New Editions (1):
After Signing Day it was announced that Matthews will try his talents at TE. He has played Defensive End and Fullback and hopefully he'll find a home at a position he played well in High School. He'll compete in spring with fellow sophomore Cooper, the senior Williams and junior Tarquinio. With last season's senior standout J.P. Foschi graduating, there will be opportunities for last year's backups to finally make names for themselves. Darius was the main backup last year, so he'll be the favorite to take the starting job. You certainly can't count out Cooper though, who was a very highly touted player out of HS who has yet to showcase his true abilities.
The one that got away:
I could have listed Gbunblee as the one that got away or a long list of others. He was just the one we seemed closest with near the end. And at one point right after his visit to Georgia Tech, we thought it was just a matter of time before he committed. Losing him really hurt as he ended up signing with Texas A&M. But our disappointments in signing a big-time TE didn't start there. You have to rewind back to the beginning of recruitng when Brad Allen decided to go to Vanderbilt over many other highly thought of football programs, including Tech's. Mike Lucian briefly considered GT before committing to Penn State. Tom Santi was an excellent TE from Tennessee but ended up going to Virginia. Chris Zellner had us high on his list for much of the process but ended up going with future ACC foe Miami, where he could end up on the defensive side of the ball. And finally another one we seemed to be close on and could hurt as much as not landing Gbunblee was Rory Nicol, who signed with Ohio State. Rory was TheInsiders.com's #2 TE in the country last season.
We needed at least one and preferably two Tight Ends during recruiting season. Seeing that Matthews was moved to TE, it may be okay that we only landed one. Since we were losing a big-time starter with little proven backups, it was imperative that we get a highly touted player at this position if it was only to be one player. We could afford to be somewhat selective but we needed to land at least one of our main targets.
Who GT signed:
John Morrison is only player we signed at TE this recruiting season. We had to go down our list to get him after a lack of success in landing our top targets like Nicol and Gbunblee. Jon is supposed to be quite a physical player and his huge 6'5" build should give coaches something to work with. However he is listed at 235 pounds, so he'll need to hit the cafeteria this off-season as well as the weight room. GT was his only significant offer. He's a big-time sleeper also because in his senior season, he didn't even play on the offense. Who knows, his best position could end up being DE if it doesn't work out on offense. After all, Morrison says, "We didn't keep stats the whole season, but I know I had seventy tackles by our ninth game." Regardless, this will be an interesting case to follow to see how good our deep scouting is. Jon came highly recommended by a respected coach who swears Jon will be a steal for Georgia Tech.
Recruiting Grade: D-
No offense at all to Jon but this was easily the position we recruited this year with the most disappointing results. From an objective point of view, it's tough to sugarcoat how we faired at TE this season. We missed out, in some cases very close races, on the top names on our list. We ended up with just one player and even though he seems like a super athlete, has not played the position for at least a year, if ever. Jon does remind me of a walk-on we had recently from Marist, Will Heller. Heller was also a big framed local product that was very much underrated. He later earned a scholarship at Tech, became a starter and is now a Tight End for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite the low grade I'm giving for the overall recruiting for this position, I will be as big a fan of Morrison as any other recruit and wish him a great career at GT and beyond. He's coming in as the underdog but time will tell how he leaves GT.