Now that Brent Key is filling out his coaching staff, his coaches are out recruiting. We will review the recruiting class itself in a separate article, but I want to first look at what Tech is doing in the transfer portal.
Who does Tech have in the portal?
Georgia Tech presently has 8 players who have entered the transfer portal:
- LB Demetrius Knight (October 7)
- QB Jeff Sims (December 5)
- WR Ryan King (December 5)
- OL Ryan Adams (December 5)
- QB Taisun Phommachanh (December 8)
- DB Derrik Allen (December 9)
- OL Paula Vaipulu (December 9)
- WR Nate McCollum (December 9)
Tech was most impacted on the offense, losing a quarterback, wide receiver, and offensive lineman with significant playing/starting experience. Additionally, Tech lost valuable depth at each of those positions.
Of the guys in the portal, I think it’s clear to say that McCollum and Sims are the two biggest losses. But I don’t believe Tech is unprepared for those losses. Of course, we know that Zach Pyron is the heir apparent at quarterback, but what about slot receiver? I think Tech has two clear options at slot receiver: Malik Rutherford and Jamaal Haynes.
Of the two, Rutherford has a few games experience. As a true freshman, Rutherford appeared in three games and started in place of McCollum against Pitt. He caught five passes for 62 yards and nearly had a sixth that would have gone for a touchdown, but it was called back. He played a larger role this season and will actually be Georgia Tech’s leading returning receiver. He caught 23 passes for 225 yards. He also had an impressive 85% catch rate (second-best for GT receivers behind McCollum).
The loss of Demetrius Knight hurts quite a bit, too, with Georgia Tech losing Charlie Thomas and Ace Eley at linebacker. Trenilyas Tatum should slot into one of those starting spots, but there is no other guy who is a shoo-in at linebacker.
Who has Tech added from the portal?
As I mentioned earlier, Brent Key has already gotten his new coaches out recruiting. Thus far, Georgia Tech has added two players from the transfer portal: TE Jackson Long from South Florida and WR Chase Lane from Texas A&M.
Tight End Jackson Long
As a recruit, Long was rated as a 3-star by both Rivals (5.5) and the 247 Sports Composite (0.8511). He was initially committed to Tulane before flipping to USF. As a true freshman, he appeared in just one game and did not record any stats. Since I have nothing to go off there, let’s look at his high school film.
Watching his film, I can see that Long can at least catch a pass where he’s wide open over the middle of the field, so he has that going for him. Interestingly, he also has several blocking highlights, which is always nice to see. His receiving did not impress me a lot; a lot of his catches were him just being wide open and having a pass lofted to him. It’s tough to say if Long will impact Tech much as a receiver, but he’s another warm body at tight end, and he seems to be a solid blocker, so I’m good with this pick-up.
Wide Receiver Chase Lane
Chase Lane is the other player Tech has added thus far from the portal, and he brings a little bit more experience. He stands at 6-0, 194 pounds, so he could very well fit into the slot receiver vacancy. His best season came as a redshirt freshman in 2020. He caught 29 passes for 409 yards and two touchdowns. He was the third-most targeted receiver and had a catch rate of 66 percent.
In his other two seasons combined, Lane caught 19 passes for 208 yards. He sported a catch rate of 71 percent in 2021 and 64 percent in 2022. He only appeared in seven games this season before missing the rest of the season with an injury. He also has a bit of experience returning kicks, but I would not say he was notable for that. He had longs of 24 yards and 20, but in his eight other kick returns, he had a grand total of 10 yards.
According to Rivals’ Kelly Quinlan, Lane is also a serviceable blocker, which is nice to see in a wide receiver.
Of note, Lane has already earned one master’s degree from Texas A&M, so he will be pursuing a second one at Georgia Tech with his two remaining years of eligibility.
Who else would you like to see Tech snag from the transfer portal?