There’s no getting around the challenge that the Georgia Tech coaching staff has faced in getting its 2023 class off of the ground. No less than four factors have created a perfect storm of ambiguity for prospects considering GT right now: the 9-25 record of the past three seasons, the overhaul in the assistant coaching ranks this past offseason, the uncertainty about the staff’s viability going forward, and the ever-evolving NIL landscape in college sports. With all of that happening simultaneously, it was’t surprising to see the class lag behind the pace we have seen in previous cycles.
By the end of January, all three previous members of the 2023 class had decommitted, and the class sat on empty until Sunday. The staff went all in on filling out the roster through the transfer portal, which is a defensible move given their precarious standing.
Finally, though, there is movement forward. This weekend, the staff welcomed 6 official visitors to campus, and two of those recruits made their pledges to Tech within 24 hours of the visit ending. Let’s get to know these prospects a little but more.
Ethan Mackenny became the pioneer member of the 2023 class.
He’s an offensive tackle out of Lassiter High School in Marietta. He has reported nearly two dozen offers, including from P5 programs like Louisville, Michigan State, Mississippi State, NC State, UNC, and Virginia Tech. Mackenney is s a consensus 3 Star prospect, checking in at a 5.6 rating on Rivals and 86.2 in the 247 Composite.
Currently standing at 6’5” and 277 lbs., Mackenny is ironically more similar in his physical development to many of the tackles brought in under the previous regime.
A look at his junior highlights shows a player who is not constrained by his relatively thinner build to other recent offensive tackle commits. He has strong hands and throws a powerful initial punch. He moves well and loves to get to the second level when run blocking. There’s a combination of movement ability and power that shows why MacKenny would intrigue Brent Key and company.
We don’t get to see a lot of prolonged pass sets given the nature of Lassiter’s offensive scheme. The key will be whether Mackenny can see some weight gain while maintaining his encouraging power/movement combination. This will ultimately determine whether he can be a multi-year starter at the P5 level.
The second commitment came Monday morning from Anthony Little, an EDGE player out of Rock Creek Christian Academy in Upper Marlboro, MD (a DC suburb).
He reports a short but impressive offer list that includes Miami, Penn State, Pitt, Texas A&M, and West Virginia. Little is a 3 Star prospect who is unrated in the 247 composite and a 5.6 on Rivals.
Standing at 6’3” with reported weights ranging from 220 to 244 lbs., he looks physically imposing against many of Rock Creek’s opponents.
The strong side defensive end prospect shows us a lot of reps as a 5 technique but occasionally gets pass rushing reps from a wide 9, where he gets to unleash more of a speed rush from the outside. Given his competition level, Little doesn’t seem to need many refined pass rush moves, as he often gets into the backfield nearly unblocked. He shows some good stack and shed reps against opposing rushing plays but definitely will need more technical refinement under a college coaching staff.
Ethan Mackenney and Anthony Little have grabbed their places in the 2023 class, which now ranks 81st nationally. What else could be coming next?
247 has crystal balls logged for CB Quentin Ajiero, RB Trey Cornist, S Kamal Bonner, and RB Durell Robinson to join GT’s class. Rivals includes Futurecasts for WR Zion Taylor, Ajiero, and Bonner. The staff will host 6 more officials this coming weekend, headlined by Louisville commit and 4 Star EDGE Adonijah Green, as well as former GT commit Zachariah Keith.