Atlanta, Georgia (PressExposure) December 24, 2008 -- The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets finished off 2008 with a 9-4 overall and 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference record. Everything was going great for Coach Paul Johnson and his crew; experts like Kirk Herbstreit were even jumping on Georgia Tech's bandwagon, calling them a "lock" to win their bowl game. The Yellow Jackets finished the year ranked number 22 and got to play in the Chick-fil-Bowl against the unranked Louisiana State University Tigers.
But something happened - maybe it was all the hype, maybe the Yellow Jackets let it get to their heads, maybe they should've kept playing like they were the underdogs - for Georgia Tech lost the Chick-fil-Bowl, being the home state team of the bowl game, by a painful score of 38-3, against a team that dropped three of their last four games.
But life goes on, and Coach Paul Johnson had the recruiting season to keep him busy. Now to the average person and recruiting analysts alike, Coach Johnson's second recruiting class is not looking like a standout, and is not highly ranked, but that doesn't mean he wasn't successful. Coach Johnson looks for the talent he needs to run his option offense, he was able to keep athletic wide out Stephen Hill from changing his mind and heading to Georgia and brought in 21 players, including 14 in-state prospects. He addressed needs on the defensive line with mammoth tackle J.C. Lanier (6-3, 335) and ends Izaan Cross (6-3, 250) and Emanuel Dieke (6-7, 230).
The biggest recruiting news for the Yellow Jackets though was probably the one that got away. Dual-threat quarterback Dontae Aycock from Tampa committed to Georgia Tech in January, but when Aycock made a visit to Auburn, Coach Johnson changed his mind and withdrew the scholarship offer, showing his own personal commitment to the school and the commitment he expects from his recruits. "When he chose to do that, he was telling me he didn't want to come to Georgia Tech anymore. So we moved on." Coach Johnson instead signed a quarterback from Indiana named Jordan Luallen, who comes to Tech after running a wing-T offense in high school. Luallen is most likely the quarterback of the future for Coach Johnson, as he is able to run and will fit right in to the option offense, and he also has a strong arm, uncharacteristic of most high school quarterbacks that come from a run-oriented school.
After losing three defensive tackles to graduation, the 6-3, 335-pound J.C. Lanier of Stillmore, Ga, comes in at the right time. He is their top ranked recruit this year and has the chance to play immediately and make an impact. Georgia Tech lost a 6-7 defensive end in Michael Johnson, but gains another in the 6-7 Emmanuel Dieke from Riverdale, Ga.
"I am very pleased with this group. I think we addressed some needs on the line and added a number of skill players who will be solid contributors. This is a talented group of young men who were well-coached on the high school level," said Coach Johnson. I look forward to seeing if Georgia Tech can improve upon last season and at least make the top 20.