Perusing Georgia Tech’s list of commitments for the 2010 signing class, it doesn’t take long for a trend to jump out at you. The Yellow Jackets have eight pledges so far. Every single one is from the state of Georgia.
In fact, coach Paul Johnson has said more than once he wouldn’t be surprised their entire allotment of scholarships — the Jackets currently have only 12 available this year– goes to Georgia residents. He’d just as soon they would.
Tech added yet another player from Georgia on Monday. Former Henry County star Chris Jackson announced his plans to transfer from Alabama, where he played mostly special teams as a freshman last season, to The Flats.
That’s somewhat of a break with tradition. In the past it was believed that Georgia Tech, due to its unique academic environment and urban setting, needed to search far and wide for players to fit its criteria. Clearly Johnson and his staff don’t think so.
“We really put an emphasis on Georgia,” Tech recruiting coordinator Giff Smith told me this week. “We believe there are players we can win with right here.”
That was certainly was the case last November in Athens. Georgia’s offensive stars that day were quarterback Matthew Stafford (Texas), tailback Knowshon Moreno (New Jersey) and flanker A.J. Green (South Carolina). Tech’s were quarterback Josh Nesbitt (Greensboro), running back Jonathan Dwyer (Marietta) and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (Dublin). The Jackets, in case anyone needs to be reminded, won 45-42.
Georgia, which has seen its national profile rise under coach Mark Richt, continues to attract a lot of out-of-state talent. Of the Bulldogs’ 16 commitments so far, seven — nearly half — are from outside the state’s borders. At one point they had more commitments from Florida (6) than they did the home state.
That’s OK with Tech. It has six players from within an hour’s drive of its campus.
“It’s like an Atlanta all-star team, ” Centennial defensive tackle Denzel McCoy told the AJC’s Michael Carvell recently. “I’m loving it. All of us are from Georgia and we’re going to show people that you don’t have to reach across the nation to get talent. It’s in our backyard.”