Feb. 6, 2013
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s 2013 class of 14 newcomers includes some of the state’s most highly-regarded prospects, a pair of high school teammates from Maryland and key targets from Florida, Ohio and New York.
The Signing Day crop does includes running back Donovan Wilson, who graduated early from Jerome High School (Dublin, Ohio) and enrolled at Georgia Tech in January.
“We are excited about the young men who signed today,” head coach Paul Johnson said. “I think we filled some needs. We said a year ago that it would be a small class, and it is. We targeted 14 or 15 guys. We signed 14 this morning (including Wilson).”
Eight of the 14 signees come from Georgia, including three from the Atlanta area. Although position assignments could change, Tech’s rookie class includes one quarterback, one running back, two wide receivers, two offensive linemen, two defensive linemen, two linebackers, two defensive backs and one kicking specialist.
Shamire DeVine (6-7, 355), a towering offensive lineman from Atlanta (Tri-Cities HS), is not only Tech’s biggest recruit in a literal sense, but he may be the Yellow Jackets’ most highly-touted recruit as well. Chris Griffin (6-6, 272) from Panacea, Fla. (Wakulla HS) give Tech outstanding potential on the offensive line.
“Shamire DeVine and Chris Griffin on the offensive line certainly fill some needs,” Johnson said. “I thought all along that Shamire was the best lineman in the state.”
Another prize in-state recruit is Travis Custis, a skilled running back from Lovejoy High School, the same school that produced former Yellow Jacket great Tashard Choice. Custis could play either the A-back or B-back positions.
“If Travis was not the best running back in the state,” Johnson said, “then he was on a very short list.”
Georgia Tech continued its recent success of finding talent near the nation’s capital by signing Forestville (Md.) Bishop McNamara HS teammates Darius Commissiong and Kevin Robbins, both defensive linemen (Robbins can also play linebacker). In recent previous seasons, Tech signed Washington, DC-area standouts Jeremiah Attaochu, Louis Young and Roderick Chungong.
Joining Commissiong and Robbins on the defensive line will be Justin Akins (Jenkinsburg, Ga.). The Yellow Jacket coaches were also enthusiastic about linebacker Paul Davis (Cairo, Ga.), defensive back John Marvin (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) and defensive back Corey Griffin (Tyrone, Ga.). Griffin comes from the same Sandy Creek HS that produced former Yellow Jackets Calvin Johnson and Andrew Gardner, and current Tech senior Isaiah Johnson.
“On defense we signed some guys that we really liked and needed. I’m excited about them.”
Ty Griffin, an athlete from Atlanta and McEachern High School, will begin his career at quarterback. “He’ll be given a shot at quarterback,” Johnson said, “but he’s good enough to play any number of positions.”
Tech filled a real need at wide receiver, where the Yellow Jackets signed two prospects – Ricky Jeune (Spring Valley, N.Y.) and Antonio Messick (Fayetteville, Ga.).
With both returning kickers entering their senior seasons at Tech, Johnson signed Harrison Butker of Decatur (Ga.) and Westminster Academy.
“He may be the best (high school) kicker in the country,” Johnson said. “He’s certainly one of the best we’ve seen.”
Not part of the recruiting class are two transfers who are eligible this fall after sitting out the 2012 season – quarterback Tim Byerly (Middle Tennessee State) and offensive lineman Thomas O’Reilly (Auburn).
In all, Johnson was pleased with this year’s group of signees.
“I am looking forward to coaching them, looking forward to working with them, and I think they will be great representatives of Georgia Tech.”