Georgia Tech’s class of 14 includes RB Custis
Paul Johnson shrugged when told Georgia Tech’s signing class
didn’t excite the national experts.
Then he found a positive spin.
”If we win games, then you’ll think we’re good coaches,
right?” Johnson asked with a smile.
Georgia Tech didn’t have room to sign a big class on Wednesday,
so Johnson said he focused on filling needs with his 14
The coach made it clear he didn’t agree with the experts who
found no stars in the class. Rivals.com ranked Georgia Tech’s class
only No. 85 in the nation, and on its scale of one to five stars
said the class included no five- or four-star players.
The class includes running back Travis Custis of Lovejoy High
School, offensive linemen Shamire DeVine of Atlanta’s Tri-Cities
High School and Chris Griffin of Panacea, Fla., and kicker Harrison
Butker of Atlanta’s Westminster School.
Custis (6-0, 215), who was the first player in the class to
commit to Georgia Tech, rushed for 2,118 yards with 35 touchdowns
in 2012 and led Lovejoy to the Class AAA state championship.
”I think he was one of the best running backs in the state,”
Johnson said Devine (6-7, 355) and Griffin (6-6, 272) are big,
strong offensive linemen. Johnson said Devine won over his coaching
staff when he participated in a Georgia Tech camp as a junior.
”To me, ability wise, he’s as good as any high school junior
I’ve seen in camp,” Johnson said. ”He crushed people.
”If I had to pick any offensive lineman I saw in the state, and
they said take the one you want, he’s it. We’ll see. I think he’s
got a chance to be a good player.”
David Scully, Chris Tanner and Justin Moore combined to make
only 11 of 18 field goals with three missed extra points. Butker
was ranked the nation’s No. 3 high school kicker by ESPN.
”I think kicker is unquestionably an area we needed help and he
was one of the best in the country,” Johnson said.
Ty Griffin, who was a dual-threat quarterback at McEachern and
North Cobb in the Atlanta area, was signed to run Johnson’s
Georgia Tech signed six defensive players, including two –
defensive lineman/linebacker Kevin Robbins and defensive lineman
Darius Commissiong – from Bishop McNamara High School in
Johnson said the ”Georgia Tech brand plays very well
nationally,” including in ”the Catholic schools in D.C., where
the education is more important to people.”
A late addition to the class was linebacker Paul Davis of Cairo,
who had committed to Temple.
Johnson said Wednesday he may sign one or two more players.
Cornelius Elder, a running back from Nashville, Tenn., is still
considering offers from Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Auburn and UCLA.
He also has an offer to play basketball at Purdue.
Four players pulled back on commitments to Georgia Tech late in
the recruiting process.
Georgia Tech lost wide receiver Jumichael Ramos, who played with
Custis at Lovejoy. Ramos signed with North Carolina State. The
Yellow Jackets also lost running back Brendan Douglas of Aquinas,
who signed with Georgia. Also, Hillgrove High defensive back
Tolando Cleveland signed with Mississippi State and Cedar Creek
High quarterback Damon Mitchell signed with Arkansas.
Johnson said the players pulled back their commitments when
their options expanded.
”Most of them didn’t have another BCS offer when they committed
(to Georgia Tech),” Johnson said. ”So did they really want to
come to school here or were they just kind of taking something to
Johnson said he is always looking for ways to improve his
recruiting. He said he won’t be motivated by rankings compiled by
He said he has had 13 all-Atlantic Coast Conference players in
five years at Georgia Tech. Of those 13, he said five were regarded
as two-star players, three had three-star rankings and five were
considered four-star recruits.
”So what’s your conclusion?” Johnson asked. ”My conclusion is
they were all good players, all all-conference and they came in
Johnson said he’ll continue to rate players ”off our camps and
off our tape and how good players they are.”
”We don’t care where they are ranked or what their star system
is or whatever,” he said. ”If we feel like they’re good players,
then we offer them.”