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Tough call for Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson's recent decision to pull the scholarship offer to recruit Junior Gnonkonde, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound defensive end, was the lesser of two evils.

Gnonkonde, who had been committed to the Yellow Jackets since last February, had his scholarship withdrawn on Friday. The timing of it is miserable. Just a week before signing day, Gnonkonde's plans were yanked out from under him, and he was left to quickly begin his recruiting process again.

Johnson has been vilified by some for that last-minute move, but it could have been worse for Gnonkonde, had Johnson not thrown him a lifeline. Because of the education privacy laws, nobody at Georgia Tech was allowed to officially comment, but there is always more to the story, and I got some background information for you.

Yes, Georgia Tech had Gnonkonde's test scores and transcript in November, but he was also denied admission at that point. There are stipulations recruits can meet, though, and most if not all cases do and receive an exception or make it through the appeals process. In this particular case, though, Georgia Tech officials didn't feel there was an overwhelming chance that Gnonkonde would make it through the exception process. Had Johnson not cut ties when he did, Gnonkonde wouldn't have found out until Feb. 1 or later that he had been denied admission again -- if that were the final verdict. Johnson had a gamble to take, and instead of risking it, he opted to give Gnonkonde some options and called a few schools on Gnonkonde's behalf to let them know he would be available.

John White, Gnonkonde’s legal guardian, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Georgia Tech a few weeks ago asked Gnonkonde to take the SAT again. That's indicative of a problem.

This was a lose-lose situation for everyone, and I don't detect any ill will on the part of Johnson. Instead, he made the decision that seemed to be the best for Gnonkonde and the program at the time.