Wednesday, February 5, 2014
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech addressed immediate needs on the offensive line and defensive secondary with its largest National Signing Day class since 2011.
The Yellow Jackets signed 21 prospects, a number that includes four players that enrolled at Georgia Tech in January, and one transfer.
“We are really excited about this group of young men,” head coach Paul Johnson said. “I think we addressed a lot of needs. We’ve been trying to balance the numbers for a couple of years now. We were a little bit heavy in the offensive line in this class, which we needed to be, and we got some guys in the secondary, which was a consideration.
“Overall, I’m just enthusiastic about this group. Not only are they quality athletes, but quality people as well. They are guys I think will fit in really well here at Georgia Tech.”
Tech’s class of 21 prospects was its largest since signing 22 players in 2011. The list of 21 players does not include Travis Custis, a member of the 2013 class who enrolled at Georgia Tech last month.
The Yellow Jackets signed 10 prospects from the state of Georgia – their most from the Peach State since 2010. Tech signed five players from Florida – its most from the Sunshine State since Johnson arrived on the Flats following the 2007 season. The Jackets went into South Carolina for two signees for the first time since 2008, and Tech continued to find success in Alabama, where it found three recruits.
Three members of Tech’s signing class hail from Lamar County (Ga.) High School: twin brothers Lance and Lawrence Austin, and Qua Searcy. The Yellow Jackets also signed two prospects from Norcross (Ga.) High School: Myles Autry and Clinton Lynch. Autry is the younger brother of Georgia Tech wide receiver Anthony Autry, who enters his third year in the program
The ’14 class includes six offensive linemen, an area where the Yellow Jackets need to add immediate depth. Gary Brown (Tampa, Fla.), Trey Klock (Hummelstown, Pa.), Andrew Marshall (Cumming, Ga.), Michael Preddy (Charleston, S.C.), Jake Stickler (Brandenton, Fla.) and Jake Whitley (North Augusta, S.C.) will all try to make an prompt impact on the line.
Four members of the class – Step Durham (Jacksonville, Fla.), KeShun Freeman (Hogansville, Ga.), Tre’ Jackson (Valdosta, Ga.) and Matthew Jordan (Jackson, Ala.) -- enrolled at Georgia Tech in January and will be able to participate in spring practice, which begins March 24
The only non-freshman in the group is defensive end Kenderius Whitehead, a transfer from Georgia Military College who has three years of eligibility remaining.
Jalen Johnson (Oneonta, Ala.) is one of five defensive backs in the class. Christopher Leggett (Suwanee, Ga.), who led the Georgia Class 6A ranks in rushing last fall, comes to Tech as a versatile running back. Terrell Lewis (Ocoee, Fla.) and Antonio Simmons (Jacksonville, Fla.) are two of three linebackers in the signing class. Tyler Merriweather (Demopolis, Ala.) is one of three defensive ends hoping to fill the void of Jeremiah Attaochu and Emmanuel Dieke, Tech’s starting ends in 2013.