Comparison of Georgia Tech’s signing day with its competitors
But it’s by comparing Tech’s progress with its ACC competition that Collins’ uphill battle, both on the field and in recruiting, is spelled out.
By measurement of the 247Sports Composite, which integrates its own 247Sports rating with those of ESPN and Rivals, Tech gained five players (high school signers or transfers) who had a 4-star rating. It’s Martin, Marshall and three transfers – defensive back Ahmari Harvey (Auburn) and offensive linemen Pierce Quick (Alabama) and Paul Tchio (Clemson), who were all four-star prospects coming out of high school before seeing little or no game time. with their first varsity teams.
However, at the same time, the Jackets have been outnumbered by Miami (12 new 4-stars) and Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina, all of which have signed 10 players each (high school signings or transfers) who are ranked either 4 or 5 stars.
In fact, North Carolina’s signing class finished ahead of Clemson’s, the first time the Tigers haven’t had the conference’s best signing class since 2017. In case you missed it, Tech competes with Miami and North Carolina in the Coastal Division and plays Clemson every year.
(Worse for the Jackets, they also lost six 4-star players from the 2021 roster, including running back Jahmyr Gibbs and defensive end Jared Ivey, both to trades.)
The bottom line: While Tech has made gains in talent accumulation, its main competitor is doing the same, but in greater numbers. As Collins strives to realize his vision of establishing Tech as an elite powerhouse, it’s a sobering thought. It’s hard to compete for conference championships when simply winning the division means passing two teams that, at least on paper, are more talented.
Accumulating 4 stars isn’t the only indicator of success, of course. Pittsburgh, for example, won the ACC last season with 12 4-stars, eighth in the conference. In the conference title game, the Panthers defeated Wake Forest, who won the Atlantic Division with a measly three 4-stars.
All the Tar Heels’ 29 4- and 5-stars on the 2021 roster could produce was a 6-7 record, including a loss to the Jackets.
In former coach Paul Johnson’s final season, the Jackets managed seven wins and nearly won the Coastal Division with a 4-star trio on the roster.
Collins has used the transfer portal to source ready-to-play contributors such as slot receiver Kyric McGowan and offensive tackle Devin Cochran, and incoming running back Hassan Hall (Louisville) could be another playmaker instantaneous. The turnover of the coaching staff could also be a net positive. The 2022 season would be a prime time for the strength and weight gains catalyzed by strength and conditioning coach Lewis Caralla to be put to use.
The formula doesn’t have to include more blue chips than the competition. But it certainly helps.