Georgia Tech’s 2007 Class changed the direction of the program and was a big part of the 2009 ACC Championship team.
That class was the best, but also the last class of the Chan Gailey era. Paul Johnson has come into Atlanta and taken the Yellow Jackets to heights they have not seen since earlier this decade.
For a look back at how the 2007 class changed the Georgia Tech program, I contacted the guys at From The Rumble Seat .
Q: Looking back at the 2007 class that Scout.com ranked 15th nationally, how did this class change Georgia Tech's program?
A: People will forget that this class was actually Chan Gailey's last class at Georgia Tech so we need to give him credit where credit is due. What we'll all remember is how Gailey's players (the ones who stayed at Tech) flourished. Jon Dwyer and Demaryius Thomas, Derrick Morgan, Morgan Burnett, Josh Nesbitt, etc.
All these names will make a fan's eyes light up when you mention them. Dwyer went on to become ACC Player of the Year and Derrick Morgan Defensive Player of the Year. We have All-Americans and All-ACC candidates out of this class. In summary, they helped get us back the national attention that we so desperately crave. This class was rock solid.
Q: As good as that '07 class was it had a few guys who never panned out. Whatever happened to guys like 4 stars Steven Threet, DJ Donley, and Willie White?
A: Steven Threet got screwed big time for his college career. Originally recruited by Gailey, he transferred up to Michigan. Then Rich Rodriguez came in and Threet didn't fit in there either so he transferred to Arizona State, I believe.
Willie White never panned out and due to injuries transferred to a community college in Kansas. DJ Donley also transferred out of Tech. He went to Purdue but there were some issues with that as well. Basically we lucked out on all three players.
Q: Who was the biggest surprise (good or bad) from this class?
A: Right now this is a good surprise, but I think a lot of us were surprised at how well this class played under a new system with Paul Johnson. CPJ of course, wasn't.
He said just the other day to expect the B-back every year to gain around 1,000 yards a year. I think we were just so tired and used to consistent mediocrity that we didn't expect any type of success from anything that had Gailey's fingerprints on it.
Q: The line of scrimmage is very important in college football. How did the offensive and defensive line players from this group turn out?
A: Everyone knows the story of Derrick Morgan and about how he is expected to be a top-five pick. However, the defensive line players overall had some big shoes to fill as they followed names like Darryl Richard, Michael Johnson, and Vance Walker who all play in the NFL and it showed.
They were very raw this year in their first year as starters. The offensive line grew together this year and still has some holes to fill.
Q: How has recruiting changed for GT since Paul Johnson arrived?
A: We're learning to not care about rankings anymore!
Johnson knows what he wants and he goes after it. This 2010 class has only 18 players, 14 of whom are from Georgia and the emphasis was clearly on defense.
Q: What are some recruiting advantages Ga. Tech has over other ACC schools?
A: Academics. Georgia Tech will teach you and train you for the real world and companies will seek you out for hire.
History. Yes, we have a better CFB history than almost every school but it's just a little older and not as recent!
And Paul Johnson.
Q: What about some of the negatives?
A: Academics. The school is rigorous and heck, that's a negative for a normal student.
Q: Georgia Tech sits in a great recruiting area. Is the state of Georgia top priority or do academics force the Yellow Jackets to go elsewhere many times.
A: Like previously mentioned, 14 of the 18 players for the class of 2010 are from Georgia. So while academics do throw you a curve ball, it is not anything to shy away from. It's hard to believe, but there are actually smart football players out there.
My Thoughts on Georgia Tech Recruiting:
Ga. Tech is in an interesting spot when it comes to recruiting because they sit in on one of the best talent areas in the country (Atlanta), but also sit right in the middle of SEC territory.
Additionally, GT is a smaller school than its rivals with less major options to choose from so the recruiting pool is smaller.
But the state of Georgia legislature gave the Yellow Jackets an unintended bump when requiring all high school graduates to have four years of math, which Georgia Tech had always required.
Paul Johnson has stated from day one that his first priority in recruiting was in state and he has been able to win some battles with the dominant school, Georgia.
But to continue to win conference titles and compete for a National Championship, Georgia Tech has to win even more of those head-to-head battles with the big boys of the SEC. I think Johnson’s scheme and coaching ability can only take them so far.
They did that with the 2007 class that has chance this upcoming season to win back to back ACC titles.
Thanks again to From The Rumble Seat for their insight. Be sure to check them out.