Entering the month of January, Georgia Tech's 2016 recruiting class isn't exactly a sight for sore eyes. They have a total of only 12 commitments, tied for second-worst among Power-5 teams with Missouri, Colorado, and Indiana. (They project to end up closer to 20 when it's all said and done.) They're ranked 83rd by Rivals, fourth-worst among Power-5 teams and ahead of only Kansas, Indiana, and Colorado. They've struggled to retain commitments, losing a pair of offensive linemen immediately following the conclusion of the season. Their commitments include none of Rivals' postseason top 40 players in the state, and only three of the top 75 players in the state.
All of that said, there is still plenty of reason for hope. The Yellow Jackets have several high-value, high-profile players lined up to take official visits over the month of January, particularly later in the month. (That's a big deal too -- the closer a player's visit is to Signing Day, the more 'fresh' the school is in that player's memory as he makes his decision.) So, all was not lost.
Unfortunately, the month started off with a bit of a sputter. New Year's Day saw local DB target Baylen Buchanan, who recently went back on his long-term commitment to Louisville, commit to Tennessee, just a week after receiving a scholarship offer from the Volunteers on Christmas Day. Recall that Buchanan is the son of Atlanta Falcons legend Ray Buchanan, who is himself an alumnus of Louisville. Georgia Tech was thought to be the favorite by recruiting insiders shortly before Christmas, but apparently things changed when Buchanan received that offer. The thing to monitor from here is whether Buchanan still takes an official visit to Georgia Tech. Prior to his commitment, he had a mid-January visit scheduled to the Flats. Whether he still takes that visit is yet to be seen.
It got worse when, just a day later, local AB/WR target Tyler Simmons pledged to Alabama. Simmons was a bit of a late bloomer in recruiting circles, but finds himself ranked as a top-50 player in the state of Georgia by Rivals after his senior season. Georgia Tech was thought to be very much in the thick of it for him, but has now fallen short.
The good news here is that neither Buchanan nor Simmons were make-or-break players for this class. There are higher-profile, higher-value prospects very much still on the board and in play, and at positions of greater need for the Jackets. That said, it's easy to see how it was a bit of a discouraging start to the season for Georgia Tech. Here's to hoping they're able to land a few of their top targets over the coming weeks.