Paul Johnson goes local.

You may not have noticed, but Georgia Tech’s in-state recruiting has picked up under Paul Johnson.

The Jackets already have as many players committed from the state of Georgia — eight — as they had sign national letters of intent in February. Ten of the 18 players in Tech’s 2008 recruiting class were from out of state.

Given the limits on the size of Georgia’s 2009 class, this makes plenty of sense and is further confirmation that Johnson is going to prove to be a more formidable head coach at Tech than his predecessor.

He’s not getting warm bodies, either.

“The in-state kids, I really like the way they’re going,” said analyst Barry Ever. “They have six in-state kids who are three stars or better.”

Defensive linemen J.C. Lanier and John Drew, who committed to Tech months ago, are ranked four-star players by Rivals. Finch and Drummond are not yet ranked.

The recruiting analyst quoted in the article has an interesting point about Johnson’s focus on local talent:

“… But the in-state kids are important, especially in a state with so many players.”

“Johnson has seen the state of Georgia and the East Coast, and it’s not surprising that he should start getting them. If you don’t have the in-state kids, I don’t think the Georgia-Georgia Tech game means as much to players.[Emphasis added.]


Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

17 responses to “Paul Johnson goes local.

  1. kckd

    Lanier would’ve been ours if we had wanted him. More times than not, they are getting guys we do not offer.


  2. I agree with that.

    But there’s a helluva lot of talent Georgia is forced to leave on the table this year. Johnson’s smart to go after it.


  3. Ally

    But one embarrassing year, as this one could turn out to be for yech, should put a damper on PJ’s prowess. At least for a little while. I don’t envision the Dawgs losing the state recruiting war anytime soon.


  4. NCT

    Exactly. It’s Johnson’s experience in and ties to Georgia that will make a difference — something that’s been a little lost in all the hoopla over his style of play.


  5. Richt-Flair

    Good point on the in-state recruiting trail. Should be interesting to see who they get as opposed to yesteryear’s efforts.


  6. dean

    Let’s see what type of “skill position” players he gets from in-state. I would expect them to land some quality O-linemen, howevah, not many high profile QB’s or WR’s want to be in that type of offense. I could see them getting a running back because of the potential amount of carries but I don’t see many big name play-makers going to Tech.


  7. With regard to skill position guys, I agree and disagree with you.

    You’re right when you say that the five star QBs and WRs are going to give Johnson the cold shoulder. But Johnson doesn’t really need those kind of kids in his system to prosper.

    Instead, for example, he’s going to be looking for Pat White-types who want to play QB in college, but find themselves being recruited as “athletes” by the front line D-1 programs and would be moved to safety or elsewhere as soon as they set foot on campus. There are always a bunch of kids coming out each year like that. Some won’t be interested in Tech, but others will appreciate the opportunity to compete at the position they want to play.

    Johnson’s offense lets him turn a negative into a positive; he’s going to sign a few choice recruits every year because of it.


  8. Ally

    You’re also assuming that these choice recruits are gonna have the grades and scores to get in……because as we all know, the trade school’s requirements for athletes are tougher than Georgia’s 😉


  9. Ally, what Johnson has to do at Tech to get kids in is a walk in the park compared to what he faced at Navy. He’s probably pinching himself every day.


  10. LrgK9

    Ole Peanut Butter and Jelly can flat out coach. He’s gonna be a problem…


  11. Ryan

    Man every time I hear the whole “Tech is harder” rant, it absolutely boils my blood (Sorry if your comment was tongue in cheek, I’ve had this in me for a while). As an upcoming junior at Georgia, I can speak first hand about the type of university that Georgia has become. Recently out of high school, I know that there are 4 universities in the state. Emory, where you go if you can pay for it. Tech, where you go when you want to be an engineer and not see the light of day. Kennesaw/Valdosta/West Georgia/Georgia Southern/ECT where you go when you can’t get into the other 3. And UGA, where you have every single type of person imaginable. Georgia is a great school that’s in the top 15 of most public universities.

    But my belated point is that because of the sport that they play, football and basketball players are always going to be a mixed bag of people. JUST because they go to Tech doesn’t mean that they can even tie their shoelaces in the morning. They are there for the exact same reason they are there anywhere else, to play football. I went to high school with Jonathan Dwyer. Hell, I even blocked for him his freshman year when he gained over 1000 yards. Is he a nice guy? Yes. Is he a tremendous player? Yes. Did he pass the high school graduation test on the first go round? No. Did he have a high enough GPA to get the HOPE scholarship? No. Is he there for any other reason than to play football? No. Tech is no more high and mighty than any other university (yes, even UGA) that turns it’s head regarding the academic performance of athletes.

    I could probably go on for pages about this, but the main point is that Tech heads are pretty pissed off that they can’t, and never will be able to, recruit and perform in such a broad spectrum of (Women’s) sports as UGA. A university is so much more than a starting salary, which is all they have.

    P.S. Don’t ever let a Nerd tell you that their trade school doesn’t offer pre-calc. They do, it’s for the athletes.


  12. I think Johnson will struggle to recruit elite OTs and WRs. OTs need to pass block to get drafted. He’ll get servicable guys who will be happy run blocking. But he’s not going to get the big timers.

    As you said, he’ll get a different kind of QB so that part will sort itself out.

    The plus with the triple option (even with lesser talent) is that if you have a lead, you can slaughter the clock…that means the other team must press take risks and run the chance of making more assignment mistakes which widen the gap.

    In a close game, you’ve always got a shot with the TO if someone blows an assignment on defense.

    But in a big hole, it’s not ideally suited for a comeback against Elite talent. And frankly…Tech is going to be in some massive holes this year.

    I’ll be interested to see how many of these commits stick once they see that:
    A. This isn’t the West Virginia spread option.

    B. How many games GT loses.

    Their talent level will drop again next year before the new kids really can start to make an impact. The impact of the sanctions combined with Gailey’s recruiting and last year’s implosion class will catch up with them in 2010.

    He won’t have 2007 level talent again til 2010. 2009 late season, they could start to finally come around. But I think it’s 2010 before it all clicks for him. Will GT people tolerate that retooling process?



  13. I don’t think they’ll have a choice. Dump Johnson after he’s signed three of his recruiting classes oriented towards the kind of offensive players he wants for his system and it’ll take at least that long for the next coach to undo the effects of that for the next offense Tech runs.

    Nope, they’re married for a while.


  14. 81Dog

    Paul Johnson is going to be the next Bill Callahan. Or the next Pepper Rodgers.

    you older types surely recall what happened the last time GTU decided to pull in a guy who ran an option offense, a trend that was peaking in early 1974. Pepper was a winner. He ran the wishbone at Kansas and UCLA, and won there. He was even a “Tech man” himself, so the academic restrictions were well understood and wouldnt be a problem. He had tons of personality. Recruits would flock to this hip winner and his exciting, high scoring offense, and Tech would go back to being a national power, just like in the 50s ( not even 20 years earlier). No way this wouldnt work.

    And it started out well. Tech gained over 4000 yards a game many games on the ground. In his first year, Pepper posted a winning record and beat hated UGA in Athens without even attempting a single pass. Just wait until he got his guys in there, the nerd faithful said.

    Only problem was, as more and more teams ran the option, the less confusing it was for defenses. Pepper never broke through the “decent” barrier into greatness. UGA pretty much continued to kick Tech’s ass (save in 1977, when we were down to our 6th string QB by the Tech game.) Pepper got canned and had to sue Tech to get them to pay him what they owed him on his contract (cheap SOBs at Tech. Or broke. Or both)

    Paul Johnson is Pepper without the charm and the big school resume of success. He’s a mini-George O’Leary, all full of caustic comments for his doubters and vows to beat UGA for the Mustard Faithful. Of course he has no doubts. He won at Navy (eventually), didnt he? What’s the difference between beating a couple of MAC teams a year and beating the FSUs, Clemsons and UGAs of the world? Why, none at all.

    This is just my opinion, but PJ and his blind loyalists are about to get quite a rude awakening. Sure, they’ll get some athletes at Tech who have more talent than they had at Navy, but their opponents will have a lot more talent than Air Force, Army and (snicker) Notre Dame, et al. If Baby Jesus Tebow couldnt get through a season unharmed, how long will any Tech QB survive getting drilled 25+ times a game? One need only recall how UGA’s veer attack fell apart in 1977 due to injuries at QB.

    All the people who think PJ, who I’m sure is a hard working, knowledgeable coach, has built the ultimate mousetrap are just like the folks at Notre Dame who thought Gerry Faust was a brilliant hire. Good luck to you, nerds. EIAR, B is waiting.


  15. If Baby Jesus Tebow couldnt get through a season unharmed, how long will any Tech QB survive getting drilled 25+ times a game? One need only recall how UGA’s veer attack fell apart in 1977 due to injuries at QB.

    More than anything else, I think that’s Tech’s greatest obstacle this year. They’re going to be woefully undermanned going into the season. Lord knows who’ll be left standing when the Jackets come marching (limping?) into Athens.

    And to add insult to injury, it’s Georgia that will have the bye week prior to that game.


  16. Coastal Dawg

    Didn’t the Drew kid de-commit and is headed for Duke?


  17. Yep. Evidently the kid’s not a fan of “Bright Lights, Big City”.