5 things to know about Georgia Tech’s recruiting

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Georgia Tech finished the 2019 season with a record of 3-9. Here's a game-by-game look at the season.

Georgia Tech added 22 players to the roster this week, but there’s more to do for coach Geoff Collins, general manager Patrick Suddes and the Yellow Jackets staff.

Here are five recruiting-related matters as the early signing period closes.

1. In a holding pattern

Four high-school seniors who had given committments to the Georgia Tech 2020 class were not announced on Wednesday as part of the class.

One is Dalton High running back Jahmyr Gibbs. With interest picking up from the likes of Alabama, Ohio State and Florida, the four-star prospect decided to not sign in the early signing period in order to take more time to investigate his options.

Two others, offensive lineman Cade Kootsouradis of Crestview, Fla., and defensive end Albany Casey of Bay Minette, Ala., remain part of Tech’s plans, but the size of Tech’s signing class has made matters more complex.

The fourth, Mays High defensive end JaQuari Wiggles, will apparently take a different path. Wiggles decommitted on Tuesday, the day before the early signing period began. He had decided that he needed more time to make his decision, according to Mays High coach Niketa Battle.

His recruitment is open. Wiggles had been committed to Tech since June.

Casey will be a blueshirt, according to Nathan McDaniel, Casey’s coach at Baldwin County High. A blueshirt is a prospect who enrolls at a school as a walk-on but then is put on scholarship after arrival. It is useful for teams that are up against the NCAA-mandated limit of 25 new scholarship players per academic year. Blueshirts are counted against the following year’s 25-player limit.

It appears that Kootsouradis’ status has not been determined and could be shaped by how many more players Tech signs, either high-school seniors or transfers. It’s possible that he could grayshirt, meaning that his enrollment would be delayed until January 2021.

2. February targets

Asked about priorities for the February signing period, Collins said, “offensive line and defensive line and elite running back, I would say those would be the priorities.”

Besides Gibbs, Tech continues to recruit four-star defensive end Jayson Jones of Calera, Ala., who is committed to Alabama but is still considering Tech along with Oregon and possibly two other schools. Another is four-star safety Javier Morton of Stephenson High. Tech coaches made home visits with all three prospects in December.

Tech also will continue to look at the transfer market for help on the offensive and defensive lines. Collins has already added grad-transfer offensive lineman Ryan Johnson from Tennessee.

3. Starting early

Tech will enroll eight freshmen in January – offensive linemen Michael Rankins, Ryan Spiers and Jordan Williams, quarterbacks Tucker Gleason and Jeff Sims, wide receiver Bryce Gowdy, cornerback Jalen Huff and defensive lineman Akelo Stone. Grad-transfer offensive lineman Ryan Johnson will also enroll in January.

Finding offensive linemen who could enroll early was important for Collins. In fact, he said, the staff gave priority to offensive-line prospects who could enroll early as offensive line coach Brent Key tries to build depth for the 2020 season and beyond.

“We’ve got some great young men on the roster, but building depth and getting some guys that can be able to play immediately was huge and for them to come in January helps that cause and helps build depth at that position,” Collins said.

4. County breakdown

Gwinnett County continued to supply the Jackets with signees, namely the trio of North Gwinnett High defensive end Jared Ivey, Grayson High wide receiver Ryan King and Huff of Buford. The state’s second most populous county, which consistently yields many of the top large-school classification teams in the state, produced 14 Tech freshman signees from 2015-19, by far the most of any county in the state.

Fulton County tied Gwinnett with three – Creekside High linebackers Khatavian Franks and Tyson Meiguez and defensive end Kyle Kennard from Riverwood High. Henry County had two signees – Dutchtown High wide receiver Nate McCollum and Locust Grove High tight end Billy Ward.

Three counties provided one signee each: Chatham (Stone of Jenkins High), Hall (Williams of Gainesville High) and Lee (Lee County High offensive lineman Wing Green).

The numbers could change in the February signing period.

5. Cleaning up

Former Tech wide receiver Nazir Burnett, who left the team and entered the transfer portal in early October, has transferred to Temple. He is planning to seek an immediate-eligibility waiver.

Among prospects who had at one point been committed to Tech, offensive lineman Trent Howard of Birmingham, Ala., signed with Clemson. Defensive end Eddie Watkins of Evergreen, Ala., did not sign. He has had official visits with Purdue and West Virginia and is also considering Arizona, Memphis and Central Florida. Safety Nick Martin of New Orleans has not signed. He tweeted photos of home visits with Arkansas and Memphis in December.

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