Big news broke for head coach Paul Johnson and the Georgia Tech recruiting staff yesterday when highly-regarded offensive lineman Jordan Johnson of Jacksonville, FL became the sixth commitment of the 2016 recruiting cycle. Johnson is currently rated as a top-25 offensive guard in the entire nation and features a 6-foot-3, 260 pound frame coupled with some of the best footwork you'll see from a high school lineman. At this point, I'm willing to call him one of the most college-ready prospects we've seen on the Flats in recent years. By most outside accounts, he stunned most people by choosing Tech over Rutgers, where his older brother was a star player. Props to him for making his own decision and paving his own path, despite what I imagine was some strong influence from Rutgers and those associated with the school. Johnson could be a bigtime player at Tech and I can't wait to see what he's got.
As it turns out, there is a story to accompany Johnson's recruitment process that is just as great as the player himself. While it was initially reported that Johnson would wait until National Signing Day to commit, he spoke with his mentor and ultimately decided to commit yesterday, sending out a Tweet on Tuesday night confirming that he would commit in the morning. Tech was his first offer, and he appears to have taken that and the Institute's world-renowned computer science program into account when making a decision. It is extremely refreshing to see yet another player who decided to come to Tech because he saw the value of a degree; it seems like fewer and fewer college athletes see the benefit these days. We should grant him an official pardon for saying University of Georgia Tech, by the way. He got jumped on by plenty of fans seconds after making the mistake and surely won't do it again!
The Macon Telegraph recently published an article detailing five of the players who could make or break Tech's upcoming football season, hitting on quarterback Justin Thomas, defensive end KeShun Freeman, defensive tackle Adam Gotsis, B-Back Marcus Allen, and safety A.J. Gray. I talked about Gray in yesterday's post and everyone knows about the impact of Thomas and Gotsis, so I'll focus on KeShun Freeman for now. The Telegraph was absolutely right to point out the rising sophomore as a potential difference maker, especially given the struggles of the passrush last season. Freeman brought home freshman All-American honors for his great efforts and should be an anchor for a much-improved rush this season -- I fully expect his numbers to balloon as he improves and guys around him step up. If all goes well, he should be our defensive MVP for the season and could turn in the best defensive season we've seen in a long time. To say that Freeman's performance could make or break the season is an understatement; he is a huge talent.
Head coach Paul Johnson made his selections for which players would be attending ACC media day for the Jackets this season, and it appears that Justin Thomas and D.J. White will be making the trip to Pinehurst on behalf of the Institute. I really can't think of any better players to select -- Thomas and White should be the main anchors of the offense and defense, respectively -- and it should be interesting to see what they have to say as well as how they handle the media. Last year's representatives, Shaq Mason and Quayshawn Nealy, did a fantastic job and hopefully Thomas and White can follow in their footsteps. The event begins on July 19th.
Do you think that Jordan Johnson has what it takes to contribute as a true freshman? What is his ceiling as a player?