Quarterback -- Losing Damon Mitchell was pretty bad for us from a talent standpoint, though it may save us some problems in the locker room to lose a kid who seems a bit like a diva who wants nothing but attention. We replace him with Ty Griffin, who isn't as physically gifted and most likely won't see much of the field as a QB, but has a lot of good ball-carrying skills and could make the field as an A-Back or even as a punt returner (purely speculation there).
Grade: C+ (Mitchell would have meant an A.)
Running Back -- It really sucked losing Brendan Douglas, who looked like a pretty promising B-Back prospect in the sense he'd be a very reliable second-string guy although not necessarily a home run threat. Beyond that though, we kept two kids who are more physically talented in Donovan Wilson and Travis Custis. Wilson was a dominant player in Ohio, and apparently ran for over 600 yards in a game at one point according to the coaches (he was the lone bright spot in what was said to be a very, very bad high school team). He will more than likely play A-Back due to his elusiveness and ball-carrying abilities on the perimeter. Meanwhile, Custis was probably one of the best Running Backs in the state of Georgia, having a great senior season that got the attention of a ton of local schools. He never wavered from his commitment to Tech though, which is likely the reason he's not a 4-star player.
Keep in mind, too, we might not be done with Running Backs for this class, depending on Corn Elder's decision...
Grade: A- (A signing from Elder will make this an A+.)
Wide Receiver -- Again, the loss of JuMichael Ramos hurt here. Ramos was a teammate of Custis at Lovejoy HS, and was a guy that has some great deep-ball skills and general athleticism. A bright spot that we were able to keep, though, is Ricky Jeune (pronounced as if the 'e' isn't there), who shows great hands in traffic and great change-of-direction abilities. He signed alongside Antonio Messick, who might be the most questionable physically of all of the guys we signed. He's not particularly fast, but he's got good hands and will probably have around 210-215lbs on his 6'3" frame when he plays so that he can use his size on the outside.
Grade: C (Ramos staying would make this a B+)
Offensive Line -- This likely couldn't have gone much better for us, short of Jeremi Hall getting his act together and being able to stay with us. Shamire Devine is a straight-up hoss who is the best O-Line prospect in Georgia. Pair him with Chris Griffin, a district champion in wrestling who had a slew of offers from BCS schools (seemingly every BCS school on this side of the Mississippi offered him), and you've got a pretty dangerous tandem of offensive linemen. These two guys will make a huge impact on our offensive line.
Grade: A (Jeremi Hall makes it an A+)
Offense -- Overall we didn't have any major needs, but we added a lot of talent at RB and OL. The loss of Ramos and Mitchell will be felt in a couple of years though, compared to if we'd been able to keep them. The defection of 4 recruits on this side of the ball within 2 weeks of Signing Day are going to hurt the offensive grade for this class.
Defensive Line -- At signing day, we were told that Darius Commissiong was harassed by other teams right up until he turned his phone off the night before. Yeah, he's a good guy to have. Same with his high school teammate, Kevin Robbins, who turned down his father's alma mater Michigan State among a ton of BCS offers in order to come to Tech. The final Musketeer here is Justin Akins, a defensive end whose film looks really promising. We did ourselves quite a few favors in locking down these 3, they'll be a strong group of players for us. The only guy that could have rounded out this unit is Jaylen Miller, a defensive end from South Carolina who ended up pledging to Tennessee.
Grade: A (Miller makes it an A+, blue-chip group)
Linebacker -- We didn't pick up any pure linebackers (Robbins, Akins or PJ Davis may end up at OLB), but at the same time it wasn't a position of need for us. We're moving back to a 4-man front from a 3-4, which leaves us with a lot of guys caught in the middle of defensive end and OLB. That said, we would have loved to pick up a Carl Lawson or Trey Johnson (word is that we were right in the thick of it for Lawson in the last week before Signing Day -- his visit wasn't just a courtesy to Coach Roof).
Grade: C- (Getting anyone here probably makes it a B, but the lack of need keeps it from being an F.)
Secondary -- This might be the most underrated unit of the signing class. John Marvin has gotten all the respect he deserves as a very talented safety, but PJ Davis is a kid who will out-perform his 2-star rating by quite a lot, in my opinion. If you get a chance to look at any of his film, don't if you have a weak stomach -- this kid MAULS people. As mentioned before, he may end up at Linebacker. Corey Griffin is a kid we picked up after losing Tolando Cleveland to Mississippi State, and a kid who looks like a decent short-range nickel back who can play in the box and help with run support -- the strong safety type, if you will. I might catch some flak for this, but I'll say it anyways: I'm pretty pumped about these 3 guys.
Grade: B (Cleveland makes it an A)
Defense -- People are ready to crucify Coach Johnson for this recruiting haul, but I'd suggest you give it a bit of time before making your final judgment. I think these guys will do just fine.
Special Teams -- Harrison Butker might be our savior from kicking woes. Phenomenal signing by Coach Johnson at a position of major need.
Overall -- Again, give it some time. I want to cut the coaches some slack here from all of the BS that happened in the final 10 days, because there really is only so much you can do when you're recruiting kids who are being pulled in 10 different directions by sources you have no control over. Hopefully this year's nation-wide shenanigans push the NCAA closer to an early signing period, because it would do wonders for our program. Obviously not a great, eye-popping class for this program, and probably Johnson's worst since his first class, but I would hesitate to suggest that this class will be crippling to the program. I still think they'll be decent.