Justin Thomas flips his commitment from Alabama to Georgia Tech

Prattville QB Justin Thomas switched to Georgia Tech after being committed to Alabama for around a year (Photo by 247sports)

QB Justin Thomas switched to Georgia Tech after being committed to Alabama for a year (Photo by 247sports)

Quarterback Justin Thomas, who had been committed to Alabama for around a year, switched from the Crimson Tide to Georgia Tech on Tuesday night.

It was a stunning turn of events – and good news – for Georgia Tech, which both lured away one of Alabama’s top recruits and added much-needed depth at the QB position.

Thomas is ranked as a 4-star prospect and the No. 19 all-purpose athlete in the country by Rivals.com. He could play multiple positions in college, including QB, WR or DB. Thomas recently led Alabama’s Prattville High School to the Class AAAAAA state championship.

“Alabama promised Justin on several different occasions that he would get the chance to play quarterback there,” the player’s father, Milton Thomas, told the AJC. “We did a lot of research. We know how Alabama uses their quarterbacks, and we know how Georgia Tech uses theirs. We just felt like Georgia Tech was a better fit for how Justin plays the quarterback position.”

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Thomas had been committed to Alabama since last November. Georgia Tech beat out Florida State, LSU and Oregon for Thomas. On Wednesday, Florida State recruiting coordinator Demayune Craig showed up at Thomas’ school to try to convince him to consider the Seminoles, which are “strictly” recruiting Thomas at QB. The elder Thomas told the AJC that his son will only visit Georgia Tech.

Back to Georgia Tech: This was a signature recruiting moment for coach Paul Johnson, who personally handled the recruiting of Thomas. Johnson had an in-home visit with the star quarterback last week and got the big phone call from Thomas on Tuesday after he de-committed from Alabama on Tuesday.

QB Justin Thomas (247Sports)

QB Justin Thomas (247Sports)

“It was Coach Johnson that sealed the deal,” the elder Thomas said. “They had a long talk, and Justin really liked what he had to say. Coach Johnson won him over, and then he had to win my wife over. She was still a little on the fence with Alabama but then she came around, too.”

The elder Thomas also went out of the way to praise Alabama coach Nick Saban, who had lengthy conversations with the prospect’s family over the past two days. “When Justin called Alabama to let them know he was de-committing, Coach Saban kept telling him ‘If your situation changes, you can always come home to play with us at Alabama.”

Georgia Tech now has 14 commitments for its 2012 recruiting class, including another QB, Dennis Andrews of Tallahassee. Thomas is the third player to pledge to Georgia Tech this week, following Sunday’s commitments of Union Grove DB DJ White and Norcross WR/DB Anthony Autry. Georgia Tech will sign between 15-20 players in February.

Thomas was named MVP of the state championship game after leading Prattville to a 35-34 win over Hoover. Thomas completed 13 of 20 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 151 yards and two touchdowns, according to al.com.

Rusty Mansell, National Recruiting Analyst of 247Sports, had this to say about Thomas:

First thing that you notice on Thomas is pure speed. This a kid that is a legit 4.3 in the 40-yard dash and he is a threat to take it to the house on every single play. He comes from a program at Prattville that knows how to win. He has a good enough arm to make teams respect the pass as well. Anytime you pick up an athlete like this, you make your team better because he is a winner and will push those around him to compete.

See video of Thomas below …

UGA offers Walton RB Tyren Jones (AJC)

UGA offers Walton RB Tyren Jones (AJC)

OTHER RECRUITING STORIES

  • UGA offers the top RB in Georgia’s largest classification (click on story link)
  • Georgia State’s Bill Curry not afraid to recruit against big boys (click on story link)
  • Several of the nation’s top college basketball prospects will be on display when Miller Grove plays Virginia’s Oak Hill on Thursday. The game will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday at Morehouse College. Miller Grove is led by Tony Parker (undecided between Duke and Ohio State, among others) and Brandon Morris (committed to UGA). Oak Hill is led by a pair of former Atlanta area stars, Jordan Adams (UCLA) and Damien Wilson (Memphis), along with D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown), Tyler Lewis (NC State) and AJ Hammons (Purdue). Admission is $10 and the game will be televised by ESPN.
  • See video of Georgia Tech QB commit Justin Thomas below …

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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417 comments Add your comment

Old Dawg.

December 14th, 2011
5:56 am

Destin Dawg.

December 14th, 2011
5:58 am

Great get for GT.. glad to see the play kid in Ga…

CT_Jacket

December 14th, 2011
6:01 am

Now that’s a nice pickup. This year’s class is starting to look pretty good, all 3 stars or above. But with only 14 committments, we need to pick up the pace and fill out the class with quality players.

Dawg Days!

December 14th, 2011
6:19 am

Nice GeT Tech….warms the heart of this Dawg fan.

chickens counted?

December 14th, 2011
6:20 am

Interesting for sure, but nothing is official until Feb.

south

December 14th, 2011
6:25 am

Congrats Tech….watch the Tide fans start sayin they didn’t want this kid anyway and that they are loaded at QB which is BS because they don’t have one now!!

ToeMeetsLeather

December 14th, 2011
6:29 am

Looks like quite the battle for the QB position coming up. I think it bodes well for the future when you look at the talent that will be competing for this all important spot in CPJ’s offense. If the Jackets can add Tomlinson to the group of existing DL commits, this can really turn into a stout class.

raleturn

December 14th, 2011
6:31 am

Should be any easy transition since GT plays a high school offense as it is. It is obvious this young man has no plans of playing on Sunday afternoon or he would have chosen Alabama. I hope he uses this time to get the quality education GT offers and becomes a productive member of society aftrerwards.

RURTDOND

December 14th, 2011
6:31 am

RURTDOND rules!
Bobwhite Counter has best fried chicken.
In CPJ we trust.

TVFan

December 14th, 2011
6:32 am

Whoa……..that guy is fast.

dawgerbrown

December 14th, 2011
6:34 am

Congrats Tech! Looks like recruits may start looking at the oversigning situation at Bama. They need to go to schools where they will get playing time, instead of getting lost in the numbers.

[...] Shocker! Longtime Alabama football recruit switches to Georgia Tech | AJC College Sports Recruiting Reply With Quote     + Reply to Thread [...]

dawgfan

December 14th, 2011
6:43 am

Great addition for Tech, but if the kid wants to prove that he’s a quarterback and not just an athlete, this isn’t the best offense for him. Does anyone think Nesbitt and Washington are “quarterbacks” or are they athletes at the quarterback position on the field? Just saying.

[...] exactly, but I would think it’s not unreasonable to expect Nick Saban to take another run at Justin Thomas, a four-star recruit who flipped his verbal commitment to Georgia Tech [...]

footballfan365

December 14th, 2011
6:52 am

Im far from a tech fan but anybody who pulls a kid from that snake saban is alright with me! Good jod tech! See you next november!

gtfanfrom1951

December 14th, 2011
6:54 am

Go Jackets welcome Justin

mowreck

December 14th, 2011
6:55 am

Hummmmm, wonder if #4 the wide receiver on Justin’s team has a scholarship offer. He looks like a pretty good receiver.

Paddy

December 14th, 2011
6:55 am

How many players does GT plan to sign in Feb? Thanks.

ATLER(RAMBLIN WRECK)

December 14th, 2011
6:59 am

Great get. Let this guy compete at QB and see what he can do.

Beast from the East Eaten by Dawg

December 14th, 2011
7:02 am

Great get, Tech.
Congrats!

kudzu

December 14th, 2011
7:03 am

Yeah, don’t get the whole “proving he’s a legit quarterback, not just an athlete” quote….sounds like trouble to me…

Saban is a liar

December 14th, 2011
7:03 am

StuckinATL

December 14th, 2011
7:04 am

Congrats to the Bugs. Good point dawgfan….. but I would have to ask whether Nesbitt or Washington would have been “quarterbacks” in any other system. Throwing a pass seems to be pretty basic for a QB regardless of the system. There have been many very good dual threat QB’s over time, and I’d be a bit concerned when the Bugs actually get one.

Rivals.com

December 14th, 2011
7:08 am

We are not happy about this. We are immediately demoting this kid to three stars and raising his 40 time to 4.6

Paddy

December 14th, 2011
7:14 am

Rivals…….not only is that funny it is also true!

JAWJeRDAWG

December 14th, 2011
7:17 am

And now it seems that the UA has lost an in-state recruit, Justin Thomas from Alabama’s Prattville High School to out-of-state Georgia Tech; certainly seems a rarity for the Tide!

Congrats to the Yellow Jackets on this commitment flip, and, from this Dawg fan, good luck to you, Justin, in your development for the gridiron and in the classroom.

Burdell

December 14th, 2011
7:20 am

Well played Rivals.com…

Great commit for the Jackets…looking forward to getting everything in writing on signing day. There will definitely be some QB competition come fall camp.

ATLER(RAMBLIN WRECK)

December 14th, 2011
7:20 am

Boy the mutt fans are on Tech’s blog already trying to discredit this recruit. If this guy comes to Tech, he’s going to play QB along with Vad Lee and run the ball down the opponents throat.

buccanbulleagle

December 14th, 2011
7:20 am

so, i’m curious as to when johnson interjects his famous double standard of “oh, by the way, did i mention that if you entertain other offers, especially make a visit to another school, we’ll pull our offer!”

lagadawg

December 14th, 2011
7:21 am

Love to see great prospects stay in Ga.

UGA grad in Bama

December 14th, 2011
7:21 am

Maybe he found out that if he goes to bama and happens to get injured, Saban will take away his scholly.

reebok

December 14th, 2011
7:22 am

There are many fine high-school option QB’s in the country who know they will never play QB in the pros…but if they want to play QB in college, instead of RB, WR or DB, they will go where the option offense is run. Great pickup for Tech! Let’s just hop the young man doesn’t de-commit again before national signing day!

Just Saying

December 14th, 2011
7:23 am

Regards the Milker Grove basketball story, a correction: Brandon Morris is not “committed” to Georgia, he is a “signee” having “signed” in the November signing period as did Jordan Adams – UCLA and Damien Wilson – Memphis.

Hard to believe Fish Fry snatched one from Saban, kudos to GT. All Thomas needed to do was check how the QB opportunity worked out for Blake Sims from Gainesville who is now listed as 5th string RB on the Ala depth chart.

Where’s roll tide to give us a professional opinion on how this happened?

Jacketman

December 14th, 2011
7:23 am

Brown Dog

December 14th, 2011
7:28 am

Justin really wants to play QB, and would have been given the chance at UA. As good as he is as an athlete, I think Blake Sims throws a better ball, and he won’t play quarterback at Alabama either.

Hmm

December 14th, 2011
7:28 am

Great news for Ga Tech, good news for Auburn. Now Coach Johnson see if you can get Geno Smith from St. Pius to do the small you really need DBs.

JB

December 14th, 2011
7:30 am

Good news for you Techies…..good to see in state guys stay home….Bama has 22 commits and 16 offers out. That is crap….It works for him, but it seems a little odd. He can probably take 4-6 more and the other 10 or so will be left scrambling if they want to commit.Florida is putting together a good class, and I’ll rest easier when my Dawgs get 3 or so more OL to say yes.

GtDawg

December 14th, 2011
7:31 am

Bama only have 2 commitments from the Alabama top 10. Saban wheres that fence.

GtDawg

December 14th, 2011
7:32 am

JB he’s from BAMA

JB

December 14th, 2011
7:33 am

The Tech post @7:20 is looking for trouble. He’s so use to hating UGa, he hasn’t taken the time to read that just about all are positive…Geez.

JB

December 14th, 2011
7:34 am

Thanks GtDawg

Jacket Man

December 14th, 2011
7:35 am

Great kid from a terrific family whose a great athlete and should excel in Tech’s offense. Stay tuned…more exciting news to come. ;)

gbal

December 14th, 2011
7:36 am

Alter – Read – Ga fans are congratulating tech on the recruit, Idiot

JB

December 14th, 2011
7:37 am

Jacket Man…..Do you know him and his family….and have you seen him play?

gbal

December 14th, 2011
7:39 am

Glad to see GT pull one from Satins back yard

JB

December 14th, 2011
7:41 am

Yep, I’m thinking this kid watched Washington play this year on TV and told his Dad and Coach that ” boy, I see a real opportunity over there”. I can run that option….and I can throw a pass…….

gbal

December 14th, 2011
7:43 am

Now lets see Dillon Lee pull the switch to UGA and the in state teams will have sent a message to the Bamers

ylojkt

December 14th, 2011
7:44 am

Awesome grab!

Welcome to GT, Justin! We’re thrilled to have you as a Jacket!

ROCK STEADY FREDDY

December 14th, 2011
7:48 am

This QB has been hearing the same as everyone else. Bammer will have to answer for improper benefits to players starting next year.

Marvelous Jackets

December 14th, 2011
7:49 am

We just got our Eric Crouch. Reportedly ran 4.21 and 4.25 at Bama’s camp.