After a terrible season, Tech reaps a tepid signing class

Paul Johnson enjoys another rainy spring game. (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

Not to rain on anybody’s parade, but … (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

It’s tempting to see Georgia Tech’s 2015 season as a worst-case scenario of youth and injury and a wicked schedule and lousy luck. And it’s true that the Yellow Jackets hadn’t had a year that awful since 1994, when Bill Lewis started (but did not end) the season as coach. But if 2015 was Tech’s generational nadir, wasn’t 2014, which culminated in an Orange Bowl victory, also an outlier?

Fun with numbers: Add the 3-9 of 2015 to the 11-3 of 2014 and get 14-12; divide by two and get 7-6 as the average. Add the wins and losses from 2010 through 2013 and get 28-25; divide by four and get 7.0-6.25. That’s six seasons, or 75 percent of Paul Johnson’s time at Tech, over which his Jackets have essentially been a 7-6 team. Is that good enough?

If every coach insists recruiting rankings mean little, Johnson is singular in his disdain. Over his time at Tech, Rivals has rated his signing classes in the nation’s top 40 only once. The exception came last year, when the Jackets ranked 39th. If that was a post-Orange bounce, it proved fleeting. As of 7:30 a.m. this Signing Day, Tech’s recruiting class ranked 65th, which would mark the second-lowest (behind the 84th of 2013) under Johnson.

As of 7:30 a.m., Tech’s class ranked next-to-last among the 14 ACC schools and last in the Coastal Division. Half the Coastal’s other six members just changed coaches. Even as we offer the boilerplate disclaimer – rankings are inexact, et cetera – we note that Tech’s division has toughened with the addition of Mark Richt, Justin Fuente and Bronco Mendenhall. Given that Tech has been, on average, a 7-6 team over six seasons, how enthused should its fans be today?

(A word about methodology, to invoke a high-falutin’ term: For simplicity’s sake, I use Rivals as my rating standard and have for several years. If you prefer Scout, be advised that Tech’s class was, as of 7:30, tied for 63rd nationally and tied for 12th in the ACC with Wake Forest. If you prefer 247 Sports, Tech ranked 52nd nationally, 10th in the ACC and sixth — ahead of Virginia — in the Coastal. If you prefer ESPN … well, their team rankings only go to 40th, and Tech wasn’t included. But eight ACC teams, including five Coastal schools, were.)

Late-afternoon update: As of 4:30 p.m., Tech’s recruiting class was ranked 70th by Rivals, 65th by Scout and 54th by 247 Sports.

Oh, and about Georgia: Smart’s first UGA signing class shapes up nicely. No shock there.

Reader Comments 0

198 comments
Zapp
Zapp

The school likes it or they wouldn't have given the coach an extension after one good season.

Hellofanengineer
Hellofanengineer

I wonder what would happen if Tech got UGA's recruits?  Think they would have better careers.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

I think these "tepid" recruits will warm in in time

to beat Bradley's pet team in north Georgia. CPJ

will confer by contacting Bradley at his office

on the UGA campus for further input..LOL

billship
billship

Why is that after I read one of Bark's columns I feel like I need to get up and do something?  Complete waste of time, that's why. Time to clean out the gutters.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

I understand Paul's offense can get more miles out of less talent but that doesn't do much good for Ted and his defense other than time of possession.  Hard to believe with all the talent in Metro Atlanta the Jackets can't sign better players. The only think that matters is ticket sales going forward. A half full stadium will get the attention of the folks with the checkbook....sooner or later.

alanwilliams
alanwilliams

I like PJ. I like most of his coaches. I like his offence. I like his attitude(win or lose). I like the Yellow Jackets, I like the stadium, I like the history,I like the academics,           I DON'T LIKE MARK BRADLEY, NEVER HAVE , NEVER WILL.  *8 out of 9 things I like! Not Bad!

@eidsonb
@eidsonb

And we alllll know that Smart and Eason are going to take UGA to 19 SEC Championships and 9 National, all in their first year.  

Domhob
Domhob

Everyone, you have to understand Mark Bradley's intent here.  He is all about getting coaches fired.  It does not matter if they are pro or college, no matter the sport.  He likes to stir it up so it happens.  Last year, he was after Richt.  Two years ago, he was after Johnson, then shut up after the Orange Bowl season.  We only had 18 scholarships, so our numbers are going to be lower than the bogey of 25.    

GTBee
GTBee

Tepid is being kind. This dog don't hunt. The sooner we move on from 7 win seasons, the better.

PGH
PGH

I love the annual time of year when Tech fans try to justify their coach, their offense, and their 70th ranked recruiting class.  I almost love it as much as the last weekend in November, but not quite.  For the record, I don't work at McDonald's.  A Big Mac hits the spot every now and then.  Fries aren't as good as they used to be...

GTBee
GTBee

Supersize.....PGH is right.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@PGH 

Meanwhile the mutts, reveling over all their big-time recruits, look feverishly forward to yet another August National Championship.  Too bad for you that September comes so close after August and it always goes down the drain.  Not-so-Smart won't be making a difference either, since he has never coached a down of offense in his life, and his mighty Bama defense got torched for 40 points and 600+ yards by Clemson.  Enjoy your Big Mac.  I choose to eat better than that.

GTroller
GTroller

Here's the thing about GT.  They're just not that serious about having a really good football program.

GTroller
GTroller

It's GT-Roller NOT Troller

GTBee
GTBee

Augusta, GTroller is correct.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@GTroller I really can't take you seriously.  Your trolling is comical and needs a lot of improvement.  I do give you credit for trying though.  Persistence is not your problem.  Rather, it seems that a horrible grasp of facts coupled with a seemingly low native intelligence is.  It's a curable condition, however, so there is always hope for you.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@GTBee No.  He's not.  And however he spells it, trolling is all he does.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

Here's the thing about class rankings.  You can argue the merits of ranking individual recruits, and there's valid points on both sides of the debate.  I have found no one who can really give an honest defense about the way Rivals does their class ranking system.  Basically, they assign a score for each recruit based on their Rivals ranking.  (5.8 = 105, 5.7 = 90, etc) Think about this, 13 schools ahead of us on the Rivals team rankings had lower average star recruiting than we did.  We would be 50th if judged based on an average.  Because quality is not the driving metric, but rather quantity, schools that recruit smaller classes are penalized in the rankings. For instance, if GT were to recruit an additional 7 5.6 rated 3* athletes this year, our composite Rivals score would be 1575 instead of 1050.  That would be good for 35th in the totals.  It would also give us a star average of 2.92 (vs 2.71) which would have been good for 42nd.  Do you see the dichotomy there?  7 extra "average" FBS P5 recruits would jump us almost 30 points in the rankings.  In reality, it probably should have only nudged us up 8 spots or so.  That is why I ignore the class rankings.  It's horrible statistical math.  You should really look at how statistics are derived before you blindly quote them.  Unfortunately, Mark Bradley and many other sports columnists have taken the lazy route of letting websites like Rivals dictate the narrative on recruiting.  Until the formula is corrected, it will forever be a flawed model. 


EDIT:  This does also not take into account the fact that many talented athletes are ranked lower than they deserve due to undesirable measurables.  (Height, weight, etc)  In college, these can be overcome with scheme more easily than in the NFL.  (Think Tim Tebow)  Programs like GT utilize many mid 3* players in positions like AB where having a 5'9" 180 lb rb is not necessarily a detriment.

DawginLex
DawginLex

Even the most optimistic Jacket fan has to be concerned about this class. Past classes have at least added solid players on the OL and at RB. This class has a lot of guys who "need to put on weight" and "need to learn to be more physical". You have 1 guy, the kid whose brother graduated last year who appears to be a solid guy. Other than that.....................  Just my opinion. I get that Johnson's scheme gets results but the gap between the GT talent and the rest of the ACC is widening. And the recent coaching hires put GT at risk of being at the bottom of its own division, not to mention what's on the other side of the conference.

Jmonty
Jmonty

@DawginLex How many 5 star busts has UGA had??  How many of your high ranked player actually graduate? 

DawginLex
DawginLex

@Jmonty @DawginLex  Why do you always want to start a pi$$ing contest? I'm trying to talk about your class. Try and keep up

DawginLex
DawginLex

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @DawginLex  You just went 3-9. The usual argument is that he wins with less talent but last year, with a returning QB, you lost to lousy teams and got embarrassed by Clemson. I see nothing in this class that will help in 2016. The fact you return RB's is great but your issues are the same as 2015 and your schedule is pretty tough. I'm just not seeing it IMO

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@DawginLex 

Lots of factors played a part in the terrible 2015 season, little of which was a lack of talent per se.  Injuries galore, lack of experience by those replacing the injured, and a still unfathomable propensity for lack of execution on the part of the O-line is what did us in.  We have the talent to repeat 2014, but if Johnson and his assistants can't get the O-line to do their job properly and consistently, then we're going to have that problem no matter whom we recruit.  Since he's been coaching for 35 years with considerable success, I tend to believe he will right the ship.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@DawginLex 

To be honest, why would you, a Georgia fan, want to talk about a Tech recruiting class to begin with?  Perhaps your motive is different from that of most of the Georgia fans who post on here, but they always slam Tech for not getting highly rated recruits, ignoring the fact that Georgia gets them regularly and has nothing to show for it, other, unfortunately, than beating Tech most years.  Based on the behavior of most Georgia posters, jmonty's post was totally appropriate.

DawginLex
DawginLex

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @DawginLex  I'm amazed that Nebraska didn't go after CPJ and return to their roots of running the TO/Wishbone. Instead they made a terrible hire in Riley from Oregon St who will probably get fired after this year. Timing might be right kinda like Richt if Johnson doesn't get things better in 2016.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@DawginLex @SupersizeThatOrder-mutt If you only judge a team by the W-L record, your assessment would be correct.  That, however, is an intellectually dishonest way to evaluate the direction of a program.  You wouldn't junk a Corvette because it can't drive as fast with a donut spare as it can with a real tire.  Last year was an anomaly, and even with all the injuries and freshman starters, we only lost three games by more than a single score.  We also, in the midst of our worst year in two decades, did something uga hasn't been capable of recently:  beat a top 10 team!


SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@DawginLex 

Disagree on your assessment of those we got.  We got much more "meat" than we have in the past.  We got more on D this year than in the past, and that's what we needed most.  We already have a ton of RB's, so not getting what you think is a "solid" RB this year really doesn't matter.....for now.  The gap you talk about has always been there if you only look at star ratings.  It's what they do after they get on campus that is important, and, last year aside, Johnson seems to make the most out of what he has.  Better coaching hires in the rest of the ACC only increases the competition, and if nothing else, Johnson is one helluva competitor,

DawginLex
DawginLex

@AugustaJacket @DawginLex @SupersizeThatOrder-mutt  Coaches get judged by the W/L record and get fired for not winning enough. You are wearing gold blinders if you can't see the widening talent gap between GT and the rest of the ACC. Now that UVA has hired a real coach, UNC has it's act together, VT hired Fuente and Miami hired Richt, the gap will be bigger if recruiting doesn't improve. Scheme will get you so far but eventually you need players.

GTBee
GTBee

Supersize, again, DawginLex is correct.

DawginLex
DawginLex

@AugustaJacket @DawginLex @SupersizeThatOrder-mutt  I'm a CFO. I'm better at math than you are most likely. Despite your big long post, the facts are the same and last year's results support my argument. Injuries are an excuse for not recruiting enough quality depth. Despite the label and the smartalec attacks, I'm probably not your typical Dawg guy you are used to dealing with. I enjoy watching GT play because of the TO offense. And remember, ERK TRAINED HIM. HAHA

GTBee
GTBee

LongBeachJacket is DELUSIONAL!!  We signed a good class?  Log onto Yahoo Sports (NCAA football page) and see who signed 'good' classes.  Not us!!!

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@GTBee 

So please tell us what a "good" class is?  Is it based on rating stars?  Well, I hate to tell you, but Tech has never had highly star-rated classes and probably never will.  And if it's so good to have such highly rated classes, then why is it that Georgia has one every year and has nothing to show for it other than a few wins over Tech?  Your hatred for Johnson is a pathological disorder which you really ought to have addressed by a professional.

GTBee
GTBee

OMG.  Log into Yahoo Sports and the top articles are on Alabama, UGA and Mark Richt!  2 out of the 3 screw us !!!   We stink.  No mention - ANYWHERE - about GT !!

Caius
Caius

And playing with the numbers GT has an average W - L record of 7.65 - 5.1 for the past 20 years.

And playing even deeper from 1967 (since Dodd) through 2015 the GT average W - L record is 6.38 - 5.44.


What does this tell us?


Hunk
Hunk

This says it all. O for 32 on the top Georgians listed on ESPN's top 300 while other coastal division members signed up to 3 Georgians from this group. You better believe we did not sign 18 diamonds in the rough.

UncleMike
UncleMike

I hate you Bark Madley...and I have something tepid for you....

LongBeachJacket
LongBeachJacket

Mark.  Respectfully, you are a good writer...but this is a DUMB article.  Really now.  You can do better.   For those who study this recruiting science "just a little"...and I do... Tech signed a good class and met all of it's needs.  Your lack of validation means little other than to irritate the few Jacket fans who might read it.   The head coach over there at Tech (not far from AJC HQ) has taken his team to the Orange Bowl twice in 8 years. In the 50 years previous that never happened (and the competition is much greater than 50 years ago).   The recruiting rankings stuff is a marketing program. Some information (for journalistic fodder and recruiting service online subscriptions $$ money making), but I doubt serious coaches are calibrating their recruiting by these marketing tools.


I'd put the chances of the group over on North Avenue making the Final Four in the next few years about the same as the gang 60 miles to the east....that ought to tell you something about the coaching over there...given what we know about the inherent structural advantages the "flagship" state U has in these types of contests.  The engineers won't complain however.  They will do what they always do. Just work harder and harder. That's why it's sweet when they succeed.  GO JACKETS 


Thanks to your colleague Ken S for GREAT coverage of Tech.

Far outstrips any value the rest of the staff adds to the mix (combined).  

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

@LongBeachJacket Good post. You know a sinking ship calls for desperate measures. MB is just trying to appease the DawgNation and add site clicks. I just hope Ken lands on his feet when the AJC folds for good.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@ToeMeetsLeather 

Add site clicks???

Quite the contrary. The AJC has done nothing but drive down its UGA readership with its imbecile creation of DawgNation. Just take a look at the number of comments over there--now a tiny fraction of what they were before the mindless change.

Be thankful that you as a GT fan still have "regular access" to Ken's contributions. Dawg fans no longer have that privilege with the vast majority of UGA articles.

And yes, Ken does a fine job with his coverage of GT athletics.