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Football Recruiting Update: Week 2

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Surveying the 2020 class

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 29 Georgia Tech at Clemson Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The season might be underway, but recruiting season never ends. This fall, FTRS will keep track of Tech’s 2020 recruiting class as it evolves over the course of the season, taking a closer look at the sorts of players Geoff Collins and his staff are bringing in at each position and who else the staff might be targeting.

State of the Class

Tech headed into last week’s season opener with 20 players committed, and that remains the case a week later. The class currently stacks up like this:

2020 GT Football Recruiting Class

Pos. First Name Last Name Height Weight Hometown State Rivals 247Sports Comp Commit Date Signed LOI
Pos. First Name Last Name Height Weight Hometown State Rivals 247Sports Comp Commit Date Signed LOI
QB Tucker Gleason 6-2 206 Tampa FL 3* (5.6) 3* (.8622) 3/7/19 Yes
TE Billy Ward 6-4 235 Locust Grove GA 3* (5.6) 3* (.8559) 3/7/19 Yes
WR Ryan King 6-4 205 Grayson GA 3* (5.7) 3* (.8830) 3/14/19 Yes
DB Miles Brooks 6-2 183 Jacksonville FL 4* (5.9) 4* (.9087) 3/24/19 Yes
DB Jalen Huff 6-1 169 Buford GA 3* (5.6) 3* (.8689) 4/3/19 Yes
OT Jordan Williams 6-6 305 Gainesville GA 3* (5.7) 3* (.8742) 4/6/19 Yes
OL Cade Kootsouradis 6-4 285 Crestview FL 3* (5.5) 3* (.8473) 4/22/19 Yes
LB Tyson Meiguez 6-2 210 Fairburn GA 3* (5.7) 3* (.8721) 4/23/19 Yes
DL Akelo Stone 6-3 244 Savannah GA 3* (5.6) 3* (.8601) 4/26/19 Yes
APB Jahmyr Gibbs 5-11 194 Dalton GA 4* (5.9) 4* (.9653) 5/25/19 No
EDGE Kyle Kennard 6-6 215 Atlanta GA 3* (5.6) 3* (.8614) 6/12/19 Yes
OT Wing Green 6-7 270 Leesburg GA 3* (5.5) 3* (.8552) 6/25/19 Yes
EDGE Khaya Wright 6-3 200 Miami FL 3* (5.6) 3* (.8605) 6/25/19 Yes
OT Michael Rankins 6-5 275 Ruskin FL 3* (5.7) 3* (.8755) 7/1/19 Yes
WR Bryce Gowdy 6-2 190 Deerfield Beach FL 4* (5.8) 4* (.8980) 7/30/19 Yes
WR Avery Boyd 6-2 198 Tallahassee FL 3* (5.6) 3* (.8376) 8/24/19 Yes
OL Ryan Spiers 6-4 275 Biloxi MS 2* (5.4) 3* (.8160) 9/8/19 Yes
WR Nate McCollum 5-9 180 Hampton GA 3* (5.7) 3* (.8870) 10/25/19 Yes
OL Paula Vaipulu 6-4 303 Channelview TX 3* (5.5) 3* (.8627) 10/31/19 Yes
DE Albany Casey 6-4 240 Bay Minette AL 3* (5.6) 3* (.8518) 12/3/19 No
DT Emmanuel Johnson 6-4 260 North Charletson SC 2* (5.4) 3* (.8336) 12/11/19 Yes
EDGE Jared Ivey 6-6 215 Suwanee GA 3* (5.7) 4* (.8946) 12/11/19 Yes
LB Khatavian Franks 6-2 205 Fairburn GA 3* (5.6) 3* (.8837) 12/18/19 Yes
QB Jeff Sims 6-3 205 Jacksonville FL 4* (5.8) 4* (.9169) 12/18/19 Yes

Class Breakdown

Since this is the first recruiting class review of the season, it’s worth taking a slightly closer look at how Tech currently stacks up in each position group.

Quarterbacks and Running Backs

The first commit of the 2020 class was three-star quarterback Tucker Gleason, who is listed as a pro-style QB but could easily have been classified as a dual-threat player based on his junior film. From a broader numbers perspective, taking just one QB should give Tech class separation in between everyone behind Lucas Johnson and Tobias Oliver.

Jahmyr Gibbs is the only running back commit, and with seven scholarship running backs set to return next year, another addition to the backfield seems unlikely. Gibbs’ lethal agility could be his key to playing time in a very crowded stable.

Receivers and Tight Ends

Tech picked up a major boost at wide receiver late in the summer, going from one to three players at the position with the commitments of four-star prospect Bryce Gowdy and three-star recruit Avery Boyd. Between those two and longtime commit Ryan King, the staff has placed an emphasis on size at wideout for the 2020 class, with all three players listed as at least 6-foot-2.

Locust Grove product Billy Ward is the only tight end signee to date. With only three scholarship tight ends on the roster and two of them (Tyler Davis and Tyler Cooksey) set to depart after this season, this could be a spot where Tech looks to add another commit... if there’s room in the class (more on that later).

Offensive Linemen

Thanks in large part to the coaching transition, the Jackets added zero linemen in the 2019 class, and Collins and his staff are looking to make up for it in the upcoming class. Five linemen are committed, with central Florida product Michael Rankins checking in as the highest-rated of the bunch on the 247Sports Composite index. With depth already limited and two starters and a key reserve set to depart after this season, the offensive line is shaping up as a major priority for the 2021 class as well.

Defensive Linemen

With four commits on the board, Tech is building up a talented young group of players on the defensive line. The top name here is JaQuari Wiggles (both for the name and for the talent), who could project as either an interior lineman or a base defensive end—the player who lines up on the opposite side of the Edge player. That Edge position was the source of the only decommitment in this class to date—Eddie Watkins, who withdrew his commitment on August 21—but Tech still has two players committed at a position where the team is still seeking a dangerous pass-rushing threat.

Linebackers

Depth is light at linebacker, but with only two LBs on the field in the new 4-2-5 scheme, there was no need to add a ton of new players here. The Jackets have commitments from three-star prospects Tyson Meiguez and Jared Behrens, and with none of the current linebackers set to depart after the season, Tech will likely stand pat if those two stay committed.

Defensive Backs

While the secondary isn’t as much of a priority for the 2020 class as it has been in recent years, the Jackets will be adding a ton of talent if the current commits stay true. Four-star cornerback Miles Brooks is the team’s highest-rated commit on the 247Sports composite index, and safety Nick Turner—a product of the Swilling brothers’ old high school in Louisiana—will add much-needed depth to his position group. Just before the season, Tech also added Notre Dame transfer Derrik Allen, a former four-star safety (5.9 on Rivals and .9516 on the 247Sports Composite) who will have three years to play starting in the 2020 campaign.

Specialists

With both Wesley Wells and Pressley Harvin III set to return in 2020, the staff will not be looking to add a kicker or punter.

Top Targets

The two most intriguing names on the board at the moment are both tied to Nick Saban’s program: four-star defensive back Javier Morton, who decommitted from Alabama on August 28, and four-star defensive tackle Jayson Jones, who remains committed to Alabama. Morton recently named Tech as his leader in an interview with Chad Simmons of Rivals, and 247Sports lists offensive line coach Brent Key as Tech’s primary recruiter for Jones, suggesting the two have been in contact since Key’s time in Tuscaloosa. Landing even one of them would be a massive step forward for Collins and his staff as they seek to establish a recruiting foothold.

Class Outlook

As of now, Tech is in an odd position: on paper, there appear to be more players committed than spots available. Twenty players are committed for next season, but there are only 11 scholarship seniors (plus four additional currently open scholarships due to last-minute attrition before the season). Counting scholarships tends to be an imperfect science, and it’s possible that some current non-senior players have informed Collins of plans to leave the team after this season (perhaps upon graduation), which would open up additional scholarships. It’s a strange scenario, but it’s far too early to assume Tech is oversigning or anything of that nature.

As for the positional numbers game, the class is remarkably balanced, with commitment numbers very closely matching team needs by position. There’s also been a small but measurable uptick in talent even within the three-star commits that make up the majority of the class. For each of Paul Johnson’s classes from 2014-2018, about a third of the players in each class were rated higher than .8500 on the 247Sports Composite index. For Collins’ 2020 class, 14 of the 20 commits—or 70% of the class—clear that rating benchmark.

It’s important to note that this is based on a small sample and uses a fairly arbitrary benchmark. Regardless, it’s a promising sign that recruiting is gradually improving already. Collins and his staff have not been shy about getting into recruiting battles with established powers, and if they can pull a couple four-star signees away from big-name programs—assuming there’s room to bring them in—then it could help to lay a solid foundation for the Collins era.