Big-Time Corner Welcomes High Expectations
ATLANTA If Chan Gailey learned anything in his first season as Georgia
Tech's football coach, it was that his team had to get faster, especially
in the secondary.
We're going to build our team on speed, Gailey said.
Tech's lack of speed at the skill positions was exposed by Georgia and Fresno State in late-season losses. Gailey made speed Tech's No. 1 priority in recruiting, and the Yellow Jackets landed one of the nation's fastest players in Florida cornerback Kenny Scott. He wants to be a cover corner, Gailey said. He wants to be a guy that can come in and play one-on-one and shut down the other team's best receiver. He's got that kind of attitude about him, and he's got that kind of talent. Scott, 6-1 and 175 pounds, picked the Yellow Jackets over Florida, FSU and Tennessee after receiving more than 40 scholarship offers. He was ranked the No. 37 player and the fifth-best cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com. Analyst Tom Lemming of Chicago ranked Scott the nation's No. 8 cornerback. SuperPrep had Scott 11th among all defensive backs. The coaching staff has established that they feel I can come in and play, Scott said. I kind of told them I was thinking about redshirting, and the coach looked at me and he asked me if I was crazy, basically. Those are the kind of expectations they have for me. They want me to come in there and hopefully establish myself next year as a starter if I can. They already told me the opportunity will be there for me to do that. Scott has high aspirations for Georgia Tech, which limped to a 7-6 record last season. I think we'll win the ACC next year and that's a BCS bid automatically, he said. I'm saying next year. They were in contention this year. If (tailback) Tony (Hollings) hadn't gotten hurt, he would have most definitely been an All-American player. A lot of other players got hurt, like Greg Gathers. All those players are playmakers basically, and they got injured throughout the season. I think that hindered Georgia Tech's progress, but I think they'll be ready next year. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets hope Scott's signing could give them a leg up on Class of 2004 recruiting. Xavier Lee, Grant's former teammate, is considered by many the top quarterback in the high school junior class.
Who Got Away?
There's nothing wrong with high academic standards, as long as a school still manages to sign its share of the top student-athletes available in the high school ranks. For the second year in a row, Georgia Tech was one of only two ACC schools (with Duke) whose entire class on signing day already was sitting pretty above NCAA academic standards. (In many cases, Tech's signees are far above the required minimums.) Oddly, though, the Yellow Jackets landed only one prospect from the Midwest (one) and Northeast (none), two recent Tech pipelines and two regions that traditionally produce a larger number of top student-athletes than the South. One potential concern for the Jackets is that their 2003 class had a number of Duke-like signees, players of high academic caliber who had few (if any) scholarship offers from other schools in the major conferences. Historically, a very low percentage of such individuals become ACC stars. Here's a sampling of the top student-athletes who had a scholarship offer from Tech but signed elsewhere: Lewisville (TX) Hebron LB Lewis Baker (Oklahoma), Dalton (GA) High TE Cole Bennett (Auburn), Palmyra (PA) High LB Joe Brockington (Notre Dame), Hartselle (AL) High OL Brett Byford (Nebraska), Lewisville (TX) Hebron OL Ian-Yates Cunningham (UVa), Sarasota (FL) Cardinal Mooney TE Patrick Danahy (Stanford), Pearland (TX) High LB Scott Derry (Texas), Lindale (GA) Pepperell DE Marcus Dixon (Vanderbilt), Cartersville (GA) High DT Andre Fluellen (FSU), Highland Park (TX) High WR Bill Foran (Purdue), Virginia Beach (VA) Salem RB Isaiah Gardner (Notre Dame), Washington (DC) Gonzaga LB Kory Gedin (UNC), Altamonte Springs (FL) Lake Brantley OL Jordy Lipsey (UVa), Dallas (TX) Bishop Dunne DT Thomas Marshall (Texas), Lilburn (GA) Parkview OL Zeb McKinzey (Georgia), Selma (AL) High WR Jai Miller (Stanford), Pace (FL) High TE D.J. Norris (FSU), Warren (OH) Harding DB Mike Phillips (Pitt), Philadelphia (PA) Penn Charter QB Matt Ryan (Boston College), Mission (TX) High WR Earvin Taylor (Texas A&M), Greenbelt (MD) Roosevelt LB Derron Thomas (Pitt) and Statesboro (GA) High DT Josh Thompson (Auburn). The Yellow Jackets also missed Birmingham (AL) Briarwood RB Tim Castille (Alabama), Roselle (NJ) Clark WR Jesse Holley (UNC), Pittsburgh (PA) Woodland Hills DB Ryan Mundy (Michigan) and LaGrange (GA) High RB Skyler Thornton (Florida). Compiled by Dave Glenn
2003 Georgia Tech Football Signees
|Name||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||Stars||High School/Junior College||Comment|
|Joe Anoai||DE||6-3||235||3/3||Pensacola (FL) Escambia||2nd-team 5A; 4-year HS starter; over Louis., USF|
|Reggie Ball||QB||6-0||180||3/3||Stone Mountain (GA) Stephenson||SP-29 GA; 1st-team 5A; over UCF, Duke, Louis., USF|
|Pat Carter||QB||6-3||185||3/3||St. Petersburg (FL) Lakewood||TL-19 QB; HM 4A all-state; over Fla., Mich., Pitt, Pur.|
|Chris Dunlap||WR||6-0||185||2/2||Miramar (FL) High||1st-team all-district; 3-year starter; track star; over NW|
|Brian Fleuridor||DB||5-11||180||2/2||Boca Raton (FL) High||2nd-team 5A as jr.; 3-time all-league; Colorado St. switch|
|Joe Gaston||DB||6-0||200||3/2||Marietta (GA) Walton||HM 5A all-state; 3-year starter; over UAB, Navy (!)|
|Rashaun Grant*||RB||5-11||190||4/4||Tampa (FL) Jefferson||RV-2 all-purpose RB; TL-13 RB; over Miami, Fla., FSU (!)|
|KaMichael Hall||LB||6-1||205||3/3||Houston (TX) Klein Forest||District defensive MVP; over NW, Toledo, UTEP (!)|
|Nick Moore||LB||6-1||225||3/3||Arlington (TX) High||SP-112 TX; 2nd-team 5A; over Air Force, ISU, Wis. (!)|
|LeShawn Newberry||DT||6-0||310||3/2||Port Orange (FL) Spruce Creek||2nd-team Class 5A; 3-year starter; over Duke, Vandy|
|Adamm Oliver||DE||6-4||250||2/3||New Port Richey (FL) Ridgewood||1st-team 4A; 3-year starter; early over Md. interest (!)|
|Eddy Parker||OL||6-5||280||3/2||Burnet (TX) High||1st-team Class 3A; MX Texas Super Team; over SMU (!)|
|Al Pena^||QB||6-3||200||3/3||Leander (TX) High||SP-120 TX; early decision over Okla.St., Texas Tech|
|Kyle Pupello||FB/LB||6-1||230||2/2||Tampa (FL) Plant||4-year starter; also at Tampa (FL) Catholic; over I-AA|
|Matt Rhodes||OL||6-4||275||2/2||Angleton (TX) High||3-time all-county; over Bay., Hou., Rice, SMU, TCU (!)|
|Avery Roberson||DB||6-2||190||3/3||Atlanta (GA) Washington||MX-1 FS; SP-12 GA; HM 4A; over Duke, Miss.St., WF (!)|
|Kenny Scott*||DB||6-1||175||4/4||Daytona Beach (FL) Seabreeze||RV-5 CB; TL-8 CB; 1st-team 3A; over FSU, Tenn., many|
|Kevin Tuminello||OL||6-4||285||2/2||Youngstown (OH) Boardman||1st-team all-conference; probable center; over Vandy (!)|
|Philip Wheeler||LB||6-2||215||2/3||Columbus (GA) Shaw||1st-team 4A; 3-year starter; over Ala., Aub., Ind.|
|Sam Williams||DB||5-11||170||2/2||Atlanta (GA) Mays||All-city; HM all-metro; track star (4.4 in 40); over I-AA|
|Mansfield Wrotto||DT||6-4||310||2/3||Snellville (GA) Brookwood||RV-42 GA; 1st-team 5A; over Md., PSU, USC, WF (!)|
*-All-American (top 250 by two/more services)
STARS: By Insiders/Rivals