On a busy night near the start of the early signing period, Georgia Tech added a quarterback and linebacker through the transfer portal, both potential starters, and received commitments from two high school prospects.
Former Texas A&M quarterback Haynes King, a four-star high school prospect in the 2020 class, will join the Yellow Jackets and challenge for the starting position in the spring. Tech coach Brent Key added another transfer at a position of need, linebacker Braelen Oliver from Minnesota.
At the same time, athlete Nacari Ashley from Marietta High and defensive lineman Shymeik Jones from Camden (S.C.) High announced their commitments to Tech. Jones had been committed to Appalachian State, announcing that he was withdrawing his commitment to that school about an hour before declaring his new allegiance to the Yellow Jackets.
King, from Longview, Texas, appears to be a bona fide candidate to be the Jackets’ starter at quarterback. He had earned the starting job prior to both the 2021 and 2022 seasons for Texas A&M but suffered a season-ending leg injury in the second game of the 2021 season and was benched after two starts in 2022. In the 2022 season, he played in six games, completing 104 of 187 passes (55.6%) for 1,220 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. King has three years of eligibility remaining. He joins another former Texas A&M player, wide receiver Chase Lane, in coming to Tech out of the portal. Lane announced his decision Monday.
Tech is in need of help at quarterback after starter Jeff Sims and Taisun Phommachanh went in the transfer portal after the season. Sims, Tech’s primary starter for the past three seasons, also made news Sunday, announcing his commitment to Nebraska. There, he’ll play for first-year coach Matt Rhule, who is a close friend of former Tech coach Geoff Collins.
Oliver started in 18 games and played in 40 for the Gophers in a career that began in 2018. Oliver, who has one year of eligibility remaining, is from Douglas County High and is the younger brother of former Tech walk-on Brandon Oliver. This season, starting 10 games and playing in all 12 of the Golden Gophers’ regular-season games, Oliver was credited with 33 tackles. With his experience, Oliver could fill an immediate need for the Jackets, who lost starting linebackers Charlie Thomas and Ayinde Eley to graduation.
Ashley was a versatile two-way player at Marietta, defensively ranging from playing defensive end in a four-point stance to defending slot receivers one-on-one. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Ashley is rated a two-star prospect by Rivals and has listed offers from Buffalo, Toledo and East Carolina.
Jones had made public his commitment to Appalachian State on Dec. 11, picking the Mountaineers over announced offers from Tech, Duke, N.C. State and Florida State. A week later, he changed his plans to Tech. Jones, 6-5 and 255, becomes the second highest-rated prospect among Tech’s 14 committed high school prospects. As the No. 814 prospect in the class (247Sports Composite), he is behind only offensive lineman Gabriel Fortson from North Cobb Christian School (No. 751).
As of late Sunday, Tech had four players committed out of the transfer portal: tight end Jackson Long (South Florida), King, Lane and Oliver.
High school prospects can make their decisions official Wednesday with the start of the early signing period.
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