UPDATED THROUGHOUT . . .
Chaz Cheeks became Georgia Tech’s first verbal commitment for the 2011 class on Tuesday.
“I feel happy, excited, filled with joy,” said Cheeks, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive end from East Hall High School in Gainesville.
Recruiting momentum was just really picking up for Cheeks, who also had offers from Ole Miss and N.C. State. But he didn’t see any reason to prolong the process.
“I just sat down with the family, my coaches and friends whose opinion I value and just really started thinking about Georgia Tech,” he said. “Number one school in the ACC; you graduate from Tech you’re going to have a good job. I didn’t see anything better so I was like, ‘Let’s go for it!’”
Cheeks is expected to play outside linebacker for the Yellow Jackets. At East Hall he has played his entire career with his hand on the ground.
“I did, but actually this year the coaches are going to work me a little bit at outside linebacker. So I’ll have a year under my belt before I go,” Cheeks said.
As a junior last season Cheeks had 58 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 16 hurries and eight sacks from his weakside defensive end position.
Cheeks’ teammate is Sterling Bailey, another defensive end who has also been offered by the Yellow Jackets and just about every other team in the South. Any chance they’ll both end up on The Flats?
“You never know what Sterling’s going to do so I can’t really say,” Cheeks said. “We’ve talked about it but right now we’re trying to figure out what’s best for each other. If the best thing is for him to come to Georgia Tech I’d love for him to come.”
Cheeks and East Hall coach Bryan Gray made the call to coach Paul Johnson Tuesday morning.
“Actually I didn’t even know I was the first commitment until someone told me not too long ago,” Cheeks said. “I don’t even really know what to say about it. I was just talking to Coach Gray about it and just said, ‘let’s quit talking about it and go ahead and do it.’”