The Georgia Tech senior class has a chance to finish with a rather emphatic conclusion – the Yellow Jackets’ first win in a major bowl since 1955 and just the fifth 11-win season in school history.
The class, though, has already achieved considerably in the classroom. Of the 16 scholarship seniors, 12 have already earned their degrees. The remaining four are on track to graduate in May.
Isaiah Johnson (bachelor’s and master’s)
On track to graduate in May
(All four were 2011 signees and did not redshirt. Mason, as he’ll be preparing for the draft, likely will not graduate in May.)
The 2010 signing class, of which eight members are seniors, has maintained the team’s excellent graduation record since coach Paul Johnson’s hire. Of the 18 signees, 14 stayed at Tech four years or more. (Jake Skole never enrolled, choosing to play baseball. Catlin Alford, Ryan Ayers and Fred Holton all transferred out.)
Of the 14, 13 have graduated (Bostic, Days, Green, Hill, Johnson, Nealy, Perkins and Zenon, along with Morgan Bailey, Denzel McCoy, Justin Moore, Anthony Williams and Louis Young). Jeremiah Attaochu, who left Tech after 3 ½ academic years to prepare for the draft, has one semester remaining.
In the 2008 class (Johnson’s first), all 15 players who stayed four years or more graduated. Of the 16 signees in 2009 who stayed four years or more, 15 graduated. (The pressure is on Izaan Cross, who was back at Tech in the spring.)
Out of Johnson’s first three classes, 45 signees have stayed at Tech for four years, 44 if you don’t count Attaochu. Of those, 43 have graduated.
The 2011 class figures to perform similarly. Of the 22 signees, 19 are still with the team. Two transferred (Jeff Greene and Vad Lee) and the 22nd left the team this fall but remained in school (Nick Menocal). Of the 20 besides Green and Lee, seven have already graduated (Trey Braun, Errin Joe, Tyler Marcordes and Sean Tobin, along with Dennis, Menocal and Waller). Of the remaining 13, 12 are on track to graduate by Dec. 2015 or earlier (including Mason), with only Jabari Hunt-Days’ status less clear.
It often goes unnoticed, save the two days a year when the NCAA releases Academic Progress Rate and Graduation Success Rate scores, but it is a credit and considerable achievement to all involved.
GSR measures the graduation rate for NCAA scholarship athletes, removing athletes who left while academically eligible (either to transfer or to play professionally). The football team’s most recent score, released earlier this fall, was a 66, which covered the signing classes from 2004 to 2007. That was actually the highest score the team has achieved, reflecting to some degree the influence of Johnson’s stewardship of the team. The lowest score was a 48 from the 1998-2001 classes.
Barring a considerable change in academic performance, the number figures to be in the 90’s when the scores solely include players recruited and coached by Johnson. The FBS teams with scores 90 or higher for the most recent period are Stanford (99), Northwestern (97), Rice (95), Notre Dame (94), Air Force (93), Boston College (92), Duke (92), Northern Illinois (91), Central Florida (90) and Wake Forest (90).