Yellow Jackets sign 17 in-state players as rare win over Georgia helps keep large class intact

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Washington County High School's A.J. Gray, speaks during a national signing day event at the school in Sandersville, Ga. Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. Gray committed to Georgia Tech. (AP Photo/The Augusta Chronicle, Chris Thelen)


Surrounded by family, Washington County High School's A.J. Gray, third from left at table, listens as head football coach Joel Ingram, right, talks about the star player during a national signing day event at the school in Sandersville, Ga. Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. Gray committed to Georgia Tech. (AP Photo/The Augusta Chronicle, Chris Thelen)


ATLANTA — Compared to previous years, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has enjoyed putting together his 2015 recruiting class.

Winning the Orange Bowl over Mississippi State and beating Georgia for the first time since 2008 helped the Yellow Jackets keep their list of commitments nearly intact.

Johnson says most of the players who signed scholarships Wednesday had committed to Georgia Tech before it won an ACC division title and finished the season ranked No. 8.

"Anytime there's a positive attitude around the program, it's going to help," Johnson said.

The Jackets signed 17 in-state players. Their 27-member class is the largest group of signees in Johnson's eight years at the school.

"We haven't won (the Georgia) game a lot, and it helped," Johnson said. "Just the reception you get from people, I think it enables a lot of fans and maybe people who are on the bubble to come out a little more than what they might usually do."

Defensive end Anree Saint-Amour, offensive lineman Will Bryan, safety A.J. Gray, cornerback Dorian Walker, receiver Christian Philpott, linebackers Victor Alexander, Tyler Cooksey, Brant Mitchell and quarterback-running back TaQuon Marshall and others are expected to compete for playing time this fall.

As is his custom on signing day, Johnson dismissed recruiting services that listed Tech eighth, ninth or 10th among Atlantic Coast Conference schools.

"I can't figure it out," Johnson said. "I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better player in the state than A.J. Gray was at Washington County. He won, I think, 17 different awards. They rank him as a three-star recruit. That's all I need to know."

Gray was recruited as a safety despite starring at quarterback and leading the Sandersville school to consecutive Class AAA state title game appearances. As a safety, he returned four of his 10 interceptions for touchdowns.


GEORGIA TECH

Top 25 Class: No

Best in class: DE Anree Saint-Amour.

Best of the rest: OL Will Bryan.

Late addition: WR Brad Stewart.

One that got away: WR Brandon Singleton.

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