Under Paul Johnson, Tech football has not been a recruiting powerhouse. There is not a long line of five-star recruits waiting to don the white and gold, and even the four star recruits are few and far between. However, Tech football is the perfect example of making the most of what one has in terms of talent. Paul Johnson has turned recruiting classes annually ranked in the 50s into top 25 teams.
For most college teams that look to field a highly competitive roster, Tech’s No. 46 nationally ranked recruiting class might come as a disappointment. However, for Tech, this 13 spot bump up from last year’s recruiting class is seen as a huge step for Tech recruiting. The biggest surprise this year would have to be the quality and quantity of the defensive recruits Tech signed.
Tech’s highest rated recruit, four-star linebacker Bruce Jordan-Swilling, is the first four-star recruit Tech has had commit since redshirt senior offensive lineman Shamire Devine committed back in 2013.
Joined by brother and defensive back Tre, Jordan-Swilling is looking to lead an incredibly defense loaded class; Tech’s top eight recruits are all listed as defensive players in 247Sports’ database.
Of those defensive players, four are listed as defensive backs, a position that is now occupied by 20 players on the roster. While the volume is good, only time will tell if the increased numbers will foster competition and lead to playing time for the best players regardless of class.
Tech also received reeled in three defensive lineman recruits, another position that Tech is not lacking numbers for. However, stalwarts Patrick Gamble and Francis Kallon have graduated, opening up two spots for newer players to fill. The final defensive position, linebacker, saw three recruits, including Jordan-Swilling and defensive coordinator Ted Roof’s son, T.D. Roof.
While the defense saw the most recruits, the individual position that Tech recruited the most was offensive line. This year saw the rise of two freshmen on the offensive line, Parker Braun and Jahaziel Lee, and with Freddie Burden and Eason Fromayan both leaving two more spots open for the line to grow even younger. The offensive line is perhaps the most important cog in the machine that is the Tech offense, and while the influx of young, talented linemen bodes well two or three years down the line, it will most likely be a tough season for the young group.
Another two important additions for the Tech offense are B-back Jerry Howard and hybrid back Jordan Ponchez-Mason. This past season saw the transfer announcement of B-back Marcus Marshall leaving Dedrick Mills as the sole returning B-back that saw consistent playing time last year. Despite some suspensions, Mills had a breakout year in terms of numbers and will look to improve upon already stellar offensive numbers posted this season.
The cherry on top of the proverbial recruiting sundae this year was the signing of two special team’s players: punter Pressley Harvin III and kicker Brenton King. Harvin is ranked the number four punting recruit in the nation while King is ranked at number 15 according to 247Sports.com. He averaged 42.5 yards per punt as a senior this past year, just 0.6 yards shy of what Rodwell averaged this past year.
Hoping to follow in Harrison Butker’s shoes, Brenton King will have competition with redshirt sophomore Shawn Davis and redshirt freshman Shea Underwood. The spot is entirely up for grabs this coming season and the freshman will look to continue the legacy of quality Tech kicking.
These investments in Tech football’s future could pay dividends as early as the spring game.