With a week to go before national signing day, Georgia Tech’s recruiting class took several steps toward finalization in a breakneck two-day span starting Sunday.
The Yellow Jackets picked up five commitments, one of whom replaced the withdrawal of a valued commit, and are now at 20 members, nearing the expected size for coach Paul Johnson’s 2017 class. Tech goes into its final official visit weekend before signing day in solid shape.
Sunday, Cartersville High safety Avery Showell gave Tech coaches his word that he’ll come to Tech, becoming the fifth defensive back in the class. Particularly with the transfers of cornerbacks Dorian Walker and Meiko Dotson and the upcoming senior seasons of cornerbacks Step Durham and Lance and Lawrence Austin, the infusion will keep the secondary stocked. Showell is the only safety in the group.
The same day, linebacker Jaquan Henderson from Newton High made his decision to withdraw his commitment from Tennessee to stay home with Tech after what he called “hands down” the best official visit he made during his recruitment. Henderson joins linebackers T.D. Roof (Buford High) and Bruce Jordan-Swilling (New Orleans) as part of the class and is among the more highly-pursued members of the class, having reported offers from Michigan State, LSU, Michigan and Tennessee, among others.
Defensive end Kelton Dawson from Stockbridge High also informed Johnson that he’ll be a Jacket, taking the unusual step of having his conversation with Johnson recorded on video by his sister.
Dawson joins the Westminster School’s Cortez Alston as the second defensive end in the class, a position group that can never be deep enough.
The action continued Monday. Defensive lineman Antwan Owens from Tallahassee, Fla., reversed his commitment to UCF a week after his official visit to Tech. The three-star prospect was highly prized as interior defensive linemen (he can also play end) with size and skill are rare.
The same day, kicker Joseph Bulovas of Mandeville, La., rated the No. 2 kicking prospect nationally by Chris Sailer Kicking, announced that he was pulling back on the commitment he had held since last June, giving a statement on his Twitter account that he had no problems with Tech, but that he felt he had “better opportunities elsewhere.” Bulovas is expected to make an official visit to Alabama this coming weekend, according to an Alabama report.
Not long after Bulovas made his announcement, Tech had his replacement secured. Kicker Brenton King from Mill Creek High made his own announcement that he was renouncing his commitment to Old Dominion and committing to Tech. King is rated the No. 24 kicking prospect and figures to take over the placekicking job from the school’s all-time leading scorer, Harrison Butker. The swiftness of King’s commitment suggests that Tech coaches weren’t caught unaware by Bulovas’ decision.
The class hits need areas, offensive line, defensive line and the secondary. It has a quarterback in Tobias Oliver of Northside High in Warner Robins. Tech does not have a wide receiver in the class, although the position is fairly young on the roster and seven deep. There isn’t an A-back, either, although both running back commits, Jordan Ponchez-Mason of Gallatin, Tenn., and Jerry Howard of Rock Hill, S.C., would seem capable of moving from B-back to A-back. Johnson would likely never turn down another defensive tackle – the Jackets lost out on a targeted prospect at the position on Monday, Robert Porcher of Orlando.
Time will tell, but it has the makings of a solid class, particularly so after the past two days.