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Georgia Tech Football: Recruiting Classes Revisited - 2019

There’s no sugarcoating this one; this class has been decimated, and Georgia Tech continues to pay for it

Georgia Tech v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The 2019 Georgia Tech recruiting class served as the bridge class between the two most recent coaching eras. After the hire of Geoff Collins, the new staff added several commitments, including most of the highest rated players in the class, but they have not worked out as hoped. Before diving into the specific members and contributions of the class, I wanted to take a broader look at how Georgia Tech’s on-field performance over the past six seasons compares to recent rankings in recruiting. To do this, let’s pair each recruiting class with the average performance in its second, third, and fourth seasons on the Flats. This means we have enough data to consider the 2014-2019 classes, and we will use the Massey Composite Index (a compilation of over 50 computer power ratings) as the index for on-field performance.

If a team falls below the x=y line, the recruiting class is generally outperforming its recruiting ranking, while a class above the diagonal line has underperformed its recruitment.

Over the past six seasons, GT has only one class (2014) that over performed, while the remaining five have slightly to vastly underperformed their recruiting rankings. It’s stunning to see the sustained underperformance in the transition period that includes the final Johnson classes and the initial Collins class.

As the transfer portal has become an ever-present force in college football, it’s assumed that there will be significant personnel turnover that happens during the final days of a departing coaching staff and the early days of a new staff. Georgia Tech may be one of the most instructive case studies for this phenomenon. The 2019 class that we are considering today has been flat-out decimated.

Initially, after Collins and company took over and added some final pieces to the class, the 2019 recruits came in with a composite average of 85.53, ranking 53rd nationally and 9th in the ACC. The composite average was slightly better than the final Johnson class of 2018. These players are now theoretically in their fourth year in the program and should be the heart of the team.

Unfortunately, they are making almost no impact at all. The raw numbers are simply stunning. This class had 22 members. Take a minute to try and guess how many of those 22 are still at Georgia Tech and part of the football team.


6. 6 players. Out of 22. Losing half of a transition class in this age of college football would be normal. Losing 73% of the class thwarts program building to an exceptional degree. Beyond that, as you will see below when we go through the individual members of the class, there is not a single member of this recruiting class expected to start for Georgia Tech in 2022.

Read that sentence again. These are the players who should be seniors and redshirt juniors. Not a single one will start in their fourth year out of high school. That is quite enough evidence to get an indictment against the talent development and deployment capabilities of this staff.

Let’s now get a little more granular and consider each member of the class. I’ve gone through each member of the class and provided the current position, the original composite rating, the current playing status, and an updated rating that I assigned.

Here’s how I’m evaluating each player:

>95: All-America Candidate

>90: All-ACC Candidate

85: Average Starter

<80: Below the Line

2019 Recruiting Revisited

Name Position 247 Composite Rating Current Status Updated Rating
Name Position 247 Composite Rating Current Status Updated Rating
Jamious Griffin RB 89.17 Third string back previously, Transferred to Oregon State 84
Wesley Walker CB 87.5 Starting NB previously, Transferred to Tennessee 86
Kalani Norris WR 87.09 Likely primary backup at wide receiver in 2022 84
Ahmarean Brown WR 87.09 Starter in 2019, Transferred to South Carolina 83
Jordan Yates QB 86.87 Started during 2021 Sims injury, Transferred to Sam Houston State 81
Jordan Huff CB 86.71 Very little playing time, Transferred to East Carolina 81
Sylvain Yondjouen DE 86.61 Solid way mixed with injuries, primary backup in 2022 83
Zach Owens WR 85.81 No career stats, not currently on roster 79
Kenan Johnson CB 85.51 Likely third string in 2022 81
Mike Lockhart DT 85.37 Transferred to West Virginia 86
Tony Amerson RB 85.26 Below the line, Transfer Portal, unsigned 79
Chico Bennett LB 85.19 Transferred to Virginia 85
Devin Ellison RB 85.05 Medical Scholarship after 2021 79
Kendall Young LB 84.64 Did not play, Transferred to Tyler Junior College 79
Nazir Burnett WR 84.57 Transferred to Temple 79
Dylan Deveney TE 84.45 Started, limited production at GT; Transferred to Rutgers 82
Jeremiah Smith S 84.31 Left Team after 2019 79
Demetrius Knight LB 84.31 Several position changes, expected to be in the LB rotation in 2022 82
Cornelius Evans LB 83.89 Transferred to Butler Community College 79
D’Quan Douse DT 83.43 Backup DT, expected to be part of 2022 rotation 81
Jamal Camp DT 83.27 Alternated between offensive and defensive lines, Transfer Portal, unsigned 79
Dylan Leonard TE N/A 16 career receptions, expected to be in rotation in 2022 81
Average 85.53 81.45

After doing my ratings updates, the 2019 class ended up with an 81.45 average, which is a full four points below their original rating. This was barely an FBS caliber recruiting class, much less Power Five caliber. The two players who demonstrated the most production, Walker and Lockhart, have transferred to other P5 destinations, and a third player, Chico Bennett, has developed at UVA to the point where he is expected to contribute heavily to their defense this season.

They are three of the sixteen players from the class no longer on the Georgia Tech roster. Out of the six still around, Norris and Leonard ought to feature in secondary roles in the passing attack; Douse, Yondjouen, and Knight will likely be second teamers, and Johnson has struggled when elevated beyond a third team type role. I do not expect any above average production from this class to benefit Georgia Tech this season. Another significant observation to make here is the ongoing consequences of this class containing no offensive linemen.

Last year, I reviewed the 2018 class, observed that only 8 members were left at GT, and wrote that that class was probably the one most affected by the coaching transition. Nope! 2019 has vaulted into the lead of that race. On the development and deployment side, the higher rated offensive skill position players mostly have did not live up to their billing nor found alignment with the system being employed by the Patenaude-era offensive staff. On the defensive side, the class had little high-end talent and has posted very little production. This is a nearly complete miss of a year, and the 2022 team looks likely to continue paying the piper for that miss.