As I mentioned in my recruiting update immedaitely following the bowl game, this past weekend was the beginning of the "open period" that will take us to NSD. I mentioned a list of possible candidates who could be the Jackets' next commits. The Jackets did get 1 commitment (one that was expected), but we got a lot more. In interviews with commits and visitors, we saw revelations about the future of the GT football program.
First of all, let's meet commit #16...Ricky Jeune, a 6'3" 205-lb WR prospect from St. Joseph's Regional HS in Montvale, NJ (suburban NYC). He's a 3-star (ESPN) prospect ranked 73rd nationally amongst all WRs. His offer sheet included Tech, Purdue, Rutgers, Boston College, and others.
According to Jeune's HS coach, recruiting Jeune could be more than just about getting another big, phycial, blocking WR into the fold...
"When we watch [Georgia Tech] on TV, you see they run that option offense where the wideouts do a lot of blocking," St. Joseph coach Tony Karcich said. "They did throw the ball more in their last game, so maybe they sold him on the idea that they are going to throw the ball more."
Wait...throw the ball more??? Could this be the offensive evolution that many (including me) were hoping for? It's no secret that Vad Lee and Justin Thomas are both probably the best passing talents that CPJ has brought to Tech. In the bowl game against USC, Vad operated out of a shotgun spread formation with a read option, being able to rip off a 20-yard run as one of his highlights. I like the idea of getting "multiple" on offense, and we could see more passing out of such formations and not simply rely on hitting a play-action pass out of the base offense. Of course, I still think the base offense is what we'll run 75% of the time. But hey...that's better than 95% of the time, right?
The second revelation was on the defensive side of the ball. Tech received a visit from 4-star (ESPN) DE Jaylen Miller, and signing at least one more defensive lineman suddenly became more of a priority (keep in mind the staff is also looking at Harris County DL Jay Ellison, who was being recruited by Charles Kelly). Miller's visit went extremely well, and the DE prsopect from Gaffney Senior HS in Gaffney, SC will also be taking OVs to Wake Forest, Maryland, and Tennessee. According to Miller's interview...
"New Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof was one of the coaches that talked with Miller on his visit. "He says he envisions me as a defensive rush end in the 4-3 that he wants to employ. That really appeals to me and I like what he has planned for the defense he wants to run."
OK...so 4-3 it is. The remnants of the Al Groh experiment are officially over. It appears one of the main tenets of CTR's philosophy...stopping the run...is going to be done with personnel (4 down linemen) and not scheme (3 down linemen with LB help in 1-gap/2-gap responsibility) as part of the base defense. Of course, what it currently means for Tech's current defensive personnel is that we have too many LBs and not enough DLs to play with today.
This will be a busy offseason on the defensive side of the ball, as many players will likely be moving to new positions. Some D-Lineman will be moving to the inside from DE (I suspect Adam Gotsis, Pat Gamble, and others). Some players will be bulking up and moving from LB to DE, as the 4-3 generally needs less beef on the edges of the 4-man front (think Michael Johnson or Derrick Morgan). I've heard some of the candidates to possibly move into the DE spot could be Jeremiah Attaochu, Daniel Drummond, Chaz Cheeks, Tyler Stargel, Tremaine McNair, or others. Finally, though we return all 4 LBs from last year, only 3 will start as LBs. I envision Jabari Hunt-Days to take over that "Mike" MLB spot, with Brandon Watts and Quayshawn Nealy taking over the "Sam" and "Will" OLB spots.
This should be an exciting and eventful offseason, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Of course, our coaches could be blowing smoke just the same. What do you FTRSers think of all these potential changes?