Texas is not a state where Georgia Tech typically goes looking for talent. For the 2019 recruiting class, though, the Yellow Jackets are trying to lure a quarterback out of a high school that has come to embody the culture of Texas high-school football.
Tech is among many schools rushing to offer a scholarship to quarterback Peyton Powell from Permian High in Odessa. Powell announced his offer from Tech on May 11, one of 11 power-conference offers he has reported since May 4, most notably Ohio State. It’s a considerable uptick considering that the rising senior announced his first offer on his Twitter account on Feb. 12, from Texas-Permian Basin, a Division II school.
Permian gained considerable attention in 1990 as the subject of the bestseller “Friday Night Lights,” a critical look at the school and town’s football-mad culture. The book later became a movie and inspired the television series of the same name.
Powell’s scholarship onslaught coincides with his reported transfer to Permian from Midland Christian in January and his participation in Permian’s spring practice. Permian concluded spring practice Wednesday with its spring game, which was attended by Tech quarterbacks and B-backs coach Craig Candeto, among others.
Tech is known to have made scholarship offers to five quarterbacks in the 2019 class, including Powell. Another is Jahquez Evans of Mays High, who announced his offer from Tech on Thursday.
The Jackets are in particularly need of a quarterback in this class, as they stand at three on the roster. That includes TaQuon Marshall, who will play his final season this year. Fitzgerald High’s James Graham will enroll in June and keep the number at three, but four quarterbacks is far preferable from a depth standpoint.
Going into Texas to recruit is not the standard for Tech and coach Paul Johnson. In his 11 signing classes at Tech (2008-18), there have been four players from Texas.
Two of them were in the first two years (A-back Marcus Wright from San Antonio and wide receiver Jeremy Moore from Austin) and the other two were not really from Texas. In 2016, the signing class included two players with Texas ties, guard Parker Braun and defensive lineman Desmond Branch. Braun lived in Texas for one year, as his father took a coaching job there, but grew up in Florida. Branch is from New Mexico and played at a junior college in Texas.
But, with a larger recruiting staff, it may be the case that more offers to prospects from states beyond Tech’s most-trod recruiting territories (Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and Alabama) will be forthcoming.
The challenge for Tech with Powell and others beyond their base is that there are a lot of schools between, in this case, west Texas and Atlanta. In-state schools Texas Tech and Baylor also have offered Powell. But, with more eyes on the task, the chances of finding those who would find a fit at Tech only increase.
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