The Big Picture - Defensive Line

GoJackets.com continues it's series to help you get a view of the big picture in recruiting. Previously, we covered the A/B-Backs. Next, we will take a look at the defensive line prospects. Obviously, there are some differences in players Georgia Tech wants at nose tackle versus defensive end. However, the 2 are similar enough to warrant grouping.

Current Depth Chart (by seniority):
2 seniors – Logan Walls (R), Jason Peters (R)
2 junior – T.J. Barnes (R), Izaan Cross
3 sophomores – Emmanuel Dieke (R), Euclid Cummings (R), Chris Crenshaw (R)
3 freshmen – Shawn Green (R), Anthony Williams (R), Jimmie Kitchen

Note: Denzel McCoy (FR-R) could return but is not expected to at this point.
(R) = Redshirt

Expected 2012 Class Open Slots: 4-5
Current Commits: Roderick Chungong (DE), Pat Gamble(DE/NT), Francis Kallon (DE)
Remaining Slots: 1-2

Prospects (Status in terms of commitment):
John Atkins is a 3 star and is ranked the #44 DT by Scout.com. He started out as a long shot for Georgia Tech but the longer his recruitment went on the better the chances was for him to choose Georgia Tech. Georgia has held the lead from the beginning because he grew up a fan. He has made numerous trips to campus including one this past weekend. He has formed a bond with Coach Mike Sewak and the players. It may turn out to be a matter of whether he listens to the pressure from the Georgia fans or if he values how comfortable he feels when he is at Georgia Tech. He would be an important get for the middle of the line. Atkins will be making his decision this Friday morning. (Leaning Elsewhere)

Ryan Watson is a 4 star and is ranked the #6 OG by Scout.com. He can play on both sides of the line. With only a few openings on the defensive line, would the offensive line be a better fit? Watson is an Al Groh project. His teammate Roderick Chungong has already given his verbal to Georgia Tech. The two have talked about attending the same school. But, Watson may go in a different direction. Georgia Tech is in his final six with Tennessee holding the current lead. Getting him on campus will be the key to Georgia Tech getting his commit. That looks like it will happen as Tennessee and Georgia Tech are the 2 confirmed official visits. (Leaning Elsewhere)

Dalvin Tomlinson is a 4 star and is ranked the #18 DT by Scout.com. Tomlinson has talked about naming a favorites list but it may only be a 2 school race. He did visit Indiana for wrestling but ever since that visit his focus has been on Georgia Tech and Alabama. Don't be surprised if he is a regular visitor during the season beginning with the Western Carolina game. (Could Go Either Way)

Faith Ekakitie is a 4 star and is ranked as the #20 DT. He has set up 4 official visits to Georgia Tech, UCLA, Boston College and Oregon. Their locations make it obvious that location will not be a factor in his decision. The one kicker in the process may be his interest in Northwestern. He likes the direction the program is headed and they are the home team. Much like Watson, the official visit to Georgia Tech will play a big role in his decision. (Unlikely But Possible)

DeAngelo Brown and Josh Manley round out the list of DL candidates. Brown is a 3-star rated DT while Manley is a 2-star DT. Neither player has received a written offer from Georgia Tech at this time. However, both are hearing from Georgia Tech coaches from time to time. Both have held off on naming a leader. We expect this is due to them waiting to see how the various dominoes fall at other schools. (We Like Our Chances on both)

Likelihood of committing is rated in 1 of 5 categories:
We Lead
We Like Our Chances
Could Go Either Way
Leaning Elsewhere
Unlikely But Possible

GoJackets.com Best Guesses:
Defensive line seems to be an interesting position for recruiting this year at Georgia Tech. At this point, the players still on the board are, for the most part, all fairly "glamorous" – with several 4-star players on the board. One concern is that while NT is the key position, most of the commits and those we are recruiting are prototype defensive ends. GT may have to rely on one of the current commits to grow in to the NT position.

We believe that John Atkins is likely headed for Georgia at this point. But, this is not a very confident guess. His visit last weekend to GT certainly raises some eyebrows and leaves you wondering as to what he might have in mind.

Dalvin Tomlinson is clearly a recruit that they would save a scholarship for if he were to commit. We think that at this point, GT and Alabama are fairly even. If either leads it is not by much at all and probably not enough to matter. It would also seem that the longer the Tomlinson recruitment goes, the better positioned Georgia Tech will be as he continues to make unofficial visits down to campus and increases his familiarity with the players and coaches. Beyond the 3 commits, we believe that GT will add 1 more and it will be Tomlinson.

As mentioned above, indications are that Ryan Watson has Tennessee as his leader.

Meanwhile, Faith Ekakitie remains a bit of an enigma in that he doesn't speak to the media much at all and we don't have any kind of good feel for where he is leaning. At this point, you have to think that he is not coming to GT with Northwestern likely in the lead. If he does come, it's a very pleasant surprise.

Last, DeAngelo Brown and Josh Manley are still in play – if only barely. Their academics are a little weak and GT would only take them if they struck out across the board on the other players mentioned above. We think that both Brown and Manley would commit almost immediately with an offer.

One interesting aspect is what would the GT coaches do in the event that Atkins, Tomlinson, Watson, and Ekakitie (or more than 2 of them) all decided to come to Georgia Tech? We believe that they would take them all and some of this DL class would then end up as OL – Gamble and Watson being the 2 most likely candidates for such a move.

Notable News Since the Last Update:
None since this is the first update.

Comments:
John Atkins will make his decision public on Friday morning (Sep 2) at 8am. So, Jacket fans will see a quick answer to at least part of this puzzle.


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