Ex-Georgia Tech QB target quits college football

A one-time high school football star who ignited a spirited debate over “what commitment means” in the recruiting process by Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has quit college football.

Dontae Aycock decided to give up football at South Florida, with the St. Petersburg Times’ Greg Auman reporting that Aycock “had strugled with his weight this summer, [USF coach Skip] Holtz said, and wasn’t sure his heart was in playing football.”

Dontae Aycock

Dontae Aycock

Back in 2009, Aycock was one of Florida’s top QB prospects — and a “secret commitment” to Georgia Tech about two weeks before signing day. Then everything changed when Auburn made a last-minute offer. Aycock acknowledged and admitted he was warned by Georgia Tech’s Johnson that his scholarship offer would be jeopardized if he took an official visit to Auburn that late in the recruiting process, and he did it anyways. Aycock said Georgia Tech revoked his scholarship for making the trip. Aycock ended up signing with Auburn as a RB, and was dismissed by the SEC school after one season because of an undisclosed violation of team rules.

The circumstances surrounding Aycock’s rocky recruiting finish ignited a hot-button issue over “what commitment means” with Johnson saying this in 2009:

If you're a college coach, and a recruit says he is committed to your school but still is visiting other schools, do you still consider him committed to your school?

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“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.’”

“We recruited Dontae for a whole year. Nobody twisted his arm and made him commit to Georgia Tech. I didn’t say ‘If you leave here, I’m moving on or anything. He [Aycock] came to me on [the Sunday during his official visit to Tech], and said ‘Coach, this is what I want to do. I’m coming [to Tech].’ I said ‘Are you sure? He said ‘Yeah, I told my [high school] coach yesterday. I called him.’ I said ‘Is he good with you doing this?’ Yeah he’s good with it. ‘You know this means no more visits? Recruiting is over?’ He said ‘I know coach, but I want to keep it quiet.’

“That’s not right either. If the whole story was told, Dontae would tell you that I made him call Lousville and tell them that he wasn’t coming. I told him that’s only fair to Louisville. He went [the following day] and did that. There was a lot more to it. Then he got some bad advice. And maybe not. Maybe he wanted to go to Auburn anyways. That’s what I took it as. If he wanted to visit Auburn, then he wanted to go there.”

Also in 2009, we gave UGA coach Mark Richt the opportunity to explain “what commitment means.

UGA coach Mark Richt (left) and Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson (AJC photo)

UGA coach Mark Richt (left) and Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson (AJC photo)

“When we offer a kid, we don’t ever want to renege that offer,” Richt said. “If we offer a QB, and we’ve assigned one scholarship to that position, and we offer five or six, we tell each one of them that ‘We’re looking to sign one.’ When one gets committed, and we trust that he’s solid, then we let everybody know we’re full. I don’t really look at that as reneging an offer. I think everybody offered has the chance to take that one. It one of those ‘whomever takes it first, gets it’ type of things.”

“That’s why I tell our coaches ‘Don’t be quick to offer. If you offer him, and he commits, he’s ours. We’re not backing off that. So, at times, we probably offer a little bit slower, in some cases, than other schools.”

“You hope that a young man is going to stand firm with his commitment. The [prospects] are going through all kinds of pressures. And there are a lot of other people besides these young men that get involved, and it can get crazy and confusing.”

“When I talk to a young man, I’m not one to press a kid really really hard to commit. Because if he does, and I pushed him into it, then they usually walk out the door saying ‘Man, I don’t know if I should’ve done that or not.’ Automatically, they walk out the door with some kind of doubt. Our style is more to lay it out there, and say ‘If you want to [commit], that’s fantastic. We want your heart, we want you to be serious about it. And if you don’t want to decide today, then call me on your way home. Call me tomorrow, call me next week, call me when you’re ready.’ I’ve had [many] guys walk out of my office saying ‘I wish I would’ve committed instead of walking out.’ Then we’ll get a call from a kid on his ride home from an unofficial visit where it’s ‘Coach we want to come to Georgia.’”

“So, I think that’s part of it, too. You don’t try to squeeze the commitment out of him. If I can talk him into committing to me, then probably someone else [another college] can probably talk him into de-committing.”

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151 comments Add your comment

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
12:41 pm

Here we go…

PerimeterCenterJacket

August 9th, 2011
12:41 pm

Well, looks like for this one case CPJ’s decision was a good one regardless where you fall on the commitment issue! GT doesn’t have to deal with a QB “struggling with his weight and then quitting the game” on us. Sorry to hear about it for the Bulls, though. Such an interesting situation for them only being around since 1997. I tend to root for them because of that.

Ah well, Go Jackets!

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
12:47 pm

I support Johnson’s policy, PCJ, but a good result does not prove good process.

Say It Aint So

August 9th, 2011
12:52 pm

If a top recruit had committed to another school and was coming to visit GT on his last official visit, liked what he saw and decommitted and wanted to sign at GT, I doubt very seriously CPJ would turn the kid away. What a hippocrite.

17 - 3

August 9th, 2011
12:53 pm

Enter your comments here

PerimeterCenterJacket

August 9th, 2011
12:53 pm

Wasn’t defending his policy or process. Just noting that we seemed to avoid a bad apple in hind sight in this case.

bucket

August 9th, 2011
12:54 pm

I hope this doesn’t turn into a slugfest for Dawgs and Jackets. This main focus of this story should be about a young man – not CPJ. Mr. Aycock is still young and still has time to figure out what he wants to do with his life. Here’s hoping he finds something he is passionate about and that he devotes himself fully to making his dream come true.

bucket

August 9th, 2011
12:55 pm

The main – not this main – sorry.

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
12:55 pm

That isn’t hypocritical, Say it ain’t so. It’s entirely consistent. If he’s visiting other schools, he isn’t really committed. This isn’t complicated.

By the way, what is a hippocrite?

Rodney Dangerfield

August 9th, 2011
12:56 pm

How hard is it for people to understand that a kid that verbally commits to Tech but still visits other schools is really not committed and a kid that commits to ,say, UGA and visits Tech is not committed either. CPJ considers both kids not committed. How is this hypocritical?

Tom

August 9th, 2011
12:56 pm

Once again, we will learn who the idiots are who can’t understand why there’s nothing hypocritical (or hippocritical?…*snort*) about CPJ’s policy.

UGA and Education

August 9th, 2011
12:56 pm

That’s hippocritical, lol.

PerimeterCenterJacket

August 9th, 2011
12:57 pm

bucket, I think the article and poll are here specifically to turn this story into a provocative piece inviting the very debate that’s about to ensue. I guarantee it’s about the be 100% Dawgs VS. Jackets going at it over how great/terrible CPJ is. If you’re not here to watch the bloodbath then I’d hightail it soon before too much dust gets kicked up.

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
1:00 pm

Awesome comment, UGA Education.

PerimeterCenterJacket

August 9th, 2011
1:00 pm

Is “hippo critical” a veterinary term? I went to Tech, so someone from Athens help me out here…

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
1:01 pm

Agreed, Tom.

techfan

August 9th, 2011
1:01 pm

I hope Dontae does well and finds what he wants to do in life, but i’m glad GT and CPJ dodged this bullet.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 9th, 2011
1:03 pm

It would appear now that the kid wasn’t even committed to himself.

Say It Aint So

August 9th, 2011
1:05 pm

G Stein
hyp·o·crite   /ˈhɪpəkrɪt/ Show Spelled[hip-uh-krit] Show IPA
noun
1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

PerimeterCenterJacket

August 9th, 2011
1:06 pm

Co-mitt-ment: (n) The simultaneous wearing of two mitts.

bucket

August 9th, 2011
1:07 pm

@ PCJ – you are correct. I know this is a blog and hits are required I have bitten 3 times already!), but whether people think CPJ did this young man wrong or not is irrelevant to the fact that he had 2 great chances at 2 schools (AU and USF) that are not chopped liver and for whatever reason he didn’t make it happen. I am a Dawg fan, but CPJ didn’t end his career by yanking his scholarship offer. I just hope Mr. Aycock can get his life turned in a positive direction. Football is not for everyone, but he needs to find something that makes him want to get out of bed in the morning.

Say It Aint So

August 9th, 2011
1:07 pm

So Mr high and mighty never signed a recruit who had given a verbal to another school?

JSJacket

August 9th, 2011
1:09 pm

What’s hypocritical? If a kid is “committed” elsewhere but talking to Tech, then Paul Johnson does not consider him “committed”. Just like if one of our recruits is talking to another school, Paul Johnson does not consider him “committed”. That’s exactly the same situation. Logic is tough for rednecks I guess.

PerimeterCenterJacket

August 9th, 2011
1:10 pm

bucket, true enough. It’s sad to see. Some kids like Cam Newton can fight through a dismissal/transfer and then do great things (I say he’s great until the NCAA proves him otherwise). Sounds like this young man just needs to get his degree and do great things outside of football.

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
1:10 pm

Ok, couple things, Say it ain’t so. First, I know what a hypocrite is. I still have no clue what hippocrite is.

Second, you’re going to have explain how his policy is hypocritical. Or, if you prefer, hippocritical. Let’s see you apply the definition.

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
1:11 pm

Bingo, JSJacket. Hopefully Say it ain’t so gets that.

Say It Aint So

August 9th, 2011
1:11 pm

JS don’t try to twist the truth, that makes him a hippocrite and a liar!

JSJacket

August 9th, 2011
1:11 pm

I’ll give you a definition of hypocritical:

Mark Richt saying he’s against oversigning in public, then voting against the rule to ban it! HAHA. Now THAT’S hypocritical.

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
1:12 pm

Agreed, bucket.

Tom

August 9th, 2011
1:12 pm

JSJ, forget it…..you can’t teach thermodynamics to a box of hair.

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
1:14 pm

What did he lie about?!?!

gojackets

August 9th, 2011
1:14 pm

Seems “Say It Aint So” doesn’t know the meaning of hipocrisy. Coach Johnson followed through on his threat to pull the scholorship offer once he found out that Aycock was not, in fact, committed. Coach Johnson was himself committed to Aycock- both by extending the offer and by not shopping around for another QB. He treats the recruits the way he says he treats them. Because there is no difference in what he does and what he says he believes in, there is no hipocrisy.

JSJacket

August 9th, 2011
1:14 pm

I know. I always try to give rednecks the benefit of the doubt, and I really don’t know why.

Say It Aint So

August 9th, 2011
1:15 pm

Doesn’t matter hope its spelled, the meaning is the same. A commit is a commit, you don’t say one thing then do another. How can you say if a kid has committed to another school and is talking to GT then his is not committed to that school, bunch of BS, no wonder they took the Championship away.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 9th, 2011
1:15 pm

Even after all that’s been posted, Say It Aint So STILL can’t spell the word correctly. Sheesh, what a dummy !!!

PerimeterCenterJacket

August 9th, 2011
1:17 pm

Tom, I assume this is because a box of hair exhibits poor thermal conductivity?

I mean…football’n'things……

JSJacket

August 9th, 2011
1:17 pm

Say It Ain’t So: You are fighting a losing battle here. Logic is clearly not a strong suit of yours. Those burgers need flipping, btw.

Dollar Bill

August 9th, 2011
1:17 pm

Looks like CPJ’s process worked just the way it is supposed to. UGA is jealous of a firm and resolute Johnson.

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
1:17 pm

I think we can say with some certainty Say it ain’t so believes the earth is flat.

Tom

August 9th, 2011
1:18 pm

Say it, I’m typing v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y so you can follow along….

CPJ’s policy would only be hypocritical if he criticized another coach for having the same policy, or criticized a PSA committed to that other coach for honoring the other coach’s policy by not making a visit.

CPJ’s policy only applies to Tech commitments and has nothing to do with the commitments to other programs and other coaches.

There….now after you’ve read through that a few times (or had someone literate read it to you), see if you can formulate a coherent, cogent response.

Say It Aint So

August 9th, 2011
1:18 pm

You can say dummy all you want, I got enough since not to live where I have to dodge muggers and car jackers every day. Dumb asses!

Supersize that order, mutt

August 9th, 2011
1:19 pm

Sorry, Say It Aint So, but using your logic, you can spell any word you know any way you want to and claim the meaning is clear. Try that in another language and see how far that gets you. Of course, you probably never got out of your own backyard, so you’ve never been exposed to another language. Spelling and grammatical “rules” are there for a reason; I guess one unintended reason is to show that some people are just plain stupid.

PerimeterCenterJacket

August 9th, 2011
1:20 pm

Say it aint so, are you thinking of Georgia State? Tech is quite safe.

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
1:20 pm

Are you suggesting that the vacation of the championship because of Johnson’s recruiting rule is a reflection of poor reasoning skills, JSJ?

JSJacket

August 9th, 2011
1:21 pm

Tom, I disagree. It’s not that it doesn’t apply. It applies exactly the same in fact. Please reread:

If a kid is “committed” elsewhere but talking to Tech, then Paul Johnson does not consider him “committed”. Just like if one of our recruits is talking to another school, Paul Johnson does not consider him “committed”. That’s exactly the same situation.

Supersize that order, mutt

August 9th, 2011
1:22 pm

you got enough SINCE??? damn, you’re even dumber than I thought. I thought you were about to tell us about how much you have gotten (sex, I would have assumed) since something happened. So don’t tell me the meaning is clear when you can’t spell. You just proved it’s not. And by the way, the only place you could possibly live and be free from any risk of muggers and car-jackers is alone on a deserted island.

JSJacket

August 9th, 2011
1:23 pm

GS, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I never said anything about vacating the 2009 title, or poor reasoning skills. Come again?

George Stein

August 9th, 2011
1:23 pm

His 1:18 post is completely incoherent, PCJ.

Outside Observer

August 9th, 2011
1:24 pm

There comes a time when you just have to move on, and at this point, it is time to leave “say it aint so” alone. He doesn’t understand, and there is no point criticizing his grammar. It is fairly clear the policy is not hypocritical. Heck, there is even a paragraph explaining that. If a kid is taking visits, he is not committed. If a kid tells me he is committed, he is not taking anymore visits. If a kid takes a visit to my school, he is not committed to his other school. If a kid takes a visit to another school, he is not committed to my school. Seems pretty simple and straightforward…

Supersize that order, mutt

August 9th, 2011
1:25 pm

George, it takes a little effort, but you can mostly figure out what he was TRYING to say. Of course, it’s still DUMB