He likely didn’t know it at the time, Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof’s move from the 4-3 as his base defense to the 4-2-5 helped pave the way to make David Curry a Yellow Jackets.
When Roof returned to Tech as defensive coordinator following the 2012 season, he operated out of a four-down lineman, three-linebacker set as his primary alignment. The proliferation of three-wide receiver schemes, though, essentially made the 4-2-5 the new base defense, given that it was the arrangement the Jackets used most frequently. The fifth defensive back spot is something of a hybrid defensive back/linebacker, and Curry, a Buford High grad, seems to be a snug-fitting peg for the hole.
“I think that perfectly fits me,” Curry said. “I’ve always been a bigger-type safety. In high school, I was bigger than one of the starting linebackers on my team last year, and he’s a running back going to Iowa State (Josh Thomas, who is 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds). He’s not a small guy.”
Curry is 6-2, 205 pounds, which is weight he has to eat constantly to keep. From a size standpoint, he does fit in between the linebackers and defensive backs. Starting safeties Jamal Golden and Demond Smith, for instance, are both 6-0 and in the low 190’s. He’d need to add more heft to reach starting linebackers P.J. Davis (5-11, 218) and Tyler Marcordes (6-4, 235).
When Curry broke a months-long commitment to Virginia during the state high school playoffs, he was curious to see who would be interested. Tech and Roof, he said, “were all over me.” Roof, interestingly, had recruited Curry’s older brother Jessel to Auburn when he was defensive coordinator there, so he had familiarity with Curry’s family. There was another tie, as well – Curry was teammates at Buford with Roof’s twin sons Terrence and Michael, who are juniors.
“I think the world of them,” Curry said. “They’re both great athletes.”
Rather fortuitously, in fact, Curry said that on the day he informed his coaches at Buford that he was re-opening up his recruitment, Roof happened to be at the Buford fieldhouse, quite delighted with his timing. (Curry said that Roof did not know about Curry’s change of plans and was surprised by the news.)
“He asked me about 20 times, ‘Are you really interested?’” Curry said. “I said, ‘Yes, absolutely.’”
Curry made his commitment in January after his official visit. Roof’s defense and the vision coaches had for him in it were big selling points.
“All those things are like, ding, ding, ding,” he said. “They’re there.”
Given his size, position and athletic ability, Curry would seem a strong candidate to play special teams this season. Looking ahead, junior Lynn Griffin is ahead of him at the nickel spot, and Roof moved around a number of defensive backs in the spring to test them out in different positions. While the starting secondary is comprised of seniors (Griffin excluded), the secondary is young, including sophomore defensive backs Shaun Kagawa, Lance and Lawrence Austin, John Marvin and Corey Griffin and redshirt freshman Jalen Johnson. Safety A.J. Gray and cornerbacks Meiko Dotson and Dante Wigley are also part of the incoming class.
“My goal is to contribute to the team however the coaches would like me to,” Curry said. “I’ll try my best to get on the field. I’m going to be a great teammate and work my butt off.”
1. Curry will wear No. 39, last worn by defensive end Chaz Cheeks.
2. Curry won the state Class AAA pole vault title with a vault of 14’0” when he was a sophomore and was runner-up as a junior. He took it up as a sixth grader.
Curry said he had been told that “if I practiced half as hard as I did at pole vault than I did at football, I’d be at 18 feet right now.”
One reason Curry didn’t compete as a senior was that he had gotten fairly heavy for the sport. The school ordered new poles for him when he was a junior, and he weighed 185 to 190 pounds at that point.
3. Curry’s father Buddy played eight seasons for the Falcons, was twice an all-pro and was the 1980 NFL co-defensive rookie of the year. He is the founder of the non-profit Kids & Pros, which operates football camps with a character development component, using former NFL players as teachers. He also is a master trainer with USA Football, a youth development program supported by the NFL, and helps implement the “Heads Up Football” program to enhance player safety.
4. On signing day, Roof said that Curry asked him during his recruitment if he could continue to play special teams if he became a starter. “I’ve never had anybody ask me that,” Roof said. “My answer was, ‘Heck, yes, and we want you even more.”
At Buford, where Curry helped the Wolves win three consecutive state titles, he played receiver, punted and also returned punts.
5. Curry said he caught heat from Virginia fans on social media after he broke his commitment. “Well, let’s just say the older people said, like, ‘Darn,'” Curry said. “The younger people had some other things they like to say.”
Curry informed Virginia coach Mike London of his decommitment personally over the phone rather than have someone else tell him. “I tried to approach it like a man,” he said.
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