Posted: 5:00 am Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Johnson hopeful about admissions changes 

By Ken Sugiura

Hopefully you read the myajc story based on a lengthy interview with Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson in which he addressed a number of topics, including admissions exceptions, last season’s experiment with the diamond formation and the offensive line. I think it’s worth the 99-cent day pass for myajc.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, college football, Paul Johnson

“You can’t bring in guys here who aren’t going to make it,” Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson said. (Chuck Burton / AP)

I will, though, spend a few words on the most interesting item he discussed, about the exception limitation being removed last year. Some background: Since Johnson’s hire after the 2007 season, 20 percent of his signing classes could be filled by “exceptions” – players who did not meet Tech’s admissions standards for athletes but still met the NCAA’s standards for grades, classes and test scores.

Johnson inherited a team with a mediocre academic record. In the four years prior to his arrival – the 2003-04 through 2006-07 academic years – the football team had an Academic Progress Rate score of 951, which was tied for sixth in the ACC. According to the most recent NCAA report on graduation rate at the time of his hire, the football team’s NCAA-measured graduation rate was 51 percent, which was a representation of players brought in under former coach George O’Leary and coached both by O’Leary and successor Chan Gailey.

“If you go back two or three coaches, they got JUCO guys, they took whoever they wanted,” Johnson said last Friday. “Well, it led to the graduation rate. Now, it was before APR, so they didn’t have to worry about it. (But) it led to problems, so it got locked down.”

It is hard to question the academic results that Johnson has spurred since his hire. Of the 15 players who were part of Johnson’s first signing class in 2008 and stayed four or more years, 14 earned their degrees. Of the 16 players in the 2009 class who stayed four or more years, 15 have graduated and the 16th, Izaan Cross, is back at school completing his degree work. Last summer, Tech was commended for having a multi-year APR score (983) in the top 10 percent of all FBS teams. The team had a near-perfect score for the 2011-12 academic year.

In a meeting last spring, Johnson asked school president G.P. “Bud” Peterson for help. Peterson, Johnson said, gave him considerable leeway and removed the 20 percent cap. So long as a prospect meets NCAA qualifications and has Johnson’s imprimatur, he can be admitted, Johnson said.

“For right now, if we can recruit a guy that we deem can make it, then we can bring him in,” Johnson said. “Now, I would imagine if we have several guys flunk out, that’ll stop, because that’s how it got stopped before.”

It is an achievement for Johnson, his coaches, associate athletic director Phyllis LaBaw, Chris Breen, who leads the football academic advising staff, and, most certainly, the Tech players. Johnson also gave credit to Peterson for granting him the leeway.

Having earned the privilege, though, Johnson does not plan to start filling his classes solely with players below Tech’s standards or offering scholarships to any suitable player so long as he has NCAA-qualifying scores and grades.

“Guys who don’t want to go to class and do those things aren’t going to make it (at Tech),” he said. “So you’re wasting your time and their time if you bring them in here, because there’s nowhere to hide.”

Johnson and his staff, though, have developed a sense of which players can handle the academic load at Tech, both those who meet the school’s admissions standards and those who don’t. He said he can talk to a prospect with a 3.5 GPA and get the feeling he will struggle, while he might meet with a prospect at another school with worse grades and “you say, ‘You know, I think this kid can make it.’ ”

The change doesn’t necessarily deepen the pool of available prospects, as Tech was selectively recruiting exceptions previously.

“You can’t bring in guys here who aren’t going to make it,” Johnson said.

Other factors, such as the limited offerings of majors and the school’s academic rigor, still exist. Prospects who weren’t interested in playing at Tech prior to the removal of the exceptions cap won’t be any more interested now. But it does eliminate the juggling act Johnson and his staff had to do as they targeted their recruiting efforts.

“Because if you were going to take five (exceptions), well, as soon as you hit the five, (you couldn’t offer scholarships to any more),” he said. “And now we don’t have to do that.”

Any prospect who is interested in Tech and whom Johnson believes can handle the classwork is available.

As Johnson put it, “You can recruit more guys.”

Last year brought considerable change for Tech’s recruiting. On top of Peterson’s blessing, athletic director Mike Bobinski authorized the hire of additional recruiting staff. Coaches also implemented a strategy to direct more attention to private schools in the Southeast and beyond, believing that prospects at such schools would be less swayed by the influence of the SEC and more interested in and prepared for Tech’s academic offerings.

Tech’s 21-member 2014 signing class was the first to be assembled following the multiple changes. I asked if the removal of the restrictions was a game-changer.

“I think it will help,” he said. “We’ll see.”

62 comments
ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

9:10 pm March 10, 2014 Monday night.

Ken Sugiura wrote an article this week on Monday about the Paul Johnson football team being given free reigns now starting with this season’s 2014 recruiting class ranked # 47 with 21 signees.In the past, 20 % were allowed to be EXCEPTIONS to the Georgia Institute of Technology Admissions policies.No longer is this the case.

Ken Sugiura went on to talk about the 2008 recruiting class ranked # 37 where Paul Johnson signed 20 scholarship football players to play football there, while only 14 earned degrees, but does not say where they earned their degrees, including there and anywhere else.

Ken Sugiura went on about the 2009 recruiting class ranked # 32 where Paul Johnson signed 21 scholarship football players to play football there, while only 15 earned degrees, but does not again say where they earned their degrees, and he discussed another whose football career is now over still working on trying to get a degree, but again fails to discuss where he might be trying to get his degree from.

In fact, some scholarship football recruits there, do not get all their credits taking classes there, but at other area schools, allowing those credits at other schools to count toward their degree, and again sometimes the degree is not even from the Georgia Institute of Technology as well.

So :

2008 at 9-4 the# 37 recruiting rank, 20 signed, 4 EXCEPTIONS, 14 degrees from who knows where, with who knows how many credit hours transferred from other or to other schools.

2009 at 10-3 the# 32 recruiting rank, 21 signed, 4 EXCEPTIONS, 15 degrees from who knows where, with who knows how many credit hours transferred from other or to other schools, and 1 still taking classes although football finished, but where he is taking the classes is unspecified.

2010 at 6-7 the# 41 recruiting rank, 18 signed, 4 EXCEPTIONS

2011 at 8-5 the # 46 recruiting rank, 22 signed, 4 EXCEPTIONS

2012 at 7-7 the # 59 recruiting rank, 17 signed, 3 EXCEPTIONS

2013 at 7-6 the # 72 recruiting rank, 14 signed, 3 EXCEPTIONS

2014 the # 47 recruiting rank, 21 signed, WHO KNOWS HOW MANY EXCEPTIONS BUT MORE THAN 4. Expected record 7-6 right ?7-6 every year now for the miserable football program on NCAA PROBATION all 2014, again.

A lot of smoke and mirrors, with subordinating clauses about it does not matter if the recruit there got his degree from there or somewhere else, nor where he actually took the classes there or another school and did graduate from there transferring credits back.And, no discussion of 7-6 season nor # 48 average recruiting rank of Paul Johnson.

(1) At least 30 EXCEPTIONS signed by Paul Johnson, who does not care if they earn their degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and who are 7-6 every year, ranked on the average the # 48 recruiting rank.

(2) Federal DOE rolling 4-year average Graduation Report, given the same 6 years for the Scholarship Recruit to earn his degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, allowing them to take classes at nearby schools, and transfer the credit back, but which does not give credit to the school who recruited them on scholarship in football if they do not in fact earn their degree from said school.

(3) Gloves were removed for this 2014 signed class of 21 players, at least 5 or more of whom are EXCEPTIONS.

(4) Their fans say UGA has Special Admits and they do NOT.

(5) This is a false statement when Paul Johnson has had 30 EXCEPTIONS which we refer to as Special Admits.In both cases, both schools admit those who qualify for NCAA standards but fail for Admissions at both schools.

(6) No longer can their fans say they do NOT have EXCEPTIONS.

Sure, they do, and they still are # 48 recruiting ranking every year and still are 7-6 every year, and still allow at least 20 percent special admit EXCEPTIONS, who STILL LOSE to UGA every year but one, while you remain on NCAA Probation in Football all 2014, again, too.

Want to play football there ?Come on to the # 36 ranked best college according to the 2014 U.S. News and World Report Rankings; because now we can have as many EXCEPTIONS as we want says G. P. "Bud" Peterson.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

I'll give Paul Johnson credit.  You don't hear him complain publicly much about recruiting restrictions--- not that you would expect him to.  That would get him in hotter water than losing games.

Still, if you read between the lines it's nice to know that he understands and agrees with most GT fans that better players are needed, and is pressing an agenda to attain such.

I'll be pleasantly surprised if this year's bunch gets 7 wins, even with 3 "gimmies" to start the season.  Too many questions along both lines of scrimmage and a new QB.

2015 should be a much stronger line-up.... If he's still coaching.

MarineJacket
MarineJacket

MyAJC

Georgia Tech is two weeks away from the start of spring practice, but coach Paul Johnson sometimes has a hard time letting go of 2013.

“I wasn’t happy,” he said. “I don’t think anybody was happy. That’s not our goal, to go 7-6.”

Johnson said he still thinks in particular about losses to Virginia Tech and Georgia, losses at home to two of the Yellow Jackets’ biggest rivals decided on the final possession. In the 41-34 double-overtime loss to the Bulldogs, for instance, there were plays he felt the Jackets failed to execute in the first half could have extended the lead past the 20-0 advantage they took before falling.

“What if we’d done this or what if you’d run that, or should we have blitzed or should we not have blitzed,” Johnson said. “You replay all of it.”

Flak
Flak

"After that,the more we did it,the less effective it became." sure he was not talking about the TO?

DallasJack
DallasJack

juvenal, you crack me up! You are correct about current and former presidents. LOL

MarineJacket
MarineJacket

MyAJC

On signing day Feb. 5, Johnson said he didn’t know if he would make staff changes and that “you’re always evaluating.” Johnson said he does so annually and eventually decided that he didn’t feel changes were necessary.

However, Johnson had said on multiple occasions last season that the offensive line needed to be coached better. With three fifth-year seniors who had started a total of 83 games going into the season, the line was expected to be Tech’s best. However, the line underachieved, in part due to injuries.

Asked about the coaching – Mike Sewak is the offensive line coach – Johnson said that there were issues on the offensive line.

“I think they’ll be taken care of,” he said, but declined to elaborate. “It doesn’t do any good to elaborate.”

Blocking on the perimeter was a factor in one of the most anticipated elements of last season — the introduction of the diamond formation — being largely scrapped. The Jackets exploited it to great effect when it was first used in a 38-14 win over Duke. But, he said: “After that, the more we did it, the less effective it became.”

Johnson also said that the diamond formation, in which the quarterback lined up in a shotgun flanked by the A-backs with the B-back immediately behind him, also limited what Tech could do and that the Jackets often abandoned it because of how defenses lined up.

“It’s not computer games,” he said. “You do what you feel like gives you the best chance with the personnel that you have.”

MarineJacket
MarineJacket

MyAJC article

Part of the offseason has been spent reviewing video and compiling data from the season. One statistic Johnson noted: The Jackets completed more passes when the quarterback took the snap from under center rather than in the shotgun, which has often been the formation of choice among fans wanting to see more passing.

“For all the aficionados who know that those guys should be in the ’gun,” he said.

Going into spring drills, though, Johnson has more that he wants to try with quarterback Justin Thomas now running with the first string, following the transfer of Vad Lee to James Madison. Thomas will be competing with Tim Byerly, Ty Griffin and early enrollee freshman Matthew Jordan for snaps.

“He’s like everybody else,” Johnson said of Thomas. “He’s got things fundamentally he’s got to get better at.”

Developing consistency with his footwork and dropbacks are on the list.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

At first this seemed exciting.  Now I'm kind of wondering how much our recruiting classes will really improve.  I still contend that a significant part of the problem selling Georgia Tech to high school football players is the triple option.  If a player has any aspiration to play NFL, why would he even consider such?.....LOL...unless he had a burning desire to be a heck of an engineer too!

juvenal
juvenal

everyone needs to read the myajc link, good things are on the horizon.......

POAD2013
POAD2013

1. Recruit Good Men, Players and Students

2. Graduate the players

3. Send good well rounded men out to the workforce 

4. Win games

Peachs
Peachs

Ghost13

Georgia has had the easiest schedule in conference play and the lease results of any team in conference.Clemson, South Carolina, FSU, Alabama, Auburn, Vanderbilt, all recruiting in their neighborhood have passed them, and Tech is not far behind as is Tenn. and Old Miss.Louisville, maybe even Duke can beat them, Missouri in the east can beat them.The only reason they don’t lose more is they don’t play anybody even in their own conference.What about that is elite?

Hunk
Hunk

Tech is on the academic level with the countries best learning institutions.  You don't see Cal Tech , MIT or Harvard fielding competitive D1 football teams. Stanford does good job and we are 2 and 0 against them.  You tend to forget that when your surrounded by SEC schools.

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

Also, notice what "academic exceptions" means for Tech: the requirements that all other schools have to abide by.


For MOST (not all) other schools, an "exception" means that the student does not meet NCAA minimum requirements.

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

I wish more attention were given to the fact that our coach is doing it the right way.


I know winning is the ultimate goal for a football program, but considering this is COLLEGE football, it would be nice to get some recognition for doing right by our STUDENT athletes.


I'm a firm believer that when you do things the right way, they pay off in the long run.


GO JACKETS!

Peachs
Peachs

I am surprised there is not more talk of the competitiveness of the ACC picking up. FSU speaks for itself and Duke slugging it out with Texas A&M after being the floor mat of the conference shows there is really no place to hide in this conference anymore. I was in Louisville last week.There is a monster brewing in that town, huge money being spent for new sport’s facilities that totally dominate the city. Louisville will rival FSU for national honors as will a waking giant in Miami. Point is Tech has got to improve of be left behind.

Georgia is a perfect example of recruiting players that don’t belong in college. It has really drained that program and the one that do come and stay are not coachable, it appears. Coaches love to trot those five stars out on the field, but if they are gassed in the third quarter or play for a highlight film over a victory, you have a mess.

HarveyPooka
HarveyPooka

This is THE Georgia Institute of Technology.  We do not take shortcuts.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

 "Other factors, such as the limited offerings of majors and the school’s academic rigor, still exist. "

_______________________________________________________________________________


Wait.  GT's LIMITED MAJORS and academic rigor are hurting recruiting?  


Wait til the troll sees this one....

ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

TB, you have some serious issues dude. Just come to grips with the fact that TECH is the best school in the southeast fielding a more than competitive D1 team, while graduating it's players with degrees that mean something in the world of "after football".

I know you mutts struggle with math, but 20% of a signing class of 17(which is what the old limit was) is about (3) kids. That number for five years totals (15).  Now get back to drooling over your five-star scholars.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@Birmingham__Jacket It is not likely that the arrogant coach will be at 7-6 and averaging # 48 recruiting class with or without 20 % EXCEPTIONS to admissions policies all other schools refer to a special admits.  But, al least we will not have to hear ever again, that you have no SPECIAL ADMITS when Paul Johnson already has had AT LEAST 30.  The free article here written 2 days after the pay per view Ken discusses one dollar to read, is actually a better article with more details here free and the remark here only too about imprimatur decision is now up to solely the football coach who put your school on the most recent NCAA Probation in Football all 2014.

ElemennoP
ElemennoP

@Birmingham__Jacket


Gotta give Johnson props. He's done a great job so far with the graduation rate, but I wonder if/how the relaxed standards will affect things moving forward.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@Flak  Vad Lee couldn't wouldn't run the TO....He was SCARED to get hit.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@Birmingham__Jacket  The TO shouldn't keep Defensive players from choosing TECH. The TO should Help the D by keeping the ball Winning the Time of Possession Battle and keeping the D players FRESH.

Offensive Linemen in Every League use the Cut Block technique. 

Tech WRs cam make Huge plays just not catch 20 balls a game. Plus the WRs in the TO learn how ot BLOCK which the NFL likes as well.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@juvenal  Hope you were satisfied with his answer on the diamond fixation, ahem, formation.  

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

Those are partial qualifiers, not exceptions.  Most schools do not accept partial qualifiers.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@RambleOn84  

I'm a firm believer that Paul Johnson needs much better football players if we are going to compete with Clemson, Miami, VT, FSU and UGA.

Ghost13
Ghost13

@Peachs  Georgia has the  2nd  best  record in the  SEC and  9th best  record in the nation since  2001,has finished in top 10 8  time in 13 years  and  top 5  3 of those  times , not  coach-able, i guess thats  the reason the  NFL has  so many Georgia  players because they so uncoachable

Caius
Caius

@AugustaJacket  

The 34 majors at Georgia Tech are the 34 majors, one cannot make the number larger.   It is what it is and it is a problem.  Add to that the fact that 76% of undergraduate degrees GT awards annually are in STEM majors and the disparity becomes even more stark.


Check the number of majors the opponent universities offer and this is a real problem.


The great high school players who considers college nothing more than "the NFL minor league" are looking for the easiest route to that ultimate goal, the NFL, are not going to wrestle with the academic rigors at GT.  It is what it is.



ToeMeetsLeather
ToeMeetsLeather

Oh, and I can assure you that all of the graduates that Ken has mentioned walked accoss the stage at The Institute with a TECH degree in hand.

juvenal
juvenal

a five star illiterate played RB at uga & it took 2 years before he ran out of remedial courses.........it is truly old that folks think universitiy is the place to teach literacy, as long as someone can play a $port, but as part of the decline of this 2nd world country, it is at least funny.......

juvenal
juvenal

posted there, "would have been worse than pitching to the Aback, which usually got stuffed?" original post got ghosted........so, no, notsomuch...........since we lost to vt & uga & did not use at all in those games, would we have lost worse? & why does the QB never shift the first 25 seconds? alums above my pay grade also starting to wonder.......

juvenal
juvenal

hmmm............who do i know that's in the news all the time that went to Harvard?(hint: predecessor who did equally as bad went to Yale)

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

@GeoffDawg  

I admittedly don't have all of the numbers in front of me.  If you do, I'd like to see them.


What I do know is that there are a lot of schools (I believe most, but maybe "many" would be the more appropriate term) that accept the NCAA minimum and also have what they call "academic exceptions."


Logically, it would follow that these "exceptions" are below NCAA minimum requirements.


Am I way off here?

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

@collegeballfan @AugustaJacket  While I agree that we will never get the kids that just want to play football to get to the NFL and don't care about the education, I do not agree that the limited # of degrees is a detriment.  You can do just about anything , pre-med, pre-law, of course engineering, with the degrees offered.  It's up to the coaching staff to sell the recruits on this.  

Now the academic rigor is for real.  We can't take, as the UGA lawyer in the Jan Kemp trial stated "a guy who would have been a garbage collector and maybe make him a postal worker" (paraphrasing).

juvenal
juvenal

have you guys never heard the expression, "speak of the devil"?

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

Ken does not break it down by player's name, therefore all the graduates Ken mentioned would be zero whom he named actually earned a degree there at your # 36 best college 2014 US News and World Report Rankings; and nowhere do you, or he, mention a word about all these courses taken by your management majors there on scholarship for your 7-6 seasons annually and annually NCAA Probation in Football recruits, where the course credit was transferred-in by your school but course taken at other area colleges - now does it toe meets leather sir ?


As for your math son, I have no idea where you dream-up this 17 old limit number of scholarships when I already gave you the exact number actually signed by your school each of the Paul Johnson NCAA Probation, annual 7-6 seasons, scholars, who lost every year but once to us.


20 signed 2008, so why assume it is some old limit of 17 in your math ?

21 signed 2009

18 signed 2010

22 signed 2011

17 signed 2012

14 signed 2013

21 signed 2014 with NO NONE ZERO LIMITS ON EXCEPTIONS

___

133, so the number, sir, is twice number of EXCEPTIONS than you say.


EXCEPTIONS is the term your school uses, while your fans on our blogs tell us you have NONE.  Then, they discuss the number of Special Admits we have.


By your count, sir, you have you say only 15 EXCEPTIONS 2008 to current, Special Admits who did not meet your school's admission requirements - while your fans tell us you had NONE.


Both your school and my alma mater, both, have EXCEPTIONS, Special Admits who did not meet our respective school's admission standards.


And, your number sir, is poor math work on your part saying only 15 from 2008 to current, when as you can clearly see from the research I did for you sir already you replied to, is at LEAST 27 - probably more or why would Paul Johnson go to G. P. "Bud" Peterson and ask for more than 20 % of 133 from 2008 to current signed scholarship recruits ?

juvenal
juvenal

don't know how, & might be a copyright violation.........

juvenal
juvenal

they are now called special admissions-ajc a few years ago said we had 10%, uga 95%.....

RambleOn84
RambleOn84

@GeoffDawg  

Reasonable enough.  Thank you.


Even so, this does put Tech's "exceptions" at a much higher level than most other schools.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

I'm not an expert in these matters but I would think that logically, an exception would be any admission that is accepted below the threshold used for the general student body.  Schools that accept athletes that meet NCAA minimums but still fall below the general student body would classify these as exceptions which probably is applicable to many or most major college programs.  Fewer schools, like West Virginia for example, accept partial qualifiers (below NCAA minimums) which by default would also necessarily be exceptions.

Bottom line, all partial qualifiers are exceptions but not all exceptions are partial qualifiers.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@BleedingGold @Birmingham__Jacket  


If you would read the damn article instead of picking at posters you'd understand that even Paul Johnson doesn't think we're competeing: "I wasn’t happy,” he said. “I don’t think anybody was happy. That’s not our goal, to go 7-6.”

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

@Birmingham__Jacket 


You coming up with different criteria for each team is how you're able to void around the fact that we are indeed "competing" with each of those teams.  It's laughable.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@RambleOn84 @Birmingham__Jacket  

Not losing 4 or 5 in a row (VT and Miami respectively), giving up 55 points of offense in a humiliating loss (Clemson), being 2-13 (FSU since they joined the conference) or losing 12 out of 13 games to a team (UGA).


Now tell me again... How are we "competing" with these schools on The Grid Iron?

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@juvenal  Whatev, dude.  I don't contribute nearly enough to be included on those discussions.   Probably wouldn't even if I could.

juvenal
juvenal

btw, sunshine, source of heat on his seat not disclosable, or would not be source.............