Georgia Tech recruits react to firing of Al Groh

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson got on the phone with some of the team's recruits after Monday's coaching changes (AJC)

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson got on the phone with some of the team's recruits after Monday's coaching changes (AJC)

One of Georgia Tech’s top football recruits said he got a call on Monday evening from Paul Johnson, explaining the team’s coaching changes.

Darius Commissiong, a three-star defensive tackle from Forestville, Md., was told that Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh had been relieved of his duties, while a few other assistants had been moved around on defense.

“I was shocked at first because Coach Groh was my recruiting coach, and we talked on a nightly basis,” Commissiong said. “I was disappointed because he was like a father figure to me. We used to talk about a lot of things outside of football. He would give me life advice, and things like that.

“But that’s the business aspect of college football, especially when things aren’t going as well as you would like. I think a big part of it was Clemson putting up 600 yards against them last week. I thought the defense was doing pretty well at the beginning of the season, then they got to the Miami game and lost to Middle Tennessee State.  Those things piled up. You’ve got to make changes when they are necessary, and I understand that.”

Commissiong said he talked to Johnson for around 20 minutes over the phone.

On what Paul Johnson said: “He said basically that they switched defensive coordinators. They are not going to go away from what they’re doing, other than some little tweaks with the defensive line. Coach Johnson wanted me to know that they’re still excited about me, and he’s still depending on me to come in and play next season. He’s ready to move forward, and that was about it.”

3-star DT Darius Commissiong will likely remain committed to Georgia Tech unless there are other big changes. He's still hearing from Maryland, Penn State, Clemson and Ohio State (247sports.com)

3-star DT Darius Commissiong will likely remain committed to Georgia Tech unless there are other big changes. He's still hearing from Maryland, Penn State, Clemson and Ohio State (247sports.com)

On why the change was made: “I asked Coach Johnson about that. He felt like they were trying to make some changes to see what happens over the last half of the season. They want to see if there’s any improvement. I don’t blame them, with the way the season is going right now. You’ve got to try something, and I guess Coach Johnson felt like defense was the first thing that needed to be changed.

On his commitment to Georgia Tech: Commissiong is still being actively recruited by Penn State, Maryland, Clemson and Ohio State. “I’m still committed to Georgia Tech. I love the school. I love Atlanta. I could see myself playing in that scheme. I feel like I have a good opportunity. They say if I go in there and do everything that I’m supposed to do, I’m going to be playing. I’m excited about that. I have a dream of going to the NFL, and I feel like I can do that from there. Coach Johnson is a great coach, and he feels like that this is the best move for them right now. I’m pretty solid on my commitment. I just want to see how the rest of the season goes, to see if there actually is a change. Right now, I don’t think I will visit other schools. I don’t plan on it.”

  • Hillgove High School defensive back Tolando Cleveland was surprised by the changes but excited to see his position coach, DB coach Charles Kelly, promoted to Georgia Tech’s interim defensive coordinator. “I knew some changes were going to be made but I was still kind of shocked,” Cleveland said. “I thought it would it would’ve been after the season. But it was the third consecutive game that 30 points had been put on them, so I guess that Coach Johnson felt like he needed to do something.” Cleveland’s area recruiter is Georgia Tech RB coach Brian Bohannon but he got to know Kelly at prospect camp this past summer. “He’s a good teacher. He’s not too aggressive but he gets his points across. I feel like I can learn a lot from him.” Cleveland is still being pursued by Wake Forest but remain loyal to the Yellow Jackets. “This doesn’t affect me at all. I’m 100-percent committed to Georgia Tech.”
  • Another Georgia Tech DB commitment, John Marvin of Ft. Walton Beach. Fla., also tried to look at the positives. “I’m excited for the new future of the team since Coach Kelly is still there and [assistant Andy McCollum] is still there, since they recruited me there. Now I’m twice as excited that Coach Kelly is the DC now.” How will the changes affect his commitment? “It really doesn’t affect it because the main coaches that made me pull the string are still there.”

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49 comments Add your comment

Brthrite

October 8th, 2012
11:02 pm

Do these kids really think a total revamp of the defence in the off-season with a new DC being brought in will not inevitably result in some or most of the other defensive coaches leaving? The position coaches were the ones coaching tackling, not Al Groh, so the axe will likely fall on those guys as well.

Nerd U

October 8th, 2012
11:03 pm

Nerds firing nerds

Nhgamecock

October 8th, 2012
11:25 pm

Good luck look at it from the bright side an education from gt

Dawg Phd

October 9th, 2012
12:00 am

I’m not fan of Georgia Tech but at least Johnson did what we should’ve done with Mike Bobo a long time ago. You want evidence about how good a coach Bobo is? His name has never once come up for another job.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 9th, 2012
2:07 am

GT is going to be just fine.

Jacket Man

October 9th, 2012
6:21 am

One of the things the recruits like about Paul Johnson is his honesty, and the fact that he was willing to make the change prior to the season even being over told these recruits that he wanted them to know he was always open and honest with them. If he wanted, he could have just as easily waited until after national signing day to make the change, or after the end of the season, when all of their official visits could take place when games were going on, but he wasn’t willing to wait because Paul Johnson wasn’t satisfied with the state of his defense and he thought he owed it to his current players, coaches, and fans, to make a move now.

Ultimately, the next defensive coordinator will be critical to the success to the team because he will be the third under Paul Johnson since he was named Head Coach 5 or 6 years ago. At some point, he’s got to get this right.

NOVAJacket

October 9th, 2012
7:32 am

Mike,

How about an article on how UGA reruits react to last weekend’s debacle in Columbia???

ramblingbuzz

October 9th, 2012
7:32 am

Sounds like CPJ was very honest with the recruit who quoted him. And I’m sure these young men are smart enough to know their position coaches or recruiters may not be around when a new DC is brought in. And a verbal commitment is just that. Nothing is final until they sign a letter of intent.

NOVAJacket

October 9th, 2012
7:33 am

Sorry “recruits”

NOVAJacket

October 9th, 2012
7:38 am

BTW, Darius is and his teammate Robbins are good kids and solid students, who will do well wherever they decide to go.

DawginLex

October 9th, 2012
8:13 am

NOVAJacket

October 9th, 2012
7:32 am
Mike,

How about an article on how UGA reruits react to last weekend’s debacle in Columbia???

************************

There is an article. It’s just not here. You won’t get it here ever.

Nhgamecock

October 9th, 2012
8:29 am

Nova jacket

I would like to see that but if course they will not do that

John Savage

October 9th, 2012
8:33 am

What about UGA recruits’ reactions to the egging/tp of players’ house?

*crickets*

spider

October 9th, 2012
8:33 am

its time to put sanity back in div 1 college football, get rid of the bcs, the playoff proposal, and go back to the old bowl system. lets have fun again. its not that important too know who is number 1. what kind of fans give up on their team after they lose 1 game? if i was a players who busted my rear end 12 months a year and knew of a fan who gave up on me and my teamates after 1 loss I would tell that fan to get lost and find another team to root for,

Gordon

October 9th, 2012
9:05 am

Disappointing to hear that apparently we are going to stick with the 3-4 long term.

ignition

October 9th, 2012
9:35 am

Crimson 75′ List is good

Tech fans, here’s the best options to replace Groh:
1. Jeremy Pruitt
2. Lance Thompson
3. Bo Davis
4. Brick Haley
5. Torrian Gray
6. John Neal
7. Mike Tressel
8. Luke Fickell
9. Bob Gregory
10. Mike Vrabel

I like all those names but I would like to add Chris Rumph to this list..
Lance Thompson served under Tech 1990

Jacket Detective

October 9th, 2012
9:48 am

Al Groh: A modern day Trojan Horse.

Jacket Detective

October 9th, 2012
9:50 am

Make the 3-4 and 4-3 by rushing Attaochu or someone else on just about every down.

Time To Go

October 9th, 2012
9:54 am

Dawg PhD – I’m not a Dawg fan, but you are correct about Bobo. Here’s where Hope & Change can be good. At least I hope that changing the DC will help.

What about Groh's commits.

October 9th, 2012
9:55 am

[...] Member Join DateAug 2011 LocationJacksonville, FL Posts3,403 No worries. Georgia Tech recruits react to firing of Al Groh | AJC College Sports Recruiting Darius Commissiong: “But that’s the business aspect of college football, [...]

Jacket Detective

October 9th, 2012
10:07 am

Greeks in America: hardworking as any group exposed to free enterprise.
Greeks in their homeland: demoralized by socialism’s lack of incentive.
A bit of a streach here but similar to a defense with a good, unpredicable coordinator or one who gets outcoached in the 4th quarter every week.

buzz me up

October 9th, 2012
10:13 am

Nerd u..you need a nerd to fire your nerd coach at UGA.

Jacket Detective

October 9th, 2012
10:14 am

I am curious when Broyles and Graves were hired away from Tech.
Also curious who did the recruiting during Dodd’s glory years in the fifties?
Lots of head coaches do not know who to hire when their success leads the coordinators to be hired away.

Jacket Detective

October 9th, 2012
10:16 am

Did CPJ do a thorough search for a new coordinator to replace Wommack or just hire the guy hanging around who would come cheap because of his last contract with Virginia?

buzz me up

October 9th, 2012
10:18 am

Makes you wonder…

Jacket Detective

October 9th, 2012
10:19 am

I may be in the minority on what I am about to post but I would like to apologize to Tevin for often being made the goat for CPJ’s bad hire who the ACC’s O coordinators soon figured out.

Coach Jerry Sandusky

October 9th, 2012
10:27 am

Dear Georgia Tech,

Did I hear correctly that you currently have an opening for an EXPERIENCED, near-retirement-age Defensive Coordinator?

GT Joe

October 9th, 2012
10:30 am

Fire Tevin next. For the love of God.

buzz me up

October 9th, 2012
10:38 am

Hey Coach Sandusky you won’t be coaching anyone again…unless its the Longest Yard!

listen Heah

October 9th, 2012
10:44 am

Tech has a much more pressing issue than someone who has a weird name like Horg (spelled backwards). They have found themselves in the middle of an inner city warzone. Let’s discuss student safety. Parents would you place your child in harms way and send them to Tech. Heavens no! It’s much too dangerous…..

blackandwhitestripes

October 9th, 2012
11:06 am

I am by no means a fan of ugag but all I hear since South Carolina pulled the mutt’s pants down and spanked them is fire MR. Go figure!!!

Flounder

October 9th, 2012
11:19 am

@ Nerd U … good lord, what are you 12 years old?!?! Go change your diapers and let the adults talk. Imbecile.

TexGT

October 9th, 2012
11:33 am

Did noone else see the fundamental point in this article? Our supposed “top recruit” is only a 3-star!!! Are you kidding me!!!!

The Truth

October 9th, 2012
12:13 pm

Athens-Clarke Co Police have discovered leads on suspects in the vandalism at the residence of two Georgia football players. They say the suspects are without a doubt GT students. Police spokesperson said investigating officers found that nearly 4 dozen eggs were unbroken, a clear indication that they were thrown with such little force they did not crack upon impact. Also found at the scene was one slide rule, one pocket protector with the GT logo, one Star Wars bedroom slipper, neighbors reported seeing three men engaged in a “tickle pile” before quickly departing the scene in a blue Toyota Prius.

SoCal_GT_Fan

October 9th, 2012
12:30 pm

TexGT. He’s not our “top recruit” per se. Perhaps our top recruit on the defensive side of the ball. Depending on what recruiting site you are looking at, we have zero 4-stars or we have two 4-stars in our 2013 class.

Tech4Life

October 9th, 2012
12:35 pm

@The Truth: You mad, bro?

TIDE ROLL

October 9th, 2012
12:39 pm

THE REAL SMART KIDS GO TO BAMA!

Nhgamecock

October 9th, 2012
12:47 pm

Gurshall for hiesman
Jarvis jones for president
Rambo for brownies

Jacket Detective

October 9th, 2012
12:49 pm

@The Truth.
Yea I can see why you would want to point at Tech to hide the deplorable actions of Dawg fans.

Jacket Detective

October 9th, 2012
12:53 pm

Fellow fans.
I think we are stuck with Paul for awhile so I have to hope he pulls things together and hopefully goes at least 4-2 for the easier part of the ACC schedule.
I like his taking action.
Not happy with the hire in the first place but he didn’t ask me for help with it.
I was probably a no show for the last three games had Groh remained.
Now I think I will attend.
Only think good about Groh is we do not owe him for future seasons.

Jacket Detective

October 9th, 2012
12:54 pm

thing not think.

Dawg89

October 9th, 2012
5:06 pm

Wouldn’t you think the defense would improve with a coaching change? So, if recruits like GT, why would they waiver now? Sounds like a change for the better. What’s wrong with that?

SansWorld

October 9th, 2012
10:18 pm

spyder, I tend to agree with you.

A. Einstein

October 10th, 2012
11:15 am

Hey “The Truth” that is so funny. You could be the top comedian in all of Athens.

TECHIE

October 10th, 2012
6:47 pm

Jacket Detective——–Dodd turned down UF and recommended Graves for ‘59-’60 season and lost to UF 16-17 on Bobby Dodd Jr’s 50 yrd pass to Lindy Infante in last minute of play, damnit. Dodd turned down ARK and sent Broyles for the ‘58-’59(?) season I believe, and lost 14-21 in the ‘60 Gator Bowl on Lance “Bambi” Alworth’s catches and Jim Moody’s running, damnit. I was at both games, Tech played in glorious gold pants and white shirts with black #s and shoulder #s and solid gold helmets, a classic uni, not like todays junk Russell is pushing. Dodd said he would not allow Jr. to play for anyone else but Graves. We were billed as the team with great, big linemen but ARK was billed as better smaller, faster linemen.

TECHIE

October 10th, 2012
6:52 pm

Jacket Detective————Graves main QB at first was little Larry Libertore from Little Havana in Miami

GTJohn

October 11th, 2012
8:30 am

Would there be any value in keeping Al around as a mentor for the players. During my career, I had a mentor (who was employed by one of our vendors) and I, along with a few others, talked to him on a regular basis. He would even seek us out when he heard of problems or opportunities and give counsel. Sounds like Al could help in that respect and would be a great fit for him and the players. Of course the $$$ would be considerably different if any. My mentor was actually retired from the vendor but came in every day any way. He certainly made a difference in my life and in the lives of quite a few others.

GTJohn

October 11th, 2012
8:36 am

Don’t get too hung up on the number of stars for a recruit. Remember that all those GT players currently in the NFL did not have a bunch of stars when they came to GT.

Geneh_32

October 15th, 2012
5:00 pm

Georgia Tech sucks. They need to get rid of everybody and start all over from scratch.