February saw Georgia Tech sign 14 players in its Class of 2013 Signing Class. Each of them play different positions, have different skills, and have different backgrounds that they'll be bringing to the locker room starting this fall. So, how will these 14 new pieces fit in with the rest of the puzzle as it stands?
Players' names are linked to the articles introducing them, in case you need a refresher.
Who will contribute right away?
K Harrison Butker - Sure, coming in as a freshman, nobody is guaranteed anything. However, if anyone ever WERE a guarantee, it'd be Butker. He's coming into a role that's been thin for a couple of years now -- and that was before incumbent Justin Moore was dismissed. He displays ability that translates directly to the college level and should put him at the top of the depth chart from day one. Sure, he may not end up starting as a freshman (stranger things have happened), but this is about as close to a lock as you're going to get in this class.
OLB/SS Paul "P.J." Davis - As was discussed in his article, Davis will have an interesting road to the field on defense due to the mismatch between his skills and his size. However, his road to the field on special teams is fairly clear. Davis has the speed and tackling ability to play on kickoff AND punt coverage, and a hard-hitting nature that can help him to make a real difference on those special teams units.
WR Ricky Jeune - It's no secret that our wide receiver unit will be thinned out this fall after the loss of Jeff Greene (transfer), Jeremy Moore (departure from team), and Anthony Autry (injury). Jeune shows the ability to play and contribute from day one if called upon, which I think he will be. Whether he starts or not is yet to be seen, but I'd wager that he'll see some minutes this fall as the third or fourth receiver at the very least.
Who might contribute right away?
S John Marvin - Similar to Davis, I think Marvin has some real special teams ability that could get him on to the field this fall. Whether or not it happens, time will tell.
WR Antonio Messick - Again, with our wide receiver unit being so depleted, the door is open for anyone to step in and prove themselves. Messick has the athleticism and the blocking ability, but does he have the hands?
DL Darius Commissiong - He won't start this fall (barring injuries, of course), but I could see Commissiong being used on third-and-long, obvious pass-rush situations. His speediness would make him a major asset situationally.
DB Corey Griffin - As much as this may catch you off-guard (Griffin is likely the least-celebrated of our recruits), he's in a similar situation to Davis. Griffin's DB skills certainly need refining, but his current skillset suggests that he could step in and play as a freshman on special teams. In particular, I could see the two of them as gunners on punt coverage, and certainly playing on kickoff coverage.
Who will contribute within the next two seasons?
BB Travis Custis - He's stepping in behind the older David Sims and Zach Laskey, who have the position nailed down for now. However, there's no question that Custis has the ability to be a big-time player at B-Back for the Jackets. It's just going to take a year or two for him to acclimate and the depth chart to clear out a bit.
AB Donovan Wilson - Similar to Custis, the depth chart at A-Back is fairly full and will take a season or so for Wilson to penetrate. However, combining him with the redshirt freshman Dennis Andrews could turn into a truly nasty duo in the coming years...
OL Shamire DeVine - Our offensive line is fairly established for now, but aging (this year we're projected to start 3 seniors and 2 juniors). My guess is that DeVine redshirts this fall before becoming a four-year starter beginning August 2014.
DE Kevin Robbins - Robbins is stepping in to another position grouping that's old (we'll start two seniors this year, who will be backed up by a senior and a junior), which will be the entire reason that he redshirts this fall. However, whether he or Tyler Stargel takes over as starter at defensive end, he's sure to see time. (This is subject to change pending a switch to linebacker.)
DE Justin Akins - Similar to Robbins, Akins will need a redshirt year before he can penetrate the depth chart. However, while Robbins and Stargel will probably have the weakside defensive end slot covered, Akins will be competing with Anthony Williams and Rod Chungong for time at the strongside defensive end slot. While Williams will be the senior and Chungong the sophomore, I could see Akins being a package-esque guy who's the pass-rush specialist as a redshirt freshman.
Who won't play within the next two years, but has potential to contribute over the course of their career?
OL Chris Griffin - It's a shame that Griffin is stepping into the OL depth chart, because while this fall's starters are old, the guys backing them up are fairly young and won't vacate the depth chart for a couple of years at least. However, Griffin is very talented and brings a very unique and valuable skillset to the position, and I would have a hard time imagining him leaving Tech without ever contributing much. I think this guy has major potential as an offensive lineman if he's given a shot.
ATH Ty Griffin - You may notice that he was recruited as a QB and is listed as a QB, and yet I refuse to designate him as such. The reason for that is that I never see Griffin playing QB for the Yellow Jackets. Harsh as that may sound, I do see him contributing, particularly as an A-Back or a WR. However, his QB skills are nothing compared to those of Vad Lee and Justin Thomas, and even with a redshirt this fall, it will be his senior season before Griffin has the opportunity to take over from those two. That said, his athleticism will get him on the field and let him show value to the team in some way or another, I'll promise you that.
This is where you tell me how much you agree with here, and also how dumb you think any of these remarks are. The floor is yours, readers.