(This blog has been completed updated from earlier.)
According to recruiting “experts” — and I defer to Rivals and Scout in this area, much like I would defer to Mrs. Paul’s when it comes to being experts on seafood – Georgia Tech really stinks in recruiting.
Now, I’ve made it no secret that national letter of intent day is my least favorite day on the sports calendar. It’s how I would imagine Christmas in hell.
It’s nothing against the kids who are given scholarships. It’s about the process and the attention it’s given. As Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski accurately summarized, “We are a society of gross overstatement and exaggeration,” and that’s no more evident than in recruiting.
This is all you need to know about the “experts” recruiting rankings: In real football last season, the Yellow Jackets finished No. 8 in the AP rankings and No. 7 in the coaches’ poll. That 2014 team that went 11-3 and won the Orange Bowl was built on recruiting classes (2011-14) that Rivals ranked 41st, 57th, 85th and 47th and Scout ranked 46th, 59th, 72nd and 47th.
“We were recruiting a guy a week ago and he was a two-star,” Jackets coach Paul Johnson said. “Now one of the schools in the top five is recruiting him and he’s a four-star — three days later. That’s how that works.”
Johnson signed 27 players, the biggest recruiting class of his tenure. He’s smart enough to not make any projections but feels good about the players he signed, and, as he jokes annually, “They all come highly recommended.”
Let’s not make this out that Johnson does so much more with less than most coaches because that would suggest the recruiting rankings were accurate to begin with.
Every player in this class is a “three-star.” No fours. No fives. No top 100s.
The class ranking: 37th by Rivals, 40th by Scout.
Damn good fish sticks.
This class includes 17 players from in-state, some potential immediate impact players on defense and four players who won player of the year honors at school levels in their respective states (Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana). Most of the players had verbally committed before Tech’s season, but Johnson said the wins “helped keep the class together. We didn’t have as much of the negativity and the talk about flipping.”
Tech is riding momentum — everywhere except the rankings that don’t matter.
•A writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: Dan Quinn’s ascent to top job was years in making — AJC: Forget trade talk — Dan Quinn wants Julio Jones on his team — AJC: Falcons need players but Dan Quinn is a good start — MyAJC: Tom Brady takes the air out of critics in Super Bowl — AJC: Short takes: Brady rallies Pats but Seahawks bungled ending — AJC: LIVE: Finally after ‘DeflateGate’ and chatter, a Super Bowl — AJC: Another possible embarrassment for Falcons: Fake crowd noise — MyAJC: There’s no confusion about pecking order on Super Bowl teams — AJC: Dan Quinn could have final day on 53-man roster — MyAJC: Blank speaks but remains vague on Falcons’ restructuring — MyAJC: Tiger Woods’ problems aren’t just physical anymore — AJC: Is it Tiger time … or is Tiger Woods’ time over? — MyAJC: LeGarrette Blount walked out on team — and straight to Super Bowl — AJC: Georgia’s Lockette playing for third straight Super Bowl team — MyAJC: Dan Quinn says he’s ready for next challenge (with Falcons) — AJC: Lynch goes into interview Beast Mode again (surprise!) — MyAJC: Great or not, Patriots’ legacy is forever tarnished — AJC: Seattle players say Quinn will be ‘great head coach’ for Falcons — AJC: Brady says ‘feelings got hurt’ by accusations (really?) — MyAJC: Hawks are closest team to rare Atlanta sports title — AJC: Matt Ryan doesn’t believe deflating footballs is the norm — MyAJC: Al Horford finally past injuries and frustration with Hawks — AJC: Stall, lie, cheat — it’s the Patriots’ way, and perfectly timed — AJC: DeflateGate: It’s time for NFL to forfeit games for cheaters — MyAJC: Walsh-Montana still top Belichick-Brady on coach-QB mountain — AJC: Seattle’s Super Bowl only delays Falcons’ hiring of Dan Quinn — AJC: Oddsmaker says Braves’ win total will be ‘low 70s’ (with reader poll) — MyAJC: Braves’ moves carry Coppolella’s fingerprints