Georgia Tech finished with the No. 11 class in the ACC, the third time in the past four seasons the Jackets ranked 10th or lower in the ESPN rankings.
For coach Paul Johnson to prove the highly successful 2014 season was not an anomaly, he will need major contributors to emerge from the class he just signed.
Biggest need going into national signing day: Linemen, both offensive and defensive. Though the Jackets returned an experienced offensive line in 2015, they could not move defenders off blocks with the same success as they have in the past. Georgia Tech averaged 256.2 yards rushing, the lowest under Johnson. Meanwhile, the defensive line struggled as well. For the second straight season and fourth time under Johnson, the Jackets gave up more than 165 yards rushing per game. Georgia Tech also finished with just 14 sacks, tied for No. 120 in the nation. This is a year after gaining just 20 in 2014.
How it was addressed: The Jackets signed seven linemen, including its only ESPN 300 prospect -- guard Parker Braun, brother of former starting offensive lineman Trey Braun. The only other four-star the Jackets signed was defensive end Jordan Woods out of Citra, Florida. Johnson also was pleased with the addition of defensive tackle Chris Martin and transfer defensive end Desmond Branch, who is already enrolled. “This year was a pretty good year for defensive lineman,” Johnson said. “We were able to get some really good guys. Chris Martin wanted to come to Tech and he recruited us, like we recruited him. He had a lot of good offers -- some SEC offers, but he wanted to come to Georgia Tech. We were able to find Desmond Branch as a transfer, who’s a little older, and then to pick up Jordan Woods and Brandon Adams, who were two really sought-after players. We helped ourselves there with some really good players.”
Strongest position post-NSD: Georgia Tech has a solid group of talented A-backs returning, and the addition of signee Xavier Gantt should only bolster the group. While it is true the Jackets struggled across the board at every position on offense, the returning players and depth at A-back should give Jackets fans hope. Clinton Lynch, Qua Searcy, Mikell Lands-Davis, Isiah Willis and TaQuon Marshall all return, and Georgia transfer J.J. Green will also be in the mix.
Biggest remaining need: Receiver. While it is true the Jackets run the ball the majority of the time, one of the biggest reasons for the success they had in 2014 was their standouts at receiver. Last year, they had nobody who could stretch the field in the same way and that really hamstrung the offense. Georgia Tech did sign three receivers: Jair Hawkins- Anderson, Jalen Camp and Stephen Dolphus. But they are waiting on a decision from ESPN 300 receiver Demetris Robertson, who took an official visit to Georgia Tech several weeks ago. He is down to the Jackets, Stanford, Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgia and California. You might remember him as the player who had a Notre Dame equipment truck parked in front of his house. He's taking his time making a decision.