Having played the Linebacker and defensive end positions, what was your impression of Georgia Tech's defense?
I really like Tech's defense the more I see of it. I've watched a few games on TV this season, and they really play hard and get after it. They are so good fundamentally, they tackle well and pursue to the ball. The coaches are really impressive. I keep watching both the linebackers and defensive ends, and I am confident that Coach Smith or Jean-Mary are the kind of coaches I would enjoy playing for as position coaches.
What was your overall impression of the visit?
Very impressed. I was a little disappointed that Tech didn't win, because I was really pulling for them. I had an opportunity to experience the game day atmosphere- see the locker room, equipment room, pregame warm ups, and Yellow Jacket alley (my favorite). I got to spend some time with the coaches, and talked to the players who gave us a tour. It was definitely a good experience. My dad took me to Tech games growing up, so it is really interesting to see the "inside" of the program... the history and tradition at Tech.
Did you get to talk to any of the coaches and what did you talk about with them?
I met with Coach Johnson privately, which I really appreciated, especially since I had made the trip all the way up from Texas. That not only indicated their interest in me, but showed how much he they were serious about me coming to Georgia Tech. That meant a lot to me, for him to take time out from a real important game to talk to my dad and I. Coach Smith and Coach Wommack went out of their way to say hello and visit with me. Of course, Coach Spencer (the coach recruiting me) talked with my dad and I quite a bit and it was really good to see him.
Spending time with the staff in the recruiting process is important for both sides. I think I bring some added value as an out-of-state recruit from Texas in that my family has emphasized how important it is to beat Georgia. I am aware of that rivalry - my dad can pretty much recite what happened the years Tech beat them, as well as some of the great games like the Virginia game in 1990. So I am aware of the past here and the priorities Coach Johnson and the fans have, even as an out of stater.
Did you meet and talk to any of the other recruits or commits?
A few, but being from a different part of the country I'm not really all that familiar with the a lot of the players or schools.
Will you be taking any more visits this season?
I have already visited North Carolina, Texas, Wake Forest, TCU, and Oklahoma. I am going to attend a game this Saturday at Texas A&M, then go to LSU vs. Alabama, and use my last unofficial weekend to visit either TCU, Wake Forest or Oregon. I am going to visit a few spring practices and attend some junior days in the winter and spring. I am scheduled to attend Junior day at LSU on January 31st.
Do you expect to get an offer from GT?
I hope so. Based on our mutual interest in each other, I think things are heading that direction.
What was your impression of the crowd at the game?
Great! I like how the crowd gets loud on third down and gets behind the defense. I would really like that if I was playing in a big game like the one Saturday.
Have you made any changes in your list of schools you like?
My favorites continue to show interest. However, in the last several weeks programs like Oregon, Stanford, Texas, California and Nebraska have shown a considerable amount of interest. Growing up in the south, there are some schools I already know a lot about like Tech, Wake, Ole Miss, Alabama and UNC. I've made game visits this season to North Carolina and Tech but there are some other really great programs that I owe it to myself to visit before I make such an important decision. There just wasn't enough to time to attend a game at places like Nebraska, Texas Tech or Oregon because of the distance.
There are a lot of colleges with great locations, great campuses and student-life. Depending upon where you live, where your parents went to school, or your favorite team growing up, I guess it's an easy decision for some guys when their favorite team offers. In my situation, there are only so many that have that total package - location, academics, facilities, game day atmosphere, student life and most important, the type of coaching staff a program has and how I fit into their plans. I don't need to stay close to home, but I do want to go to college where my family can get to easily in order to see me play. Georgia Tech is one of those. I think Coach Johnson is building something special there.
The thing that differentiates schools really is the coaching staff. They all have unique things about them and good facilities, but I've narrowed the list down a bit, and among those I will choose where I believe the coaches really want me to play a role in their defense and where I can earn some significant playing time early. You have to trust your judgment on which coaches are going to care about you and help you develop.
What are your plans for making a decision? Will it be before next season?
Right now, I am focused on playing hard for my team and helping us go far in the playoffs. I don't want to say too much about my future or individual goals until after the season. I can confirm I was recently invited to the U.S. Army Combine in San Antonio, which I plan on attending if I can (if it doesn't conflict with wrestling). There are a few schools that are strong enough and contacted me enough that I owe a visit to, and with just a month to go in this season I may have to visit some of them in the winter and spring, maybe attend a few junior days, but I am open to committing when everything feels right.
I still prefer to commit early and concentrate on my senior season if it works out. Definitely programs that make the first offers will really indicate they want me as one of their top recruits, and that will go a long way toward helping me make a decision on where I want to play the next four years.