Geoff Collins on signees, Georgia Tech’s recruiting process

Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins directs the team against Duke during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins directs the team against Duke during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins’s news conference Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period, covered a variety of topics, including plans and changes for the offseason.

He also spoke at length about the team’s 13 signees Wednesday and the recruiting process in this cycle, including these four items.

1. Collins said that the offensive line and secondary will be target areas as he and his staff continue to scout the transfer portal for help. The Jackets lost starters in both groups. One name to watch is former Clemson offensive tackle Paul Tchio, a four-star prospect from Milton High in the 2020 class who was recruited out of high school by Collins and offensive-line coach Brent Key. Tchio was teammates with Tech tight end Dylan Leonard, walk-on offensive lineman Anthony Minella and former Tech quarterback Jordan Yates. His decision to go into the portal was announced Nov. 9. He played in 14 games in two seasons with the Tigers, with one start.

2. Collins’ comments on various signees –

Quarterback Zach Pyron (Pinson Valley High in Pinson, Ala.): “Three-time state champion, so he’s a winner, he’s a leader. And, obviously, you turn the tape on, and you’ve seen it, he’s a big, physical presence and very mobile.”

Defensive tackle K.J. Miles (St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, N.J.): “One of the highest-recruited guys in the country. Took a summer official visit and fell in love with the place, fell in love with the education, the relationships, all of those things.”

Running backs Antonio Martin (Langston Hughes High) and Jamie Felix (Camden County High): “They’re both very, very talented. Everybody that saw Antonio in the playoff run (with Langston Hughes High) – just how physical he is, how powerful he is, how hard he runs. And then Jamie, his elusiveness, his speed, his toughness, his physicality. I think they complement each other very well.”

Kicker Aidan Birr (Kennedale High in Kennedale, Texas): “Very talented kicker. … One of my favorite parts about is when he was here (for a specialists camp), you didn’t even have to see him kick; you could hear it. You walk into the indoor (practice facility) and you could just hear his foot strike the ball. And then you see it, and it’s impressive, as well. Obviously, there’s going to be a really good competition (amongst the kickers), but excited Aidan decided to join us.”

Linebacker Kyle Efford (Dacula High): “You turn on Kyle’s tape, and he’s making plays all over the field. He’s tough, he’s physical. I think he had well over 150 tackles this year. And then you turn on the other side of the ball, and I think he ran for over 1,100 yards in one of the best leagues in the state. … (That Tech safety and former high-school teammate Kaleb Edwards gave his approval of Tech to Efford) speaks volumes, back to (WSB-TV reporter Alison Mastrangelo’s) point about how the guys feel in the locker room and how the guys that we’re recruiting feel about the place.”

3. Collins said that managing the roster through recruiting and transfers (both in and out) has required “probably seven conversations a day, especially over the last month, with (general manager Patrick Suddes) and with (associate director of player personnel) Thomas Guerry and the coordinators, and it’s an ongoing, ever-evolving process, and it’s going to stay fluid throughout.”

Collins further said that being able to adjust quickly is a strength of his staff.

“I’m blessed to have trusted people who are willing to speak the truth, willing to give me really good guidance on stuff like that,” he said.

4. Collins said that having players withdraw commitments is part of the nature of recruiting. Most notably, Tech lost four-star linebacker Jaron Willis on Dec. 9 after Willis had been committed since May. Willis, from Lee County High, signed with Mississippi on Wednesday.

“We’re a competitive group and, obviously, we want to win more battles than we lose,” Collins said.

Collins called having competing schools come after committed prospects “a compliment to the quality of guys that we’ve targeted.”

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