Recruiting experts: Georgia Tech’s class gets some love
3:52 pmFebruary 3, 2012, by Michael Carvell
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)
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.”