Prior to this past Saturday, which saw the commitments of Tyler Merriweather and Step Durham, the most recent day of multiple commitments for Georgia Tech was June 28, 2012, which saw the commitments of John Marvin and Justin Akins. Akins' name comes first in the alphabet, so we're talking about him today and Marvin tomorrow. Akins committed to Tech within a couple weeks of visiting, saying he loved the school for its academic qualities, high caliber of football, and location. He committed to the Jackets over offers from Clemson, Louisville, Nebraska, NC State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and others.
Akins is listed at 6'5", and weighing in at 235 pounds. He sports a tall, slim build similar to a very successful defensive end of Tech's recent past, who now is providing his services to the Cincinnati Bengals. (It would be reasonable to expect that he could put on 25 pounds over his time in college to match the 260 that Michael Johnson weighed in at as a senior in 2008.) From watching Akins' film, one thing is incredibly apparent -- the kid has a really solid motor. Watching his play, you notice that his feet are churning from the moment that the ball is snapped to the moment that he wraps up the ballcarrier. This is a huge deal that is very tough to teach, and a difference-maker for defensive linemen. Akins is fairly ruthless in his rushing, as well. His employment of a speed rush and a bull rush are fairly interchangeable, and it basically ends up with him coming at an offensive lineman in a fury of determination to get around him. At the same time, Akins appears patient and fundamental, in the sense that he keeps his shoulders square to the ballcarrier and wraps up for a reliable tackle rather than going for the big hit.
Something Akins may have benefitted heavily from in high school is a lot of one-on-one situations, caused by his high school teammate Jay Woods lining up next to him at DT. You may recognize Woods' name as another major target of ours last year (he wound up going to Vanderbilt). Having another major D-I target on the defensive line in Woods probably ended in Woods getting double-teamed and Akins getting one-on-one blocking (due to Woods being the tackle). Akins may have to adjust to getting more attention from the offensive line, although with Ted Roof's 4-man front this may be a non-issue entirely.
Overall, I can see Akins being a major get for Tech. (I feel like I've been saying that a lot lately about guys who aren't major national recruits, but I also go back to our staff's ability to evaluate talent extremely well.) I see Akins being the kind of guy who can make an impact similar to that of Michael Johnson -- using his height to bat down passes, his length to wrap up ballcarriers and disrupt running lanes, and his speed to get around his blocker and to the passer.
Do you see Akins being a major playmaker in his time at Tech? Are my comparisons to Michael Johnson completely unfounded?