The Biggest Needs In Georgia Tech's 2021 Recruiting Class
Pen has met paper, Letters of Intent have been faxed, and with it the 2020 recruiting cycle has come to an end. At the end of the day, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets came away with their most successful class in recent memory. Landing at 24th in the recruiting rankings for the Class of 2020 (Rivals), the Ramblin' Wreck pulled off their second Top 25 class in program history and their highest since 2007. With how well head coach Geoff Collins and the rest of the GT coaching staff have recruited since taking over after Paul Johnson's retirement after the 2018 season, it is expected that the Jackets will continue to recruit at a high level.
That being said, it's never too early to dive into next season's recruiting cycle. In fact, Tech already has a head start on the 2021 class with WR Malik Rutherford and ATH Jamal Haynes having already committed to play for the Jackets.
Tech is obviously targeting slot receivers in this class as part of the continuing transition from the triple-option to a pro style offense, but what other positions should the Jackets be targeting? Here are three position groups that I believe to be of the biggest need for Georgia Tech in the upcoming 2021 recruiting cycle.
Agree, disagree, or simply want to chime in? Sound off in the comments below.
The revitalization of Georgia Tech's offensive line is probably the biggest on-field component to turning things around on The Flats. Because of the system in which Collins was transitioning from, he was dealt with a line that was woefully undersized. The average height and weight of all 18 offensive linemen on the 2019 roster was just 6' 3.7" and 296.1 pounds. Combined with having to go up against some of the most aggressive front 7's in college football, Georgia Tech wound top with the 130th ranked O-Line in all of FBS according to Pro Football Focus. In case you were wondering, there are only 130 FBS teams.
Collins has already started to address this concern, bringing in 6 freshman and 2 graduate transfers whose collective size averages out to 6'5.1" and 300.6 pounds. But with four projected day 1 OL starters (Devin Cochran, Ryan Johnson, Kenny Cooper, & Jack DeFoor) set to play their final season of college football next year, replacing the talent lost on the line of scrimmage is going to continue to be a priority.
The defensive tackle and defensive line positions find themselves in a similar situation that the offensive line does. While not as undersized as their line of scrimmage counterparts, this upcoming season will also feature the final collegiate years of many defensive line playmakers. Projected starters Antonneous Clayton & Jahaziel Lee are both redshirt seniors, with key backups Chris Martin, Djimon Brooks & Antwan Owens also heading into their collegiate swan song.
Like with the offensive line, Geoff Collins and Co. have already began to plan for the future. This previous cycle saw them bring in 4 defensive line recruits, highlighted by 4* DE Jared Ivey. However between Jared Ivey & Kyle Kennard being true defensive ends and Emmanuel Johnson & Akelo Stone being DE/DT hybrids, the Yellow Jackets next need to target a true defensive tackle. While it is still possible to pursue one in the transfer portal for the upcoming 2020 season, it would behoove them to look beyond this season as well at the position.
Not much went right for Georgia Tech this past season, as many fans are well aware at this point. However one of the bright spots in the 2019 was the play of the secondary. Led by cornerbacks Tre Swilling & Zamari Walton and safeties Tariq Carpenter & Juanyeh Thomas, they allowed just 207.7 passing yards per game, good for 36th in the nation.
While the safety position will not have the attrition level that offensive and defensive lines will have, it will be among one of the priority needs in next year's class. The lone position group that was not represented in Tech's 2020 recruiting class was safety, with the Jackets only bringing in a total of 2 defensive backs (Miles Brooks & Jalen Huff) in the class. Considering this upcoming season will be Tariq Carpenter's final with Juanyeh Thomas' last year coming the season after, eventually the Jackets will have to pursue more safeties to replace them.
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