After a relatively quiet few weeks on the recruiting trail, the Jackets made a splash on Thursday evening by securing commitments from a pair of three-star prospects. Linebacker Ahdarrious Gee and athlete Jalon Calhoun both announced that they will play their college ball in Atlanta next year, giving Tech a total of seven commitments to date for the 2019 class.
Gee, a linebacker from Crisp County HS in Cordele, Ga. (about halfway between Macon and Valdosta), announced his commitment on Twitter late on Thursday afternoon. He was rated a three-star prospect on both Rivals (5.6) and the 247Sports Composite (0.8556). Gee committed to South Carolina last summer before decommitting and reopening his recruitment in February; in addition to the offer from the Gamecocks, he had reported offers from Vanderbilt, N.C. State, Mississippi State, Kentucky, and a handful of other schools, according to Rivals.
Gee primarily lines up at outside linebacker in Crisp County’s 3-4 defense, and that’s exactly where he’s likely to end up in Tech’s lineup. Physically, he’s exactly the type of player that defensive coordinator Nate Woody is looking for at the outside linebacker position: a safety/linebacker hybrid with good quickness and sharp instincts.
In his film, Gee is effective in run support, tracking the ballcarrier well and lining up ideal pursuit angles. He shows promise in the pass rush, where his quickness enables him to get into the backfield quickly and cause havoc for the quarterback. Even in the couple cases when the quarterback escapes, Gee is able to quickly catch up and pressure him into throwing it away or taking the sack. The most promising aspect of his game, though, is his tackling form. There are lots of well-executed wrap-up tackles in Gee’s film, which is a very good sign for a high school prospect.
Other than one play in which he diagnoses and snuffs out a screen pass, Gee’s film shows very little of him in coverage, and that’s likely the area where he’ll have the most to learn as he makes the jump to college ball. In addition, at a listed weight of 203 pounds, he will need to bulk up before he’s ready to be an every-down linebacker for Tech. That said, his familiarity with the 3-4 front will be a boon for a defense where everyone is learning the new scheme, and it could help him work his way into the OLB rotation sooner rather than later.
The day’s second commitment came from Calhoun, a 5-foot-11, 177-pound athlete from Greenville, S.C. who plays quarterback for his high school team but could end up elsewhere at the next level. Calhoun posted on Twitter about his offer from Tech the day before he committed. He chose Tech over offers from Penn State, Air Force, East Carolina, Coastal Carolina, and several FCS schools, according to 247Sports. He too was rated a three-star recruit on both Rivals (5.5) and the 247Sports Composite (0.8333).
Calhoun’s film is nine minutes of quarterback highlights, and he has the skillset to play quarterback in a spread option offense.
In terms of running ability, Calhoun’s biggest strength is his agility. He is able to change direction rapidly and get around would-be tacklers in the open field, much in the style of TaQuon Marshall. He isn’t the fastest quarterback prospect with regard to top speed, but he’s fast enough to break off a long gain if he can buy himself some room to run. As a passer, Calhoun is a bit more of a project. His mechanics are somewhat unusual, and some of his throws sail a bit too close to defenders for comfort... but he is able to connect with receivers deep downfield, so the raw talent is there.
All that said, it’s not yet clear if Tech was recruiting him as a quarterback or for another position, and the latter case seems more likely. Calhoun’s own Hudl profile lists him as a wide receiver and cornerback prospect, and while he’s probably too small to play receiver for Tech, he could conceivably project as either an A-back or a cornerback. His best attribute as a quarterback—namely, his agility as a runner—would serve him well at A-back in Tech’s offense. On the other hand, he was recruited by defensive backs coach Shiel Wood; this is likely simply because South Carolina is part of Wood’s recruiting territory, but it could also indicate plans to use Calhoun as a defensive back.
Wherever he ends up for Tech, Calhoun will likely need to redshirt for a year while learning his new position and adding some muscle. Down the line, though, he has the talent to be a useful contributor on either side of the ball.