Georgia Tech's 2014 recruiting class would appear to be in the books after Signing Day, and with the dust settled, let's take a look back at the recruiting season that was by answering a few questions.
Who's in the class?
Our 21 signees are...
|Name||Position||Height||Weight||Hometown||Rivals || Scout|
|Lance Austin||DB||5'9"||179 lbs||Griffin, GA|||||
|Lawrence Austin||DB||5'9"||181 lbs||Griffin, GA|||||
|Myles Autry||AB/DB||5'10"||175 lbs||Norcross, GA|||||
|Gary Brown||OL||6'1"||280 lbs||Tampa, FL|||||
|Stepheny "Step" Durham||DB||5'11"||185 lbs||Jacksonville, FL|||||
|KeShun Freeman||DE||6'1"||223 lbs||Hogansville, GA|||||
|Tre "Stonewall" Jackson||LB||5'10"||220 lbs||Valdosta, GA|||||
|Jalen Johnson||WR/DB||6'2"||193 lbs||Oneonta, AL|||||
|Matthew Jordan||QB||6'2"||190 lbs||Jackson, AL|||||
|Trey Klock||OL/DL||6'4"||264 lbs||Hummelstown, PA|||||
|C.J. Leggett||RB||5'10"||207 lbs||Suwanee, GA|||||
|Terrell Lewis||LB||6'2"||217 lbs||Ocoee, FL|||||
|Clinton Lynch||AB/WR||6'0"||185 lbs||Norcross, GA|||||
|Andrew Marshall||OL||6'4"||267 lbs||Cumming, GA|||||
|Tyler Merriweather||DE||6'3"||230 lbs||Demopolis, AL|||||
|Michael Preddy||OL/DE||6'5"||240 lbs||Charleston, SC|||||
|Qua Searcy||DB||5'11"||165 lbs||Barnesville, GA|||||
|Antonio Simmons||DE||6'4"||210 lbs||Jacksonville, FL|||||
|Jake Stickler||OL||6'5"||281 lbs||Bradenton, FL|||||
|Kenderius Whitehead||DE||6'4"||225 lbs||Lithonia, GA|||||
|Jake Whitley||OL||6'4"||295 lbs||North Augusta, SC|||||
Did the class meet needs?
Absolutely it did. There was a major void left on the offensive and defensive lines after the departure of this year's seniors, with 3 starters on each side and a total of 8 players leaving. This class replenished those numbers nicely, with 5 players on each side for a total of 10 players on the offensive and defensive lines. The class also did a major job of replenishing depth in the secondary, which was majorly impacted by injuries this year. After losing only two seniors, the Jackets added five players who can play in the secondary. In the case that this fall sees more injuries in that unit, Georgia Tech will now have the depth to help remedy the situation a little better.
Did the class hold together?
It really did. 16 players de-committed to Georgia Tech over the past 3 seasons (including 5 last year), with the three classes totalling 54 signees. This means that of 70 total commitments over three recruiting cycles, nearly 23% decommitted. This year's recruiting class of 21 signees only saw two de-commitments, from Caleb Kinlaw and Miles Taylor, for a rate of under 9%. Many players in the class committed early and were able to form bonds between each other, resulting in a tight-knit group that wasn't interested in playing for other schools who wanted them. And yes, other schools wanted them.
Did the class approach its potential?
This is likely the only downside of this class. There were a few near misses on major talent in this class, specifically QB/DB Malkom Parrish (uga), Mike Sawyers (Tennessee), Shai McKenzie (Virginia Tech), Donte Thomas-Williams, and Mike Rogers (UCF). All of those are guys that would have likely been difference makers on the Flats, and it sucks to see them end up elsewhere. That said, there's a school of thought that says our class is packed with guys who are underrated by the services out there, for one reason or another. The Austin twins wowed our coaches at camp, and yet were rated as mid-3 star guys due to their size. Searcy would have been an extremely hot recruit if he were playing against better competition. Antonio Simmons was lighting it up his senior year and had over a dozen schools trying to poach him.
So, the moral of the story is that, no, this class did not meet its potential, but yes, it did approach it. Nobody is going to get everyone they wanted on NSD (LSU had the #1 RB and #2 WR in the nation and missed on Lorenzo Carter -- it happens), but of the group we did get, they were almost all of the guys that we wanted as Plan A guys, and I have to commend the coaches for that.
Where does this class rank among Paul Johnson's?
Time will have to tell on answering this question, but I'm guessing that this is the happiest Tech fans have been on signing day since 2010, when Johnson signed five 4-star players. (That class ended up being a major flop relative to potential, with two of the 4-star players never playing a down at Tech (Ryan Ayers and Denzel McCoy) and 4-star Anthony Williams completely failing to meet his potential.) This class, as mentioned, isn't particularly highly-ranked, but is filled with players who are projected to out-perform their rankings. If that ends up the case, this class could end up creating a major change in Georgia Tech's fortunes in the near future.
What are your thoughts on how this class fits in to the team? Happy with how it turned out? Anything you would have liked to change?