Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins instructs players. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Georgia Tech’s Geoff Collins rides helicopter to two high-school games

Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins took to the skies again Friday night, riding a helicopter to two high-school games on recruiting missions for the 2020 class and beyond.

With the Yellow Jackets on an open date, Collins flew to Cherokee County to watch Dalton High running back and Tech commit Jahmyr Gibbs face Creekview High in a Region 6-AAAAAA matchup.

From there, Collins choppered east to Gwinnett County to catch the Walton-North Gwinnett game. Among the prospects playing in that non-region matchup were two North Gwinnett seniors, wide receiver Josh Downs and defensive end Jared Ivey, and North Gwinnett junior linebacker Barrett Carter.

The drive from Creekview in Canton to North Gwinnett in Suwanee would be about 25 miles, a distance too great to be able to see substantial amounts of two games that started at the same time. Travel by helicopter added the bonus of an easily noticed arrival and departure.

Collins’ see-and-be-seen trip was a successful venture.

“It was exciting for our players because they understand that that is something that’s out of the norm and certainly not something that is seen every day,” Dalton coach Matt Land wrote in an email to the AJC. “I think Jahmyr certainly appreciates the effort and sentiment by Coach Collins, and (it) speaks well of the university and football program.”

Collins caught notice in January for using a helicopter to make recruiting visits to in-state high schools, a mode of transport designed as much for efficient travel as for turning the heads of recruits.

With Collins in attendance, Gibbs put on a stunner of a show. Rated the No. 40 prospect in the state of Georgia (247Sports Composite), Gibbs ran for 315 yards and six touchdowns on 22 carries to lead the Catamounts to a 42-19 win over the defending Region 6-AAAAAA Grizzlies. After four games, Gibbs has 1,137 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns.

Gibbs committed to Tech in May over scholarship offers from LSU, Michigan, Texas A&M and North Carolina, among others. An early candidate for state player of the year, Gibbs has since reported offers from Ohio State, Florida and USC.

The Walton-North Gwinnett matchup, won 35-0 by the Bulldogs, was a meeting of two of the preeminent teams in the state’s largest classification. The gathering brought together several prospects that Tech is recruiting. Downs, a four-star prospect who is the No. 21 player in the state, committed to North Carolina, but Collins has continued to pursue him.

In the game, Downs caught touchdowns of 18 and 11 yards, according to Gwinnett Prep Sports.

Ivey, the No. 60 player in the state, recently included in his top five, along with Colorado, Duke, Nebraska and Stanford.

Carter is a four-star prospect for the 2021 class and the No. 12 player in the state in the junior class, holding offers from Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma, among others.



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