Recruiting experts: Georgia Tech’s class gets some love

Georgia Tech did much better with recruiting than it appeared in the team rankings, according to a couple of national analysts. On Wednesday, the Yellow Jackets signed 17, including 4-star DE Francis Kallon of Central Gwinnett and speedy QB Justin Thomas of Prattville, Ala.

Georgia Tech finished with a No. 58 ranking by Scout.com, and at 58 by 247Sports. The Yellow Jackets didn’t crack the top 25 of ESPN or the top 50 of Rivals.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson scored a top DE and QB for 2012 (AJC)

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson scored a top DE and QB for 2012 (AJC)

  • Scout.com’s Chad Simmons: “I like their class. A lot of these kids are never as flashy as some others, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. It’s because of the system they run. They’re not always going to get the 6-foot-5. 300-pound offensive tackle and elite running backs in the option, or at quarterback, even though this year was an exception. Even though Francis Kallon gets a lot of the headlines and rightfully so, I’m very impressed with how they pulled Justin Thomas from the University of Alabama. Nick Saban wanted him to be more of an athlete. Justin Thomas wanted to play quarterback. I think Justin will be the best quarterback that Paul Johnson has had to run his option since he has been there. So I’m very impressed with that. Overall, I’m really liking their defense. The defensive line is the strength. Francis Kallon and Pat Gamble, I really like those guys …”
  • 247Sports.com’s Rusty Mansell: “I like Georgia Tech’s class. I thought they got some athletic guys. They have a particular scheme they want to run. They run a 3-4 defense, and they run a option-based offense. So they had to find players to fit their schemes. I thought they did a good job of recruiting guys. I can’t say enough about picking up Travin Henry [WR from Cook]. I think he’s going to be good and I think Pat Gamble [DL from Carrollton] is really underrated. I thought Chase Roberts [OL from GAC] held his own against a higher-rated guys on the board [at an all-star game]. He’s good to have on board, especially after losing Will Adams to Auburn.”

Then there are those rankings. Johnson and his Georgia Tech coaches are feeling good about this year’s crop of recruits and the recruiting experts are seemingly approving. But not much of that is being reflected in those team rankings that everybody looks at to measure recruiting success.

  • Scout.com’s Chad Simmons: “I would say if you’re a Georgia Tech fan, don’t really pay attention to the rankings. They only signed 17 kids. You’re talking about the top school in the ACC signed 33 and that was Miami. It almost doubled Georgia Tech’s class numbers. That right there put them way behind in the ACC and, of course, national rankings with only signing 17. You go back to the style of players they recruit. They recruit the typical defensive guys to play in the 3-4 scheme under Al Groh. When it comes to the offensive side, [Johnson] is looking for the smaller and more athletic linemen. He’s not recruiting that 5-star pure passer like a Matthew Stafford. He’s recruiting different types of running backs for A-back and B-back, not your normal 5-star tailback that’s 6-feet, 200 pounds, and used to running behind a fullback in a pro-style offense … I wouldn’t worry about the rankings if I’m a Georgia Tech fan, because I think they should look at the big picture — how the kid fits into the system, and if he meets their needs or not. I think they did well.”
  • 247sports.com’s Rusty Mansell: “With Georgia Tech, they are looking for guys to fit their schemes. They are one of the few teams that run straight option. Georgia Tech just kind of recruits to fit their needs. They’ll go wherever they need to go to recruit. They’ve recruited good in Georgia. They’ve recruited good all over – even going to Australia to pick up a player. Francis Kallon is a tremendous player. His upside may be as good as anybody in the country. He’s only played one year of football. But what he did in one year was as good as any player I’ve ever seen after only one year of high school football. It’s a good class for Georgia Tech.”

IT’S RAINING RECRUITING STORIES

INSTANT AJC RECRUITING CLASSICS

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

  • So much is happening so fast. Have you missed anything over the last few days? Catch up with our feed by CLICKING HERE
  • BOOKMARK the NEW AJC Recruiting homepage here
  • Want to see a list of all the players in the state of Georgia who have either been offered by or are committed to D1 schools? It’s looong. Go here.

Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.

Please Follow me on Twitter @RecruitingAJC + Please be my Facebook friend here

176 comments Add your comment

Marietta Buzz

February 3rd, 2012
2:06 am

Marietta Buzz

February 3rd, 2012
2:07 am

Hell CPJ should get credit. Had we had more numbers, we ‘d be to 40 by any measure. Thanks Paul, Al and the crew,

GTJason

February 3rd, 2012
2:26 am

Even by the websites if you do average stars with this class we are ranked 4th in the ACC behind FSU, Clemson, and Miami. That’s giving 2 stars to the aussie and 2 to the punter as a kicker which he is not… Marcus Allen at RB is going to be a clutch big A-back and eventually B-back. IMO the Anthony Allen/ Orwin Smith size A-backs are more effective than the Tony Zenon/Marcus Wright sized ones. Also a tight end style WR in Henry which will pay off huge with downfield blocking. This year CPJ won’t have excuses about youth or inexperience. He needs to do something this year or face a warm (not hot yet) seat next winter. No ACC crown in 2 years and as much as I hate to say it he’ll be gone.

car

February 3rd, 2012
2:36 am

I love this class. His best player on defense this past year was 5′10” and was rated a 2 star player. There are more 2 star players in the NFL than 5 star players. obviously the people that rate the players are doing so because they are not good enough at it to have their own team and still be coaching.

Loran, Whatayagot?

February 3rd, 2012
2:40 am

Remember, Tech plays in the ACC so their recruits are good enough to play in that league so the Jackets will be competitive within their league. Where the deficiencies show up is when they play an SEC team. The defenses in the SEC are fast enough to negate the option most of the time. If only their players would quit accepting illegal athletic clothing, or their coaches making illegal phone calls to recruits, or their over- matched lineman stop using illegal chop blocks, they again may win enough to play for the ACC crown. They definitely are better than most of the AAAAA teams.

68-56

February 3rd, 2012
2:52 am

Kallon, Thomas & gamble are the best of the class…. But we still don’t have the big nose guard to stop the run. Everyone will see us struggle against the run once again

Stinger2

February 3rd, 2012
3:41 am

Loran: Tell us what an illegal chop block is. Also, could you tell us why GT does not get penalized every time an official sees such. Thanks.

car

February 3rd, 2012
3:44 am

It is unusual for freshmen to have a impact on the dline . We dont fill gaps with juco players like sec teams do as they are 90% non qualifiers out of hs. the improvement on defense will come from development of Kitchens,Green,Cummings,Dieke and Zavier Lewis. Just as important will be the continued growth of the young oline to sustain drives. Al Groh wishes the offense held the ball as long as they did in 2008 and 2009. I expect field position to be improved from special teams.

The DWeam Team II

February 3rd, 2012
5:18 am

Loran is a Dooooooooouche….needs to hit the dirt with Munson!

TO Board of Regents

February 3rd, 2012
6:06 am

BOR: When you limit Georgia Tech’s curriculum to protect UGA Football the Blue Chippers just go to SEC Powerhouse Schools you play anyway. You gave Engineering to UGA how about Education at Tech.

ToeMeetsLeather

February 3rd, 2012
6:18 am

Hey Loran, TECH is 2-0 against Auburn, 3-0 over Vandy and 2-0 with Ms State over the last eight seasons. LSU kicked our arse in the Chick-Fil-A and we are well aware of the UGA series(although every game has been competitive) being 1-7 during that span. Still, that is 8-8 with the SEC over that period. Don’t let facts get in the way of an inaccurate troll post though.

Like someone already mentioned, looking at the average star of our small signing class puts us at about 35 nationally. That is about all we can expect at TECH. Bottom line, most of these 4 and 5 star kids that have no interest in school are not going to subject themselves to school work if they don’t have to.

FL Jacket

February 3rd, 2012
6:26 am

The whole idea of making “quantity” a part of the rankings system is utterly stupid and favors the schools that have no issue slashing and burning 18-19 year olds…

MR is a Hypocrite

February 3rd, 2012
7:05 am

Loran wants to show off his 43 IQ but he can only do it when he is able to take a break and crawl out from under the car between oil changes

J.B.

February 3rd, 2012
7:39 am

Well, let’s hope we see Justin Thomas on the field this fall. He could very well be the fastest QB recruited this year in the nation!

Go Jackets!

GT ATW

February 3rd, 2012
7:43 am

A small, but very nice group of players. Don’t forget that they are also an intelligent group, with most having GPA’s at, or above 3.0 and a couple right at 4.0. Add the smarts to their talent and this could be a very impressive group. Well know for sure in a couple of years, but very nice job by CPJ and his staff finding these guys from in state, out of state and out of country!

collegeballfan

February 3rd, 2012
7:57 am

Maybe I do not understand the rating systems. Take note of this out of Rivals:

Ole Miss had 17 recruits, two 4 star, twelve 3 star and 3 two star for and average rating of 2.94.
Ole Miss had the 44th best class per Rivals.

GT had 17 recruits, two 4 star, 13 3 star and two 2 star for and average of 3.0. GT was not in the top 50.

What am I missing?

Mansell at 247 has it correct, recruit to fit your schemes.

Hal

February 3rd, 2012
8:05 am

Stop it. Just stop it. You put these guys on the spot. What do you expect them to say? “Tech’s class stinks”? They’d just be setting themselves up for an inbox filled with hate email and a bunch of headaches. It’s much safer to just praise Tech’s class, and then quietly rank the class near the bottom, which is what they really think.

No matter how much lipstick you smear on this pig, this class is horrific. Ugly. In fact, Tech’s whole football program is in the dumps. Can’t beat Georgia. Can’t win a bowl game. Can’t finish ranked. Can’t recruit elite players. NCAA probation. NCAA violations while ON probation. This program can’t do anything right.

DO- IT TUITT

February 3rd, 2012
8:07 am

Justin Thomas I hope will turn out to be as good or better than Tyrod Taylor of VT. He’s got that the speed and seems to have the passing skills to be a special player. I think though he needs to be red-shirted to gain some strength and an understanding of running the offense. I think this is a very solid class of recruits. GOOOOOOOOOOO TECH.

Smyrna Gold

February 3rd, 2012
8:21 am

Hal
Unfortunately, you are correct. No matter how anyone wants to spin it, GT football under CPJ is a pathetic program. With the right leadership it can be so much better and no I don’t know who the person should be but the AD better figure it out soon. This program has made no progress in 4 years.

Ramblnwrek

February 3rd, 2012
8:25 am

I think its all just flavor of the week right now. I mean, there is no football to be played, so we are comparing class rankings like they are W’s and L’s. I will admit I got a little ticked myself when the the day was drawing near and all I kept hearing was GT loses one to Miami, GT loses one to Auburn, GT fired a coach for violation. and the loads of sports writers (*cough, Bradley) who repeat that that GT cant recruit the big talent. All this doesn’t help GT’s image from some kid that just does a google search and sees these articles when thinking about GT.
But I remind myself that if class rank means everything, then why did Texas not even make it to a bowl game 2 years ago, or UGA going 6-7. These teams are consistent top 10 recruiters, yet went 5-7 and 6-7 in 2010. Last year for UGA was the “dream team” at #6 ranked class, this year they have #5 so whats the tag line for that? Nothing,

Bottom line: Recruiting rank == nothing. Win/lose record == everything. If CPJ wins 10 games this season,and or beats UGA, I dont care if the class ranking is 100.

Tokyo jacket

February 3rd, 2012
8:53 am

Good article. I think it makes a good point that Frank Beamer and Jim Grobe would agree with. This is going to be a very good class when they hit the field. We got a 250 lb MLB and a 4.3 OR FASTER QB. Can’t wait to see this class get on the field. We got our NT of the future. We got one of the most gifted athletes in Kallon I’ve ever seen. I’m convinced he is a Jevon Kearse type of athlete.

I’m convinced that Gostis will be the sleeper in this class by 2014. The dude is 6′5″ 295 and was making tackles 40 yards downfield after punts. He’s probably the most athletic 300 pounder I’ve ever seen. Plus, when he gets in the weightroom he’ll be 330 as an RS freshman. Raw athleticism with size will be nice. I don’t think he’s as athletic as Kallon, but the combination of size and athleticism is similar.

Smyrna Gold

February 3rd, 2012
8:59 am

Recruiting in not EVERYTHING but I would venture to say, if one predicted the top 20 teams today for the year 2022 and used only the traditional teams that consistently recruit in the top 25 recruiting rankings, you would be correct on at least 15 of 20 teams. Sometime good recruiting classes under achieve and sometimes average ranked classes excel but I had rather take my chances with with a top 25 ranked class any day of the week. Let’s face it the successful coaches know and can recruit the best talent.

FL Jacket

February 3rd, 2012
9:00 am

Tokyo…

If Gotsis plays the NT in a 3-4, he won’t have to run. At 6′5″ 330 he’ll just have to hold the A-gaps and not get driven back, with his quickness that won’t happen much.

GT07

February 3rd, 2012
9:01 am

I hope the big Aussie will be used as the nose guard in the 3-4. He’s got the size, but with all the other big DT recruits we’ve gotten over the years (JC Lanier comes to mind), I have a feeling he will be moved to the O-line by CPJ.

William Casey

February 3rd, 2012
9:04 am

I’m with RAMBLINWREK concerning recruiting. All of these recruiting ranking schemes are simply money-making enterprises. Entertainment for “college football only” fans during the off-season. Too many variables, especially motivation. Recruiting is not an exact science because it deals with 18-19 year-old guys, a notoriously unpredictable age group. At best, ratings provide a general idea. Also, there’s just something distasteful IMHO about viewig college football as the “minor leagues” for the NFL.

collegeballfan

February 3rd, 2012
9:08 am

“No matter how anyone wants to spin it, GT football under CPJ is a pathetic program.”

Probably correct. But the Johnson administration at GT is better than any other administration since Dodd.

So why can’t GT recruit the top players? They have the ability to coach up the players they do get but just do not sign the elite athletics in numbers.

Please do not give me academics as an answer.

I will throw this out as an answer. To much time spent recruiting the State of Georgia. A university like GT with a limited curriculum must recruit nationally to reach the top tier of football teams.

gt4ever

February 3rd, 2012
9:09 am

Upon further review of this class… I really like it….. Nothing fancy, nothing big, but the stars mean nothing… Their play defines the stars… Time will tell…

crackbaby

February 3rd, 2012
9:18 am

Glad that recruiting season is over. Far too much ink devoted to “crystal balling” high school kids.

Chad Simmons had insightful comments:
“I wouldn’t worry about the rankings if I’m a Georgia Tech fan, because I think they should look at the big picture — how the kid fits into the system, and if he meets their needs or not. I think they did well”

Looking forward to “significant improvement” on the flats in 2012.

John H.

February 3rd, 2012
9:20 am

“But the Johnson adminstration at GT is better than any other administration since Dodd.”

Talk about not knowing your history. Ummm perhaps Bobby Ross and the MNC might get a higher rank.

gt4ever

February 3rd, 2012
9:23 am

collegeballfan,

With all due respect… Johnson is not even close to being the best since Dodd…. Ross and Oleary are certainly better coaches. Johnson has the better overall win percentage, but this is quite misleading. If one were to compare and contrast johnson’s schedule and the previous coaches in GT history, you would find that Johnson has the easiest schedule of the bunch… I don’t think anyone will argue that the ACC for the last 5 years has been very non competitive. This non competitive conference and the fact that our non conference games have been pathetic at best, gives Johnson this favorable record. Our only “tough” non conference game is generally UGA, and with the exception of last year, UGA has been average at best. Our record with UGA speaks for itself, we had our best teams ever, and we found a way to lose. Recruiting for GT always has been a national endeavor. I am just not sure this coach has a clue or really even cares… He is only interested in recruiting to his system, period. This system is the biggest reason I don’t support him…

Bob

February 3rd, 2012
9:24 am

I love GT fans defending this class, I’m sorry but you can’t win the acc with that class let alone compete for a NC.

No linemen want to play in that system because it wont lead to them getting drafted and their star receiver signing is a converted DE, add that to cpj saying that no recruit can even think of another school if they verbally commit.

Lavette 4066

February 3rd, 2012
9:26 am

GT07 – Not sure which big DT recruits you are talking about? Lanier has been a bust so far, moving to 3rd string OL. Green has reportedly been out of shape and a dissapointment as well. Granted they have time to make a change. McCoy got sick and never played a down. We do have a lot of 4-3 DE types.

gt4ever

February 3rd, 2012
9:27 am

John H,

I can make the argument that Pepper Rodgers was a better coach… It’s amazing how a Win Loss Record skews reality…..

Robert Barron

February 3rd, 2012
9:31 am

Pepper should not have been fired: especially if the plan was to hire someone green like Bill Curry solely because he was an ex-Jacket. Homer’s defenders can talk about his buildings all they want but bad hires for a long time equal shrinking fan base.

Robert Barron

February 3rd, 2012
9:35 am

Paul Johnson really aggravated me in the Georgia game by negating his fan’s efforts to cause a missed field goal with a foolish TO way too early in the game to resort to it. Given a second chance, FG made.
I am not ready to give up on him though.
I’ll gripe a lot this off season but more than likely renew season tickets.

MR is a Hypocrite

February 3rd, 2012
9:35 am

Bottom line is CPJ gets lesser talents and overperforms consistently – Mark the Hypocrite Richt gets outstanding talent and underperforms consistently

Robert Barron

February 3rd, 2012
9:39 am

BTW where do I apply to be special teams coach?
Do we really need two O line coaches?
Beyond me why teams do not study VT’s strategies on ST.

GTJason

February 3rd, 2012
9:40 am

The issue here is not whether we think these players can succeed, it’s that when tech got a good recruiting class we got hardware to show for it in just 2 years. Another fact: every ESPNU150 player that has come to tech and left is now playing on Sundays (looking at you Vad Lee). I understand that we put 2 stars in the NFL too, but the blue chippers are men among boys if they come to tech. A 4 star recruit will be starting by his sophomore year (barring some random illness that prevents him from playing ever again) whereas at a bama or uga there will always be a 5 star coming in that will push you for your job. Also at UGA there will be so many tempting things to steal, you might well get kicked off the team – still not as big of a story as text messages for some reason…

BigTimeTechFan

February 3rd, 2012
9:42 am

Watch out for:
DJ White
Nice CB that’s quick with 4.5 speed. Can make plays on the ball with the best of them, hit with the best of them, needs a little work on press coverage.
Offers from Auburn, Cal, Ole Miss, Miss St, UNC, South Carolina, Texas Tech. Big time get for GT

Beau Hankins
6-2 230 lb LB from Alabama, State defensive player of the year, Even Todd Grantham loved him as play, said he was solid and at the level of Carlos Herrera the LB UGA got last year. Wanted to offer but numbers did not work out
Offers from, Arkansas, Penn St, Stanford
4.0 student, loves to study, which will payoff in film room.

Jim 70

February 3rd, 2012
9:42 am

Seventeen recruits per year, five years (redshirts) is the 85 player limit. With some players going pro and some dropping out, it gives tech the opportunity to award scholarships to walk-ons, kickers, etc.

Much better than bama, etc.

I read earlier that miami has 31 commitments and that was before one of ours committed there. What happened to the six (or more) who could not sign. I would love to see an article about the kids who were turned away. A lot of negative press about these universities along with comments from the kids’ coaches, could hurt their recruiting in the future.

Bob

February 3rd, 2012
9:43 am

CPJ over performs? I think he’s performed just like he should after losing all the old recruits, is it too late for GT to drop to div II-a, maybe then they can compete for a NC.

Robert Barron

February 3rd, 2012
9:45 am

@gt4ever.
O’Leary did little good until Freigen was added as OC.
A smart AD would have pushed O’Leary out with low pay or threats not to renew so as to promote Freigen.
Will Tech ever look as good on offense as when Munson described our effort as “Tech marching down the field like we are Wake Forest”?
A Tech fan’s favorite Munson call btw.

Robert Barron

February 3rd, 2012
9:47 am

I’ve always been curious if Homer doubled Ross’s pay after the NC. Ross’s first three years at Tech were crummy.

Robert Barron

February 3rd, 2012
9:50 am

@Bob.
We are too far into CPJ tenure to fire him now.
I agree with this article and want to see what “his” players can do the next two years before I join the haters.
We should have defeated VT the last two years and I do not believe it was his fault either time that we lost.

Reality

February 3rd, 2012
9:52 am

VPI and Beamer were on par or worse on Special Teams than GT this year. Just ask their fans.

They also do not have a dedicated special teams coach.

@ Jim70 Miami had a mass exodus to the NFL this year

@ Smyrna Gold, I think the program has progressed significantly in terms of athletic ability, speed, and depth across the board. We lost the studs of 2007, but we’re gaining athleticism. Not to mention the fact that we won an ACC Championship in 2009…I’d call that progress…This year is the make or break year for CPJ. I fully expect 10 wins and an ACC Championship Game appearance, but the loss of Stephen Hill and Julian Burnett have hurt my optimism.

Sam

February 3rd, 2012
9:53 am

We really have a top 3 class when you factor in needs and gets

Robert Barron

February 3rd, 2012
9:54 am

The NCAA better give our trophy back if they are just going to slap the wrist of cheaters like Miami.
If Tech loses the trophy, Miami should get the death penalty.
I’ll tell u what: I’ve bought my last American made product if we don’t get it back.

hmmmm....

February 3rd, 2012
9:56 am

If? You did lose the ACC title. Case closed.

techfanforlife

February 3rd, 2012
9:58 am

Spin it anyway you want – Tech did not break into the top 50 recruting because of Johnson and his scheme. Give Johnson credit? Yes, I will give him credit for making it impossible to recruit the best players or win the big games. When is the Tech faithful just going to speak the truth? We are a mediocre program with a mediocre coach who will provide mediocre seasons. Maybe when the AP comes out with the top 50 ranking we can at least finish the season ranked. However, let’s be honest – beat GA – win the ACC? If you are living that dream – WAKE UP!

Robin Of The Hood

February 3rd, 2012
10:01 am

should be interesting…. Vad Lee vs Justin Thomas in the up coming years..One is a better passer, the other is a better runner but time will tell. Maybe Andrews (I believe that is his name) beats them both