@GTPaulJohnson #SigningDay Quotes

Feb. 3, 2016

Georgia Tech head football coach  met with the media on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the Yellow Jackets’ 2016 recruiting class.

Opening Statement
“Good morning. I think this time of year, this day, everybody is excited. I feel like we did a good job in addressing the needs we had on our football team. I don’t know that I’ve heard a coach say that they didn’t have a great class. We will be able to tell in a year or two, really. We are excited about this group and we feel like they fit some needs. We hit our target number. When we started we had wanted to get 18 and that’s kind of where we ended up.”

On if there was one position that he felt was a bigger priority than others
“We were short wide receiver scholarship guys. You have a master plan and out of the 85, you have it broken down 41 on offense and 41 on defense and right now we have three specialists. You try to stay as close to those numbers as you can but you do have some flexibility.  A lot of it depends on the seniors coming up. Say for instance we have 16 DB spots, eight at safety and eight at corner. But if you maxed out and don’t have a senior in either group, there is no senior safety or no senior corners, than you are not going to be able to take one next year unless you slide one. Now that doesn’t mean, if there was a great one out there we wouldn’t have taken it. You want to stay as close to it as you can. For instance, we took five offensive linemen a year ago. Through attrition and through whatever, we were still five or six short there. Our target was three or four max if we would have gotten that right guy, we would have gone with four because we have one senior on that line and you don’t want to go a year where you only take one offensive lineman. You get the classes so imbalanced then, it doesn’t work. There has to be some madness to the way you put it together. I think we are probably a little bit over at running back. We are a little under on the offensive line, intentionally, to make up where we went over at the running back. We will sort it out next year. That’s the way we get through it. It is always a game of trying to sort out the numbers.”

On the process with Xavier Gantt and what you saw when he came back from injury
“Xavier was the first guy in our class to commit. I think he wanted to go to Georgia Tech from the jump start and he saw we were going to take one A-back. That’s where he was being recruited. He said I’m in right from the start. He didn’t want to get left out. He had a lot of offers. It takes a lot of character for those guys to do that. They get hit every week on going to go visit and change, and other people offering them. I think it says a lot about him for him to remain steadfast in that deal. Everybody thinks they know about recruiting, doesn’t really have a clue about it. They don’t know who is offering these guys or what they’re doing. I’ve seen today guys saying I picked this over that and those schools haven’t no more offered them a scholarship than the man on the moon. They can say it because no one can comment on it. A lot of times the guys that are committed to other schools get offered from a lot of schools and if they’re not going to flip or change, there is no use in broadcasting it or saying it. When people try to gauge recruiting by offer sheets, which so many of them do, sometimes they are not right. I saw a stat coming down here on my phone that since 2005 only the four or five star recruits have started in college. They want to give you all those other stats, but that’s a pretty good one right there.”

On signing four defensive linemen
“Every year is good for certain positions or whatever and I think this year was a pretty good year for defensive linemen. I think there were some pretty good players. We were able to get some guys, [Chris] Martin from Grayson kind of wanted to come to Tech and he kind of recruited us like we recruited him. He had a lot of good offers, had some SEC offers, but he wanted to come to Georgia Tech. We were able to find Desmond [Branch], the JUCO kid who transferred and is a little older. Then to pick up Jordan Woods and Brandon Adams who were two pretty sought out players. I think Jordan could have gone pretty much anywhere he wanted. Brandon was committed for a while to an SEC school and then when he came to us he got hit by two or three more of them. He held steadfast. I think that we helped ourselves there with some good players.”

On if he filled the need for more size on the outside with Desmond Branch   
“You are always looking for pass rushers. We think we have some good young guys  because of injury or because of whatever, some of them had to probably play before they were ready. We are excited about that group as a whole. I think that right now we have nine defensive ends and I think there are seven defensive tackles on scholarship so there are 16 in that group as well. I think there are some good players. It’s a good mix. We have some bigger guys. Brandon certainly helps the size in there. Kyle was forced to play a little bit last year. He might be a tad too big right now for his body type or size. Brandon Adams is a big kid. Francis Kallon is a big kid. Pat [Gamble] is going to be a senior and has played a lot. There is a good mix. You go outside and KeShun [Freeman] returns. He’s been a two year starter. [Rod] Rook-Chungong played. Anree Saint-Amour played a lot last year and Antonio Simmons. You have a lot of guys who have played that are not necessarily the older guys. You are always looking for a speed rusher and we think Jordan Woods has some flexibility there and maybe can do that from the outside. Brandon Adams would be one of our more inside guys. Desmond is kind of a cross. He can do both.”

On the pace of the commitments this year
“I don’t generally squeeze guys but there also comes a deadline. If I know I’m going take 18 guys, I’m willing to offer maybe 26. I’m not going to offer 50. If number 50 says he wants it and we let him commit. If number one comes back two weeks later and says I want it, we go cut number 50. So what we do with offers, we don’t usually put them out there unless they are committable offers. If you come, then we stop at that position. It’s like Xavier [Gantt]. He was the first guy committed. We didn’t recruit any more A-backs. I didn’t just keep recruiting and say that if I find someone better than him, we’ll take him and then we will cut him sometime. You have to manage the numbers that way. It’s been my experience, if a guy has gone on three or four visits and he still can’t tell you he is coming, there’s a reason. He’s looking for something he hasn’t seen or something that you don’t have. He keeps searching. You might get him on the fall back. I’d rather have guys that are excited about being here and want to be here. “

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