Paul Johnson announced his retirement in December of 2018. Geoff Collins was hired as his replacement a month later. The 2019 class was the bridge class between the two stylistically opposite programs. Collins was able to come in and flip a few guys and add some impact transfers. The final class was ranked 50th nationally and 9th in the ACC, a standard ranking for Tech recruiting classes during the prior regime. The class has had a high amount of turnover and transfers out, but such is the new system in the era of the all-powerful Portal.
Griffin was the crown jewel of Collins’ first recruiting class. He was made a priority when Collins took the job and the staff was able to flip him from NC State. Griffin was a 4-star rated player and would go on to be named the 2018 Gatorade player of the year for the state of Georgia. He has been a solid contributor for the Jackets in his two years on campus, 84 carries for 354 yards and 2 touchdowns. He looks to be a contributor in what will be a crowded Jacket backfield in 2021.
Walker was another highly recruited member of the 2019 class. He was a top 20 ranked player in the state of Tennessee. He played in three games in 2019 before taking advantage of the four game red-shirt rule. He established himself as a defensive back to be focused on during the 2020 season. He played in 10 games and started five of them, he ended the season with 48 total tackles, 2tackles for a loss and 4 pass breakups. Walker looks to be one of the reliable starters in the secondary in 2021.
Norris was a 3-star wide receiver out of the Miami area. He has played in ten games in his Tech career and has recorded no statistics. Norris has a chance to contribute in a deep Jackets wide receiver room.
Yates was one of two quarterbacks signed in the 2019 class. He was Georgia 7A player of the year after winning a state title. Yates was red-shirted in 2019 after playing in three games. He played in three games in 2020, mainly as the backup to Jeff Sims. Yates will again be the primary backup this season.
Yondjouen was a player that Collins was able to convince to come to the Flats from Belgium. He was a 3-star rated player. He had a strong first season at Tech, playing in 11 games and making 2 starts, totaling 12 tackles and 1 tackle for a loss. Unfortunately, he only played in three games in 2020 before suffering a season ending injury. Youndjouen will play a part in the edge rush rotation this fall.
Johnson was a late addition to the class, after flipping from UNC. He was a 3-star rated prospect. He red-shirted in 2019 after playing in four games, recording 5 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and a forced fumble. He would play in 9 games in 2020, starting 3 of them. He recorded 13 tackles and 2 pass breakups. He will be a part of the secondary rotation for the Jackets.
Amerson was a 3-star running back from Montgomery, Alabama. He red-shirted in 2019 and appeared in three games in 2020, playing mostly on special teams. Amerson has a chance to contribute on special teams in 2021, but is not expected to break into the running back rotation.
Deveney was a 3-star rated tight end and was the first tight end the Jackets signed since the 2007 class. He appeared in 12 games, making 2 starts in 2019, finishing the season with 6 catches for 48 yards. He played in 7 games in 2020, making 6 starts, and finished the season with 4 catches for 38 yards and 1 touchdown. He will be the starting tight end for the Jackets this fall.
Knight was a 3-star duel threat quarterback, and the second one in the class. He was moved to linebacker before the start of the 2019 season and played in 12 games; making 18 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 2 pass breakups. He followed that up by playing in 8 games in 2020, recording 18 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 1 forced fumble. After spending some time at quarterback in the spring, Knight will again look to play a role in the linebacker rotation.
Douse was a 3-star rated defensive lineman. He red-shirted in 2019. He played in 9 games, making 2 starts at defensive tackle in 2020, recording 7 tackles. He should be a piece in the defensive line rotation this season.
Camp is the younger brother of Tech and Jaguars wide receiver Jalen Camp. He was a 3-star rated defensive tackle. He red-shirted in 2019 before making the move to offensive lineman in 2020. He didn’t appear in any games. He has a chance to be in the offensive line rotation in 2021
Owens was a 3-star wide receiver when he signed with the Jackets in 2019. He red-shirted in 2019 and appeared in one game in 2020.
Lockhart was a 3-star defensive lineman who signed with the Jackets in 2019. He played in four games in 2019 before taking a red-shirt season. He played in 9 games in 2020, making 5 starts at defensive tackles. He recorded 18 tackles with 2 tackles for a loss. He will be in the defensive line rotation this fall.
Collins was able to work the portal in 2019 and add significant players to the roster.
Sims was a top 200 rated player and a 4-star defensive back when he signed with Michigan in 2018 from Westlake HS. He red-shirted as a freshman at Michigan in 2018, before transferring to Tech. He played in 10 games in 2019, making 16 tackles and 3 pass breakups. He played in 8 games and made 2 starts in 2020, recording 15 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 2 pass breakups. Sims will be an important player in the Jacket secondary.
Clayton was a 5-star, top 50 ranked defensive lineman from Vienna, Georgia when he signed with the Florida Gators in 2016. He would play in 17 games in his 3 seasons in Gainesville. He was forced to sit out the 2019 season due to the transfer rules. He played in 5 games, making 4 starts in 2020. He recorded 9 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, and 2 sacks. He will be a starter for the Jackets at edge and expected to help a Tech defensive line produce more pressure than they have in the past.
Ezzard was a 4-star wide receiver from Stockbridge, Georgia who singed with Miami in 2018. He red-shirted his first season at Miami, appearing in two games. He would sit out the 2019 season due to transfer rules. He played in 8 games in 2020 as a wide receiver and a punt returner. He recorded 9 catches for 124 yards and 7 punt returns for 55 yards. He will be in the receiver rotation for the Jackets this fall.
Southers was a 3-star offensive lineman from New Jersey who signed with Vanderbilt in 2015. He would play in 27 games for Vanderbilt before grad transferring to the Jackets. He would start all 12 games for the Jackets during his single season on the Flats.
Davis was a 3-star tight end from New York when he signed with UCONN in 2015. He played in 36 games for the Huskies during his career. He would start in 11 games for the Jackets in 2019. He recorded 17 catches for 148 yards and 1 touchdown. He would go on to be the first Tech tight end drafted since the mid 90s and the first draftee of the Collins regime, going in the 6th round to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jackets signed 21 players in the class of 2019, 8 of those players have transferred out of the program. The change in staff and the growth of the transfer portal, this level of attrition was not unexpected.
Brown was a 3-star player from Tampa, who Collins was able to flip from Maryland. He was an immediate star for the Jackets. He played in 12 games, starting 10 during his freshman season. He recorded 21 receptions for 396 yards and tied the record for receiving touchdowns by a freshman with 7. He would start the first 7 games in 2020, before being sidelined by injuries for the last three games of the season. His stats fell off, only catching 11 passes for 183 yards and 1 touchdown. Brown then decided to transfer to South Carolina.
Huff was a 3-star player out of Morgan County, when he signed with the Jackets in 2019. He is one of the most recent players to enter the portal, announcing his move in August of this month. He had played in 8 games over the 2 years of his Tech career.
Chico Bennett Jr.
Bennett Jr was a 3-star defensive end who signed with the Jackets in 2019. He played in 15 games for the Jackets over his 2 years on the flats. He recorded 19 tackles and .5 a sack over his time at Tech. He transferred to UVA, and unfortunately tore his ACL during spring ball.
Ellison was a 3-star running back out of Jacksonville. He played in one game in 2019, before red-shirting.
Young was a 3-star linebacker from Arkansas who never made it to campus at Tech. He is listed as playing at Tyler Junior College.
Burnett was a 3-star wide receiver. He played in 2 games in 2019 before red-shirting. He transferred to Temple in the spring of 2020 and had to sit out the 2020 season.
Smith was a 3-star safety. Smith red-shirted in 2019 before entering the transfer portal.
Evans was a 3-star rated linebacker. Evans red-shirted in 2019 before entering the transfer portal.