Lithonia DL Jimmie Kitchen takes the long road back home to Georgia Tech

To say that Jimmie Kitchen took an unconventional route to Georgia Tech would be an understatement. To say that he’s thrilled to officially be a member of the Yellow Jackets’ Class of 2011 would be, too.



Kitchen, a 6-foot-3, 265-pound defensive lineman from Lithonia, signed a national letter-of-intent with Tech on Wednesday. He did it exactly 55 weeks after signing a letter-of-intent with Tennessee State in February of 2010.

“Man, it feels great,” Kitchen said Thursday. “I knew I belonged at a big school in D-1. It’s just overwhelming right now to get my second chance.”

In between, Kitchen has been qualified, then not qualified, eligible, then not eligible.

Kitchen actually had already moved into the dorms at Tennessee State last summer and was working out with the team when word came that some of his classwork at Lithonia High School had been flagged by the NCAA Clearinghouse. He was told he’d have to take the classes over. So he packed up his bags and moved back to Atlanta.

Kitchen successfully completed those classes last month and then got official approval of his transcripts from the NCAA shortly after national signing day.

Georgia Tech, along with Ole Miss and several other schools, had gotten word about Kitchen’s imminent availability in January. With his academic hurdles cleared, the Yellow Jackets officially offered this week. Kitchen pounced on the opportunity.

“Actually Ole Miss was after me before Tech,” Kitchen said. “But I got qualified late in the process and everybody had already committed to them. They filled up, so it was too late. If I had gotten cleared earlier I probably would have signed with them. But, in the end, everything worked out for the best. Ain’t no place like home!”

There’s a reason Tech and others were willing to provide Kitchen a second chance. The kid can play, his high school coach says.

“He has a tremendous knack for the football,” Lithonia coach Marcus Jelks said. “He’s a great athlete for his size, very quick, very strong. He definitely helped us. He played center, defensive line, linebacker and special teams for us. He even ran the ball a few times. When Georgia Tech watched the film, they just kind of fell in love with him.”

Big-time college football had always seemed to be Kitchen’s destination. In fact, he had numerous major-college programs pursuing him in the fall of 2009 and was poised to commit to Auburn at that point. But the Tigers, Georgia Tech and the rest of his suitors dropped off after his first test scores were posted.

Tennessee State decided to take a chance on him and signed him in February of 2010. Kitchen continued to work on his college boards and he was able to achieve the NCAA’s eligibility standards that spring. He moved to Nashville that summer with every intention of continuing his football career with the Tigers. Then the NCAA Clearinghouse bomb exploded.

But Kitchen said he never lost hope. After a brief respite to regain his bearings, he resumed both his academic and athletic pursuits. He re-took the classes he needed online and joined the Lithonia football team four times a week for 6 a.m. workouts to stay in shape.

Of course, Kitchen has already heard the cynics who wonder how he’ll be able to handle Georgia Tech’s academic rigors after struggling so hard just meet eligibility requirements.

“I’ve just got to prove them wrong and show that I can do the work,” Kitchen said. “I know I can. I’m going to buckle down, man, no if, ands or buts about that. They already know what I can do on the field. I just have to prove it in the classroom.

“This whole thing has been a very humbling experience to go through, the whole process. But I got through it. Not too many people get to tell this story. So I plan on taking advantage of it.”

Kitchen becomes the 23rd signee in the Jackets’ 2011 class and the only defensive lineman.

“I’ve just got to come in and show them I know how to play and I know I can do that,” Kitchen said. “It’s just a matter of time. I’m not in a hurry. I’ve just got to show them what I can do, then I’ll get some PT.”

By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog

125 comments Add your comment


February 24th, 2011
7:50 pm


congrats young man

Tech Insider

February 24th, 2011
8:06 pm

BIG time commit for Tech! Kid was headed to Auburn before academics became an issue. Experts compare him to LSU’s Tyson Jackson when he was coming out of H.S. The big issue for the kid will be whether he has truly turned his academic life around and can keep himself motivated at Tech.


February 24th, 2011
8:06 pm

That Management degree is no slouch, but the athletic tutoring at Tech is pretty good. Just put in the work. Pay your dues in the classroom, then get out on the field and take your frustration out on O-linemen!

Go Jackets!


February 24th, 2011
8:18 pm

I’ve seen this young man in action and he’ll definitely be a great asset to GT. TSU knew they had a steal when he couldn’t get cleared in time for Auburn!


February 24th, 2011
8:26 pm

Hope the young man can make it… Best of luck!!!


February 24th, 2011
8:34 pm

Good luck to this young man, but the fact that someone with his checkered academic record was pursued by, signed with, and was admitted to Tech just shows that Techsters who claim “we can’t recruit the same players everyone else does because of our rigid academic standards” are just blowing smoke.

You nerds chase the same players everyone else does. You just cant sign most of them, save for the few like this kid who probably would have happily gone elsewhere if Auburn or Ole Miss had a spot for him. I hope he has a great academic career, gets his diploma (although GTU graduation rates for football players are pretty poor, n’est pas, nerds?) and loses 4 times in a row to UGA, just like many a previous GTU scholar athlete…..Keith Brooking, Reggie BaLLLL, et al. Cheers, nerds!


February 24th, 2011
8:38 pm

Don’t think people realize that he would be the top rated recruit signed by Tech this year, does not mean he a sure thing but by recruiting standards this is big get for Tech. Eases the Tuitt miss.

Great story, wish him well.


February 24th, 2011
8:53 pm

Nice pickup!!


February 24th, 2011
8:54 pm

hope the kid makes it……81 dog, because you were too stupid to make it at Tech doesn’t give you the right to knock this kid……he’s willing to give it a shot…..he could have taken the easy route and gone to U(sic)GA……


February 24th, 2011
8:59 pm

yep, Techinsider, If he’s in good academic standing after a couple of years it will be impressive..A Ruth Cris steak bets he can’t finish the drill.


February 24th, 2011
9:21 pm

Good luck to the kid, But he was not ranked by Rivals or Scout nor was he all state or all county so if this is Tech Best recruit from this class, shows how bad a class it was.


February 24th, 2011
9:25 pm

So he was academically ineligible for Auburn, but you nerds want to say he “is a changed man” and will become the next great Engineer from Tech??

You guys really are a sad, sad bunch.


February 24th, 2011
9:26 pm

Worm, I think Central (maybe it’s south or northeast or southwest) Florida finished the drill, so he has a chance. He’s no Ealy or Crowell.


February 24th, 2011
9:27 pm


Maybe now we can beat Georgia!!!!!

Genius Jacket

February 24th, 2011
9:28 pm

What? We signed a kid that can’t make an A in calculus and split the atom?

Ramblin Man

February 24th, 2011
9:48 pm

Way to misunderstand what most GT fans say when it comes to academics and athletes. Most of us do not claim that they can not get in we say they can’t make it. The fact that GT has a 49% APR is not because the courses are easy and the kids blow off classes, it is hard to EARN a degree from GT. I would welcome any UGA fan that says the academics are not hard to attend just one semester of GTs so called easy major (management) and see if they walk away saying “that was nothing”. If you look at most of the posts on here and when this was first mentioned by Doug you will see that GT fans were worried how this kid will do academic wise. I also find it funny that this kid was a 4 star back in 10 and now is only rated a 2, how does that happen? I hope the kid does well and utilizes his time and tutoring wisely.


February 24th, 2011
10:02 pm

Auburn coaching staff where very upset that they couldn’t get this kid. GT fans need too be happy because the coaches are…..


February 24th, 2011
10:07 pm

@Ramblin Man , Ranked a 4 star by who? If anyone was really serious about him they would have signed and placed him.

Vick=Dog killing Thug

February 24th, 2011
10:23 pm

Good to see a young man stick with something…

ole miss

February 24th, 2011
10:31 pm

Man GT got this kid…………. I thought we had him!

Ramblin Man

February 24th, 2011
10:34 pm

It’s hard to find the link for this kid when he was a 2010 recruit and had offers from major schools like AU. A buddy showed me where he was listed as a 4 star in 2010. Teams were serious about him but the clearinghouse issue just recently got lifted. He had several offers and GT got lucky if you will that scholarships were still available. I have tried to find the link but only get the recent links.


February 24th, 2011
10:37 pm

This kid was a beast in high school, and has gotten bigger and stronger. He will give O lineman fits with his speed and agility. Good luck, Jim.


February 24th, 2011
10:51 pm

Just look at all the obsessed dawgs on this Tech blog.

who cares

February 24th, 2011
11:58 pm

81 dog…what is GTU? Tech is the Georgia Institute of Technology, just as Georgia is U(sic)GA. I know, you need to look up what sic means.


February 25th, 2011
12:48 am

Congrats to the kid. I hope he does really well here. I have my doubts though. Anyone who struggled to pass admission standards in high school is climbing an uphill battle at GT. Prove me wrong Jimmie.


February 25th, 2011
4:04 am

81Dog and 9-1: One word describes your comments:

German Shepherd Dawg

February 25th, 2011
5:39 am

Congrats, Tech fans.

In regard to my fellow Dawgs making less than complimentary remarks, I will be the first to admit there’s plenty of Tech pinheads that make disparaging comments regularly after UGA-related stories.

No, two wrongs do not make it right. It makes both sides equally stupid.

There’s only one week each year I really care to see you guys in misery. It comes in November.

German Shepherd Dawg

February 25th, 2011
5:41 am

And who cares?

Due to my fine UGA education, I am well aware “sic” is an abbreviation for “spelling is correct.”

As opposed to “Sic-Em” ….words sure to remind you of painful memories.

Woof Woof!

German Shepherd Dawg

February 25th, 2011
5:42 am


Give the kid a chance. I wasn’t very mature before the age of 18….or 38, for that matter.


February 25th, 2011
6:19 am

According to he is a 2 star recruit. His highlight film looked pretty good,and he is quick for his size. Hope he can buckle down and make the grades. Good luck to the young man. Stars dont mean S&#!.Go Jackets!

the real Old Gold

February 25th, 2011
6:39 am

Just shows that academics at Tech is just a joke for football players! Most never finish school ! Hope this is paul johnson’s last year!

Reality Bites

February 25th, 2011
6:49 am

FINALLY……some good news on the Flats. Now, fire CPH and my springtime will be complete.

Honest and Frank Discussion

February 25th, 2011
7:51 am

Welcome to the flats Jimmie!!!

And to the idiot dog fans out there – there is nothing in this report that indicates his scores weren’t in line with what GT requires.

First, re SATS, it just reports that his initial score was low. It also says he worked to get the score up but it doesn’t say how hi it got. Unless you somehow know what he was subsequently able to achieve, you are talking out of your you know what.

It doesn’t mention GPA.

The eligibility thing was over an English class whose credits didn’t transfer. It had nothing to do with smart or dumb. Someone who got into Harvard and had a 1600 on his SATs would have been just as ineligible if he/she took that class and aced it.


February 25th, 2011
7:57 am

Haha! The nerds love to claim that only football playing geniuses like Reggie Ball and Rueben Houston can play for Tech. So much for that. The fact is that big time players don’t want to play for nerds in Thugland.

Paul Hewitt.

February 25th, 2011
8:31 am

Congrats to the football team. You guys want me fired, but my program hasn’t lost 9 of the last 10 to Georgia.


February 25th, 2011
8:34 am

Even after signing w/GT, this SA publicly says that GT is still an afterthought, a place that FB Recruits choose only when they have no other options.

In this SA’s own words:

“Actually Ole Miss was after me before Tech,” Kitchen said. “But I got qualified late in the process and everybody had already committed to them. They filled up, so it was too late. If I had gotten cleared earlier I probably would have signed with them. But, in the end, everything worked out for the best. Ain’t no place like home!”

GT is a 4th rate high school team

February 25th, 2011
8:46 am



February 25th, 2011
8:50 am

Honest and Frank Discussion
February 25th, 2011
7:51 am

Please explain WHY it took this SA almost a year to take only one English class?

If this SA was the Elite DL Recruit that the GT Fans make him out to be, then Auburn would not have let him go and would have put him in a JUCO ala Nick Fairley, or worst case he would have been put in a Prep Sch. and still had 4 full yrs. of Eligibility at Auburn, if he were truly an Elite Recruit.

Basically the propaganda coming from the GT SID’s Office doesn’t quite add up, they are trying to spin this as an Elite Recruit that GT has found when in all likelihood he is not.

This SA knew back in DECEMBER 2009 that he was facing Academic issues, yet did NOTHING until the NCAA Clearinghouse dinged him at Tenn. St.,

Simple Question:

When Schools like Auburn started to back off (and that’s really saying something) back in December 2009 why didn’t this SA get on the ball and try to get in school in Aug. 2010 or at worst case Jan 2011?

Somehow this SA that is supposed to be an Elite Recruit find a way to lazily complete only one friggin’ class and make it to college in Aug. 2011.

To make matters worse after all this time since he’s graduated from HS, he’s still only 6-3 265lbs. which means he’s not likely to get much bigger and that makes him an “undersized tweener” and not likely to solve any of GT’s DL problems especially since we are now a 3-4 school.

When you play a 3-4 the NT needs to be 315 minimum and 325+ preferred and the DEs need to be close to 300lbs themselves or 290-ish.

Basically this is a bad pickup for GT and shows how desperate Teflon-CPJ’s Recruiting has been.

destin Dawg

February 25th, 2011
8:53 am

couldn’t get in Ole Miss and UGA ????


February 25th, 2011
8:53 am

Re: Honest and Frank Discussion

Re-read the article:

Big-time college football had always seemed to be Kitchen’s destination. In fact, he had numerous major-college programs pursuing him in the fall of 2009 and was poised to commit to Auburn at that point. But the Tigers, Georgia Tech and the rest of his suitors dropped off after his first test scores were posted.

Above the Gnat Line

February 25th, 2011
9:09 am

Wait a minute…I thought Tech was so much tougher academically that borderline recruits couldn’t go there? It is one of the HUGE hurdles Tech has to overcome to compete! Riiiiiiiiiggghhhttttt.


February 25th, 2011
9:10 am

None of the boot-lickin’-toadies that continually kiss Coach Kung Fu Panda’s fat a.s.s. wants to admit this, but it would have been much better to let Tre Jackson a 6-5 300lbs. DL, go on his visit to F$U and then sign him to go to GT rather than take a chance on undersized tweener reaches like this SA who’s only 6-3 265lbs. and doesn’t have clearly defined position in CAG’s 3-4 Defense.

At some point the boot-lickin’-toadies are going to have to admit that CPJ’s smug arrogance is hurting GT’s Recruiting.

It is better to stick your ego in your back pocket and sign the 6-5 300lbs. DL, than to protect your ego and end up signing this 6-3 265lb. Recruit that is both an Academic Reach and an Athletic Reach on the field.

Basically Teflon-CPJ’s ego is more important than getting quality DLs for CAG’s 3-4.

Now try and argue with that you geeky-nerd-loser-boot-lickin’-toadies!


February 25th, 2011
9:13 am

As a Tech Man, this signing disgusts me. We scrape the bottom of the barrel just because the kid can play? If he does get a degree, it will do nothing but cheapen mine. Thanks CPJ, the luster of your championship last year is wearing off fast.


February 25th, 2011
9:15 am

My goodness, some of you nerds need some remedial help with reading comprehension.

@cool- I didnt knock the kid. I wished him good luck with his academics, in fact. I did knock GTU fans, who would have howled with outrage if he’d have signed with UGA (see what I did there?) for being hypocrites. You pencil necks claim “we cant recruit the academic underachievers because our standards are so high.” This kid couldnt qualify for AUBURN. And, for the record, I could have gotten into GTU easily. The last resort of GTU nerds is always, always, ALWAYS either “you work for us” or “you couldnt get into Tech.” Laughable.

@Ramblin Man- your reading comprehension is worse than Cool’s. I said you nerds claim you cant recruit who us “lesser” (sic- yeah, I know what it means) schools recruit because your standards are so high. In other words, they cant do the work at GTU. Nice try. I never said GTU was an “easy” school, even though guys like Tyrone Sorrells and Joe Hamilton managed to make it through. My point, which would be obvious to anyone who can read, was not that this kid can’t make it at GTU; rather, it was that you nerds claim you can’t recruit kids like this because your school is soooooo difficult, and then look what happens. You go and recruit a kid like this, who apparently has some ability, because your defense is a sieve and he was willing to come there (because no one else had a scholarship left).

@who cares- clearly, the concept of irony is foreign to you (as may be the concept of English as a first language, if in fact you went to GTU). If you don’t know what GTU is, perhaps former GTU great Stephon Marbury, who proudly announced his signing with “Georgia Tech University,” can help explain it to you. If one of the all time greatest players in GTU history to do the mustard and white, errrr, blue, errrrr, black, errrrrrr, whatever, for almost one and one half quarters of school calls it GTU, who am I, or you, to dispute him?

@Stinger2- one word to describe your lame attempt at smack: Yawn.

good luck (again) to the kid with his academics. You nerds are just hypocrites, blinded with rage by the fact that we’ve owned you since the Kennedy administration. You can, as they say, look it up.


February 25th, 2011
9:31 am

actually bought a sweat-shirt once, ’cause it said GTU…world’s going to hell, yet folks on these blogs seem to think $port$ actually matter…in the roman empire, glad-fites & char-races were more important than world events-starving people can no longer struggle under regimes that claim the sacrifice is needed because of their enemies while the rulers live like kings(wait-some of them ARE kings!)-here, the rulers are in the street fighing the people so they can keep their perks…..the real battle here, i know many standing on the Right will be agreeing on something other than football……


February 25th, 2011
9:53 am

I am a DAWG fan and can’t say that I wish for a lot of wins for GT, but this is a feel-good story if Kitchen can do well in the classroom and on the football field! I am hoping for the best for him.


February 25th, 2011
10:00 am

if he doesn’t make it can always go to Athens!


February 25th, 2011
10:05 am

@81Dog – 9:15 post

Simply outstanding! I haven’t read anything that pointed and correct in quite a while. Hilarious!


February 25th, 2011
10:20 am

This guy looks to be an explosive player. Excellent pick up. It will be interesting and server as a good measuring stick if CPJ and the other coaches can manage him academically.

Blue Fox

February 25th, 2011
10:48 am

Tech now has great degrees like “History of Science & Technology,” the guy doesn’t have to tackle Management.