Update on Georgia Tech’s recruiting as early signing starts

Dec 19, 2017
HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/hshin@ajc.com
October 24, 2015 Atlanta - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Florida State Seminoles take on the field before their game at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, October 24, 2015. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

All of Georgia Tech’s 19 committed players are expected to sign Wednesday when the first-ever early signing period for college football begins. The Yellow Jackets have added two in recent days, cornerback Jaylen Jackson and offensive lineman Zakk McKeehan.

There are slots available for more, and Tech coaches will continue to recruit for the February signing period.

Here are five prospects that Tech has recruited with updates on where they stand.

James Graham, Fitzgerald High, QB

A dual-threat quarterback from the alma mater of former Tech defensive back Jemea Thomas, Graham took an official visit to Georgia Tech this past weekend and is expected to sign Wednesday with one of the two schools.

Graham has been committed to the Hokies since October, but Georgia Tech has maintained its pursuit of him, resulting in the official visit. Graham, a four-star prospect in the “athlete” category (247 Sports composite), would be a valuable pickup for the Jackets, who do not have a quarterback in the recruiting class and only have three on the roster – TaQuon Marshall, Lucas Johnson and Tobias Oliver.

Graham’s decision may rest, at least in part, on if and how much he wants to play quarterback. Virginia Tech is recruiting him as an athlete, meaning he could go anywhere (and probably not quarterback), while Georgia Tech is recruiting him as a quarterback.

Michael Barrett, Lowndes High, QB

Tech is also pursuing Barrett, who apparently will wait until the regular signing period in February to cement his decision. Michigan is also recruiting Barrett, bringing him in for an official visit earlier this month. Barrett may come to Tech for an official visit in January.

Beyond geographical proximity, Tech has a similar potential advantage with Barrett that it does with Graham. Michigan is recruiting Barrett as an athlete, while Tech has targeted him as a quarterback.

“Wherever he ends up, he’s going to do very well, regardless of what position he plays, at quarterback, wherever, running back, defense,” Lowndes coach Randy McPherson said. “He’s one of the best football players I’ve ever coached.”

It’s a noteworthy evaluation, as Lowndes is one of the strongest teams in the state and has won three state titles in McPherson’s tenure.

Jamarcus Chatman, Rome High, DL

Chatman withdrew his commitment to Tennessee December 11 in the wake of the school’s coaching change, and Tech quickly jumped in. The following day, Chatman tweeted out a photo of Tech assistant coach Ron West making a home visit.

Chatman also paid a visit to campus this past weekend, when his cousin and Tech commit Tijai Whatley was at the school for his official visit. Chatman would be a big pickup for the Jackets; he is rated the No. 29 defensive tackle prospect nationally (247 Sports) and the No. 46 player in the state. The Jackets are forever trying to build up depth and playmaking ability on the defensive line, and Chatman would seem to be a strong candidate to help.

Chatman, who helped Rome High to back-to-back state titles in Class 5A, is expected to wait until the February signing period to make his decision final. Michigan State and North Carolina also appear to be strong contenders.

“I know that we’re recruiting him hard,” Tech commit Jaylon King said.

Lorenz Metz, Germany, DL/OL

Metz, who Tech flew in last weekend for an official visit, is a sizable prospect, checking in at 6-foot-9 and 280 pounds with a 40-yard dash time of 5.0 seconds, a highly unusual combination of size and speed. Metz also took official visits to Connecticut, Cincinnati, Central Michigan and Massachusetts. Expected to sign Wednesday, Metz is said to be leaning to Cincinnati.

Were Tech to land him, he’d fill a need that Tech has for linemen on both sides of the ball and be an undoubtedly intriguing project. He would be the second German to join the class, following defensive end Julius Welschof.

Troy Ingle, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., OT

While committed to Western Kentucky, Ingle came to Tech for an official visit this past weekend. It appears that Ingle will stay with his commitment, however. The interest level, on one side or the other, may have waned after the visit.

Jaylon Baker, Chattanooga, Tenn., WR/CB

Baker tweeted out his offer from Tech on Monday morning, Baker, 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, had largely received FCS offers before Virginia jumped in in early December. He’s expected to sign with the Cavaliers.