UPDATED 9 P.M. . . .
It wasn’t necessarily the clinching point for Quayshawn Nealy, but it surely didn’t hurt that he was in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa in person to witness the Yellow Jackets’ historic win over Clemson in the ACC Championship Game this past weekend.
On Tuesday, the 6-foot, 215-pound linebacker committed to the Yellow Jackets.
“It was a great game,” Nealy said. “I really enjoyed that.”
Nealy, a three-star prospect according to both Rivals.com and Scout.com, said he chose Tech over Ole Miss and USF (South Florida). He also had scholarship offers from Georgia, Michigan, Kansas, Louisville, Purdue and Tulane.
“Well, [Georgia Tech] came into the ballgame late but, at first, they weren’t recruiting linebackers that hard,” Nealy said. “But when they did jump on the bandwagon they immediately jumped to the top of my list. I didn’t really know that much about them other than I had a cousin that graduated from there. I have relatives in Georgia, so they interested me.”
Nealy was asked what was the main reason he chose the Jackets over his other options. “I would say it would have to be the academics and the coaching,” he said. “Coach B.J. (Brian Jean-Marie) and me were able to really relate. He kept it real. And he talked about how I might be able to have early playing time, depending on how I do and how everybody else does once I get there.”
Nealy knows a little about winning, too. His undefeated Lakeland High team (12-0) plays Plant High in the Florida Class AAAAA semifinals on Friday. In the quarterfinals last week, Nealy blocked a punt and intercepted Georgia commitment Marc Deas and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown to clinch a 30-14 win over Osceola.
Nealy’s commitment gives the Yellow Jackets 13 pledges for the Class of 2010. Ten of those players are slated to play on the defensive side of the ball. He becomes their first commitment from outside the state of Georgia.
There is the possibility Tech could sign two or three more players, especially if any its many talented juniors opts to test the draft. Running back Jonathan Dwyer, defensive end Derrick Morgan, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and quarterback Josh Nesbitt are all juniors that have caught the notice of NFL scouts.
The Yellow Jackets currently have offers extended to defensive end Kareem Martin of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., and inside linebacker Justin Parker of Beaufort, S.C.
For your edification, I give you . . .
GEORGIA TECH’s CLASS OF 2010