Feb. 1, 2006
ATLANTA–Georgia Tech’s freshman class for 2006 consists of 15 student-athletes, including 13 who signed national letters of intent with the Yellow Jackets Wednesday as well as two others who are already enrolled this semester.
Tech head coach Chan Gailey welcomes a group that includes three running backs, three defensive backs, two wide receivers, two defensive linemen, two linebackers, one quarterback, one tight end and one wide receiver/defensive back.
Six signees are from the state of Georgia, while six other states are represented, including Alabama (two), South Carolina (two), Florida (one), Texas (one), Virginia (one) Illinois (one) and Ohio (one).
“We think we’ve got a quality group,” said Gailey, entering his fifth season at Tech. “We got a lot of speed, which is what we base our team on. If you don’t build on speed, you’re making a mistake because there are so many fast teams in this conference. And we’ve got a group of quality young men with good character and good grades – they will represent Georgia Tech well.
“I have never worried about rankings and stars. I worry about finding the best players who fit our program and can help us win.”
Gailey said the biggest areas of emphasis were wide receiver and linebacker.
We felt like we did very well in both those areas,” said Gailey. “And 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.”
The Jackets added linebackers Osahon Tongo of Naperville, Ill., and Sedric Griffin of Winnsboro, S.C., and receivers Demaryius Thomas of Dublin, Ga., and Correy Earls of Macon, Ga., as well as Dominique Reese of Auburn, Ala., a prep quarterback who projects as either a receiver or cornerback.
Tongo, 6-2, 220, was rated the No. 8 player in the state of Illinois by Rivals.com and the No. 19 prospect by Scout.com. Griffin is somewhat undersized at 5-11 and 220 pounds but has excellent speed. He is a prospect whose stock rose dramatically following the Shrine Bowl all-star game in December, and he is rated the No. 21 player in South Carolina by Scout.com and No. 23 by Rivals.com
Thomas gives Tech another tall receiver at 6-4 and 215 pounds, while Earls, 6-0, 185, also excelled on punt and kickoff returns. Both are members of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Top 50 in Georgia.
“[Thomas] is a big, strong, athletic receiver who can jump up and take the ball, as evidenced by his basketball ability,” said Gailey. “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. Correy Earls is a great return guy and that’s something we could use immediately.”
Tech also added four players to the offensive backfield in quarterback Byron Ingram of Stone Mountain, Ga., tailbacks Jamaal Evans or Irving, Texas, and Quincy Kelly, also from Stone Mountain, and fullback Trevor Bray of Chesapeake Va.
Ingram, who stands 6-5, is another member of the AJC Top 50 in Georgia. He was also rated among the Top 50 players in Georgia by Scout.com. The dual-threat quarterback passed for 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior at Redan High.
“I am really anxious to see what this young man can become,” said Gailey. “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.”
Evans is just 5-8 and 191 pounds, but he was a prolific prep runner, gaining more than 6,300 yards and scoring 67 touchdowns in three seasons to finish his career as the leading rusher in the history of the city of Irving. He is already enrolled at Tech and will participate in spring practice.
“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.”
Kelly, from Decatur High, is a much bigger back at 6-0 and 225 pounds. Bray, 6-0 and 230, is likely ticketed for fullback but Gailey said, “He is a much better runner than people want to give him credit for.”
The final offensive signee is tight end Austin Barrick, a 6-3, 240-pounder from Moody, Ala., a Top 30 player in Alabama by Scout.com.
“The question about him is whether you play him at defensive end,” Gailey said of Barrick. “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.”
Marius was tabbed among the Top 40 players in Florida by the Orlando Sentinel (No. 24), Scout.com (No. 33) and Rivals.com (No. 37).
Bowen is also enrolled this semester after graduating from high school last spring.
Tech also added a pair of defensive linemen in defensive tackle Ben Anderson of Aiken, S.C., a Top 30 player in South Carolina, and defensive end Robert Hall of Hawkinsville, Ga., a two-time all-state selection and a member of the AJC Top 50 in Georgia.
NamePosHt, WtHometownHigh School Ben AndersonDT6-2, 265Aiken, S.C.South Aiken Austin BarrickTE6-3, 240Moody, Ala.Moody Shane Bowen *S6-1, 215Pickerington, OhioPickerington Trevor BrayRB6-0, 230Chesapeake, Va.Greenbrier ChristianCorrey EarlsWR6-0, 185Macon, Ga.Central Jamaal Evans *RB5-8, 191Irving, TexasIrving Sedric GriffinRB5-11, 220Winnsboro, S.C.Fairfield CentralRobert HallDE6-3, 225Hawkinsville, Ga.Hawkinsville Byron IngramQB6-5, 190Stone Mountain, Ga.Redan DeRon JasperS6-2, 195Dunwoody, Ga.Dunwoody Quincy KellyRB6-0, 225Stone Mountain, Ga.Decatur Laurence MariusCB5-11, 175Key West, Fla.Key West Dominique ReeseWR/DB5-11, 175Auburn, Ala.Auburn Demaryius ThomasWR6-4, 215Dublin, Ga.West Laurens Osahon TongoLB6-2, 225Naperville, Ill.Naperville North
* Enrolled at Georgia Tech for spring semester