Georgia Tech football: Yellow Jackets opt for quality over quantity on national signing day

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerFebruary 6, 2013 

Atlanta -- The list of Georgia Tech football recruits was kept intentionally small this year. Instead of casting a wide net, the staff decided to concentrate on filling a few growing needs.

"We said this would be a small class," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "We filled some needs."

Tech signed 14 players and could add one or two more. One of those is Cornelius Elder of Nashville, who is also considering Ohio State and Auburn. The hangup is Elder's desire to play football and basketball, which has already been endorsed by the Tech staff.

Tech signed one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, two offensive linemen, one linebacker, three defensive linemen, two defensive backs and one kicker.

One of the biggest signees was Harrison Butker (6-3, 190), a kicker from Westminster in Atlanta. The lanky Butker didn't start kicking until his sophomore season, but he quickly developed a big leg.

He had a 53-yarder and made 16-of-17 field goals as a junior. He's expected to immediately contend for the starting position at a spot that has been infuriatingly inconsistent for Tech.

"He may be the best kicker in the country," Johnson said. "From Day 1, he'll compete."

The highlight of the class may be running back Travis Custis, a 6-foot, 215-pounder from Lovejoy who ran for 2,118 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior.

"I feel we got the best running back in the state," Johnson said.

Other members of the Tech signing class were:

Shamire DeVine (6-7, 355), an offensive lineman from Tri-Cities High in East Point, who was MVP at the Atlanta Nike camp and has the potential to become a dominant blocker;

Corey Griffin (6-2, 195), a defensive back from Sandy Creek High in Tyrone, who will play safety;

Darius Commission (6-3, 305) and Kevin Robins (6-4, 230), a pair of defensive linemen from Bishop McNamara in Forestville, Md.;

Justin Akins (6-4, 240), a defensive lineman from Jackson High, who had more than 20 Division I offers;

Chris Griffin (6-6, 272), an offensive lineman from Wakulla, Fla., that assistant coach Andy McCollum complimentary referred to as "mean" on the field;

Donovan Wilson (6-0, 210), an A-back from Dublin, Ohio, who rushed for 2,068 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior;

Antonio Messick (6-3, 193), a wide receiver from Fayette County High;

Ricky Jeune (6-3, 205), a wide receiver from Spring Valley, N.Y., who had 36 receptions and 10 touchdowns as a senior;

John Marvin (6-1, 190), a defensive back from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., who had 67 tackles and averaged 43 yards on kickoff returns;

Ty Griffin (6-0, 185), a quarterback from McEachern High in Powder Springs, who rushed for 1,149 yards and 19 touchdowns and threw for 399 yards and three TDs as a senior;

Paul "P.J." Davis (5-11, 215), a linebacker from Cairo, who rushed for 1,000 yards and had more than 100 tackles as a senior.

Tech lost three commitments leading up to signing day. Running back Brendan Douglas of Aquinas High in Augusta switched to Georgia, defensive back Tolando Cleveland of Hillgrove High in Powder Springs switched to Mississippi State, and offensive lineman Jeremi Hall of Tri-Cities High in East Point switched to South Florida. The Hall decision was perhaps the least troubling, as he was considered an academic risk.

"We lost some guys along the way," Johnson admitted. "I'm proud of the ones we signed. I look forward to coaching them and working with them."

ATLANTA (AP) -- Football signees announced Wednesday by Georgia Tech, with name, position, height, weight, school and hometown:

Justin Akins, dl, 6-4, 240, Jackson HS, Jenkinsburg, Ga.

Harrison Butker, k, 6-3, 190, Westminster, Decatur, Ga.

Darius Commissiong, dl, 6-3, 305, Bishop McNamara HS, Forestville, Md.

Travis Custis, rb, 6-0, 215, Lovejoy HS, Hampton, Ga.

Paul Davis, lb, 5-11, 215, Cairo (Ga.) HS

Shamire DeVine, ol, 6-7, 355, Tri-Cities HS, Atlanta

Chris Griffin, ol, 6-6, 272, Wakulla HS, Panacea, Fla.

Corey Griffin, db, 6-2, 195, Sandy Creek HS, Tyrone, Ga.

Ty Griffin, qb, 6-0, 185, McEachern HS, Atlanta

Ricky Jeune, wr, 6-3, 205, Saint Joseph Regional HS, Spring Valley, N.Y.

John Marvin, db, 6-1, 190, Ft. Walton Beach (Fla.) HS

Antonio Messick, wr, 6-3, 193, Fayette County HS, Fayetteville, Ga.

Kevin Robbins, db/lb, 6-4, 230, Bishop McNamara HS, Forestville, Md.

Donovan Wilson, rb, 6-0, 210, Jerome HS, Dublin, Ohio

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