Needs in recruiting:
The best way to describe the Tight End situation at Georgia Tech currently: thin. This seems to be a recurring theme for the 2003 Yellow Jackets but TE is no different in that we'll have a lot of unknowns mixed in with some established talent. Foschi is the only one of four TEs on the team that has any experience and he's a senior. Highly touted redshirt freshman George Cooper is backing up J.P. and has shown promise that he can be a guy we will lean on for years to come. After those two we have Gavin Tarquinio, who converted from the Offensive Line. He has trimmed down to look more like a TE but is still coming off of shoulder surgery last year and surgery to repair torn knee ligaments the year before. So won't be counting on him to be big contributor right away. Finally we have Cory Wallace, who is a walk-on and brother of starting RT Kyle Wallace. After this season, Cooper will be the only significant TE threat. I would think that adding 2 TEs in this class would be wise (and I'm told that's our coaches target number as well). It's time to inject some more talent into this position at GT, especially if the TE becomes a more integral part of the offense in 2003 which looks possible.
With the small number of signees from last year and looking at how thin we are I have to believe that it was a mistake not to sign a TE last recruiting season. I won't be as harsh though because at the time Darius Williams was still at TE and Mike Matthews was a good candidate for being moved over to TE. As it turns out Darius just wasn't cutting it at the position and we switched him to DE toward the end of spring practice. Matthews was likely coming over to the offense either way but injuries to Jimmy Dixon, Jonathan Jackson forced us to make him a fullback. At fullback, Matthews was very effective and by the end of spring, became the starter. If we get healthier at FB, I guess there's always the chance we'll see some of Matthews or possibly Brian Johnson at Tight End. Between TE and FB, we should be able to field enough quality players to cover all situations that could arise.
So what does our initial TE strategy appear to be? Offer. Offer. Offer. We seem to have targeted some specific players at this position and have gone after all of them. Just about every talented TE that we've been associated with also has an offer from us. There doesn't seem to be a particular build we have a preference toward. Most TEs are tall anyway, in the 6'4" – 6'5" range. Also the guys we're looking at are anywhere from really fast to on the slow side. We had better pull in one of these guys soon though because good TEs are going fast and all of the other good teams want them as well.
Rory is a real long shot honestly. Insiders list the Pennsylvanian as the #2 TE in the land. Penn State of course is really after him but they're not a lock to land him even though they may have the inside track. He's also seriously considering UNC. Tennessee and Florida State are some of his other favorites including many others like GT, OSU, and Pittsburgh. Every school on his list has offered.
Brad Allen, from Florida, is one that we're trailing for but I really think we can get to if he doesn't commit early. We'll have some hurdles for the 3-star TE as he currently lists Virginia and Vanderbilt ahead of us, Purdue, Michigan, Clemson and Wake. We are the closest of those schools to him and we offered him early so we have that in our favor. He has visited GT unofficially and will camp here this summer. With a 4.90 40, he's on the slower side of the ones we're looking at but he would still be a nice guy to land. 40 times are just about useless to look at for a Tight End anyway. He's the one of this group that I will follow the closest because I think he's the one we have the best chance with in the long run.
Santi, a 3-star TE from Tennessee, will be a tough one to pull out of that state. His physical dimensions are impressive at 6'5", 225, 4.52. Even though he's light now, he should be able to add to the big frame and keep most of that natural speed. He has offers from Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Colorado, Iowa, Georgia Tech and Louisville. The all-state selection had 46 catches and 10 touchdowns in 2002. I'd love to think we had a shot at this future stud but it will be a bit of a coup to land him I'd have to believe seeing that his home state school wants him just as much.
Mike Lucian is a guy that we already went up against Penn State for and came away in second. With his commitment to PSU, his recruitment is likely over but maybe we can get back in it with him if Rory Nicol decides to also commit to PSU. I'll keep an eye on Mike but I'm not counting on any changes with him.
Satterthwait, from Lassiter High in Marietta, is the only one of the group without an offer from us but is still an intriguing prospect. At 6'5", 240, he's a huge kid and a local talent at that. He too has attended GT camp. We may eventually offer the 2-star TE but right now he appears to be in our next tier of targets. It wouldn't surprise me though if that changes as more TEs commit to college programs.
Zellner, from Florida, is a currently unranked prospect but I think he could turn into quite a player in the recruiting game as well. He's on the short side for a TE at 6'2", 230 but has excellent speed. The Florida schools seem to be overlooking him but other ACC schools are not. He has offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech and Maryland. I think being snubbed by the schools from his home state could make him a very hungry guy to prove folks wrong. I think he'd be an interesting guy to land and hope we're keep after him. His stock will no doubt keep moving up.