First, lets break down college recruiting so everyone has an idea of how things work. For a college team, a total of 85 scholarships can be given for each program. Furthermore, each year teams cannot have more than 25 commits each class. Sometimes teams might initially sign more, however only 25 can receive scholarships each class.
Currently the Tech football team has 81 players in scholarship, with a max roster size after walk-on's of 105. Programs also see attrition from players leaving the program. In addition to the mid-season loss of Jeffery Greene, 6 players left the program before the season began. This allows for teams to add a few extra players knowing that scholarships will open up.
The graduating class consists of 16 seniors- 5 offense, 9 defense, and 2 special teams. In addition to the 4 open spots, the Jackets have 20 scholarship positions for the 2014 class. One of these positions have to be for Travis Custis due to some NCAA Clearing House issues where he has to complete a few classes before becoming eligible.
Before I get into the recruits and what they can bring to the team, I want to pose a bit of a concern about the graduating seniors of this class. On offense, we have 3 leaders on the offensive line (Beno, Finch, and Jackson) as well as runners Godhigh and Sims graduating. For defense, we have Attaochu, Cummings, Dieke, I. Johnson, Thomas, Watts and Young. For special teams, we lose Scully and Poole. These are some HUGE leaders on both sides of the ball. We have the depth in all of these positions so I'm not concerned about personnel, rather leaders need to step up. I see Vad's experience as a key to the offensive success even more. I don't like being negative about the players, so all I'll say about special teams is with the addition of Butker we will be fine.
*Class of 2013 that will fill a 2014 position
For those of you who follow the Jackets recruiting each year, I think you can agree that it is pretty impressive to see the Jackets with as strong of a recruiting class so early in the process. Currently the Jackets rank 31st in the Class of 2014. The Jackets saw double digits in recruits mid-summer and are staying very competitive with a few key recruits that will round out the Jackets' 2014 class. Honestly, after last year's experience, I am very excited for this class. We will potentially see our share of recruit flipping, but that is life. The Jackets are active on flipping a few recruits of their own.
As for quality, this class has a handful of high 3 Stars that could arguably be 4 Stars. I know that many don't respect the star system and I definitely think it is flawed, but I think that it has provided our recruiting class with a fair representation of the present skill that will be coming to Tech. Searcy and the Austin twins have all played together at Lamar County and have won handedly so far this season, all being important contributors to the team. Caleb Kinlaw has had a strong senior season so far while chalking up 100+ rushing yards games in each of his first three wins. Kinlaw has 483 rushing yards on 58 carries, for 8.33 yards for carry. Step Durham had an interception in his first game and has helped Atlantic Coast HS have a shutout season so far in their first two games. That is just a small sample of the quality of play that the Jackets are adding this year. Look out for these players for the rest of their final season.
The Jackets are graduating some quality players and leaders and will need this class to replace them if they want to be successful in the future. On the offensive side, we are losing some lineman and offensive firecrackers. With Custis and the a few current second and third string lineman, we have replacements. However, we need options and depth in the constantly active (and sometimes injured) team. The defense loses some key secondary players and defensive lineman that will be tough to replace. Teams are constantly changing, and I believe that CPJ is doing the necessary steps to ensuring future success of the team.
This weekend the Jackets will see a handful of potential commits as well as some 2014 and 2015 skill that the Jackets would love to close on. Being the first quality home game of the season, I would expect a strong showing from the Jackets to gain some interest from these players. I expect the concern for some of these recruits is RESULTS. They need to see the team winning and improving, especially for the defensive guys under a new Defensive Coordinator. The Jackets have had a strong season so far and I expect the UNC game to continue the movement that they need to finish strong and keep the current class. The Jackets could see another commit in the coming days, we shall see.
What do y'all think? Anything else you want to know about for the recruiting class? Who do you think will make the most impact on the team?