Feb. 1, 2006
What do you think of this class?
“Well, we think pretty highly of them or we wouldn’t have recruited them in the first place. I’ve never worried about rankings and stars. We just go out and try to find the best guys that fit our program. We feel like we have a quality class. There’s some speed in this class which is what we base our football team on. They’re all men of high character with good grades, and they’ll represent our school well.”
“He (Sedric) played well in the Shrine Bowl, which was a benefit to him. We were able to go in and talk about our school, and he was looking for a place that would fit him, which turned out great. We’ll see how those guys turn out. You usually know about a year or two into college how a guy will turn out and how your recruiting efforts went.”
What do you tell fans when they say that Tech didn’t get a top-20 class in recruiting?
“The only thing that anyone worries about is what you do on Thursdays or Saturdays during the season. [Signing Day] creates a lot of excitement and it’s a great time for young people to be able to get a scholarship to a university that pays their way through school. The bottom line is how we do in the fall with these guys and the ones we’ve recruited in years past. You can have the top-ranked or 20th-ranked recruiting class but what matters is what happens on the field.”
Does it mean anything when you see schools like USC, Texas, and Florida get the top classes?
“Obviously, those are good football players, but the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter where any of those are ranked today. It’s where Texas was at the end of this season.”
What position did you feel you needed to focus your recruiting efforts on this year?
“Linebacker and receiver. We felt like we did very well in both those areas. You can never have enough good defensive backs, and I feel like we were able to go out and get some good ones at both positions this year.”
Did your situation with your contract extension help you during recruiting?
“I think it gave them an easier feeling and a sense of stability in the program. I think that’s always the case. A young man would like to think that he’s going to be able to stay with the coaches that recruited him.”
On importance of recruiting players with speed in the ACC:
“If you don’t build on speed, you’re going to make a mistake in this conference because there are so many fast teams. We used to go for size but I’ve found over the years that speed and football savvy are the keys to being able to win.”
On Byron Ingram’s size at quarterback:
“I am really anxious to see what this young man can become. He has a great deal of talent right now but I think his potential is outstanding. He’s a big, tall guy who’s got great genes and his dad played in the NFL. I think he understands hard work and what it’s going to take to be a successful player at this level. He’s changed schools and has had to change environments which can be an advantage for a guy so he’s already been through that.”
Did you get a sense of whether the sanctions hurt your chances while you were on the recruiting trail?
“I think it hurts you in numbers but I don’t think it hurts you otherwise. The fact that we’re still on TV, can still play for an ACC championship, and can still go to bowls didn’t hurt us. We got questions about it and we were straight with them every time.”
What side of the ball do you see Dominique Reese on?
“I don’t know, but I think that’s an advantage we have because we can look at our needs and play him on offense or defense. He played quarterback in high school because that’s where they needed him. He’s a very good athlete with the ball in his hands but he also has quick feet. To be honest with you, I don’t know where he’ll end up and that’s why we have him listed as WR/CB.”
On not recruiting any offensive linemen:
“Our offensive line is pretty young and we recruited five last year along with moving a defensive lineman to offense. We didn’t feel like it was imperative to recruit that position but we’ll make probably make a push for one or two next year. I don’t feel any pressure right now and we’ll have to look at our numbers to see what we have to work with next year.”
On nine of your 15 recruits being from out-of-state:
“The football in the state of Georgia is excellent, and there’s no question about that. Whether or not a guy qualifies academically to play for us, and whether we evaluate a guy that we would want on you football team is another thing. If you only take one guy at a position, then it excludes you from recruiting a lot of other good football players. There’s a lot of factors that go into it, but we’ll always recruit in Georgia first. We have a lot of coaches that are assigned an area in the state of Georgia, and we always will. I’m hoping that we could be 50/50 in the future.”
“It’s great to have those guys in school already. They get a great jump by being here, not only academically but athletically.”
On Evans only being 5-8 for a running back”
“I’ve seen good running backs come in all shapes and sizes, and to me, a good running back is a good running back. Coach Modkins did a good job of recruiting him and Jamaal is a good kid academically and was looking for this type of situation.”
On chances of Laurence Marius playing soon:
“He’s a very good athlete. Can he learn the ins and outs of corner enough to play this year other than special teams? That, I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see.”
“Craig did a nice job during the course of the year staying in touch and letting his family know all that we had to offer. Being a Tech graduate obviously helped the situation. It was a plus to have that type of connection and we were able to focus on him at the end of the season so it turned out great.”
On Ben Anderson and what stuck out about him:
“It’s the way he plays as hard as he can play during every snap. He gives you the kind of effort that you’ve got to have to be able to go play at this level. He’s not the biggest or fastest guy but when he walks on the field, you’re going to get 100% every snap. That’s the first thing that struck me about this guy. He’s quick and he plays as hard as he can. We’ll have to see if he can get into that 290-pound range. If he gets to 275-280 playing inside, that will be a plus.”
Will Austin Barrick stay at tight end or could he grow into something else?
“The question about him is whether you play him at defensive end. He’s a very talented guy that’s played on both sides of the ball. The defensive coaches have already asked about him but he’s going to stay at tight end for now.”
Could this list still grow?
“Yes, it could. When you sign somebody after Signing Day, it’s usually someone who contacts you and they didn’t get exactly what they wanted. You evaluate them and you see if they fit you situation. We don’t just try to fill numbers, and we’ll save those scholarships and use them for next year.”
On red-shirting receivers last year and whether that could happen again this year:
“We moved Pat Clark from receiver to corner so that leaves a spot open at receiver. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in spring practice. That will tell us what kind of need we’ll have in the fall. I do know that Correy Earls is a great return guy and that’s something we could use immediately.”
How fast can Pat Clark pick up the corner position?
“I think he’ll be fine. He’s an intelligent football player and going through spring practice will give him an advantage because of all the reps he’ll get.”
On Trevor Bray playing fullback:
“More than likely, he’ll be a fullback. He runs the ball better than people want to give him credit for but we signed him thinking he’d play fullback.”
On Demaryius Thomas:
“He’s a big, strong, athletic receiver who can jump up and take the ball, as evidenced by his basketball ability. He’s probably not your typical guy when you think about receiver, although these days, it’s more common to have guys in that 6-3 or 6-4 and 215-pound range. He’s not a blazer but he’s fast enough”
Did having Calvin Johnson help you recruit receivers?
“I think it did. Those guys thought about either playing on the field with him, or replacing him at some point.”