Feb. 2, 2005
ATLANTA–Safety Anthony Barnes, tight end Michael Johnson and quarterback Jonathan Garner headline Georgia Tech’s 2005 football signees, a group of 19 prospective student-athletes who signed national letters of intent with the Yellow Jackets Wednesday.
Tech head coach Chan Gailey welcomes a group that includes five offensive linemen, four defensive backs, three defensive linemen, two linebackers, two wide receivers, two tight ends and one quarterback.
Six signees are from the state of Georgia, while six other states are represented, including Florida (four), Alabama (four), South Carolina (two), Texas (one), Pennsylvania (one) and Colorado (one).
“We think we’ve got an excellent group of football players and students for our football program,” said Gailey, entering his fourth season at Tech. “We’re excited about what each of them brings to the program. We filled some needs, particularly on the offensive line, and we were able to add some speed, so we’re looking forward to seeing this group.
“I know the character of this group, and that is something that excites me about working with this group for the next four or five years. I think they can develop into a special group by the time they get out of here.”
Adding depth on the offensive line was a major emphasis for the Jackets, who signed Trey Dunmon (6-4, 275) of Hawkinsville, Ga., a member of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Top 50 in Georgia, along with Randall Cox (6-3, 287) of St. Augustine, Fla., Cord Howard (6-5, 260) of Phenix City, Ala., Will Miller (6-5, 275) of Centre, Ala., and Dan Voss (6-4, 290) of Philadelphia. Pa.
“You’re looking at growth potential, athletic ability and how they run,” said Gailey. “Cord Howard played offense and defense. Dan Voss was a wide receiver in the ninth grade; that’s what kind of athlete he is. He went from wide receiver to tight end and then to the offensive line the last two years, so he has really made great strides. Will Miller is a big man who can run. Randall Cox came to our camp last summer and we really liked him. Trey Dunmon is a guy that we’ve kept our eye on at Hawkinsville. They all bring something special.”
With Johnson, a 6-7, 215-pounder from Plantersville, Ala., and 6-6, 250-pound Colin Peek of Jacksonville, Fla., Bolles School, Tech signed two of the nation’s top tight ends. Johnson was rated the No. 2 prospect in Alabama and the No. 7 tight end in the nation by TheInsiders.com, while Peek was ranked among the nation’s Top 30 tight ends by both TheInsiders.com and Rivals.com. Both players were also on TheInsiders.com’s Southeast Top 100.
“They both are very special players, but they’re different. Colin is the bigger, stronger of the two right now, whereas Michael is the faster, quicker of the two. We’re going to give Michael a strong look on defense as well. He’s that good of an athlete and did a lot of things for his football team. But they’re both really good football players.”
Another outstanding athlete is Barnes, a 6-4, 200-pounder from Cartersville (Ga.) High. He was named one of the Southeast’s Top 100 prospects by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and TheInsiders.com and was ranked one of the nation’s Top 25 athletes by Rivals.com, which also tabbed him the No. 19 player in Georgia.
“He is an amazing athlete,” said Gailey of Barnes.
Projected as a safety, Barnes is one of four defensive backs in the class, along with cornerbacks Tony Clark of Garden City, Ga., and Jahi Word-Daniel of Hoover, Ala., and safety Jake Blackwood of West Palm Beach, Fla.
Clark, who attended Groves High, was named to the Top 50 in Georgia by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was rated the No. 29 safety in the nation by TheInsiders.com. Word-Daniel was rated among the Top 20 prospects in Alabama by both Rivals.com and TheInsiders.com. Blackwood, an all-state selection, is the son of former National Football League safety Glenn Blackwood, whose brother Lyle also played safety in the NFL.
Garner is a left-handed signal caller who was rated among the nation’s Top 20 quarterbacks by Rivals.com and was tabbed to the Florida Times Union Super 75 and the Orlando Sentinel Top 100 in Florida. He passed for 25 touchdowns with just four interceptions as a senior and led Mainland High School in Daytona Beach to consecutive trips to the state championship game, including the title as a junior.
“You can never have enough quality quarterbacks,” said Gailey.
Tech also added two outstanding wide receivers in Greg Smith, an all-state selection at Douglass High in Atlanta and the No. 62 wide receiver in the nation by Rivals.com, and Martin Frierson of Irmo, S.C., a top 50 prospect in South Carolina according to the Columbia State. Both players stand 6-2.
“For the most part, the bigger receivers are showing up at all levels – high school, college and pro,” said Gailey.
Smith’s teammate at Douglass, 6-5, 260-pound Jason Hill, is one of three signees on the defensive line, along with 6-2, 255-pound Brad Sellers of Arlington, Texas and 6-3, 255-pound Vance Walker of Fort Mill, S.C.
“Vance Walker is a guy who really came on his senior year,” said Gailey. “He’s got amazing quickness at the line of scrimmage.”
The Jackets also bolstered their defense with a pair of highly-regarded linebackers in 6-0, 233-pound Taalib Tucker of East Point, Ga., and Westlake High, who was named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Top 50 in Georgia, and 6-3, 230-pound Matt Braman, an all-state prospect from Nywot, Colo.
“I guess I look at the potential that is involved in the class, and I get excited. I’m looking forward to working with the character and the talent that is involved in this group. Some of them don’t have a bunch of stars by their name, but that doesn’t matter to us. We think they’ve got great potential to be really good football players.
“We addressed some needs on the offensive line, and we got some good skill people.”
|Name||Pos||Ht, Wt||Hometown||High School|
|Anthony Barnes||S||6-4, 200||Cartersville, Ga.||Cartersville|
|Jake Blackwood||S||6-1, 170||West Palm Beach, Fla.||King’s Academy|
|Matt Braman||LB||6-3, 230||Niwot, Colo.||Niwot|
|Tony Clark||CB||6-1, 180||Garden City, Ga.||Groves|
|Randall Cox||OL||6-3, 287||St. Augustine, Fla.||St. Augustine|
|Trey Dunmon||OL||6-4, 275||Lilly, Ga.||Hawkinsville|
|Martin Frierson||WR||6-2, 185||Irmo, S.C.||Irmo|
|Jonathan Garner||QB||6-4, 206||Daytona Beach, Fla.||Mainland|
|Jason Hill||DE||6-5, 260||Atlanta, Ga.||Douglass|
|Cord Howard||OL||6-5, 260||Phenix City, Ala.||Central|
|Michael Johnson||DE/TE||6-7, 215||Plantersville, Ala.||Dallas County|
|Will Miller||OL||6-5, 275||Centre, Ala.||Cherokee County|
|Colin Peek||TE||6-6, 250||Jacksonville, Fla.||Bolles School|
|Brad Sellers||DE||6-2, 255||Arlington, Texas||Bowie|
|Greg Smith||WR||6-2, 190||Atlanta, Ga.||Douglass|
|Taalib Tucker||LB||6-0, 233||East Point, Ga.||Westlake|
|Dan Voss||OL||6-4, 290||Philadelphia, Pa.||St. Joseph’s Prep|
|Vance Walker||DT||6-3, 255||Fort Mill, S.C.||Fort Mill|
|Jahi Word-Daniels||DB||5-11, 160||Hoover, Ala.||Hoover|