Transfer portal delivers 2 players to bolster Georgia Tech defense

Credit: Joshua Strong/Kansas State University Athletics

Credit: Joshua Strong/Kansas State University Athletics

4-star quarterback Jakhari Williams backs off commitment

Georgia Tech’s defense gained depth in the secondary and at defensive end with the addition of two transfers – defensive back Omar Daniels (Kansas State) and defensive end Eddie Kelly (South Florida). Both announced their decisions on social media Wednesday and spoke about them with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday.

Kelly, who played 11 games and started four as a freshman in 2022 and has three seasons of eligibility, said that he was motivated to transfer after the Bulls’ coaching change and by a desire to move up to a higher caliber of play. Kelly said that Tech was the first team to make a scholarship offer when he put his name in the transfer portal April 17 after USF finished its spring practice.

Ole Miss, Missouri, Syracuse and Central Florida were among teams who also offered. When Tech defensive line coach Marco Coleman reached out to him, Kelly was pleasantly surprised. He had some recruiting interaction as a high-school prospect with Coleman when he was defensive line coach at Michigan State last year and hadn’t realized that Coleman had returned to Tech. He hailed Coleman as “a great dude.”

“To have a coach like that in my life – he’s played in the league, he’s been where I’m trying to go,” said Kelly, who is from Orlando, Florida.

Kelly (6-foot-5 and 267 pounds) also communicated with coach Brent Key, defensive analyst Brian Baker and scouting director Kenyatta Watson.

Kelly was credited with 19 tackles, 1.5 for loss. Kelly said he wants to play both end positions and is eager to get started.

“They want me up there,” Kelly said. “My moving date’s Saturday.”

Daniels (6-0, 178) said that he made the choice to leave Kansas State after two seasons because of a health situation with his mother. Daniels is from Colquitt County High, where Tech receivers coach Josh Crawford was co-offensive coordinator in Daniels’ senior season in 2020. He played in 10 games last season as a backup cornerback, getting credited with two tackles. He has three seasons of eligibility remaining.

Daniels said that when visiting Tech’s campus earlier this week, coaches showed him how he could be used at cornerback, nickel and safety in the secondary.

“So I took that, and me and all the coaches instantly clicked as soon as I got there,” Daniels said. “So from that point, I was like, ‘Yeah, I think this is the spot. This is the place for me.’”

BYU, Indiana, Pitt, Purdue and Charlotte also showed interest in Daniels, who also visited Charlotte. The decision was an early Mother’s Day gift for Daniels’ mother, Nikki Kinsey, who Daniels said is improving in her health.

“My mom, she always told me I’m good whatever I do, (that) she’s going to support me because that’s always been her thing,” Daniels said. “But then again, she is happy. She’ll probably make every game now. That was a big thing of enjoyment and joy for her, also being that Georgia Tech is a good school. She’s always been hard on education. That’s good, too.”

Watson reached out to Daniels quickly after he went in the portal May 1 following the conclusion of Kansas State’s spring practice. They knew each other from Daniels’ participation in the Georgia-Florida high-school all-star game that Watson organized.

“Once I made that decision (to transfer), we hit each other up quick and got to business,” Daniels said.

As it gained two transfers, Tech also lost a commitment from four-star quarterback Jakhari Williams from First Presbyterian Day School in Macon. Williams, a rising senior rated the No. 39 prospect in the state of Georgia in the 2024 class (247Sports Composite), made the announcement Wednesday on social media, saying that he had decided to reopen his recruitment and thanking the Tech staff for recruiting him. Williams had committed to Tech in November 2022 over offers from Pittsburgh, N.C. State, Virginia Tech and others.

Tech had five players committed to the 2024 class as of Thursday.