“Nothing against Rivals or Scout, but I’d prefer to go with my own rankings.”

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?


Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

21 responses to ““Nothing against Rivals or Scout, but I’d prefer to go with my own rankings.”

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    Will Rogers never met Paul the Johnson


  2. If you want an illustration of why newspaper sports pages are irrelevant, Bradley and Schultz’s Signing Day pieces are a perfect example. Both of them dismiss the importance of recruiting, despite reams of empirical evidence showing that it might not be the whole game, but it’s at least three quarters of it. Internet savvy fans gets this point. Schultz and Bradley seem to be writing for know-nothing fans, i.e. the people who show up in their comment sections.

    And then you have Bradley’s transparently silly argument that Tech does better than its recruiting rankings because they win at least 6-7 games per season. Which teams are they beating to get those wins? Teams that have similarly middling recruiting results, i.e. 2-3 non-conference tomato cans and half the ACC. Furthermore, I can accept the idea that Johnson can scheme his way around talent deficiencies on offense, but the last couple years have shown conclusively that there’s no substitute for talent on defense. Crappy recruiting means that Tech will be totally reliant on its offense to compete.


  3. Go Dawgs!

    Sure, Fish Fry, go to Nashville. Because the state of Tennessee has LOTS of talent. And the kids that they DO have didn’t grow up rooting for the Vols or anything…. good luck!


    • AthensHomerDawg

      They haven’t been rooting for them for a while now. Memphis gets a lions share of the best talent the rest are ending up out of state.


  4. I wanna Red Cup

    I suspect Fish Fry’s arrogance does not go over to well with the average Georgia high school coach. Those relationships are crucial to recrutin.
    A good friend of mine, who is a life long Tech fan and high school coach, admitted as much to me. I guess when you are a genius its hard to relate to the average coach.


    • Cojones

      Average coach? All Paul has to do is waggle that ring he gave himself for that victory over USC. Worked for Weiss, didn’t it? 🙂


  5. Irwin R Fletcher

    Just an FYI…don’t get too wrapped up in the ‘team rankings’ and such. They put too much weight on getting 5 star players and penalize a deep, solid class.

    Of Mel Kiper’s top 10 in the draft this year, only 1 player was a 5 star recruit (Teo). Look at the All Americans on Bama’s O-Line…Fluker was a 5 star, Jones was a 4 star, Warmack was a 3 star.

    Don’t get me wrong…guys like Richardson, Julio Jones, AJ Green, Clowney…they can be real difference makers. But I think the biggest lesson from Bama’s and LSU’s success is that they fill out the 2-deep with talent.

    Richt hasn’t had a class with 15 players of 4 star or above since 2009 (which only was a class of 19 total)…and only two classes period have had more 4+ star talent (2006 and 2002). Plus, since we can back count 12 of the signed players…I think they can sign up to 30 next year depending on attrition from the total number, right?

    That’s how you build a consistent winner. Deep, talented classes each year.

    Just for giggles…here are the 4 stars from 2009: Brown, Burnette, Charles, Ealy, Gilliard, A. Jones, Lee, Long, Lott, Lynch, Mettenberger, Murray, Montez Robinson, Woot, and B. Smith (5 star)…


    • Bobby

      I think the biggest criticism is that we missed so many opportunities in this recruiting class. Arguably, this was the most talented class out of the state of GA ever. It sucks that we didn’t close on more guys than we did. This is a deep class, and I’m sure several signees will develop into excellent players. However, that doesn’t do anything about this coming season. We whiffed big-time on a lot of players who could have been immediate contributors, especially on defense.

      That wouldn’t be so frustrating, except for the fact that we still have not addressed our woes on offensive line. We signed 4 linemen, one of whom might not qualify academically this season (our only OT in the class by the way). W/ 34 available spots, that’s garbage. If you’re not going to close on the elite prospects, you damn well better build for the future. We did not do that. We should have signed at least 6 OLs, and there are plenty of in-state guys who could have been pursued more rigorously. That’s how you end up offering a guy a week before signing day who has never even visited the campus. That’s ridiculous.

      I get that our coaching staff gambled big on Tunsil, and that was unpredictable. I also get that a similar feast-or-famine approach played out well w/ Isaiah Crowell. Say what you will about Crowell, but he is the reason we had a 10-win season in 2011. We NEEDED Crowell in that class, and there wasn’t anybody who could come in and contribute like that. So, I get why that’s a wise move. But taking a feast-or-famine approach w/ Tunsil? Sure, I wouldn’t be bitching if it had worked out, but that doesn’t mean it was a smart move–we passed on a lot of guys to get him. We have a good line for next season. However, we have built no longevity beyond that. After Kenarious Gates graduates, Theus will move to LT. Then, we’re going to be trying to stick some young buck in at RT. It’s a perpetual rebuilding process rather than a developing process. That shit gets old. It’s hard to be successful when a substantial number of your players are inexperienced and being forced to get on-the-job training out of necessity.


  6. Colonel Hogan

    Tunsil was UGA’s to lose and from what I hear, he flipped because his girlfiend couldn’t get admitted to UGA. That doesn’t seem to be a problem at all for AU or Ole Mess. Can’t say that I blame the coaches for that. Also, no one had Adeosun on their radar because he came out of nowhere in his senior year and had no junior year highlights. Were they available, he would have attracted more attention.


  7. Georgia may have missed a few, however, we have a very solid bunch who will be very good and a serious contender for the SEC title for years to come. Some of you experts are impossible to please. You need to look at teams like Boise State who, according to the experts, never have a top 20 recruiting year yet they win consistently year end and year out.


  8. In the bigger picture, has MB fallen out of love with The Little Genius?


  9. The problem has been ,and will always be, is that recruiting classes have about a 50% attrition rate on average. Meaning, these kids will either leave the program or will not contribute on the field. Since 1990, UGA has been a poor recruiter and developer at the OL position; particularly OT. So if the statement above is true, UGA should have recruited 4-6 lineman with 4 of which possessing the ability and skill to play Tackle if necessary. 6-3 guards and centers are great but they will never be placed out there on the edge. If you take 1 year off you better follow up with 6 guys minimum the following 2 years. Bama and LSU load up with a minimum of 4+ guys every year regardless. Face it UGA, has done a TERRIBLE job in this crucial category. The SEC championship should have been a wake up call. Unfortunately, Richt & Co are still asleep.