At this point, I’m not sure anyone is shocked at Jahmyr Gibbs’s departure. He is very talented, and everyone wishes him the best, but the program must look forward. In terms of experience, the Georgia Tech backfield will rely heavily upon Dontae Smith and Jamious Griffin, two experienced and talented backs who have both shown flashes of greatness. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some fresh legs get significant playing time relatively early in the season. Let’s take a peak at the new guys.
Jamie Felix, Camden County HS (GA)
Listed at 5’10”, 195 lbs, Felix joins the team as an all-purpose back that seems to have had a great deal of success in high school getting to the edge. He has wheels, but adjusting to college-level size and speed will take time. Fortunately, it looks like Camden ran some read option/power out of the shotgun, so that should flatten the learning curve a little bit. I also think he could be a valuable player in the slot or on screens out wide.
A major reason Felix chose Tech was his ability to play both football and baseball. Right now, he plans to be a two-sport athlete.
Antonio Martin, Langston Hughes HS (GA)
Martin joins the Yellow Jacket backfield as one of the more highly rated offensive recruits in the class. He finished in the ESPN Top 300, was rated as the #22 RB in the nation, and also a Top 30 overall recruit in the state of Georgia. He’s listed at 5’11”, 215 lbs, has power, speed, and the patience to let his blockers create holes. He received offers from Florida State, Tennessee, and Alabama (amongst others). Whenever I see Alabama on the offer list, it makes me feel a little better... Obviously that isn’t a sure sign of success, but it’s certainly not a red flag.
The AAAAAA GA State Championship was littered with Martin’s highlights, and even though Langston Hughes lost the game, he finished the day with 166 yards and 2 TDs.
Hassan Hall, Maynard Jackson HS (GA), Louisville
Last but not least, Hassan Hall will be joining the Yellow Jackets via the transfer portal as a grad-transfer. His stats out of the backfield while at Louisville aren’t earth-shattering, but his college experience and his special teams ability should make him an effective contributor immediately. He ran for 1,299 yards during his time in the Bluegrass State while nearly doubling that with 2,369 yards as a kick returner for the Cardinals.
He has blistering speed, clocking a 10.3 second 100-yard dash in high school, and will look to add more senior leadership to the offense while at Tech.
All three players highlighted above hail from the state of Georgia, which I continue to believe is a good sign of recruiting progress. Development clearly needs to improve on the whole, although the RB group has consistently been a strong point for Georgia Tech.
There have been a lot of moving parts this offseason, including the departure of RB coach and Tech legend Tashard Choice, but Mike Daniels is lucky to acquire such a deep, experienced backfield. We’re excited to see what he can do with these guys.