Did Georgia Tech Fumble On Signing Day?


As national signing day drew to a close, a few thing became apparent. The SEC cleaned up (six in the top ten, and every school made the top 40 according to ESPN’s class rankings), Georgia will only be getting better in the near future (ranked 10th nationally), and Georgia Tech struggled to bring home any big names.

Apr 23, 2011; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Tevin Washington (13) looks at a fumbled ball after being tackled by defensive end Jason Peters (92) during the spring game at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY SportsAt the time this article was written most schools have signed between 20-30 players this recruiting season, the Yellow Jackets managed to pull in only 14, putting them towards the bottom of the barrel, surrounded by teams like UTEP, Kent State, and the University of Louisiana-Monroe. When an ACC school falls in the same category as these schools in recruiting something has gone terribly wrong. Decommitments can be to blame, and coach Paul Johnson would be quick to point out the issues with others schools over signing players, but he would also point out that a deeper look at who they signed might tell a different tale.

There was a joke posted on the message boards yesterday, that went something like this: Georgia Tech’s recruiting class this year must be sponsored by Lunesta, because there are a lot of “sleepers” here. While the joke was a stab at the quality of athletes that were committing to the Ramblin’ Wreck, this posed an interesting idea: Is Georgia Tech’s recruiting class really as bad as it seems?

I’ve never been one to claim to be a recruiting expert, nor will I now, but I will attempt to get to present the evidence for, and against these claims, and let you, the fans, the jury, decide.

Georgia Tech did grab three of the top in-state talents, Tri-Cities High School’s offensive tackle Shamire Devine (nationally ranked 15th tackle), Lovejoy’s running back Travis Custis (#34 RB in the nation), and The Westminister School’s kicker Harrison Butker (#3 kicker nationally) . Custis is known as a power back, and has excelent tackle-breaking ability. He hits the hole hard, fights for yard, and has the ability to gain positive yards when nothing is there. The drawback is his speed. He is a durable, every down back, but do not look for him to break too many long runs. Devine has great size (6’6″, 350 lbs) and body control for an offensive lineman. His attitude and strength are a major question mark for him though, and will have to show some tenacity and gain upper body strength to be effective at this level. Butker drilled 9 fieldgoals from over 40 yards this past season, and had 47 touchbacks on 59 kickoffs, and 4 punts over 50 yards.

The Yellow Jackets also grabbed two defensive players from Maryland, defensive tackle Darius Commissiong (#39 DT nationally) and defensive end Kevin Robbins (#55 DE nationally), both from Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville. Commissiong is a smaller than you would like to see in a defensive tackle (6’3″, 305lbs), but he gets off the ball well, has decent technique, and a motor that never stops. Robbins, on the other hand, has the frame you look for in a defensive end. He stand 6’5″, but at 230, he’s going to have to put some weight on him to be effective in the ACC. He is very athletic (he played tight end as, and was on the basketball team) and has a very quick first step, but still looks very raw to me.

Georgia Tech also got 5 more 3 star recruits: Safety John Marvin from Walton Beach, FL (#59 S nationally), running back Donovan Wilson from Dublin, OH (#67 RB), offensive tackle Chris Griffin from Crawford, FL (#71 OT), defensive end Justin Akins from Jackson, GA (#92 DE), and wide receiver Ricky Jeune from Montvale, NJ (#133 WR).

Bottom line is, to compete with other schools in the NCAA, 14 signings isn’t going to cut it every year. No one can dispute that, but looking at the evidence, Georgia Tech just may have a class full of sleepers after all.