Q&A: Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson met with media members Wednesday afternoon after all but one member of his 21-player class — Norcross High running back Myles Autry — was announced. Johnson sounded a hopeful tone as he discussed the new class and roster management.

Q: It looks like you have a lot of versatile players in the class who have played on both sides of the ball.

A: Today, in this time, very few guys only play one spot unless you're at a really big high school. Guys are pretty versatile, and there's a lot of guys in this class that could go either way. I think when you recruit skill guys in general, now we kind of categorize them as skill guys. Clearly, we've got some guys that fit that bill.

Q: You mentioned wanting to balance out the roster. This is your sixth class. Does it take that long to do that?

A: You could go sign eight guys at one position in a class, but then you don't really have it balanced out. When I'm talking about balancing out, about six at one position (in one class) would be the most you would want. You don't want eight of them in one class or nine DB's in the same class or whatever.

The way you go about it is you take the 85 scholarships and you divide them. For us, we’ve got three scholarships for specialists, which we consider kicker, punter and long snapper. And then so that leaves you with 82, so you try to divide them 41, 41 or whatever it is you come up with, and then you break down that 41. And, say, for instance, you might want 16 defensive linemen, 14 defensive backs and 11 linebackers to get to the 41. That’s what I’m talking about, the balance.

Q: Regarding the A-backs, how important will it be to develop the younger ones with five seniors at that position?

A: I think it's always a process. You've got Dennis Andrews, who moved there last year who was a quarterback who could play there. We're probably going to play Broderick Snoddy there this spring and see if we can find a place for him there. He kind of bounced back and forth (between A-back and B-back). (Signee) Clinton Lynch will be an A-back. (Signee) C.J. Leggett could do both. The guy we're waiting on this afternoon if he decides to come here (Autry), that's where he would go.

Q: With Vad Lee gone, how important was it for Matthew Jordan to enroll early and take part in spring practice?

A: I think it's important. I think it gives Matthew a chance to compete in the spring practice, but, truthfully, we've had three quarterbacks who were here anyway. We had Justin Thomas, Tim Byerly and Ty Griffin, who were already here. Now there's four quarterbacks competing, and you can't give more guys than that reps anyway. It's hard to give three guys reps in the spring. But it'll give Matthew a jump-start ahead of where he would have been had he come in in the fall.

Q: Did the success of (defensive end) Jeremiah Attaochu help recruiting at his position?

A: Guys want to see where they fit in the system and where are they going to play and can they be successful. And if you're a pass rusher and you see the guy who was playing that position is the all-time leader in sacks at the school, then you think, yeah, it's a good opportunity for me, if that's my expertise, if that's what I'm good at.

Q: Do you feel like with (defensive coordinator) Ted (Roof), that you have more of an inroads into Gwinnett County?

A: I think Ted's got a lot of experience in the state and playing in Gwinnett County and living there, it's certainly an advantage. He knows the high school coaches. We were able to pick up a couple guys from Gwinnett County this year.

Q: What’s your evaluation of how the additional recruiting staff helped this year?

A: I think it helps with just volume, being able to get through a lot of tape and leads and that kind of thing. So it's helpful. It gives us a chance to kind of catch up with other schools. … It's a big benefit if they can go through 50 players on tape during a day or a week and cut it down to where, as a staff, you're only looking at 10 of them.

Q: Do you anticipate any staff changes?

A: I don't know. Not that I'm sure of. You're always evaluating and looking at things. I don't have anything set in my mind that I know we're going to do.

Q: What impact can C.J. Leggett have?

A: I think C.J.'s a very talented guy. You don't lead his classification (Class AAAAAA) in rushing (without being talented). It's the highest classification in the state. He's got a burning desire to excel. I think he could either be a B-back or an A-back. Once we get him in and get him in the system, we'll kind of see again where he has the best chance to get on the field the fastest and where he fits, and that's where he'll play. But we're excited. I think he can be a really good player.