Tag:Paul Johnson
Posted on: February 1, 2012 11:28 pm
 

National Signing Day Winners and Losers: ACC



Posted by Chip Patterson

Breaking down who won and lost in the ACC on National Signing Day

WINNER: Florida State

For the second year in a row, multiple top uncommitted prospects picked Florida State in widely publicized National Signing Day announcements. Cornerback Ronald Darby (pictured above, No. 3 athlete in 2012 class) never even told head coach Jimbo Fisher he was definitely coming to Florida State, but when decision time came he reached for the Seminoles' hat. It started with Mario Edwards, Jr. signing his letter on ESPN in the morning, then on to Eddie Goldman's commitment and Jameis Winston's public recruitment of Darby just before the cornerback's announcement. For Florida State, the revolution was televised.



LOSER: North Carolina schools

Recently, high school football in the state of North Carolina has been on the rise. Unfortunately, it has not resulted in a boost to any of the North Carolina schools in the ACC. North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, and Duke missed out on every North Carolina prospect in Tom Lemming's Top 100 Players, and allowed 31 of the 55 in-state prospects to sign with out-of-state schools. If these football programs want to shake the "basketball school" reputation of Tobacco Road, they need to stop letting the best in-state talent get poached by other programs.

WINNER: Miami

The Hurricanes got a jump start on the competition due to self-imposed bowl ineligibility, and those early verbal commits helped secure enough to talent to keep the Hurricanes as a Top 10 class despite some defections. Miami also got a much-needed boost in the secondary with the commitment of Tracy Howard, and defensive end Tyriq McCord signed his letter despite rumors he may flip to USC or South Carolina. The heart of Golden's 2012 recruiting class lies right in Miami's backyard, with over half of the class from Southern Florida - many from Broward-Dade County area. Several Hurricanes' signees openly spoke about expecting NCAA action, and are willing to follow Golden's plan for success anyway.



LOSER: Georgia Tech

Recruiting is just not a great time for the public image of Georgia Tech football. Head coach Paul Johnson was publicly critical of oversigning again, and the Yellow Jackets' stiff academic requirements have become a topic of conversations when competing against the SEC for in-state talent. But Georgia Tech did have a hat on the table when defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson was making his decision between the Yellow Jackets, Alabama, and Georgia on National Signing Day. Tomlinson, one of the top uncommitted in-state recruits, paused on the Georgia Tech hat, only to publicly spurn the Yellow Jackets and commit to Alabama. Additionally, Georgia Tech offensive line coach Todd Spencer resigned amidst potential NCAA violations from impermissible text messaging. Just not a good PR day for Georgia Tech.

WINNER: Maryland

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs (No. 14 overall prospect) did not commit on National Signing Day. The top ranked unsigned recruit is strongly considering Florida, Auburn, and Maryland. While many believe the Gators are in the lead for Diggs, MaxPreps' Stephen Spiewak writes that Maryland still might have a chance. Former Illinois head coach Ron Zook believes that new Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, who has a great relationship with Diggs' family, could convince the Olney, Md. standout to stay in-state. With Locksley playing catch up in the recruiting game, every day without a Diggs commitment is likely to Maryland's advantage.

LOSER: Virginia Tech

While the Hokies pulled in another solid class, including talented wide receiver Joel Caleb, there was one decommit that caused an unwanted scene. Linebacker Jawand Blue, a Boca Raton, Fla. native, was committed to the Hokies until an opportunity arose at the last minute to jump in with Miami. When he called Virginia Tech, the phone conversation apparently did not go well. Unfortunately, a local reporter heard the conversation (from Blue's end) and began tweeting quotes "from Frank Beamer." A Virginia Tech spokesperson later clarified it was not Beamer, but assistant coach Charley Wiles. For more on the interaction, you can check out ACCSports.com's Signing Day blog. Blue was not a make-or-break recruit for Beamer, but the whole situation was a loss on a very public day for all recruiting news.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 6:59 pm
 

DE Junior Gnonkonde picks UNC after visit

Posted by Chip Patterson

Former Georgia Tech commit Junior Gnonkonde verbally committed to North Carolina on Sunday, and is expected to sign with the Tar Heels on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-5, 225 pound weakside defensive end was committed to the Yellow Jackets before head coach Paul Johnson withdrew the offer for academic reasons. The Lanier County (Ga.) High School standout was one of the earliest commits in Johnson's 2012 class, but the head coach informed the family on Jan. 20 that Gnonkonde's test scores were too low.

Gnonkonde visited North Carolina this past weekend, meeting with North Carolina's athletic director and director of admissions in addition to head coach Larry Fedora. After the visit, Gnonkonde selected the Tar Heels.

“He met with the head coach before the basketball game and said ‘I’m comfortable; I don’t need to look anywhere else,’” said Lanier County athletics director John White, who is also Junior’s legal guardian.

“I tried to get him to wait and Junior said that he didn’t need to wait, so he went ahead and committed.”

White informed the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that North Carolina will not require Gnonkonde to retake any tests, but the defensive end will do so anyway.

Gnonkonde picked North Carolina after receiving offers from South Carolina, Wake Forest, Central Florida, Syracuse, and Louisiana Tech.

For more on the Tar Heels' 2012 recruiting class, check out the ACC Signing Day Overview.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 1:19 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 1:21 pm
 

Florida DB flips from Georgia Tech to Miami

Posted by Chip Patterson

Defensive back Antonio Crawford, from Tampa, Fla., has flipped his commitment from Georgia Tech to Miami.

“It was a pretty hard decision because I’ve been committed to Georgia Tech for a long time.” Crawford told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I got to know the coaches and I got to know some of the other recruits. It was pretty tough to do it, but they respected my decision and I respected them for that.”

Crawford had been committed to the Yellow Jackets since last summer, but received a last-minute offer from the Hurricanes last week and took a recruiting trip over the weekend. After a weekend in Coral Gables, Crawford returned home with a change of heart.

Georgia Tech assistant Charles Kelly hoped that Crawford would remain committed to the Yellow Jackets after the visit, but apparently took the news of the de-commit well on Sunday.

"No, I'm not surprised [by Georgia Tech's reaction]," Crawford said. "The Georgia Tech people are real classy. They are respectable people, and I know they wouldn't do anything like be angry and mad at me."

For Miami head coach Al Golden, Crawford's commitment is another payoff from an aggressive recruiting effort that began in early December. When the school made themselves ineligible for postseason play due to the ongoing NCAA investigation, Golden and his staff hit the recruiting trail hard in an effort to build for the future.

Miami's 2012 class, currently with 31 verbal commitments, is ranked No. 6 nationally by MaxPreps. For more on the Hurricanes, check out the ACC Signing Day Overview.

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Posted on: January 23, 2012 5:24 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 6:32 pm
 

ACC Signing Day Overview



Posted by Bryan Fischer


National Signing Day is almost here and recruits across the country are gearing up for plenty of last-minute pitches and school visits as head coaches look to shape their program for years to come. While the past few years haven't been kind to the ACC in terms of on the field reputation, several schools are making quite the push on the recruiting trail. In 2010, no ACC team finished in the top 15 in the Maxpreps top 25 team rankings. In 2012, as many five could, including two top-five class possibilities. The league is very top-heavy but there's a clear talent influx headed to the East Coast with the upcoming class.

MaxPreps.com Top 25 Team Rankings, ACC
College Commits Top 100 Moving
6. Miami 31 6
9. Florida State 16 4
13. Clemson 20 2
15. Virginia Tech 26 0
20. Virginia 25 2

Top storylines

1. Can Miami close on a top 10 class despite NCAA cloud?

This isn't what head coach Al Golden signed up for but it's what he has to deal with - which he's done superbly so far. It's no surprise that they've gotten some of the best players in their backyard and really sold recruits on the program despite whatever looming NCAA sanctions are bound to hit during their careers. One thing to keep in mind is that the Hurricanes can offer plenty of early playing time given the losses they've had due to underclassmen declaring for the NFL Draft or graduation. There are several players that really aren't up to the caliber that Miami usually recruits but given Golden's track record of molding talent in previous stops, the full story on this class won't be written for some time. There are impact players on both sides of the ball, players who will add much-needed depth and potential redshirt candidates in what could be the ACC's largest class. A handful of players are still being recruited hard by other programs and will not doubt be hearing how hard the program will get hit by the folks in Indianapolis for the Nevin Shapiro scandal. It will be interesting to track down and see if the Hurricanes trend up or down on Signing Day in the team rankings.

2. Does Florida State close with a bang or go bust?

In his first year as head coach, Jimbo Fisher quickly brought the Seminoles back to national prominence in February by grabbing commitments from top recruits in talent producing Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. 2011 had an elite recruit at each position outside of quarterback and FSU finished with a top three class. It looked like the program was destined for a similar finish early in the 2012 recruiting cycle but have been hit by several defections (notably to Alabama) and the crown jewel this year, quarterback Jameis Winston, is a threat to sign with another school and/or get drafted by a major league baseball team. There's still several very talented players, especially along the defensive line, but you wonder if this group gets picked apart or if Fisher and the talented recruiters on his staff close with a bang.

3. Does Clemson bring in another big haul?

If there was one big surprise on Signing Day last year, it was how well Clemson did. One of the frequently asked questions seemed to be how the Tigers were able to pull so many highly regarded recruits but it appears that Dabo Swinney and his staff's recruiting ability is one of the best in the ACC and one of the top groups on the East Coast. This year's group of commitments has plenty of talented players who should see early playing time and help Clemson reload for another ACC title run this season. The group is heavy along both lines but the Tigers are in the running for some impressive skill position talent this final week and could be poised for another big Signing Day.

4. Better in-state battle: Miami-Florida State or Virginia-Virginia Tech?

The fact that Virginia is even in the discussion is a testament to what Mike London had done in terms of turning around the program. Both programs in the state are about done with their recruiting classes and the Cavaliers could wind up with more top 100 commitments than their in-state rival. Virginia Tech's group is deeper and more balanced but doesn't have quite the impact players at the top that you would expect. Still, both programs look like they'll have a strong class come February 2nd.

Further to the South, both Florida programs are locked into a battle that could see both wind up as top 10 classes when all is said and done. Miami will have a bigger, deeper class while Florida State will likely end up with a star-filled group of players that might not have the numbers. Both programs be in a battle down to the final hours to see who finishes with a higher class ranking from the looks of it.

Most impressive class: Miami

Most underrated class: N.C. State

Work left to do: Boston College

Top Players to Watch
Name Pos Committed
4. Mario Edwards Jr. DL Florida State
12. Jameis Winston QB Florida State
13. Nelson Agholor ATH Uncommitted
17. Eddie Goldman DT Uncommitted
25. Travis Blanks DB Clemson
41. Eli Harold DL Virginia
45. Joel Caleb ATH Uncommitted
56. Mario Pender RB Florida State
63. Michael Moore DE Virginia
72. Deon Bush DB Miami
 

Assistant recruiters of note:

Mike Siravo, Boston College
Chad Morris, Jeff Scott and Brent Venables, Clemson
James Coley, Dameyune Craig, Eddie Gran and Lawrence Dawsey, Florida State
Mike Locksley, Maryland
Mike Reed and Jerry Petercuskie, N.C. State
Matt Lubick, Duke
Brian Bohannon and Andy McCollum, Georgia Tech
Terry Richardson and Brennan Carroll, Miami
Chris Kapilovic and Vic Koenning, North Carolina
Anthony Poindexter, Virginia
Shane Beamer and Torrian Gray, Virginia Tech

Head coach under pressure: Randy Edsall, Maryland

Top ACC class prediction: Florida State

Top ACC signee: Mario Edwards, Jr.

ACC school-by-school
Atlantic Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
15 LB Steven Daniels
OL Win Homer
There's not a real impact player in this class and that's the biggest issue. A solid group of front seven players and lineman, the lack of skill position talent is notable.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 DB Travis Blanks
ATH Germone Hopper
QB Chad Kelly
DT Carlos Watkins
Another very good class for the Tigers, Blanks is versatile and might be the best cover guy in 2012. Kelly has a strong arm and should take over for Tajh Boyd when the time comes.
- Team page
- Commitment list
16 DE Chris Casher
DE Mario Edwards Jr.
DE Dante Fowler Jr.
QB Jameis Winston
 This might be the best collection of D-linemen in the country. Edwards is likely to end up in Tallahassee and it's almost unfair to pair him with guys like Casher and Fowler off the edge. If Winston arrives on campus, then this group has great potential down the road.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 RB Wes Brown
LB Abner Logan
OL Mike Madaras
 A solid effort by Edsall, it remains to be seen what kind of magic Locksley can work this year. Brown has a chance to play early in a variety of roles but there's a lot of talent that needs to be developed in this class.
- Team page
- Commitment list
22 DT K'Hadree Hooker
QB James Summers
DE Kenderius Whitehead
 Though the Wolfpack missed out on some of the top in-state talent, this is an underrated group that has a lot of solid contributors. Summers seems to be the guy going forward while Whitehead is a great addition on the DL.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 QB Tyler Cameron
LB Dominique Gibson
 Jim Grobe doesn't play many recruits early so it will be awhile before we know how good any of this class will be but Cameron is a great pick up and one of the top QBs in South Florida.
Coastal Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
18 WR Max McCaffrey
DB Dwayne Norman
RB Shaquille Powell
Powell could have played at some bigger programs and is a hard runner who brings a lot to the table for the Blue Devils. There's a lot of skill position players who are not that fast but can contribute in a variety of areas.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 ATH Dennis Andrews
DE Francis Kallon
QB Justin Thomas
 Thomas will be a very good fit in the option offense at QB and might be the fastest triggerman Paul Johnson has ever had. Yellow Jackets also look like they're getting a good overall group of linemen.
- Team page
- Commitment list
31 DB Deon Bush
DE Jelani Hamilton
RB Randy Johnson
DE Tyriq McCord
There's a ton of explosiveness in this class but there's also a few questionable players in this group in terms of talent level. After "Duke" Johnson's senior year, it looks like the Hurricanes are getting the two best players in the state in him and Hamilton.
- Team page
- Commitment list
17 LB Shakeel Rashad
OL J.J. Patterson
LB Phillip Williamson
 Between the NCAA, Butch Davis and the new staff, not much is expected of the Tar Heels' 2012 class. Losing QB Patton Robinette during UNC orientation to Vanderbilt is a huge blow.
- Team page
- Commitment list
25 DE Eli Harold
LB Kwontie Moore
DE Michael Moore
DE Courtnye Wynn
 Kwontie Moore is an impressive linebacker who can hit like Ray Lewis and run like a safety. The defensive linemen in this class should have plenty guys who see early playing time.
- Team page
- Commitment list
26 RB J.C. Coleman
RB Drew Harris
DE Jarontay Jones
DB Donaldven Manning
 Jones is a big time DE but the there's plenty of players who will re-stock the wide receiver and defensive back positions. Coleman and Harris are going to be a very good 1-2 punch in the back field very soon.

Posted on: January 20, 2012 6:50 pm
 

Paul Johnson criticizes oversigning in recruiting

Posted by Chip Patterson

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has never been afraid to speak his mind, and he certainly has plenty to say when it comes to oversigning in recruiting.

Johnson has openly criticized the practice over oversigning in the past, but chose to address the issue directly in a news conference on Friday. The practice has been a local topic of conversation after Alabama pulled their 2012 offer from North Atlanta High running back Justin Taylor. Taylor, one of the top running backs in the state, was offered a grayshirt from the Crimson Tide and promised a spot in the 2013 class.

“That’s like (if) we go out there, we’ve got 15 commitments and we just keep recruiting over the top of them,” Johnson said. “Now, people do that, but not many. And then they just come back and they tell ‘em, ‘Hey, sorry, you’ll have to come next year. You’ll have to come in the spring. We found somebody better than you. We oversigned.’ That’s wrong. And it’s wrong on both sides. It’s just wrong.”

Taylor is reportedly considering his options, and may take head coach Nick Saban's offer to join the program in 2013. The running back missed his senior season with a knee injury, and could benefit from the extended rehab. In addition to criticizing programs, Johnson has publicly expressed discontent with prospects who treat the verbal commitment as a flexible agreement.

Recruiting has always been a hot button topic for Paul Johnson, especially at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets must compete with the top SEC schools in the nation for in-state recruits, while still maintaining the school's academic standards. When other schools like Alabama are using oversigning to lock up the best local recruits, it makes the job for Johnson's staff even more difficult as they fight the uphill battle to assemble the strongest class possible.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:41 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 11:45 am
 

Justin Thomas flips to Georgia Tech from Alabama

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's not often Nick Saban loses a recruit to another school. It's hard to figure out when was the last time he lost one to an ACC school from Alabama however, much less to a school like Georgia Tech. Such was the case Tuesday, as Prattville (Ala.) athlete Justin Thomas decommitted from the Crimson Tide and pledged to the Yellow Jackets in a stunning flip.

"The Bama people have been great about this including Coach Saban who told Justin he can always come home if he wants. I think Justin feels relieved now and he was really worried about it, but after talking with Coach Saban yesterday and today and Coach Johnson and Coach Kelly at Tech everything seems to right," Thomas' father, Milton, told JacketsOnline.com. "Justin is very happy with his decision."

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Thomas has been labeled as an athlete and was expected to enroll at Alabama as a defensive back. He had a change of heart however and wanted to play quarterback - which he did in high school - at the next level, making the speedster a perfect fit for Georgia Tech's option offense.

"Bama said they would give Justin a shot at quarterback and he believes them, but Coach (Paul) Johnson's offense is centered around guys with Justin's type of talent and Justin has a point he wants to prove to a lot of people about being a quarterback and not just an athlete," Milton Thomas said. "He has won championships at every level in every sport he has played including football and even AAU basketball. He wants to bring that to Georgia Tech now."

The younger Thomas recently led his Prattville High team to an Alabama state championship. His flip leaves the Tide with 21 commitments for the class of 2012 and gives the Yellow Jackets 14. Thomas is ranked as the 9th best athlete in the class by Maxpreps and 92nd overall.

"A QB in high school, he reminds me of Pat White, a great ballhandler with decent arm strength but who shows incredible running skills," analyst Tom Lemming said. "In the right program, he could be a difference maker at quarterback."



Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:02 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 11:03 am
 

11/9 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

South Carolina tight end Kelvin Rainey took an official visit to Arkansas.

Paul Johnson spent a full day observing Georgia Tech's top recruit Francis Kallon.

Dwayne Stanford will take an official visit to Oregon in a week and then commit with Adolphus Washington before Thanksgiving.

 Utah coach Kyle Whittingham learned his recruiting tactics from the Utes former head caoch.

Still months from Signing Day, Michigan is turning their attention to the class of 2013.

Recruits are taking a wait-and-see approach on Ole Miss with Houston Nutt gone after the end of the year.



Posted on: June 6, 2011 12:24 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Georgia Tech picks up linebacker Stargel

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Coaches talk all the time about how if they can just get a player to campus, they've got a good shot at landing a commitment from them. Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson has a very nice campus in Atlanta to show off and he must have been a pretty good tour guide over the weekend for Gulf Shores (Ala.) linebacker Tyler Stargel, who liked the program so much he committed on Saturday.

“I’ve always seen Georgia Tech from the highway while passing through Atlanta,” Stargel told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I had never been there until today. I’ve been talking to Georgia Tech’s coaches and developed a relationship. They invited me to tour the campus and meet everyone, and I didn’t realize what a great place it was until today. I like the facilities, the people, the area and, most importantly, the academics — because that’s a very important part in my upbringing.

“I’m proud to be a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket.”

The 6-foot-3, 250 pound linebacker is originally from Georgia and lived north of Atlanta until moving to Alabama two years ago. He held offers from Memphis, Troy and a few other schools but snapped Georgia Tech's offer once it was offered.

“Coach Johnson and my family talked a long time about the scholarship offer," Stargel said. "He was very upfront about everything. He said ‘We like you, the scholarship is there and you don’t have to worry about us pulling away.’ I liked what he said. I didn’t commit there but after talking with my parents on the drive back home, I decided to call back and commit.”

Stargel is the third commitment for the Yellow Jackets' class of 2012 and the first out of state commitment. He was drawing attention from several SEC programs but it appears that he'll wind up playing college football close to where he grew up. He racked up 87 tackles and two sacks last season as a junior. 
 
 
 
 
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