Yellow Jackets land QB-in-making in Airyn Willis

Georgia Tech received a commitment on Saturday from a player who might be its quarterback of the future.

Airyn Willis, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound athlete from High Point, N.C., confirmed that he committed while attending the T-Day spring game Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. He had hinted this past week that Tech was his “clear leader” and he may be close to pulling the trigger.

“Oh yeah, I’ve always loved Georgia Tech since I was little,” Willis said. “I knew I was going to commit to them. I was going to wait and maybe go look some other places. But I didn’t think that would be fair to be going around when I knew Tech was where I wanted to be. My dad said, ‘Tech has everything you want. What are you waiting for?’ And he was right.”

The Yellow Jackets’ recruitment of Willis is particularly interesting considering they recruited him as a quarterback even though he isn’t one. He played running back, wide receiver and defensive back as a junior at Southwest Guilford last season. He rushed 113 times for 681 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games as running back, had 36 receptions for 581 yards and five touchdowns and recorded three interceptions. He reportedly runs a 4.42-second 40-yard dash.

But Willis played quarterback as a sophomore and he will return to the position as a senior. And as good fortune would have it, Southwest Guilford is converting from a power-I to a spread option next season.

“Last year I didn’t play quarterback; that’s why everybody was recruiting me as an athlete,” Willis said. “But I’m playing quarterback this year and we’re going to run a lot of option so it should help me get ready.”

Quarterback Josh Nesbitt will graduate after next seasons. Tech signed quarterback Synjyn Days of Hillgrove in the last class and returns sophomore Tevin Washington and freshmen Jordan Luallen and David Sims.

Willis chose the Jackets over West Virginia, Wake Forest, N.C. State, Wisconsin and East Carolina. He was committed to East Carolina before Skip Holtz left for South Florida.

Willis is the Jackets’ fifth commitment for the Class of 2011.

TECH’S 2011 COMMITMENTS:

  • OL Trey Braun, 6-5, 270, Tallahassee, Fla. (Leon)
  • OL Bryan Chamberlain, 6-4, 280, Albany (Monroe)
  • LB Chaz Cheeks, 6-3, 220, Gainesville (East Hall)
  • RB Quartterrio Morgan, 5-10, 180, Jonesboro (Mt Zion)
  • QB Airyn Willis, 6-2, 175, High Point, N.C. (Southwest Guilford)

135 comments Add your comment

Joe Schmoe

April 25th, 2010
7:12 am

First, welcome to the Jacket Family. Best of luck to you.

Gator FAN

April 25th, 2010
7:26 am

Excellent Coach – Great School – Congrats – get your education!!!!!!

Flo-Ri-Duh!

April 25th, 2010
7:28 am

Just great…. another running back that we are trying to convert in to a real QB…. and another thing – does he know that we don’t we don’t have any wide receivers in our offense either?

GT man

April 25th, 2010
7:57 am

Recruits him as a QB, yet he’s not a QB and didnt throw a pass last season–what a waste of a schlorship.

wiley

April 25th, 2010
8:15 am

Great pickup, whether he plays at A back, Wide Receiver, or Quarter Back. Welcome to the flats and good luck during your senior year!

Midtown Dawg

April 25th, 2010
8:29 am

AJC -- Freedom of the press

April 25th, 2010
8:31 am

The AJC puts the freedom of the press back into journalism. LOL

SEC Fan

April 25th, 2010
8:32 am

What? 2 of the 5 GT recruits are from outside Georgia? So 40% are from ‘out of state”. Aren’t Georgia kids good enough for GT? That seems to be the suggestion whenever UGA gets a kid from outside Ga.. UGA has 6 recruits so far this year and all are from Ga.. So where is the criticism of GT?

Score Check

April 25th, 2010
8:32 am

GT Alum

April 25th, 2010
8:54 am

SEC Fan, Airyn Willis is from North Carolina and was recruited by our new Recruiting Coordinator who was with NC State the past 3 years. Sometimes you have to think about who the coaches know and what they are familiar with more than just Georgia Tech or UGA are in the state of Georgia so obviously that is their turf. If you pay attention to the players during recruitment you will see almost every recruit lists in his priorities the Coaches and the relationship with them. Well you don’t hire only coaches born and bread in your state… Just my thoughts on it.

GT Alum

April 25th, 2010
8:55 am

dagnabit

April 25th, 2010
9:13 am

He’s got the build of a qb or a wide receiver. Time will tell.

Gator in the Hootch

April 25th, 2010
9:32 am

Paul Johnson is a winner and he recruits winners…team players who are willing to play any position adn do what is best for the team…someting Georgia players and Georgia fans know little about.

ATL XMAN

April 25th, 2010
9:32 am

is that now 3 converted running backs recruited to play qb for tech? man the PJ ship is sinking and sinking fast.

ATL XMAN

April 25th, 2010
9:37 am

gator in the hooch..the jury is still out on if PJ is a winner or not in div 1a football. he has had Chan’s NFL players running that high school offense. lets see how PJ coaches when he has guys running his offense that should be playing for GA southern oe East tenn st…when the top recruits at running back see that the leading rusher in the acc was drafted late 6 rd, they will avoid his team like the flu.

ATL XMAN

April 25th, 2010
9:38 am

UGA knows how to coach plays into the NFL and thats what most of these recruits care about. making a nice living playing the sport they love and getting paid.

jadams

April 25th, 2010
10:04 am

ATL XMAN

Your an idiot just like your brotherin Shane on the other blog. PJ won at Navy. Last time i checked Navy was 1A and wasnt supposed to go to bowl games. You get 25 4 stars every year and still suck. Should have had at least 2 championships by now but, You dont1

AA

April 25th, 2010
10:16 am

Atl XMAN-
Richt won his first SEC title with Donnans players so what are you even talking about? UGA is the most overrated program in college football history. UGA underachieves every year. What’s great about recruiting in the top 5 every year if your not gonna finish in the top 5? Sounds like a coaching problem to me. PJ coaches his players up, Richt must coach his down. You must know nothing about college football. Go back to 1980 and play with your herschel walker doll.
THWG !!!

SickandTired

April 25th, 2010
10:18 am

Hey X Baby…..the jury is in on Paul Johnson…and it says he’s guilty of being a football coach that coaches football players. He doesn’t coach stars by the name of recruits…by oh yes Mark Richt doesn’t have to coach them does he…that’s pretty obvious because if he could coach them, they’d be knocking out walls in the Butts-Mehre not to make nice offices for Marky Mark Mark, but to house the crystal footballs. Always a top recuiting class but in the last four years wanna know what Georgia’s record in the SEC East is Baby X? Try on 10-10 for size how you likin that over in Athens…but oh hey Baby X he’s a reallllllly nice guy………Mark Richt, shoulda won a National Championship in ‘02…not so much since.
Georgia: The Wisconsin of the SEC
Georgia deserves better.

BEEFENSE

April 25th, 2010
10:36 am

Rev MR runs an outreach program at UGAG (trying to turn outlaws into f’ball players–and NOT doing a good job at it). UGAG is on the downhill slide and bringing up the REAR (as in BUTT sniffing)–X marks the SPOT (X MAN) . There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Paul Johnson—get used to it.

GT

April 25th, 2010
10:38 am

Glad to have you Airyn! Best of luck in your senior season!

C Paul Johnson

April 25th, 2010
10:40 am

He was the only choice. He can’t throw the ball, but at least he isn’t that stupid…

GT65

April 25th, 2010
10:41 am

Welcome Airyn to the GT Family. Looking forward to watching you play and win under Coach Johnson’s leadership.

.

April 25th, 2010
10:44 am

10:38 & 10:40 are UGA fans that can’t stand it. But we love U anyway.

C Paul Johnson

April 25th, 2010
10:50 am

By the way, to the student body at our school, QUIT ROBBING AND MUGGING PEOPLE!!!!

Jacket Backer

April 25th, 2010
10:53 am

welcome airyn……can’t wait to see you on the flats!!

Go Jackets!!!!

Deena

April 25th, 2010
10:54 am

It’s gratifying that he chose a school with superb academics and where he’ll be held accountable for his actions. Welcome to Tech!

I’m so happy he didn’t take a party school like THUGA and waste his life.

Gerald

April 25th, 2010
10:55 am

Georgia Tech IS recruiting a lot of QBs. Now that isn’t much of a problem, because for a lot of high schools the QB is the best athlete on the team, and they often wind up playing LB, DB, RB and WR on the next level. The problem comes when GT recruits QBs who aren’t athletic enough to play another position (Jaybo Shaw) and when GT doesn’t move guys who aren’t going to be a factor at QB to other places on the depth chart fast enough, which will be the case with either Tevin Washington and Jordan Luallen. GT simply can’t keep taking 3 QBs in every class.

Gerald

April 25th, 2010
11:01 am

ATL XMAN:

UGA knows how to coach players into the NFL? That’s rich. Out of all those 4 and 5 star recruits, UGA’s first draft pick this year was some compensatory selection at the bottom of the 3rd round with a lot of experts saying THAT was too high.

Another thing: ESPN said that UGA had 10 first round draft picks this decade. What does UGA have to show for it? Two SEC titles, both of them in down years for the SEC, and Sugar Bowl wins over mighty Hawai’i and a 9-5 FSU team missing their starting QB. UGA isn’t getting bang for their buck, and switching to a 3-4 defense so that your 280 lb. DTs and your 215 lb. LBs (seriously, Saban’s DEs are bigger than you DTs, and his safeties are bigger than your LBs) can get swallowed up by SEC offensive lines isn’t going to change things.

ACC sucks

April 25th, 2010
11:16 am

Congrats……Another 2 star…U guys r on a roll..lol

brucemac

April 25th, 2010
11:16 am

He was so impressed with the huge TDay crowd he had to just go ahead and commit. Lets see, he is not a quarterback but that is what he will play at GT. What is CPJ’s next recruit coup, a safety that played D tackle in HS. You can’t make this stuff up. Too too funny.

Alabama Jack

April 25th, 2010
11:23 am

Gross ignorance?

144 dawgs walking out of Sanford stadium early because UGA is losing, again.

SickandTired

April 25th, 2010
11:23 am

You people a so funny….you dawg heads I mean….make fun, look down you nose….10-10 record but that’s no Tech,,,,that’s UGA record the last four years in the SEC East ….that’s right even up. But as Crystal Football are being won all around the Dawg Nation’s heads in LSU, Florida and now Alabama you still,. you still wanna talk about what a great job ole Marky Mark Mark has done. He’s a joke of a coach and you just won’t admit it. He’s a warm blanket to keep you away from the Goff years, that’s all he is…he’s not serious about winning championships down there in AThens, he’s just serious about getting a raise every year and convincing the DAwg Nation he’s doing a splendid job….I guess in light of all the arrests, he is.
Georgia: The Wisconsin of the SEC
Georgia deserves better.

1eyedJack

April 25th, 2010
11:27 am

“I don’t think nobody is coming to college to be a backup,” Washington said Saturday. “Everybody is pushing to be a starter.”

What command of the English language!!!

ACC sucks

April 25th, 2010
11:29 am

What is CMR record against yuck? I can’t find it anywhere. Do have it handy Gerald

brucemac

April 25th, 2010
11:31 am

S and T do you stutter or just like to repeat yourself. You are not covering any new ground anyway. All you idiot Yechsters have the same ignorant rant. Too funny. Get some new material, at least Stinger has some original material on occassion.

ACC sucks

April 25th, 2010
11:34 am

Didnt intend to throw in weak non-confrence teams but you keep bashing our SEC record so i had to put somthing out that we could feel good about!

John Johnson, Jr.

April 25th, 2010
11:39 am

What is being done to protect GT students from muggings?

I hear a lot of our fans calling UGA players ‘thugs’ but seriously, ATL is the thuggiest city in the country. We need more police patrolling campus. And how about a little investment in the neighborhood?

Americus Jacket

April 25th, 2010
11:48 am

One of the reasons I heard Johnson would be successful is that players who would thrive in his offense are not the same players that others are trying to get. I remember the joke about Dooley: He could turn any 5-star HS QB into a All-SEC defensive back.

The same might be true for the defense now — at least the front 7 with the 3-4 defense. (Yes, I know UGA runs it too.) And I think of Dwyer (UGA’s 4th choice as RB recruit) and Bey Bey (maybe not even recruited a UGA) as prime examples that Tech has to recruit “smarter” than UGA. Although I always think we have the chance to win the big game each year, there is NO WAY we will out-recruit UGA on number of stars our recruits have.

What I do believe is that Paul Johnson knows what he’s doing, he has put a swagger into the team that I like that focuses on confidence and not poor sportsmanship, and that he is recruiting players that can play within his system instead of just going after recruits that some internet “guru” has deemed a “can’t miss.”

I remember my dad taking me and one of my friends to a football game in the 70’s between the Falcons and the 49ers. After the 49ers beat us, my friend bought a 49ers pennant on the way out of the game. Yes, he was a dog fan.

We Tech fans understand that we are not going to put the resources into Football that UGA does. Most of our biggest donors actually put little in Athletics but support the Academic fund with millions, and we are proud of that. If Tech won 3 games or less a year, and yes it has happened, I would still be a Tech fan and proud of it. But I admit it’s really neat when we can put out some teams that compete on an unlevel playing field in recruiting to win games against teams with much more touted recruits. I’ve developed a chip on my shoulder just like Paul Johnson: If a UGA fan talks trash, I’m going to hit him in the mouth. (OK, figuratively not litterally.)

GT Fan...

April 25th, 2010
12:26 pm

To the idiot who said the jury is still out on Paul Johnson as a good head coach …… 62-10 (Ga Southern), 45-29 — 2-10 1st season, 43-19 next 5 (Navy), and 20-7 (GT currently). I’d say those records indicate that he’s a pretty good coach.

But according to said idiot WINS just seem to luckily find their way to PJ b/c “the jury is still out whether he can coach”.

“He won with Gailey’s recruits” YES coach PJ won with CG’s recruits – and he won MORE with them than did CG — you dumb-arses that keep spouting that! I can’t wait to hear your excuses when PJ continues to win with “his recruits”.

steeler

April 25th, 2010
12:31 pm

Hey “HOW ABOUT ANOTHER …”., i guess you didn’t read the Steelers’ RB coach’s comments after drafting Dwyer? Said Dwyer is basically starting over learning how to be a true RB, and that lots of required skills he needs he didn’t do at tech, like pass blocking, reading blocks, pass catching, etc. Not my words, his new coach’s.

GT Fan

April 25th, 2010
12:36 pm

I will agree…Paul Hewitt is a disgrace to GT !

collegeballfan

April 25th, 2010
12:41 pm

Nice stats at RB, WR and DB. Appears to be excellent athletic.

Recruited as….., means that you get a few days there and if you don’t measure up you are at another position. Or you may get a whole season, and if you don’t measure up you get a new position, see Richard Samuel at UGA.

kb

April 25th, 2010
1:13 pm

Paul Johnson most over rated coach in America, his success comes in the B-leagues, the Acc has been pathetic since Johnson came to Tech. He was out coached by Willie Martinez.Gets pasted in every big game outside of conference except the fluke win over UGA in 2008.

GT

April 25th, 2010
1:17 pm

How do we get all this negativity on Tech? This sounds like Dawg talk, we love our Jackets and obviously Airyn Willis who had some pretty nice looking schools after his services, did too. Use to be no one bothered writing bad stuff about us, now we have become competition we are the targets. We use to bad mouth Georgia all the time, now we actually love our neighbors to the rural north.

Dave In Tampa

April 25th, 2010
1:27 pm

Congrats GT. This recruit seems to be a very good fit for your offense. Very versatile. Good addition.

Guys, we can’t say that CPJ is overrated. Even as a Dawg fan I see that he has won 1 ACC Championship and that was in his second year. Yes, in Football, the ACC is not the SEC strenth wise, but a League Championship is a league Championship no matter what league. 1st GT coach to do that in awhile. I like to see GT recruit well. As long as it is not one of the recruits get.

Mr Me

April 25th, 2010
1:28 pm

Its pretty funny how the AJC puts Ga Tech recruiting under the UGA news category and Dawgs recruiting under Tech category. Seems to me they are trying to stir up bloggers, but it really doesn’t matter because you’ll always have idiots from both sides making ignorant comments on the other side’s blog.

ugaaccountant

April 25th, 2010
1:36 pm

If he winds up playing RB or WR, good for you guys. But a QB that wasn’t a QB in high school? The saying is if you can play QB in HS you can be converted elsewhere. It doesn’t work the other way around.

HugoStiglitz

April 25th, 2010
1:54 pm

One day maybe UGA fans will finally figure out that GT is not going to recruit the same type of players that UGA and most other teams do. Its really not rocket science. A guy like Aaron Murray would be completely useless on our team. Thats why we would never go after a guy like that.

BrittanyBuzz

April 25th, 2010
2:00 pm

XMAN, East Tn State doesn’t play football you dork. Welcome Airyn!