This week is going to be a little different as we take a look back at the recruiting classes that make up this year’s team in order to see who is still with the team and what they are doing with it.
Georgia Tech’s 2017 class is, without a doubt, one of the best that Paul Johnson has brought in during his tenure with the Yellow Jackets. Between the sheer number of recruits and the abilities of a few special players, it has a chance to go down as a great recruiting class.
Georgia Tech’s 2017 Recruiting Class
|DB||Gentry Bonds||6-1||190||Murfreesboro, TN||4-star (5.8)||3-star (0.8545)||Enrolled (1/9/2017)|
|DB||Jaytlin Askew||5-9||170||Powder Springs, GA||3-star (5.7)||3-star (0.8646)||Enrolled (1/9/2017)|
|P||Pressley Harvin III||6-0||230||Sumter, SC||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8145)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|OL||Connor Hansen||6-2||320||Tallahassee, FL||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8238)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|LB||TD Roof||5-11||202||Buford, GA||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8346)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DB||Dameon Williams||5-10||170||Norcross, GA||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8472)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|OL||Zach Quinney||6-6||260||Savannah, GA||3-star (5.6)||3-star (0.8396)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|OL||Michael Minihan||6-3||285||Honolulu, HI||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8403)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DB||Tre' Swilling||6-0||180||New Orleans, LA||4-star (5.8)||3-star (0.8752)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|LB||Bruce Jordan-Swilling||6-0||215||New Orleans, LA||4-star (5.8)||4-star (0.9150)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|RB||Jerry Howard, Jr.||6-0||210||Rock Hill, SC||3-star (5.6)||3-star (0.8147)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|QB||Tobias Oliver||6-2||180||Warner Robins, GA||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8312)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DL||Cortez Alston||6-3||250||Atlanta, GA||3-star (5.6)||3-star (0.8534)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|OL||Charlie Clark||6-4||270||Atlanta, GA||2-star (5.3)||3-star (0.8072)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|RB||Jordan Ponchez-Mason||6-1||205||Gallatin, TN||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8158)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DE||Kelton Dawson||6-2||240||Stockbridge, GA||3-star (5.5)||3-star (0.8359)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DB||Avery Showell||6-2||200||Cartersville, GA||3-star (5.6)||3-star (0.8320)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|LB||Jaquan Henderson||6-1||210||Covington, GA||3-star (5.7)||3-star (0.8813)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DL||Antwan Owens||6-4||286||Tallahassee, FL||3-star (5.6)||3-star (0.8192)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|K||Brenton King||6-0||165||Hoschton, GA||2-star (5.4)||NR||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DB||Tariq Carpenter||6-2||191||Ludowici, GA||2-star (5.4)||3-star (0.8182)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DT||Boe Tufele||6-3||290||Harbor City, CA||2-star (5.3)||3-star (0.8207)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|DB||Kaleb Oliver||6-3||200||Murfreesboro, TN||4-star (5.8)||3-star (0.8670)||Signed (2/1/2017)|
|WR||Adonicas Sanders||6-1||190||North Charleston, SC||2-star (5.2)||NR||Signed (2/1/2017)|
In terms of rankings, this class ranked between 40 (Rivals and ESPN) and 46 (247Sports), with an outlier in Scout, which ranked the class 52. One of the more noticeable things this class did was bring in seven defensive backs, all well-ranked.
Despite this class only having been here for a year, it has already lost two players: TD Roof and Cortez Alston. After Ted Roof left the Yellow Jackets to join NC State, the younger Roof left as well, though he opted to transfer to Indiana to finish his college career. That was a decision that many saw coming. In his lone year on the Flats, Roof was able to make a bit of an impact, picking up two sacks against Jacksonville State and being a key member on special teams all year.
Alston is a bit of a different story. He sat out last season to redshirt and then opted to transfer during the spring. He later announced on Twitter that he was transferring to Penn.
This class did a good job of showing how impactful it was going to be in its first season, featuring nine returning players who saw action last season: Jerry Howard, Bruce Jordan-Swilling, Antwan Owens, Jaytlin Askew, Pressley Harvin III, Brenton King, Tariq Carpenter, Jaquan Henderson, and Connor Hansen.
A few of these guys played sparingly or mostly special teams, but there were also some key contributors here, most noticeably Bruce Jordan-Swilling. He played in 11 games last season, starting one game against Virginia. In those games, he made his presence known, finishing seventh on the team with 34 tackles. His start against Virginia is easily his most memorable moment. He finished the game with 11 tackles, a forced fumble and recovery, and a 27-yard pick six to open up the second half.
Outside of Jordan-Swilling, Pressley Harvin III was probably the biggest contributor. It’s been a long time since the Yellow Jackets have had a good punter, but now they have one and everything is great. Harvin III averaged a whopping 44.1 yards/punt, with his longest being 62 yards. He didn’t get much help from the rest of the special teams, but Harvin III was great and will continue to do so.
We were able to get somewhat of an idea of what the depth on this team will look like in this next season, with an updated depth chart being released during the ACC Media Days earlier this week. Looking at it, there are a number of players in or near starting positions. But who is going to be the next player to make a big impact? I think it comes on defense.
There are seven players from the 2017 class listed in the most recent two deep. Now while things are certainly subject to change, this is all we have to go with right now, so we’ll make do.
What excites (and terrifies) me most is the secondary. The Yellow Jackets lost every single starter from the secondary last season, which is one of the reasons they took seven defensive backs in this class. Right now, three players are starters/co-starters in those positions: Tariq Carpenter (SS), Jaytlin Askew (CB) and Tre’ Swilling (CB). The youth that the Yellow Jackets have in the secondary will most certainly bring some growing pains, but as they grow and mature, this secondary will become a force.
Top 5 Players From the Class
Something we want to do with this series is continually revisit and see how the players are growing. The main way we’ll do this is by ranking the top five players from the class year by year and seeing how that changes year to year.
- LB Bruce Jordan-Swilling
- P Pressley Harvin III
- BB Jerry Howard
- K Brenton King
- Tied - DE Antwan Owens, DB Tariq Carpenter, LB Jaquan Henderson
It’s still really early with this recruiting class; they’ve only been here a year. It is exciting, however, to see some of these players already making huge impacts on the team. This is an exciting young class, and I’m pumped to see how this class continues to grow.