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Why You Should Like This Recruiting Class (So Far)...

The Flats should see a tremendous recruiting class come February 2014...

Scott Cunningham

Georgia Tech is on a pace to land possibly their finest recruiting class since the 2007 class that brought the likes of Jonathan Dwyer, Derrick Morgan, Josh Nesbitt, and Morgan Burnett and many others. There’s a lot to like about this class, which I will discuss below. What stands out about this group is that, above all else, these are TECH guys. That is, highly academic kids (I believe 3.5 was the group’s lowest GPA) who want to be at Tech for the right reasons. Second, these guys all have a swagger, an on-field mentality of knocking you in the mouth. They, for the most part, are all 2-way athletes and very physical players. Lastly, many of them are underrated because of their size or their limited exposure.

A Very Impactful and Eventful June

Of course, the month of June started off pretty crappy. On the morning of June 7, 4-star and Rivals 100 ATH Malkom Parrish (who was once thought to be a GT lock) was a no-show at the anticipated GT Recruiting Picnic and Camp weekend event. Parrish was likely going to be the crown jewel of the 2014 class…an electrifying player who was going to be the shutdown CB of the future (he’d have made a helluva QB too). Instead, it was a precursor to the inevitable, a switch to the DWAGS that had many thinking “here we go AGAIN” losing another in-state player to the cesspool.

But then things changed, and what DID happen on that weekend was pretty special. High 3-star DE KeShun Freeman got the ball rolling with the first commitment, followed the next day by 4-star CB Step Durham and DE Tyler Merriweather. It was revealed later that Merriweather, a lightly recruited player from LA (lower Alabama) was rated higher on GT’s board than many 4-stars we currently have offers out on, and will see his rating rise (I’ll explain more about our 2 players from LA). Lastly, the Sunday camp event saw jaw-dropping performances from a set of twin brothers from Lamar County HS. Lance Austin and Lawrence Austin, a pair of 5’9” athletes, each ran 4.40 40 times and displayed vertical jumps in the 38” range. As you know, the 3-star pair were offered a week later and committed. Not to be outdone, their talented 3-star Lamar County HS teammate Qua Searcy committed 2 days later to play WR for the Jackets.

But what about all of the talk about #themigration? We got our second commitment from outside the SE with Trey Klock, a ‘jumbo’ athlete who had BCS offers to play TE, OL, and DL. He’s an interesting case…he will likely grow into an OT, but has the athleticism to catch passes and present a different wrinkle around the goalline and short-yardage situations. I actually think he will play early on and there will be a tackle-eligible package created just for him. Rounding out June was an intriguing QB commit from Matthew Jordan, also from LA. Tech beat out Nebraska for the big, fast (6’2” 190, runs in the 4.5-4.6 range from his film) QB, with a great passing touch, who was on top of our QB board.

Could This Class Be Rated Higher?

Yes it could. As I mentioned above, we’re taking tough-nosed football players even though they may not have the prototypical size. LB Tre Jackson (5’11”), the Austin twins (5’9” each), and DE KeShun Freeman (6’3” 218) are all either shorter or lighter than many higher rated players…but these are players who have wowed scouts and coaches at camps and all-star events with their toughness, athleticism, and work ethic. We’ve also recruited deeper into less-traveled territory, much of thanks to CMP’s connections in Alabama, for S Jalen Johnson, DE Tyler Merriweather, and QB Matthew Jordan. All of these players were either unrated, or given the default ‘2-star’ (given when a BCS school offers a kid nobody has heard anything about), at the time of their commitments. It is highly likely that Matthew Jordan will be ranked among the nation’s top 30 dual-threat QBs, and Tyler Merriweather will rise in the SDE rankings (both will likely rise to a high 3-star). Let’s not also forget the class’ very first commit, S Miles Taylor, who is a solid 3-star playing in a very competitive DC Catholic League.

According to Rivals, we are currently in a tight pack of schools ranked between #30-#40 in the nation, and at 11 commits we are actually in good shape to add versus other schools. The Rivals August ratings update could push several of our commits’ ratings higher…and possibly push our recruiting class into the top 30 before adding additional commits. Though we have 19 available scholarship spots for the 2014 class, I am expecting the usual attrition of 2-3 players that could increase this class size to 21-22.

Is A Top 25 Class Possible?

Of course, we’ve seen that 8 of the 11 current players in this class are pegged for defense. There are several key offensive positions that require reloading as well…including B-Back, A-Back, and O-Line. We will certainly take 1 BB, 1 AB, and 3 more OL. On defense, we will certainly take 1 DT, 1 more LB, and 1 more DB. All together, this will bring us to 19 commits before any attrition. Beyond that, we may look to add a 2nd QB who’s more of an athlete, another rush DE, and versatile athletes in general.

To land that top-25 class, here’s what I think would need to happen. At BB we would land 4-star and Rivals 250 RB Shai McKenzie from PA, who has GT listed in his top 3 (FSU looks like the team to beat). At AB, we would land 4-star and Rivals 250 (and Tech legacy) Myles Autry from Norcross HS (FSU is also the main competition). At OL, we would land either Nolan Kelleher (Wando, SC) or Dyshon Sims (highly rated HS teammate of Tre Jackson)…but I think the other 2 spots are likely local kids who earn the scholarship through July camp. At OLB, we would land Orlando-area prospect high 3-star Terrell Lewis (GT is top 3 with Miami and LSU). We would land 4-star and Rivals 100 S Montae Nicholson from PA (will visit GT sometime in the near future). Lastly, though the current prospects are not promising in a weak DT crop, we would land either Michael Sawyers from TN or possibly flip 3-star Jamyius Pittman (currently an Ole Miss commit but friendly with CMP).

Should we not land the top targets I just listed, it would still be possible to land a top-25 class. One possibility would be to augment the 19 with highly rated players such as 4-star and Rivals 250 (and Tech legacy) DE Andrew Williams. The other possibility would be to flip players like RB Adam Choice (Clemson commit) or CB Malkom Parrish (DWAG commit)…both 4-star and Rivals 100 prospects. And if we don’t land our top targets, I’m happy to report that GT has offered well over 200 prospects in this recruiting class. Should we have to go down our board, or replace last-minute defections, our backup plans (with the exception of DT) are solid. I am extremely confident that this will be a very, very good recruiting class for Georgia Tech.

Your head spinning yet? Tell us what you are thinking about Football recruiting as we head into the last month before the ‘real’ action starts on the field in August!

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