As Mark Bradley gently points out, Georgia Tech just signed its weakest class of the Paul Johnson era, which is saying a lot, if you think about it:
According to Rivals, the average star ranking for Tech signees in Johnson’s first five classes was 2.93. The average star ranking of this class was 2.71. Only in 2008, Johnson’s first season here, has one of his Tech signing classes ranked lower according to the star system, and this is by far his lowest-rated class overall. (Rivals rated previous Johnson classes 49th, 49th, 43rd, 43rd, 41st and 56th.)
Which is all good, because he’s a genius and all.
At this late date, though, it’s possible to wonder if Tech recruiting is simply what it is and what it will remain – not so great as to dazzle, not so horrible as to make the Jackets an ACC afterthought. Only one of Tech’s past 12 classes –the spans the entire Chan Gailey era — has ranked higher than 40th according to Rivals, but only once in that span has Tech finished below .500.
Johnson refuses to accept that, it seems, because he’s decided to “tweak” Tech’s recruiting focus.
Earlier in the day, Johnson revealed that Tech is tweaking the way it approaches recruiting, which isn’t a bad idea. It’s going to broaden its geographic scope – Johnson mentioned the Cincinnati area, which might play well with incoming Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski, who currently resides there – and target more out-of-state Catholic schools.
Why turn your back on your home ground, one of the most talent rich states in the country? After all, Vanderbilt, possessed of a similar academic repute to Tech’s, came in and signed as many Georgia kids this year as Johnson did. So what’s the problem?
… Johnson said coaches have talked about targeting private schools outside of the state, possibly venturing into Cincinnati and Nashville. First, Johnson said, Tech’s reputation holds up well outside of the state and seems to do better the farther one gets from Georgia. [Emphasis added.]
Feel free to insert your defensive tackle from East Asia joke here.
Seriously, if you’re a head coach in the South, why wouldn’t you be investing some serious time in Georgia recruiting when the state’s ACC program is basically abdicating its role as a landing spot for in state high schoolers?