October 21, 2017 Atlanta - Georgia Tech running back KirVonte Benson (30) runs with the ball in the first half of an NCAA college football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, October 21, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/AJC

An early look at Georgia Tech’s recruiting for 2019

Steve Trivisonno just finished his 21st year as head coach at Mentor (Ohio) High, a powerhouse in the state and, among other things, the alma mater of former North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. To a prodigious career, Trivisonno can add a somewhat random first. To the best of his recollection, Georgia Tech is recruiting one of his players for the first time, defensive end Noah Potter.

Potter is a worthy target – he’s rated the No. 19 strongside defensive end in the country (247 Sports composite) and holds scholarship offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame. Potter, though, also represents Tech’s efforts to expand its recruiting base. As the pursuit of the 2019 signing class gets underway, Tech coaches have made offers to prospects in states and cities they haven’t recruited much recently, if at all, including Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Washington, D.C. and Memphis, Tenn.

Trivisonno said he spoke with new Tech defensive line coach Jerome Riase, who shared his intention to recruit Ohio.

“I’m sure with how great Georgia football is down there in high school, they’re probably still doing a vast majority in their state, but you’ve still got to go out and find the couple others that are going to put you over to win the ACC and those kinds of things,” Trivisonno said.

Potter is one of at least three prospects from Ohio who have tweeted word of recent scholarship offers from Tech. Riase has connected with each through Twitter, a common recruiting tool for coaches. Riase came to Tech from Wofford, but got his coaching start in Ohio.

Among other observations gleaned from a collection of about 50 offers that Yellow Jackets targets tweeted about since the start of January, Tech has returned to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., the sports-centric boarding school. At least three prospects from the alma mater of Jackets early-enrollee freshman defensive lineman T.K. Chimedza publicized offers from Tech – defensive back Briton Allen, linebacker Jaleel McRae and offensive tackle Chris Akporoghene.

Tech is up against the likes of Georgia, Auburn, Florida and North Carolina with the trio, but the Jackets now have a connection in Chimedza.

“I think there’ll be a domino effect,” IMG coach Kevin Wright said in December. “I think our kids tend to recruit our kids. There’s kind of that fraternity among kids that graduate from here because it is a special place.”

T.K. Chimedza spurns powerhouses for Georgia Tech

Tech also has apparently returned to Washington. DeMatha Catholic High safety Nick Cross tweeted his offer from Tech on Feb. 20, joining offers from Alabama, Penn State and Florida State, among others. Tech previously recruited the city’s Catholic school league – including All-American defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu – but pulled back as the yield diminished.

The expansion follows the plans of coach Paul Johnson. In January, with the addition of four recruiting staff enabled through a fundraising challenge, Johnson said that “we’re probably going to broaden out more in the private schools,” naming Washington as a possible territory.

There are no fewer than three quarterbacks who have announced offers from Tech – Jadarious Martin from Wetumpka, Ala., George Johnson from Stuart, Fla., and Peter Parrish from Phenix City, Ala. Wetumpka is the hometown of former Tech quarterback and current graduate assistant Tevin Washington.

Another offer of note came from running back Eric Gray from Memphis, Tenn. Tech has not recruited Memphis in recent years, but may be a new locale for safeties coach Andy McCollum, who has effectively recruited the Nashville, Tenn., area and recently was named one of the top 25 recruiters in the country for the 2018 class by Rivals.

With new defensive coordinator Nate Woody coming from Appalachian State, Tech may have increased chances of bringing in players from North Carolina. No players on the roster hail from the state, which once supplied a handful of recruits to Tech.

New safeties coach Shiel Wood is recruiting a prospect from Shelby, N.C., safety Lannden Zanders of Crest High. Zanders’ coach, Nick Eddins, is familiar with Wood (previously at Wofford in Spartanburg, S.C.) and Woody.

“Obviously, Georgia is a hotbed for high-school talent, as is Florida and South Carolina,” Eddins said. “I think North Carolina’s one of the most underrated states in the country. There’s a lot of good players.”

Tech has one player committed to the 2019 class, safety Jeremiah Smith of Grayson High.

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