Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson and longtime commitment Tre Jackson of Wayne County parted ways on Thursday.
Jackson confirmed via text message to the AJC that he no longer had his Georgia Tech scholarship offer because he had agreed to take an official visit to Florida State this weekend.
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive tackle had been committed to Georgia Tech since last October. Jackson was approached within the last couple of weeks by FSU, among other schools.
Historically, it has been Johnson’s policy at Georgia Tech to rescind the scholarship offers of commitments who visit other schools after pledging to the Yellow Jackets. Asked by text message whether that was the case here, Jackson replied, “yes.”
There were warning signals of the pending breakup. In recent days, Georgia Tech had been unable to reach Jackson over the telephone to discuss the situation. On Thursday, Johnson talked with Wayne County’s coaches, and both parties decided it was best to go in different directions with Jackson’s recruiting.
When contacted on late Thursday evening by the AJC, Johnson declined to discuss Jackson, citing NCAA rules that prevent college coaches from commenting on prospective student-athletes. However, Johnson did make a short statement about his general recruiting policy.
“If you say you’re committed to Georgia Tech and you’re still visiting people, then in my mind, you’re not committed to Georgia Tech,” Johnson said. “Now that also clarifies the other aspect of it. If people who are committed to other schools are visiting here, then in my mind they really aren’t committed to other schools.”
Two years ago, Johnson talked in depth about “what commitment means” when Dontae Aycock of Tampa committed to Georgia Tech and then had his scholarship rescinded after taking an official visit to Auburn on the final weekend before 2009’s signing day. Here’s a flashback of Johnson’s comments:
“We tell kids all the time in our office ‘Look around and make sure this is what you want to do,’” Johnson said. “I am not trying to keep kids from looking around. I think they need to look around. But when you decide and commit, then you’re giving people your word that you’re coming. It’s not a game. It’s not ‘Ok, I’ll take this one unless I can find something better. Or let me lock this down there so I can shop around for some other spots.’ If you’re doing that, you’re not committing.”
“Why don’t you say this school is leading? Or this school is way out in front? It’s the same thing with Dontae. Had Dontae not committed, we would’ve continued to recruit him probably up to a point where we would’ve said something like ‘Hey we’ve got to know something or we have to move on.’”
“There’s this fallacy out there that everybody is going to take five visits and decide on signing day. We know that’s not going to happen. That’s all it is. Commitment to me means if they tell me they are coming, then I expect that they are coming. If they tell you you’re coming, then why are they taking more visits?”
“I view anybody that’s still visiting [other] schools as not committed. That’s just me. That’s just the way I do it. Well, people say ‘That’s a double standard because you let other kids visit [Tech] who are committed [to other schools]. That’s not my problem. Maybe it’s a soft commitment. There may be a [college] coach somewhere else saying ‘Give me a soft commitment and go ahead take your visits.’”
What’s your opinion on Georgia Tech’s actions? What do you think about committed players visiting other schools? Please post below.
– By Michael Carvell, AJC College Recruiting