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Recruiting Classes Revisited: 2017

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CPJ’s Last Heralded Class Looks To Make Its Mark With A New Coach

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at North Carolina Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech’s 2017 recruiting class brought a whole bunch of excitement for the renewal of Paul Johnson’s career. This recruiting class was arguably his strongest in terms of talent and numbers. Some players have performed as expected while some haven’t had the impact we all wanted, at least yet. In Geoff Collins’ new team they all have a chance to make a difference, or at least the ones still here.

2017 Recruiting Class

Georgia Tech’s 2017 Recruiting Class

Pos Name Ht Wt Hometown Rivals 247Sports Comp Status
Pos Name Ht Wt Hometown Rivals 247Sports Comp Status
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)

This class was ranked between 40th and 52nd in the country in large part due to the high profile defensive backs.

Who’s Gone?

Two players had already transferred prior to last year. TD Roof left for Indiana after Ted Roof and Georgia Tech parted ways. Cortez Alston decided to transfer to Penn after his freshman year.

We have already seen several more announced transfers since then. Cornerback Dameon Williams entered the transfer portal after hardly playing at all in his first two years. One week ago it was announced that safety Gentry Bonds and defensive/offensive lineman Boe Tufele would not be returning. I would not be surprised to see more transfers as Geoff Collins’ depth chart starts to shake out.

Impact

So far, the best player from this class has been the punter Pressley Harvin. Harvin is a stud and should be a monster for Tech in the upcoming two years. Kicker Brenton King struggled mightily in his freshman year and was never able to take hold of the starting job. Since then 2017 walk-on Wesley Wells has taken the job and earned a scholarship.

Offensively the stars of this group have been the B-Back duo of Jerry Howard and Jordan Mason. They were a solid platoon in their second season combining for 1,223 yards and came in first and second in rushing yards for Tech running backs. Now they face competition from all of the former a-backs for presumably fewer rushes. Quarterback Tobias Oliver outplayed opening day starter Taquon Marshall last year and showed some serious running ability (876 yards on 152 attempts, 5.8 yards per carry). Unfortunately for him he struggled throwing the ball and the new coach means a new competition that he might not be leading. This class brought in 4/5 offensive linemen (if you count Tufele as an offensive lineman) and with Tech’s lack of offensive line depth you would have expected them to make a big difference. Zach Quinney started 12 games at tackle and Conner Hansen started some at guard while Charlie Clark was important depth. None of them were notably effective.

Defensively was where the hype for this recruiting class was. 4-star Bruce Jordan-Swilling, son of GT legend Pat Swilling, has had playtime at linebacker, but hasn’t been able to establish himself on the field yet. His brother Tre Swilling got plenty of playtime in the secondary last year (starting several games) along with cornerback Jaytlin Askew. Tariq Carpenter started at safety while fellow class of 17er Kaleb Oliver backed him up. Antwan Owens got plenty of rotational time on the defensive line, but didn’t have a huge impact.

What Next?

Let’s start with quarterback Tobias Oliver. I think the most likely outcome is that Oliver gets some play time early in the year, perhaps in a time share with Lucas Johnson or James Graham. I have my doubts about him earning anything more than that.

Jerry Howard and Jordan Mason will be in a massive battle for playtime at running back, but they are the only proven runners at GT so I expect both will get their fair share of carries throughout the year, particularly Mason who is more versatile.

The only 2017 class member at wide receiver is Adonicas Sanders who has barely gotten any playtime in his career so far. Opening up the offense should give him more opportunity, but it’s hard to predict too much when we have not seen him a ton.

Next year will see a huge change at offensive line with the new system. Zach Quinney is looking like the most likely starter at left tackle after starting 12 games there last year. Charlie Clark and Conner Hansen aren’t expected to start, but should provide vital depth between the tackles. Mike Minihan seems buried on the depth chart.

Jaquan Henderson has a chance of seeing time as a pash rush specialist or edge player on this team after getting rotational time last year. At defensive end Kelton Dawson hasn’t seen much play time yet, but was a mainstay in the spring game. Expect to see him more often. Antwan Owens seems like a lock to start at defensive tackle where he is a little undersized or he could shift over to defensive end if we somehow have better options inside than outside.

At linebacker the 2017 class really only has one option, Bruce Jordan-Swilling. He has struggled so far, but absolutely has the talent to succeed if he takes a leap.

At defensive back is where this class should have it’s biggest immediate impact (outside of special teams). Tre Swilling should be a starter at cornerback and Jaytlin Askew has a chance to join him, but he should be at least the third outside corner. Tariq Carpenter has a chance to claim a safety position this year, but he should have some competition. Kaleb Oliver probably won’t be a starter at safety, but he should definitely see time at either safety or nickel back.

Pressley Harvin and Wesley Wells seem like locks at punter and kicker. Hopefully they continue to improve and remain a formidable combo.

Top 5 Players From The Class

1. P Pressley Harvin III

2. QB Tobias Oliver

3. Jordan Mason

4. Jerry Howard

5. Zach Quinney