero. I bet most of the 12 feel sorry for themselves now.

If you are eying NFL, Tech is the smartest choice!

bp

January 26th, 2010
5:54 pm

Enter your comments here

richtreignisover

January 26th, 2010
5:57 pm

The curse of dave no-braine continues……..chan and blewitt are going to haunt us forever.

saban

January 26th, 2010
6:00 pm

No problem.

You want to keep a defensive line coach that allows offenses to dominate tech`s defensive line like crap going through a goose?

As far as recruiting goes Tech will do just fine.

I will see to that.

Richt will pay for stealing my hairdresser.

Kugel

January 26th, 2010
6:00 pm

Coach Giff, you will be missed here on the Flats. All the best and God’s blessings to you Giff. I hope that you are successful in your new NFL position.

No need to freak out here folks. CPJ will find the proper replacement and, while things will be different, the new recruiting coordinator could be even better. As with all change, time will tell, and we just have to take it one day at a time.

Go Jackets!!

Percival Plante Pacheco, GIT 72

January 26th, 2010
6:02 pm

I never cared that much for calculus I just wanted math skills that would allow me to count my money, balance my checkbook, and pay my hourly employees that went to UGA.

Conyers Yellow Jacket

January 26th, 2010
6:02 pm

Mark: I agree. Any loss at this time is a major problem given the situation of a no-pass offense
at GT. As you pointed out, receivers are turned off…..well maybe this does not matter since anyone
can be a receiver when a team throws 2 passes for 12 yards and one interception in a BCS
bowl game.

messin with sasquatch

January 26th, 2010
6:03 pm

I hope that the draw to Tech was playing for CPJ and GT, and the potential quality education to be had here. Buffalo holds no attraction to a southerner, so the money must have been fine.
Hope that the rest of the staff is fully involved with the recruits. If a recruit was coming to play for the recruiter, I don’t think the kid is fully using his noggin.
And can we stop with the kickin Chan – I mean this is like BO the pres blamin Bush forever like he does………

Jacket Backer

January 26th, 2010
6:04 pm

i think we’ll be just fine……did anyone see the performance of our DLine???…..CPJ will make a good hire……

GOOOOOOO JACKETS!!!!!!

SLP

January 26th, 2010
6:06 pm

Chan Gailey? Buffalo? Whoa! CPJ may want to punch us dawg fans again.

MAYOR OF PONCE

January 26th, 2010
6:10 pm

Im pretty sure Sonny Clusters would make a fine recruiting coordinator. While holding a Coca-cola.

superDawg

January 26th, 2010
6:12 pm

Thank God and greyhound for Gailey.

GT Fan

January 26th, 2010
6:16 pm

Smith is a bum. Anyone who would follow Chaney is a loser. He could have stayed at GT and played for more championships and get more score rings, but he took the easy route and went to the NFL. Loser.