Bad Credit

Georgia Tech Football Sees Success Using Transfer Portal

Adding experienced Power 5 players was important for the Jackets. There are only three full recruiting cycles left to go the Paul Johnson way. The question is whether Collins can get the most out of his players. Johnson knew how to do this. Collins has a lot to prove.

Still, give Collins some credit for his recruiting. The path Tech took meant bringing in good players for a modern offense and for a defense that is more than just an addendum. Collins succeeded in this. Two of his three recruiting classes have ranked in the top half of the ACC, and now he’s getting good transfer players.

In the latest 247Sports transfer rankings update, Tech is No. 15 nationally and second behind Florida State in the ACC. Gibbs is one of the best players to switch teams this offseason, but Tech still came out on top. It’s a good sign for the Jackets that players looking for new teams are buying what Collins is selling despite his program not earning much.

I’m not trying to minimize how the loss of Gibbs hurts Tech’s prospects. He made big plays for the Jackets as a rusher, receiver and kick returner. He will likely do the same for Alabama. Gibbs and quarterback Jeff Sims were expected to become the double for a high-scoring offense. Now that won’t happen.

Any of Tech’s transfers are unlikely to have the same impact as Gibbs. Players switching programs tend to be random in general. But if there aren’t any stars among Tech’s transfers, they can collectively improve the team’s talent base. People who pay close attention to these things have concluded that few managers have done better than the Collins in the transfer market.

Gibbs was the best of Collins’ high school recruits. Also gone are two of the top-rated signings in the 2019 class, wide receiver Ahmarean Brown and quarterback Jordan Yates. They’ve also been productive for the Jackets. But they are the only three players to go on Tech’s 20 highest-rated rookies from 2019 to 22. Sims, Collins’ other great friend with Gibbs in 2020, is still around.

Collins rounded out those recruits with transfers from Alabama, Clemson, Auburn and Notre Dame. The 2022 transfer class includes two defensive backs to help a secondary who struggles to stop deep passes. There are two offensive linemen to bolster shaky pass protection. There’s a quarterback to rival the Sims and a candidate to fill the versatile role of Gibbs.

Two of Tech’s seven incoming transfers should immediately help the attack. Hassan Hall set a Louisville record for all-purpose yards as a rookie in 2018. Injuries and fumbles have limited his chances since then. Long, Tech’s new coordinator, plans to use multiple tight end formations. Tech transfer Luke Benson liked the sound of that after his production dwindled in Syracuse’s run-focused offense.

Former Akron quarterback Zach Gibson comes to Tech even though Sims, a rising junior, is the first to start. Gibson thinks he has a real shot at the gig. Three of Tech’s stock quarterbacks transferred. Sims has obvious talent, but he’s been inconsistent. Yates was a good option, and Gibson might be too.

Tech’s other inbound transfer high rankings are mostly based on the high potential they showed as high school recruits. Skeptics may wonder how many players who haven’t played much (or at all) for better teams can help Tech. Maybe they’re just not as good as their recruiting rankings suggested.

That’s not how I see it. Just because these players left high profile programs doesn’t mean they can’t be major contributors to another Power 5 team. play more. We see how the Transfer Portal can be a boon to Tech and other programs outside of the elite.

Alabama coach Nick Saban has complained that transfer rules hurt lower-level programs and players who end up leaving for worse situations. What Saban really doesn’t like are outbound transfers that undermine the depth of his team. No need to feel bad for Saban. He signed three of the top 10 players on the transfer market, including Gibbs.

Losing Gibbs was a blow to Collins at a time when he desperately needed some good news. He recovered by adding good players from the Transfer Portal while keeping most of the best prospects from his recruiting classes. These developments give hope that the Jackets can climb next season after a quick descent to end Year 3.

Now Collins just needs to win more games.