Quit complaining Georgia Tech fans: Paul Johnson can recruit

I’m still amazed that every time a high school player announces an oral pledge to play football for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the first thing that everyone starts bellyaching about is how “nobody else was recruiting him so he must not be that good.”  Or; “he doesn’t have any or enough stars.”  That is becoming such nonsense it’s reached the level of idiocy.

First off I want to dispel that myth once and for all as the facts are based on performance on the gridiron; Coach Paul Johnson can recruit and find talented high school football players well before the stars groupies begin their after-the-fact coronation.  I have two very recent examples that should put this nonsense to rest, however, I’m quite certain that it won’t.  But that’s okay. I find all of this recruiting hysteria an endless array of comical amusement from reading all of the doomsday comments it creates.

Remember back in October of 2010, Coach Paul Johnson received an oral commitment from a player at Wayne County High School in Jesup, Georgia named Tre Jackson. He was a 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman that nobody else was recruiting.  He had no other offers of note, if any at all, and my recollection was he wasn’t even rated; translation no stars.  All I remember reading on the net was Georgia Tech can’t recruit under this staff and Paul Johnson won’t get a pledge from any of the “big time” stars recruits.

Tre Jackson was just another unranked and unrated high school player that nobody from the SEC even had on their radar, let alone was even looking at as a potential recruit.  Starting to sound familiar?  Well here is the reality of Mr. Jackson.  A few weeks before national signing day all of a sudden the college football world woke up out of their slumber and apparently figured out that Tre Jackson was a darn good football player.  So good in fact that the Florida State Seminoles flew him down for a last minute official recruiting trip on January 28, 2011 just a few days before national signing day.  Yet they still had not extended him an official offer as they were still recruiting all of those must-have five stars; future hall of fame players.

Coach Johnson was not able to make contact with Mr. Jackson for several weeks prior to all of this and true to his word, told Tre that if he made the trip then he wasn’t committed and his scholarship would be given to someone else.  After all it had been four (4) months since he said he was going to attend Georgia Tech.  So now he was prepared to throw all of that away on a slim chance the Seminoles might offer him on his official visit.  He rolled the dice and got lucky.  Excuse me; The Seminoles got Lucky! 

He signed to attend FSU and became a fixture on the offensive line at guard ever since he walked onto their campus surging ahead of several higher ranked recruits who are currently sitting on the bench behind Mr. Jackson.  Just for the record, UGA and Miami were also trying to recruit him that last week as well.

Imagine that!  But it gets better; Phil Steele has him on his All ACC pre-season team as the first team guard.  I bet you that nobody remembers Coach Paul Johnson and his staff were the first college team to find this player as he was buried so deep in the potential high school mosh pit of recruits that the wasn’t even rated!  So now the Seminoles Head Coach Jimbo Fisher is anointed as a recruiting genius.  Apparently the old adage; all’s fair in love and war certainly extends to recruiting committed players.  So instead of Tre Jackson being on the All ACC first team offense for the Yellow Jackets, he’s there as a Seminole.

Next up is the player who received Tre Jackson’s scholarship in that 2011 recruiting class, or for a mere three (3) days anyway; Trey Flowers.  He was a 6-foot-3, 245-pound DE who looked on tape a lot like the kid everyone wanted that eventually committed to the Ole Ball Coach at South Carolina: Jadeveon Clowney.  Trey played football at Columbia High School in Hunstville, Alabama and apparently neither Saban or Chizik wanted the kid as he wasn’t rated or possibly was upgraded to two (2) star status after agreeing to attend Georgia Tech.

So a few days after committing to the Yellow Jackets, Coach Bobby Petrino from Arkansas came calling and unlike Jimbo Fisher, actually offered a Trey Flowers a scholarship.  Apparently both Petrino and Fisher recognize that Coach Paul Johnson can find talent without utilizing those stars based recruiting services so they watch and see who he is offering as they figure they can swoop in at the last minute and steal these kids, or at least give it a try.

Now here is what Trey Flowers has accomplished since he set foot on the Razorback campus; he was selected to the SEC All Freshman team as a defensive end his first year (no redshirting).  Not a bad beginning for a player whose lone scholarship offer was the South Alabama Jaguars as his only option coming out of high school before the Yellow Jackets told him they wanted him to come play football for Georgia Tech.  Ironically, it was courtesy of Tre Jackson deciding at the last minute to become a Seminole.

Maybe Trey should thank Tre since we will never know if Bobby Petrino was ever going to make him an offer but for Coach Paul Johnson stepping up and offering a scholarship to a high school player that he knew could play BCS football.  Trey followed up that freshman season by becoming a full time starter at DE over several more highly recruited stars players and had a sophomore season with 50 tackles including 13 tackles for loss; six sacks; and was the SEC defensive player of the week against Auburn.  I doubt Coach Petrino ever wrote a thank you note to Coach Paul Johnson, but he should have considering this kid wasn’t even on their radar screen at all until those pesky Yellow Jackets stepped up to the plate.

So keep these examples in mind the next time another player with no rating and zero stars commits to Coach Paul Johnson to play football for Georgia Tech on the Flats.  Offers don’t make you a player any more than the number of stars bestowed on you by the recruiting services.  These two (2) Big Time Recruits dispel that myth.

As far as the comments that Paul Johnson can’t close the deal on these kids, it all comes down to what a seventeen (17) year old kid wants to do and where he wants to go to school.  All Coach Johnson and his staff can do is sell the benefits of obtaining a degree from Georgia Tech.  “It is what it is!”

BTW, didn’t another school from the SEC this past 2013 recruiting class grab a Yellow Jackets recruit the weekend before national signing day that had zero stars and no major offers coming out of high school?  I’m pretty certain it was the one that has a four legged mascot with an Under bite.  It appears that lots of BCS coaches make offers to players Paul Johnson finds out there in the non-rated zero stars world of high school football.  The real question is; which recruit will these BCS coaches go after next in the Yellow Jackets 2014 recruiting class?  Stay tuned.



  • Robert Hall

    You cant be so arrogant as Paul was with Trey. He pulled the schoilarship when he still may have signed Trey had he been calling him. Ga Tech could have used Trey. As for the recruits lost – you cant just identify talent, you have to close the deal.

    • http://isportsweb.com Michael

      Hi Robert and welcome to isportsweb. Come back often as things will heat up once we get closer to the season starting.

      The pulling of a scholarship after a player gives a committment to attend a school then decides to unilaterally shop around and see if he can get an offer from a different school goes on constantly. It has nothing to do with arrogance at all on the part of the coaching staff. If a player really has his heart set on playing for a particular school, then don’t commit elsewhere. Or go out and look around and make certain before you are ready to say you are going to be a Yellow Jacket.

      Here is the problem nobody can seem to understand; if you sit around and do nothing while a player who said he was committed several months ago suddenly goes on a trip to another school, then what do you do as a coach? Sit around and pray that he keeps his word? No. You pull the scholarship and offer it to someone who is interested in attending the school. Because if you don’t then you have nothing at the end of the day.

      Here is the better position; why did Tre commit to Tech if he wanted to go to FSU? My hunch is that several kids that they (FSU) thought were coming went elswhere at the last minute so the Seminoles went for Tre after those other kids they wanted more than Tre went to other schools. Just like musical chairs.

      Closing the deal? That is all up to a 17 year old kid. Perhaps he is going to be an engineer at FSU. I have no idea what he is majoring in in school. Maybe that played a role too?

  • Mcfredlyte

    Thanks for the blog Michael. I really like your point of view and I think its great that you played football at the college level. A lot of other writers on the web really don’t have that kind of football experience so I kinda value yours more. It seems like a lot of the posters aren’t sold on your opinion that CPJ is a pretty good recruiter. It seems like the argument always comes down to wins and loses. As someone who has followed GT football for awhile, it seems that CPJ’s W/L record is at least consistent with GT’s 20 year average. Throw in an ACC title and the coastal division titles you mentioned and I would say he’s done a little better than the 20 year average. I realize that nobody wants to hear that argument and that the goal is to win ’em all. I think CPJ want’s to win ’em all too and he’s doing the best he can but the main stumbling block has been the defense. You did touch on this in one of your responses. The D has been bad and I don’t think the statistics do it justice. If you figure that opponents have maybe four less possessions and less time – it just makes the D’s bad stats that much worse. I guess CPJ being the HC, he is ultimately responsible for the D’s performance but lt’s not like he hired some unknowns at DC. He hired guys with solid reputations and for some reason it didn’t work out. Give CPJ credit for not giving up and hiring Ted Roof. If TR can put a decent D on the field and by decent I mean much better against the run, better on 3rd down, better pass rush, we’ll start to see the ten wins seasons add up. We’ll win more against the ACC rivals and win a few against UGA. CPJ’s offenses have been consistent and most of the time can score enough points (20+) to win a game. The D needs to get better and all this talk about recruiting and player development goes away. I’m a fan of CPJ and I hope he sticks around awhile but I will concede that if the Ted Roof hire fails to produce a meaningful improvement after two seasons I may have to change my opinion of CPJ. My feeling now is that he’s more a victim of bad luck at the DC position but if bad luck strikes 3x in a row you have to start looking at other explanations. I think we have good players on D. They played great against FSU and USC to close out last season. In football sometimes you have to win a game 44-42 and sometimes you have to win a game 10-7. GT’s problem is they can’t win a game where the O struggles which is going to happen time to time. The last time our D “won” a game I think was BC in 2008. I don’t count Gardner Webb. The D needs to be able to step up and be an asset and not a liability – which is what it’s been for most of the last three seasons. I’m optimistic that we’ll get a better D this season and the O will do what its been doing. I think we’ll see David Simms rush for a 1,000+ at B-back too. If the D is decent we could have a really nice season.

    • Michael Goldfeder

      Hi McFredlyte and welcome to isportsweb. I’m glad you enjoy the blog. Writing articles on GT football is just for the reasons you stated; I wanted to provide my insight from the vantage point of a former player who really enjoys the game.

      Unfortunately the GT defense just hasn’t been able to get any solid footing and you have to give Coach Johnson credit for making the tough decisions by letting people go who are not holding up their part of the game. Throw in a kicking game that has been well below average and the burden placed on the offense has just been overwhelming at times. In his first two seasons every game came down to the offense having to score on every possession to get a win. Even with that pressure the offense has done darn well, but you can never expect one side of the line of scrimmage to win every game throughout the course of a season.

      On occasion things happen for a reason and timing is everything especially in college football. However, I never thought the Yellow Jackets had any shot at getting Ted Roof to come back as their DC. This just might be the right person for the job as he wanted to come back here to raise his family. Every coach wants to return to their alma mater; Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern, Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech are two recent examples of this trend.

      On any football staff the OC and DC are the biggest alpha dogs and one of the jobs of the Head Coach is to keep them from engaging in a MMA contest. Think back to the success the Chicago Bears had with Ditka at the helm on offense and Buddy Ryan basically the Head Coach of the defense. While their offense was basically plain vanilla the defense was the life blood of that team and took them to the Super Bowl.

      Perhaps if Coach Tenuta had wanted to be like Buddy Ryan and run the defense much like he wanted this program would have been quite successful in my opinion. However, Ted Roof will get this defense fixed as the Sun Bowl showed quite clearly that the talent is there to be successful on that side of the football. As Johnson has always said; “It just needs to play fast.”

      I give Paul Johnson credit for taking his time in making this hiring decision for the DC well after that bowl game and not getting caught up in the hysteria by handing over the reins to Coach Kelly. With just a few more stops each game this team has a very good opportunity to have a successful season. Taking the burden off the offense to score every time like they did at UNC last season is very hard to do week after week just as you stated. Actually, the defense for the first time in Johnson’s tenure won a game for the team this past season in El Paso with that interception in the end zone by Quayshawn Nealy to end the game. Maybe that is the new trend heading in to 2013.

      Come back often and thanks for your input.

  • John Bishop

    Well it would seem that all of the recruiting services don’t have the same clarity that only you have. You know, the ones who have Tech nowhere near the Top 50 recruiting classes. But hey, just because the schools with consistently good recruiting classes also seem to be the powerhouses that play in BCS games, it must just be a coincidence. But if CPJ is doing such a great job recruiting, then he and his staff must be doing a lousy job of coaching. Just check the record over the last 3 yrs. if the recruiting is so good, then where’s the problem? You probably don’t see a problem which would explain your article

    • Michael Goldfeder

      Hello John Bishop and welcome to isportsweb. Given your statement regarding recruiting class ratings by the experts being the road to success to the BCS, go back and check out a rather famous football factory and their highly rated recruiting classess for the past several seasons since their BCS National Championship appearance in 2005; Texas. Their current record of success with these highly rated classes during the actual season has been well below average. How could that be with a highly rated top five recruiting class?

      As far as coaching you are right. The DC hires that CPJ has made have not been able to get much done on that side of the line of scrimmage since he has been the head coach. However, he does what any head coach should do; get somebody to get it right. His recent hire of a former player and Coach at GT in Ted Roof will hopefully solve that issue starting this season.

      BTW, go back and see the “rankings” of a few other successful teams in recent times; TCU and Boise State and compare their success to more highly ranked recruiting classes schools. There is much more to winning football games than a stars ranking. Come back often.

  • Keith Altobelli

    What a great read, I agree with what you are saying about the last minute offers killing Tech when the “factories” lose out to another factory that he knows talent, just too bad we can’t close. The negative recruiting about out course limitations hurts us too. An early signing period for the “non-rated, non-starred” would help the schools like Tech, the top guys will wait until February, but those marginal guys better sign or might be left out. Go Jackets!!

    • Michael Goldfeder

      Hello Keith Altobelli and welcome to isportsweb. With an early signing period Tech would not only benefit, but so would all of college football. At the moment these recruiting services and social media are literally turning a special moment in a young man’s life into an event that makes a three ring circus look tame. Come back often.

  • Jack Quick

    As a Tech alum and loyal fan, I think CPJ does a pretty good job. Lets face it, while there are so many positives to getting a Georgia Tech degree it is often hard for these young men to understand that those who make it in professional sports are but a small percentage of those that play at the college level, just as the collegiates are a small percentage of those who play at the high school level.

    If you truly believe that your future is in the NFL, then go to one of the factories and spend all your time perfecting your skills. If, on the other hand, you think there i life after football, might want to consider going to Tech. It won’t preclude you from going to the NFL – Calvin Johnson, Demerius Thomas, Johnathan Dwyer, etc. – but for use you will be better prepared for the real world afterwards.

    • Michael Goldfeder

      Hi Jack Quick and welcome to isportsweb. I agree with your statement as you have hit the nail on the head. Coach Johnson has had several members of the team leave with eligibilty remaining to go start their working life with a company called Microsoft. No doubt they will be very successful in that endeavor too. But the only coverage garnered these days is by those players who left early for the NFL after the 2009 season.

      As far as going to a football factory you are correct. However, if you go back to back to the Super Bowl there was a sixth round draft choice who played fifteen years in the league with a degree in economics from a non-football factory; Harvard. Matt Birk, the Ravens center who retired after the game. Come back often.

  • Robin Olds’ Moustache

    What about the rest of the “low or no-star” recruits that Johnson actually signs? The ones that have little to no impact other than filling a spot? The ones that make up the vast majority of GT recruiting classes. Were they examples of “great talent evaluation”?

    You’ve done nothing other than list two exceptions that prove the rule: Johnson has struggled recruiting talent to Tech.

    His ‘success’ was greatly helped by talent recruited by someone else and he has had subsequent diminishing returns as that talent left and he’s relied on what he recruited. The ultimate neutral talent evaluation system has agreed, just take a look at GTs NFL Draft results since he’s been there.

    • Michael Goldfeder

      Hi Robin Olds’ Moustache and welcome to isportsweb. Given that Paul Johnson was hired in late December 2007, the 2008 recruiting class was pretty much done when he came on board, but he still brought in an All ACC guard in Omoregie Uzzi; a big DT TJ Barnes; and another kid still playing for him at left tackle; Ray Beno. So according to your test we will give him a grade next NFL draft. BTW, both Uzzi and and Barnes are in NFL camps as FA’s.

      But since you have a myopic standard as to the success of a football team, I’ll throw in Stephen Hill who was a high pick of the NY Jets at WR a few years ago. During the time CPJ has been coaching at Tech his Teams have won an ACC Championship, won or tied for the Coastal Division on a few occasions, and went to the ACC Championship Game last year after two recruiting factories; UNC, and the U were on probation for their stellar recruiting practices. That is success as a Team. BTW, he has had several players leave early for the NFL draft that did nothing of note under the prior staff, but what you don’t know is he also had several players leave early to go work in management for Microsoft.

      Tell me how many players in the NFL are playing at 38+? GT prepares its players for success well beyond the gridiron that has a shelf shorter than 2 1/2 years for most that ever play in the league. Come back again ROM.

      • Robin Olds’ Moustache

        Once again, your exceptions are just proving the rule. There are three ways to judge talent (all have their flaws. But combined, provide the best barometer):

        1) Recruiting Rankings, 2) In-season success, 3) NFL Draft

        Johnson’s results have progressively become worse in all three areas. When the best NFL examples you have are 2 undrafted FA’s, you have a problem. Additionally, pinning your hopes on previously mediocre 5th-year seniors to suddenly blossom into future NFL stars is a recipe for disappointment. Johnson might be able to spot talent and get some late-bloomers to commit, but what he signs has been progressively getting worse.

        “Hold on a second Robin Olds’ Moustache, Stephen Hill was a high pick!”

        Yes, he was and I’m glad you brought him up. But, he is a sterling example of Johnson’s failures. There are only three logical conclusions you can draw about Johnson, based on Stephen Hill’s draft position:

        1) He’s a poor evaluator of talent
        2) He’s a poor coach
        3) The NFL was wrong, and Johnson was right

        Based on the NFL’s neutral appraisal, Hill has thus far been the best talent that Johnson has brought to Tech. Yet, Johnson’s inability to exploit Hill while he was there is inexcusable. A few long passes based off other teams keying on the run doesn’t count. Did Johnson not properly evaluate Hill’s talent? If so, why did he not design more plays to get Hill involved, if he was the most talented player on the roster? The numbers don’t lie…Hill was not utilized the way a top talent should have been (given the dearth of top NFL offensive talent elsewhere on the roster).

        The NFL did not draft Hill based off his run blocking as a wide receiver. Maybe the NFL was wrong? Maybe Hill’s not that talented and Johnson’s evaluation was correct? Maybe. But, then you can’t give Johnson credit for bringing in top talent. Oops.

        The amusing part is your claim of my “myopic standard”. Really? Who’s being short-sighted? The individual who chooses to evaluate the results of 5+ years of mediocre results (me)? Or the individual that chooses to point out a couple of exceptions to Johnson’s historically demonstrated inability to sign talent on equal footing with Chan Gailey (you)?

        Two final points:

        1) You’re really not using last year as an example of Tech’s “success”, are you? Backing into an ACC Championship game and finishing 7-7 in Johnson’s 5th year at the helm is (again) not a way to win a debate on his recruiting ability/talent evaluation.

        2) Are we discussing Johnson’s ability to recruit top football players or Microsoft managers? A+ for effort. D- for the Strawman.

        • Michael Goldfeder

          Welcome back ROM and so soon, thank you. How about we utilize your criteria: recruiting rankings, in season success, NFL draft, in conjunction with your other three categories; more specifically; A coaches inablity to exploit the ability of a specific player. Explain to me how a non rated last minute no other offers HS player at Texas Tech could have a better NFL career at WR than a highly rated stars player and two (2) time Biletnikoff winner from the same school? Go check out Wes Welker and Michael Crabtree.

          As far as last season’s win loss total with the coaching transition on the defensive side of the football, how in the world could an inferior Yellow Jackets team ever prevail over the USC Trojans and all of their five stars talent from top to bottom? Apparently Paul Johnson can coach a team to compete much better with less stars talent than his counterpart with an entire roster of vastly superior stars players. My recollection was that GT was about a 14 point underdog in that contest.

          As for the recruiting prowess of Chan, why were those players who left GT early after having great success playing under Paul Johnson not freshman All Americans and instant impact players as freshman for Chan? You just made my argument that Paul Johnson knows how to coach players. Refer to the foregoing paragraph and the Sun Bowl win over USC west. Come back often.

          BTW, Stephen Hill was selected high in the NFL draft because of his ability to block; something he learned at GT. Same for Damariyus Thomas. Watch Wes Welker block. It’s an important part of the game for everybody on the offensive side of the football. That’s not being myopic.

          • Robin Olds’ Moustache

            And…again: Your. Exceptions. Prove. The. Rule:

            You keep listing examples that are uncommon. Yes, there are “Wes Welkers”. But, there is a reason that” Michael Crabtrees” are recruited and drafted….they’re the recipe for long-term success.

            No NFL or BCS conference team will enjoy any sustained success signing/drafting “sleeper” prospects. The % of 5 star players that are 1st round picks is exponentially higher than 2 & 3 star players. The % of successful 1st rounders is also exponentially higher than 5th-6th rounders. That’s the leap you’re making. That’s what makes up the majority of Paul Johnson signing classes and why they’re ranked so low. It’s why Tech teams have progressively gotten worse…the overall talent level is dropping.

            Tout the win over a disinterested 7-6 USC all you want. That’s much more of a reflection on the impending train wreck named Lane Kiffin. However, it is the exception. What’s Johnson’s record against other historically “talented” teams?:

            Va Tech 1-4
            UGA 1-4
            Miami 1-4
            FSU 2-1 (which is nice, till you consider he got those two wins playing with the talent Chan brought in)

            And in Bowl games you’ve lost to LSU, Iowa, Air Force (Robin Olds would have been proud!), and Utah. If Johnson’s coaching ability so far-outpaced that of coaches with “all their five star talent”, why isn’t he winning more? Why isn’t the talent he’s evaluating & signing winning more games? The downward trend is evident at teams have adjusted to his scheme and his talent level has dropped. The defensive talent level is atrocious and the offense just flat-out doesn’t have the explosive talent it needs to fully take advantage of the assignment mistakes that the Johnson’s offense attempts to exploit. That’s why Tech has averaged more than 6 losses each of the past 3 years.

            Why weren’t the recruits Chan recruited having success as freshmen for Chan? I don’t know…because Chan stunk? Because they were freshmen? It doesn’t change the fact that Johnson has failed to recruit and sign similar talent in similar numbers. Wasn’t the whole point of your article about how Johnson’s talent evaluation?

            Finally, are you really telling me that Stephen Hill was a 2nd round pick because he could block? Seriously? He is good at it…he had lots of practice in college. I agree that it’s an important part of the game. But, WRs are not taken high because of their blocking skills. That’s just silly. Is it part of the equation? Sure. But, Hill ran fast at the combine and combined with his size, his draft stock soared. Had he run a 4.6…he would have been a low-round pick, at best.

          • Michael Goldfeder

            Hi again ROM. “No NFL or BCS conference team will enjoy any sustained success signing/drafting “sleeper” prospects.”

            How about these two examples to refute that bold statement: Clay Matthews III; and Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers. Both were Walk On players in college, Clay at USC and Jordy at Kansas State. (no stars) Yet somehow Clay was a first round selection and Jordy in the second. Go figure! Or better yet their All Pro teammate; John Kuhn a FB from that famous football factory; Shippensburg? He was a free agent cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers yet he has a Super Bowl ring too.

            A quick check of the roster of the 2012 Super Bowl Champions Baltimore Ravens is another eye opener as they have players from the following schools: Harvard, East Tennesse State, Delaware (another player in addition to Joe Flacco), New Hampshire, Morehouse, Cal Poly, Lane (not the furniture manufacturer), East Carolina, Tennessee State, South Carolina State, Nicholls State, Washburn, Prarie View A & M, Massachusetts, and my favorite-Franklin & Marshall. No stars at any of these schools either.

            I forgot to include they did have a seventh round selection on their roster from GT; Anthony Allen.

            I could go on but why? As Mark Twain said: “get your facts straight first then you can distort them all you want.” Come back again.

            As for the losses you stated in your recent comment, yes they all happened. Lots of teams lose games, that’s football. But Oklahoma losing to Boise State; Alabama to Utah; Georgia to Central Florida. Were they “disinterested?” I could go on and on but why bother.

          • Robin Olds’ Moustache

            Apologies, I left out the word “only”, as in “only” drafting sleeper prospects or “only” signing sleeper prospects (i.e. the majority of recruits that Johnson has signed that his contemporaries did not want) is not the pathway to success.

            “Small School” and/or “Walk-on” does not equal “Sleeper Prospect”. The 1st and 2nd round picks you mentioned were obviously not “sleeper prospects”, since they were drafted early. Were they when they signed/walked on? Most likely. But, relying signing/drafting talent that nobody else wants because you hope you see something nobody else does is not a recipe for success. Let a Team only draft after the 6th round and sign FAs and let’s see how successful they are in the NFL. We already know what “low or no star” signing looks like: Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech.

            You seem to be having a hard time understanding or blatantly ignoring this point: Recruiting rankings, Team success, and Draft results…together…allow us to judge Johnson’s talent evaluation and recruiting. Where are his results? He’s mediocre to horrid in all three areas.

            Bringing up prospects that blossomed in college after not being recruited by anyone does not help your point. Why?

            Because none of them played for Paul Johnson. He isn’t signing highly rated recruiting classes. He’s not producing anything beyond mediocre results on the field. He isn’t even getting his “sleeper prospects” drafted with any regularity.

            You’re sniping at the outliers of my criticisms by creating strawmen and pedantically list examples that you seemingly hope will distract from the crux of this discussion: Paul Johnson has recruited poorly at Georgia Tech.

            Thus, you ignore the thrust of the argument against your piece: By what measurement has Paul Johnson successfully evaluated talent and recruited it to Georgia Tech?

            By identifying a handful of players that ultimately signed somewhere else? You imply that because those players (that he didn’t sign) had success somewhere else, that the other lowly-rated players (that he DID sign) are somehow better than their “stars” indicate.

            That point might hold merit if those players produced better than mediocre on-field results for Tech, or if the NFL was recognizing Johnson’s talent evaluation/development by regularly drafting his players.

            None of that is happening.

          • Michael Goldfeder

            Hi ROM and welcome back. This will be Paul Johnson’s first class of senior players as I discussed several comments ago other than Uzzi and Barnes. I’m not sniping at all, just bringing up the flashing neon light examples that you assiduously ignore.

            BTW they are everywhere in the NFL, not just a handful. Here are a few more; Kris Johnson a two stars free agent guy not even listed among the top HS running backs in the country which goes into several hundred if not thousands. All Pro for the Tennessee Titans out of East Carolina. He also replaced a five stars guy from USC west named Lendale White.

            How about Arian Foster free agent for the Texans; a three stars guy out of HS from the San Diego area the same time as Reggie Bush the must have five stars kid who became The Heisman Trophy winner, or is it returner that got USC west on probation and some very severe sanctions.

            How about JJ Watt from Wisconsin, another college two stars recruit who started off at Central Michigan before transferring to become a Badger. Hey didn’t Central Michigan just have the # 1 pick in the NFL draft? Another two stars guy rated as the 132nd best HS guard back in the day. Check out my prior article.

            The NFL is just another employer in the life of any college football player. Apart from the remarkable George Blanda, everyone else is out of the league long before his retirement date. That’s why many players that go to GT have a pretty solid future. Come back again.

          • Robin Olds’ Moustache

            You’re still just listing guys in the NFL who weren’t “highly recruited”. The difference is…they produced and/or were developed in college. That’s why they were drafted….also, again, they weren’t coached by Paul Johnson.

            This isn’t about the NFL…this isn’t about an NFL or post-football career…the discussion (the topic you chose) is Paul Johnson’s recruiting. The NFL draft is just one of three ways to judge how he recruits.

            So, if you take the draft out of the equation (which is ridiculous…since your argument is relying on 5th year seniors to all of a sudden become NFL prospects and ignoring those that have already played four and went undrafted), Johnson still fails with both mediocre results in wins/losses and on signing day.

            Your “evidence” that he can recruit is based off two verbal commitments that went somewhere else, two undrafted NFL free agents, and non-standard examples from other schools/coaches. Don’t you see how ridiculous that is? If you don’t, then please provide further examples of how Johnson consistently recruits top talent to Tech.

  • jcdawg83

    This article is pretty twisted logic if you ask me. Using two players who did NOT play for Johnson or GT as examples of great recruiting ability seems like a real torturing of logic. The fact that both of these kids went elsewhere at the last minute shows how little they must have thought of either Johnson, Gt or both.

    Also, with Johnson’s “success” at bringing talent to Gt, he might want to rethink that policy of pulling offers when a kid takes a visit after verbally committing.

    • Michael Goldfeder

      Hi jcdawg83 and welcome to isportsweb.com. The recruiting world has lots of twists and turns especially as one gets closer to national signing day. Finding HS players who can play and succeed at the BCS level is quite a challenge and always has been well before any stars were around. The story validates the understanding of evaluating talent by Paul Johnson.

      A HS football player can do anything they want throughout the recruiting process. The fact a player said he was coming to GT, then decided that maybe someone else will give him a scholarship is becoming the new game in town. That is reality. As far as pulling a kid’s offer, don’t be fooled as every coach does the same thing with one difference; they did not come out and say like Coach Paul Johnson did. Kudos for his candidness.

      Come back again dawg.

  • Will

    Wow. This has to be one of the biggest twists on facts in order to make a point I’ve ever seen. I don’t understand how you can derive the conclusion that a coach can recruit based on the fact said coach found an underrated talent and offered before other coaches just to have other the other coaches swoop in at the last minute and get the kid to commit to their school. I would not be encouraged at all by the two cases you illustrated. If anything it shows that GT is a last option for underrated kids who will jump at the opportunity to play for other teams GT competes against on the field and/or in recruiting every year. As a GT fan, this article would make me question CPJ even more as a recruiter rather than give me confidence. This is just sad.

    • Michael Goldfeder

      Hi Will and welcome to isportsweb. Come back often. Your perspective misses the point. Think of it as a NFL general manager going out and drafting first round draft choices that never pan out on the field and their only accomplishment is to tax the salary cap while an undrafted free agent comes in and performs at a high level. Then that free agent leaves to go sign for bigger bucks with another club.

      The fact that coaches swoop in and grab a player they never offered, but now are after Paul Johnson discovers him reinforces the flaw in all of this stars rated recruiting. The myriad of reasons that circle around in a seventeen year olds mind as to where he will finally choose to play football and why is no better than rolling the dice for any BCS Coach. It’s the converse of the cattle call for an acting part. Many apply but only one will get the role.

  • AthensHomerDawg

    That was an interesting read. I would imagine that finding talent is just a part of being a top recruiter. Closing the deal and signing him to your roster would make all the effort worthwhile. I looked up ESPN’s Top football recruiters. They listed their top 25 coaches. There at number 4 was one of the coaches from the football program that runs this state. You know, ” it was the one that has a four legged mascot with an Under bite.” They did not recognize Coach Johnson. Anther undiscovered talent waiting to be discovered? Now if only CPJ worked at ESPN.
    “Always be closing.”

    • Michael Goldfeder

      Hi AthensHomerDawg and welcome to isportsweb. BTW, best of luck to your dawgs this year. My recollection is that historically UGA has always been able to bring in good HS football recruits every year regardless of who was at the helm. Every kid grows up wanting to be a dawg and if offered the chance will probably go to Athens. Plain and simple. As for CMR being the # 4 closer, UGA IX could bring in good talent to the program. Even with all of that history going for them UGA was unable to close on at least four five stars they were pursuing on National signing day.

      Interesting that they looked over the list of verbal commits at Tech before grabbing one away from Paul Johnson. Glad you enjoyed the read and come back often.

  • Jackie

    So you’re saying Coach Genius is great at evaluating talent, but sucks at actually recruiting?

    Also, those are some of good examples that show the benefits of the Paul Johnson doctrine.

    • Michael Goldfeder

      Hi Jackie and welcome to isportsweb. I’m saying Coach Paul Johnson who you refer to as; “Genius”, is very successful at finding players nobody else was interested in pursuing. After that recruiting becomes nothing more than a waiting game to see where a seventeen year old HS player decides he is going to play. It’s really no different then interviewing for a job. If you weren’t selected for the position does that mean you suck? Probably not. What it means is that somebody in HR thought they had a candidate that better fit the criteria for the job. So if you were hired elsewhere in that industry and did a fine job does that mean you would have sucked at that other company?

      Glad you enjoyed the examples. Come back again.