Back in December of 2011, FTRS founder (and former Ramblin’ Reck driver) Winfield Tufts reached out and asked me if I was interested in joining the staff on the site, specifically to cover the football team’s recruiting efforts. After contemplating a bit, I accepted. At the time, my deepest understanding of recruiting was “high school coaches are chasing high school football players around and hoping to sign some of them” — and on some level, that’s the deepest level of understanding any of us could possibly have on such a bizarre game as college football recruiting. However, I started putting in the time to figure out the current recruiting class, and eventually did some early-morning live blogging at the GTAA’s National Signing Day Celebration at the Edge Center. In the years since, I’ve learned more and more about the process, and followed the recruiting efforts more closely all the time.
I say all of that to say this: the 2017 recruiting class that Georgia Tech has put together is the sixth that I’ve paid close attention to, and it’s pretty clearly the most impressive that I’ve seen. Here are a few of my personal reflections on the class signed today.
The Rankings are Pretty Good!
The 2017 recruiting class finishes ranked in the mid-to-upper 40’s depending on the service, with one exception, as shown here:
Georgia Tech’s 2017 Recruiting Rankings
|Service||2017 Ranking||ACC Rank|
|Service||2017 Ranking||ACC Rank|
Truth be told, recruiting rankings where they are aren’t particularly impressive in a vacuum. However, considering the context with Georgia Tech’s limitations in the recruiting game, this ended up being a strong class for the Yellow Jackets. Ranking-wise, this is also one of the best classes this coaching staff has assembled since Paul Johnson took over almost a decade ago.
The relatively high ranking is backed up by the 247Sports Composite average rating, which is third-best out of all of the classes that Johnson’s staff has assembled.
Georgia Tech’s Historical 247Sports Composite Averages
|Year||247Sports Composite Avg|
|Year||247Sports Composite Avg|
A Class Built on Connections
One of the things that sticks out about this class, to me, and is a big reason that it ended up so strong? Look at the deep personal connections involved in its creation:
- LB T.D. Roof is the son of defensive coordinator Ted Roof.
- DB Tre’ Swilling and LB Bruce Jordan-Swilling are sons of Georgia Tech legend Pat Swilling, all of whom have a great relationship with T.D. and Ted Roof.
- DB Kaleb Oliver has a great relationship with fellow Murfreesoboro, TN native DB Gentry Bonds.
- OL Boe Tufele was a last-minute visitor who was discovered through the coaching staff’s connections shortly before National Signing Day.
- DB Tariq Carpenter flipped from UCF, around a week after DE Antwan Owens did the same. (Maybe there was no contact between them in the mean time. I doubt it.)
In a world where it’s not always clear where coaches manage to find players, it’s incredible to know that they’ve maximized on the connections available to them, and have encouraged the players to do the same.
Speaking of the players building connections, we’ve seen the committed players helping the recruiting efforts for the last several months. Their ownership over their own recruiting class also contributed to the eventual strong finish.
Staying Home, and Also Searching Far and Wide
The Jackets’ coaching staff did a nice job of recruiting their home state of Georgia, scoring 12 of 24 commitments without having to cross any state lines. The other commitments? Well, there were...
- 3 from South Carolina
- 2 from Tennessee
- 2 from Florida
- 2 from Louisiana
- 1 from California
- 1 from Hawaii
Often, recruiting discussions among the Georgia Tech fan base will swing back and forth from year-to-year on whether the coaches should be recruiting their own state more, or “casting a wider net” and trying to spread Georgia Tech’s message on a more national level. Well, with this class, they’ve done quite a bit of both. Half of the recruits were from in-state, while half were from elsewhere — including 4 from non-neighboring states, and 2 from clear across the country. We also knew about other targets from far away — multiple players in Hawaii, another in Oregon, and a late decommitment from Louisiana. The coaches seem to have struck a nice balance between recruiting locally and nationally, which they will hopefully manage to continue building on.
Positive Recruiting Momentum, Externally and Internally
Last thought here — it’s big for perception to start scoring commitments from big-name players on the national scale, like several of the top players in the Yellow Jackets’ recruiting class. Hopefully, that improved perception is helpful for the coaching staff in future recruiting classes.
However, there’s also good reason to believe they’ll be benefiting from some help internally as well. With the recent hire of new AD Todd Stansbury, there seems to be a renewed commitment from the athletic department to providing its programs with the resources they need to succeed. For the football program, much of that includes resources to support their recruiting efforts. As the staff gets more resources to work with, it only serves to further improve their recruiting efforts in the future, hopefully resulting in even better classes down the road.
Here’s one more look at the Yellow Jackets’ 2017 recruiting class. Congratulations to each of these players, their families, and the coaching staff!
Georgia Tech’s 2017 Recruiting Class
|DB||Gentry Bonds||6-1||190||Murfreesboro, TN||4-star (5.8)||3-star (0.8545)||Enrolled (1/9/2017)|
|DB||Jaytlin Askew||5-9||170||Powder Springs, GA||3-star (5.7)||3-star (0.8646)||Enrolled (1/9/2017)|
|P||Pressley Harvin III||6-0||230||Sumter, SC||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8145)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|OL||Connor Hansen||6-2||320||Tallahassee, FL||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8238)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|LB||TD Roof||5-11||202||Buford, GA||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8346)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DB||Dameon Williams||5-10||170||Norcross, GA||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8472)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|OL||Zach Quinney||6-6||260||Savannah, GA||3-star (5.6)||3-star (0.8396)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|OL||Michael Minihan||6-3||285||Honolulu, HI||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8403)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DB||Tre' Swilling||6-0||180||New Orleans, LA||4-star (5.8)||3-star (0.8752)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|LB||Bruce Jordan-Swilling||6-0||215||New Orleans, LA||4-star (5.8)||4-star (0.9150)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|RB||Jerry Howard, Jr.||6-0||210||Rock Hill, SC||3-star (5.6)||3-star (0.8147)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|QB||Tobias Oliver||6-2||180||Warner Robins, GA||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8312)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DL||Cortez Alston||6-3||250||Atlanta, GA||3-star (5.6)||3-star (0.8534)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|OL||Charlie Clark||6-4||270||Atlanta, GA||2-star (5.3)||3-star (0.8072)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|RB||Jordan Ponchez-Mason||6-1||205||Gallatin, TN||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8158)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DE||Kelton Dawson||6-2||240||Stockbridge, GA||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8359)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DB||Avery Showell||6-2||200||Cartersville, GA||3-star (5.6)||3-star (0.8320)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|LB||Jaquan Henderson||6-1||210||Covington, GA||3-star (5.7)||3-star (0.8813)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DL||Antwan Owens||6-4||286||Tallahassee, FL||3-star (5.6)||3-star (0.8192)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|K||Brenton King||6-0||165||Hoschton, GA||2-star (5.4)||NR||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DB||Tariq Carpenter||6-2||191||Ludowici, GA||2-star (5.4)||3-star (0.8182)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DT||Boe Tufele||6-3||290||Harbor City, CA||2-star (5.3)||3-star (0.8207)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DB||Kaleb Oliver||6-3||200||Murfreesboro, TN||4-star (5.8)||3-star (0.8670)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|WR||Adonicas Sanders||6-1||190||North Charleston, SC||2-star (5.2)||NR||Signed (2/1/2017)|