Georgia Tech has already gotten the jump on recruiting with the addition of two early enrollees, which the Yellow Jackets hope is only the beginning of a prosperous recruiting class for 2017.
Defensive backs Jaytlin Askew of McEachern and Gentry Bonds of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, opted to graduate early and enroll at Georgia Tech for the spring semester. That decision will enable them to participate in spring workouts and should give them a head start when it comes to earning playing time for the fall.
A similar decision worked out for Dedric Mills last year. The back entered school in January, progressed enough to earn a starting job, led the team in rushing and was MVP of the TaxSlayer Bowl.
Georgia Tech lost only 13 seniors from last season’s 9-4 team and expect to sign as many as 24 players on Feb. 1.
The two early enrollees and the addition of the Swilling brothers already has the Georgia Tech base buzzing.
Askew (5-foot-11, 187 pounds) was rated as a four-star prospect and the No. 32-rated cornerback in the nation by ESPN. He had seven interceptions in the past two seasons at McEachern. He chose Georgia Tech over Auburn, Florida State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas A&M, Virginia and West Virginia, among others.
Bonds (6-2, 192) was rated a four-star prospect and the No. 31 safety in the nation by Rivals.com. He had 120 tackles and 10 interceptions in his final two high school seasons. He chose Georgia Tech over Clemson, Kentucky, Missouri and Nebraska.
The Swilling brothers are the sons of legendary Georgia Tech linebacker Pat Swilling, an All-America choice who played alongside current defensive coordinator Ted Roof on the Black Watch Defense. Swilling went on to have a hall-of-fame career with the New Orleans Saints.
In fact, because the Swillings live in New Orleans, the boys were originally expected to sign with LSU. That changed in the fall when cornerback Tre Swilling announced on Twitter that he was signing with the Yellow Jackets.
Swilling’s message said, “I have decided to commit to Georgia Tech and continue the Swilling legacy that my father and uncles have started.” Bruce Jordan-Swilling waited a few days before announced that he would join his brother on The Flats.
Bruce Jordan-Swilling (6-0, 215) could be the plum of the class. He’s rated as the No. 13 outside linebacker in the country. He played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Tre Swilling (6-0, 186) is ranked No. 43 in the nation at cornerback.
Georgia Tech’s other firm commitments include three on defense, four on the offensive line, one running back, one quarterback and two specialists.
Defensive players include defensive end Cortez Alston of Westminster, cornerback Dameon Williams of Norcross and inside linebacker T.D. Roof of Buford. The offensive linemen are Michael Minihan of Honolulu, Zach Quinney of Savannah Christian, Connor Hansen of Tallahassee and Charlie Clark of Marist.
Northside’s Tobias Oliver played quarterback for the Eagles; he rushed for 1,300-plus yards and threw for 1,500-plus yards. Oliver (6-2, 178) was Northside’s all-time passing leader and took the Eagles to the GHSA Class 6A semifinals.
The running back commitment is Jerry Howard of Rock Hill, South Carolina, who flipped from a commitment to East Carolina.
The specialists likely will get a chance to play right away, as the Yellow Jackets lost starting place-kicker Harrison Butker and punter Ryan Rodwell. Place-kicker Joseph Bulovas of Mandeville, Louisiana, turned down offers from Army and Air Force; he was chosen for the Army All-American Bowl. Punter Pressley Harvin III of Sumter, S.C., was ranked the No. 3 punter in the country.