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Recruiting Classes Revisited: 2016

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A class filled with some stars and duds

NCAA Football: TaxSlayer Bowl-Kentucky vs Georgia Tech
RIP Big B
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech’s 2016 class was a pretty interesting class, in that it has very much been a boom or bust class. Nearly every player has turned into a solid starter or phased out pretty quickly, which is interesting for a class that finished ranked 67th overall by Rivals and 60th overall by 247 Sports. Let’s take a look back at the class.

Georgia Tech 2016 Recruiting Class

Position Player Height Weight Status Rivals 247Sports Composite
Position Player Height Weight Status Rivals 247Sports Composite
LB Emmanuel Bridges 6-1" 208 Signed (2/3/2016) 3-Star (5.7) 3-Star (0.8634)
BB Dedrick Mills 5-10" 220 Signed (2/3/2016) 3-Star (5.6) 3-Star (0.8535)
DE Desmond Branch 6-4" 265 Signed (2/3/2016) 2-Star (5.4) 3-Star (0.8348)
DT Chris Martin 6-2" 250 Signed (2/3/2016) 3-Star (5.5) 3-Star (0.8454)
DB Jarett Cole 5-10" 185 Signed (2/3/2016) 3-Star (5.5) 3-Star (0.8473)
OL Kenny Cooper 6-3" 285 Signed (2/3/2016) 2-Star (5.3) 2-Star (0.7852)
DT Brandon Adams 6-2" 300 Signed (2/3/2016) 3-Star (5.5) 3-Star (0.8309)
WR Jalen Camp 6-2" 210 Signed (2/3/2016) 2-Star (5.2) 3-Star (0.7986)
WR Jair Anderson 6-2" 185 Signed (2/3/2016) 2-Star (5.4) 3-Star (0.8456)
WR Steve Dolphus 6-5" 200 Signed (2/3/2016) 3-Star (5.5) 3-Star (0.8410)
LB Jakob Brashear 6-1" 210 Signed (2/3/2016) 2-Star (5.4) 3-Star (0.8339)
AB Xavier Gantt 5-10" 170 Signed (2/3/2016) 3-Star (5.7) 3-Star (0.8606)
QB/ATH Jay Jones 6-0" 180 Signed (2/3/2016) 3-Star (5.7) 3-Star (0.8515)
OL Parker Braun 6-3" 272 Signed (2/3/2016) 3-Star (5.7) 3-Star (0.8712)
DE Jordan Woods 6-3" 250 Signed (2/3/2016) 4-Star (5.8) 3-Star (0.8869)
CB Ajani Kerr 6-1" 185 Signed (2/3/2016) 2-Star (5.2) Not Rated
OL/DL Jahaziel Lee 6-3" 260 Signed (2/3/2016) 2-Star (5.2) 2-Star (0.7678)
QB Lucas Johnson 6-3" 185 Signed (2/3/2016) 3-Star (5.5) 3-Star (0.8162)

Who’s Gone?

Well, in short, most of this class is gone, for one reason or another. Cade did a really good job of going through the players who left before this last season with this article last year.

DE Jordan Woods: Once the second-best player in the class as far as recruiting rankings are concerned, Woods sat out his true freshman campaign with a torn labrum. He then departed for FIU, calling his time at Tech “useful”.

BB Dedrick Mills: A true tragedy. Mills was supremely talented and likely would have been the top B-Back of the Paul Johnson era if he had distributed his three strikes a bit more evenly across his Tech career. Instead, he’s the biggest coulda-been of the Johnson era.

LB Emmanuel Bridges: Bridges was highly sought-after in high school but never showed any real promise at Tech. He was a big get at the time, choosing Tech over Tennessee.

QB Jay Jones: Jones came in with Lucas Johnson. It was clear that one or the other would probably not last, and it was ultimately Jones who showed himself the door after being buried on the depth chart.

Fast-forward a year,and now a few more players have joined the group. Going down the list, here are the rest who have departed from Tech.

  • DE Desmond Branch: Branch ended with a solid career at Tech, finishing as a starter in Nate Woody’s defense. His senior season was his best, where he finished with four tackles for loss and an interception.
  • DB Jarett Cole: A number of folks reported this earlier in the season, but Cole is not listed in the media guide and is reported to be in the transfer portal. Cole was expected to be a big player at the Nickel position in Ted Roof’s defense, but never saw the field much.
  • DT Brandon Adams: This was easily the hardest loss for everybody. Adams unfortunately passed away during the offseason, but was set to be an impact player for the Tech defense.
  • LB Jakob Brashear: The AJC reported earlier this offseason that Brashear was being placed on a medical redshirt, effectively ending his football career at Tech but allowing him to finish his degree without counting against the 85-man count.
  • OG Parker Braun: This one was a bit of a surprise. There is always attrition with a coaching change, but nobody expected Braun to be one of the guys to transfer. Now at Texas, Braun elected to transfer for his master’s program and some other reasons.
  • RB Xavier Gantt

Who’s Left?

A number of these players have already played meaningful minutes or become full-fledged starters for the Yellow Jackets: DL Chris Martin, OG Kenny Cooper, WR Jalen Camp, CB Ajani Kerr, and OL/DL Jahaziel Lee. The rest of the folks in this class have a chance to make an impact this season.

The biggest name here is QB Lucas Johnson, who is projected to be the starter come August. WR Steve Dolphus should also prove to be a solid target for Johnson as one of the first men off the bench.

Jair Hawkins-Anderson is a bit of a wildcard here. Though he originally came in as a wide receiver, Hawkins-Anderson is now at cornerback, where he will be playing press coverage in Geoff Collins’ more aggressive scheme.

Top 5 Players of the Class

  1. OG Parker Braun
  2. DT Brandon Adams
  3. OG Kenny Cooper
  4. DE Desmond Branch
  5. WR Jalen Camp

I’m changing this a bit from Cade’s list last year (Braun/Cooper/Branch/Adams/Lucas Johnson). The biggest change here is swapping out Lucas Johnson for Jalen Camp. Main reason I did this was because Camp has played meaningful minutes and is a multi-year starter. He didn’t get a ton of use in the Paul Johnson era, but he has a chance to move up these ratings after this year.

Conclusion

Overall, this class has provided some of the best players Tech has had these last several years and now provide some of the team’s most important leaders. It’s also a good example of how recruiting is very hit or miss.