New Editions (2):
* Past 1st team all-ACC player
We moved one of our ends, Gerris Wilkinson, back to linebacker and swapped Parker with Joe Anoai at Tackle. The starters appear to be pretty well set for next season. There could be a freshman to push the backups for playing time though.
The one that got away:
No one in particular
We made a run at Dwayne Hendricks (Miami) and Kevin Mims (Northwestern), but never were really in it for either. When they trimmed their list late in the process, we dropped off. Another we looked at early on but didn't offer was Justin Treece, who ended up at Wofford.
Georgia Tech didn't lose any Defensive Ends to graduation but numbers at the position were still too low. I felt that it would be pretty important to get 2-3 Ends in this class. Of the 4 returning players at End, 1 will be a senior and 2 will be juniors. With Parker and Henderson written in as starters, we just need help this year in the 2-deep to push Williams and Oliver. And I think we got one player that could do just that.
Who GT signed:
Darrell Robertson was the big pickup at Defensive End this year. It was made sweeter because he was stolen from Florida State, who nabbed some kicker from us earlier. Darrell could have gone just about anywhere he wanted. He turned down other offers from FSU, Virginia, Stanford, and Maryland among others. Robertson has so much potential because of his athleticism. He's tall (6'5"), long, and has very good speed. He could give quarterbacks problems down the road trying to throw over him. He weighs in the 220's right now, so that is something I'm sure we'll be quick to work on. Despite the weight, he's a player that looks nearly ready to contribute as a true freshman. He's our most coveted DE since Greg Gathers.
A.J. Smith is the sleeper prospect that we signed to go along with the one everyone wanted. As far as sleepers go, he's got as much potential as any. He's built similarly to Robertson and maybe even a tad taller. He didn't have to turn down many other big offers but does represent a continuing pipeline Georgia Tech has with Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida. GT has had success in the past with other Jesuit players such as George Godsey and Will Glover.
Another possibility is that David Brown gets moved out to the end but the current plans call for him to start off as an interior defensive lineman.
Recruiting Grade: B+
The Defense End class turned out very good for GT but it very easily could have been much worse. If not for a late change of heart from Robertson, GT would have been likely left with just one sleeper for this year's group. We really didn't seem to target many or come close to many other Defensive Ends, although I'm sure we had some kind of a backup plan had Darrell not looked as if he would commit. That's my only real complaint with recruiting this position. But it doesn't matter now how we got to where we are. It matters that we got here with two physical specimens that could play huge roles in the future on this team. Both have to potential to grow into pro bodies if more weight can be added to their very tall frames. It really is nice to finally be able to throw some height on the outside of our lines even though we've gotten by fine in the recent past with shorter ends like Gathers & Henderson. It should add the dimension of making outside passing lanes tougher for opposing quarterbacks to throw to and giving our corners better looks at making interceptions.