Release from Georgia Tech Athletics:
Georgia Tech football head coach Paul Johnson unveiled the Yellow Jackets’ 2016 signing class Wednesday on National Signing Day. Tech’s class is 18 deep, including 11 from the state of Georgia.
The newest players hail from eight states: Georgia (11), Alabama (1), California (1), Florida (1), Louisiana (1), New Mexico (1), Tennessee (1) and Texas (1).
Three members of the class – Dedrick Mills (Waycross, Ga.), Emanuel Bridges (Newnan, Ga.) and transfer Desmond Branch (Rio Rancho, N.M.) – enrolled at Georgia Tech in January and will be able to participate in spring practice, which begins in March.
“This time of year, this day, everyone is excited,” said Johnson. “We did a good job of addressing the needs of our football team. We are excited about this group and feel like it fits some needs. We hit our target number. When we started when wanted to get 18 and that’s where we ended up.”
On the heels of a 27-member class in 2015 that included 18 from Georgia, Tech stayed close to home again in 2016 with 11 from the Peach State, including eight in the greater Atlanta area. Jakob Brashear (Dacula HS), Bridges, Jalen Camp (Cumming/South Forsyth HS), Jarett Cole (Norcross HS), Xavier Gantt (Buford HS), Jair Hawkins-Anderson (Suwanee/Northview HS), Ajani Kerr (Powder Springs/McEachern HS) and Chris Martin (Loganville/Grayson HS) all played high school football in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
The Yellow Jackets added depth in the trenches with a total of seven on either the offensive or defensive lines, including four-star DL Jordan Woods (6-4, 255 pounds) from Citra, Fla., and three-star OL Parker Braun (6-3, 275) from Hallsville, Texas, the brother of former Yellow Jacket All-ACC offensive lineman Trey Braun.
“This year was a pretty good year for defensive lineman,” said Johnson. “We were able to get some really good guys. Chris Martin wanted to come to Tech and he recruited us, like we recruited him. He had a lot of good offers — some SEC offers, but he wanted to come to Georgia Tech. We were able to find Desmond Branch as a transfer, who’s a little older, and then to pick up Jordan Woods and Brandon Adams, who were two really sought-after players. We helped ourselves there with some really good players.”
Two prep quarterbacks – Lucas Johnson (San Diego, Calif.) and Jay Jones (McCalla, Ala.) – are part of the 2016 class. Jones joins a long list of recent Tech signal-callers under Johnson from Alabama, which includes current starter Justin Thomas (Prattville), his backup Matthew Jordan (Jackson) and current graduate assistant coach Tevin Washington (Wetumpka).
Branch, who enrolled at Tech as a transfer from Trinity Valley CC after redshirting his rookie season at New Mexico, hails from Rio Rancho, N.M., and is believed to be the first-ever Yellow Jacket from the state of New Mexico.
Johnson, a San Diego product, is Tech’s first Golden State signee since Coach Johnson’s first season in 2008.