Washington, D.C. defensive back Miles Taylor verbally committed to the Yellow Jackets in March. He officially visited the school in January but decided he wanted to see Iowa, who had been recruiting him through the process. He then flipped to the Hawkeyes after his official there.
Johnson, 56, was asked by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Tech having fewer de-commitments in this class than it had in previous years. While not being asked about Taylor specifically, the veteran coach used it as a chance to rip an 18-year old.
"The kid who went to Iowa (defensive back Miles Taylor), that was OK with us. We didn't care. In fact, I encouraged him to do that," Johnson told the paper. "He fed (the media) a bunch of baloney, but that's usually what happens. He said something about how ‘None of the coaches had contacted him in a long time,' and this, that or the other.
"It was ironic how he had been here just the week before on his official visit. (Assistant Joe) Speed talked to him that Thursday before he took his visit to Iowa, and neither him or his dad told (Speed) that he was going on that trip. The kid spun it the way he wanted to spin it, but it didn't exactly happen that way.
"But the kid had called me early in the recruiting and said ‘I'm not real sure (about Georgia Tech).' I told him ‘You ought to take other visits.' And he goes ‘I just want to take a trip to Iowa, but I don't want to lose my scholarship.' I was like, ‘Well, you ought to visit. You ought to take one.' And he asked if he would lose his scholarship. I said ‘It depends on if somebody else takes it. We're going to bring other guys in if you're visiting other places. What you're telling me is that you're not committed. It doesn't mean you lose it if somebody else takes it.' I've gone down this road a hundred times (with this topic). Anyways, so he decided to go visit Iowa after he visited us. We didn't care."
We had Taylor on our KCJJ recruiting special Saturday. We asked him about how he decided to to switch his commitment from Tech to Iowa.
"Early on, I was excited I had a big offer (from Georgia Tech)," Taylor said. "I wasn't sure about the whole recruiting process. It was fairly new to me and my family.
"I went down to Georgia Tech in March ('13) and I really liked the place and I committed. But I didn't really get a feel for it as a player. I was just down there touring the weight room and facilities. I think I made a hasty decision there.
"During the summer, I really never heard from the Georgia Tech coaches that much even though I tried to call them and tried to communicate. The connection really wasn't there. Coach (Chris) White, Coach (Phil) Parker at Iowa did a great job of building a relationship with me. They always connected with me even though I was committed and I told them I was solid with Georgia Tech. They still always reached out, talked to me, communicate with me, even about little things not even about football. I really appreciated that.
"Slowly, I started to think that I want to take a visit out there. Maybe I want to see what it's like in Iowa City. So, I took my official to Georgia Tech and realized as a player that I didn't know if it was for me. The coaches, I don't know if I have a great relationship with them. It was kind of fishy. I didn't get a good feeling there.
"Then I went to Iowa and already having a great relationship with the coaches and I already had a great relationship with Nico Law and Jordan Lomax and it was just a great feel for me. I really like Iowa so I decided to commit there. Before that, I told Georgia Tech that I wanted to de-commit from Georgia Tech. So, I wanted to go to (see) Iowa after that, took my visit and liked it."
That's a lot to take in, I admit. One thing seems clear, it's probably a good thing for everyone involved that Taylor is heading to Iowa and not Tech.
As for the 56-year old coach of a major college program and leader of young men, I'm not sure what purpose was served by his comments to the local newspaper. By his own admission, Taylor was open with him early on that he was unsure of his verbal commitment and kept open a line of communication with the Yellow Jackets. That's far from a given in the sometimes seedy world of recruiting.
I'd imagine that Johnson wasn't pleased with Taylor's comments about he and his coaches not communicating with a committed player. That's a poor reflection on them. It's hard to believe that the player made that up and maybe it was just a matter of him wanting more attention from the school that took his verbal pledge than they were willing to give.
These are life decisions for teenagers in what can be a very complicated process. Recruiting isn't for the faint of heart. It can be tough choosing where to attend college for anyone, let alone a high school kid receiving calls, texts, emails, mail, Tweets, Facebook messages, etc. from coaches at all hours, every day.
Having covered recruiting for some time and seen some of the craziness that occurs, the Taylor recruitment is pretty sane and the best fit was found. He did his homework and landed where he felt most comfortable.
Johnson, as a coach and educator, should understand that. Instead, he comes off sounding like a child on the playground who lost at kickball.