In the run-up to the 2021 season, we revisit the last 5 recruiting classes, beginning with the Class of 2020. 2019-2020 marked Coach Geoff Collins and staff’s first full recruiting cycle on their mission to reestablish the culture around Georgia Tech’s football program. Let’s take a look at how they did.
High School Recruits:
RB Jahmyr Gibbs | 4-Star | .9652 Rating
The highest rated recruits since Derrick Morgan in 2007, Gibbs came to Tech with high expectations, and quickly made an impact on the Flats. He finished 2020 as a Freshman All-American (The Athletic), and will look to build on that opening campaign in the years to come.
QB Jeff Sims | 4-Star | .9169 Rating
Sims’ arrived at Tech after a rollercoaster recruitment, and we were happy to benefit from FSU’s lack of foresight. He proceeded to immediately show the Seminoles what they missed out on, and finished 2020 as the unquestioned starter. Sims’ potential is undeniable, and 2021 will be a major season for him.
CB Miles Brooks | 4-Star | .9086 Rating
Brooks was an early commitment to Tech, ending his recruitment in March 2019. In his first season at Tech, his impact increased late in 2020, and he’ll continue to build on that late-season surge in on-field contributions.
DL Jared Ivey | 4-Star | .8943 Rating
The North Gwinnett lineman had a great true freshman season, playing in 9 out of 10 games and making two starts against NC State and Pitt. Coming into 2021, Ivey will be a part of the defensive end rotation and will contribute in a major way.
WR Bryce Gowdy | 3-Star | .8891 Rating
Gowdy was a borderline 4-star receiver everyone at Tech was excited to have on campus. As shown by the continued recognition as a member of the team, Bryce made a deep impact in his short time with the program. He passed in December 2019 just after signing, and remains listed on the roster as #7.
WR Nate McCollum | 3-Star | .8867 Rating
McCollum saw a bit of game action in 2020, appearing in the final 6 games and catching 2 passes. With such a deep receiving corps, it will be tough for McCollum to break through, but still expect him to see the field and get his share of opportunities in 2021.
LB Khatavian Franks | 3-Start | .8835 Rating
Franks didn’t see the field in 2020, but with the departures and injuries at linebacker (Tyson Meiguez), I expect Franks to be ATL in 2021.
WR Ryan King | 3-Star | .8830 Rating
A product of the newly established Grayson-to-Georgia Tech pipeline, King was an early signee and came to campus ready to contribute. Much like McCollum, he didn’t make much of an impact in 2020 but looks to be in the receiver rotation in 2021.
OL Michael Rankins | 3-Star | .8755 Rating
A 3-star out of Tampa, Rankins was a promising signing to the 2020 class. After not playing in the 2020 season, Rankins left the team in Summer 2021.
OL Jordan Williams | 3-Star | .8742 Rating
Williams’ size and athleticism led him to becoming a day-one starter, and he was key to the improvements the offensive line made in 2020. JW will look to grow even more after a promising freshman campaign.
LB Tyson Meiguez | 3-Star | .8721 Rating
Meiguez had an auxiliary role in 2020, but looked to be in the mix at linebacker for 2021. A knee injury cut his season short, but Meiguez will be back in a big way in 2022.
CB Jalen Huff | 3-Star | .8689 Rating
Huff joined his cousin Jordan in the DB room at Tech, and was arguably the more impactful player in 2020. Huff will be in the rotation at CB, but he could be a player to watch as cousin Jordan entered transfer portal in early August.
OL Paula Vaipulu | 3-Star | .8627 Rating
Vaipulu came to Tech a sizable prospect needing a bit of polish on technique and footwork. He appeared in the NC State game, and will try to break into the OL rotation in 2021.
DL Kyle Kennard | 3-Star | .8614 Rating
Though not the highest rated DE prospect in his class, Kennard played the biggest. He saw the field in 6 games and registered 10 tackles and 2.5 sacks, good for 2nd on the team. Kennard showed a hunger to earn his place on the field, and he will push the top line starters in 2021.
LB Khaya Wright | 3-Star | .8605 Rating
A linebacker out of Miami, Wright saw action in five games as a true freshman, and with the attrition at linebacker will look to be consistently ATL in 2021.
DL Akelo Stone | 3-Star | .8601 Rating
Stone came on strong in 2020, including with a sack against Duke. I expect him to break into the DL rotation and continue to push for playing time.
TE Billy Ward | 3-Star | .8559 Rating
Ward was a big piece of the 2020 class and true to form saw the field early and often as a freshman. Though he didn't catch any passes yet, look for him to use his athleticism and increased strength better in 2021.
OL Wing Green | 3-Star | .8552 Rating
By far the largest recruit, Wing Green came to Tech as more of a developmental prospect, and did not see any game action as a freshman. Green will compete to be ATL in 2021.
QB Tucker Gleason | 3-Star | .8521 Rating
Gleason was an early commitment, signee, and enrollee at Tech, but ultimately lost out to a better athlete in Jeff Sims. Rather than battle with Jordan Yates for the backup role, Gleason transferred to Toledo following 2020 season and will look to start for the Rockets in 2021.
DL Albany Casey | 3-Star | .8518 Rating
A 3-star out of Alabama, Casey didn’t make the field in 2020. He will look to push for an ATL spot in 2021.
OL Kade Kootsouradis | 3-Star | .8473 Rating
Kootsouradis didn’t make the field in 2020 and will compete to be ATL in 2021.
WR Avery Boyd | 3-Star | .8450 Rating
A promising receiver out of Tallahassee, Boyd had his season cut short against Louisville. He will certainly be a part of the packed receiving corps, and will look to separate himself from his fellow second year wideouts.
DE Emmanuel Johnson | 3-Star | .8336 Rating
After playing in seven games as a freshman, Johnson entered transfer portal in January.
OL Ryan Spiers | 3-Star | .8160 Rating
Spiers did not see game action, will compete to be ATL in 2021.
OL Ryan Johnson, Tennessee
A three-year starter at Tennessee, Johnson came to Tech and along with Jordan Williams, Johnson was a part of the New Wave on the offensive line. He fit in well and brought much needed experience and stability to the group. After using the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility, Johnson will return to Tech in 2021 and continue the development of the offensive line.
OL Devon Cochran, Vanderbilt
After committing to the Jackets in January 2020, Cochran ultimately chose to sit out the 2020 season. He joins the Jackets in 2021, bringing with him a consistently high level of play from 3 years at Vanderbilt.
S Derrik Allen, Notre Dame
After transferring to the Jackets from Notre Dame, Allen saw the field in nine of ten games in 2020, recording 13 total tackles. It is tough to break through at safety right now, with Carpenter and Thomas’ spots solidified, but look for Allen to be one of the first reserve options at safety in 2021 as he competes with incoming freshman Kaleb Edwards.
In their first complete recruiting season at Georgia Tech, Collins and staff found multiple day one starters, and a number of players with major upside. Finishing at 27th nationally and 5th in the ACC, the 2020 class set a high bar for the new regime and brought in a mix of athleticism and leadership that will set the tone at Tech for years to come.