Tech coach travels in style
Published 4:20 pm Friday, January 25, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Talk about making an entrance.
New Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins has been making the rounds this week, visiting high schools across the state while building relationships with the coaches and the players.
On Tuesday, Collins made his first trip to Troup County, and he did it in style.
Collins visited the Callaway and Troup campuses, and he arrived via helicopter.
Collins began the day by visiting Carrollton High before making his way to Troup County, and he spent time at Callaway and Troup High.
After leaving Troup County, Collins traveled by air to Schley County.
“I think college coaches are trying to get an edge on recruiting,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said. “I think it’s about building relationships with high-school coaches and administration. It certainly creates a buzz when a helicopter lands on the parking lot or on the field. That’s really impressive. That’s a really cool experience for the kids. I think he’s creating great energy, and he’s putting a lot of effort into recruiting.”
Having a helicopter land on the campuses is nothing new.
In previous years, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and Alabama head coach Nick Saban have arrived at Callaway and Troup via helicopter.
Having Georgia Tech take advantage of that avenue of travel is different, though, signaling that things may be a bit different with Collins at the helm as opposed to Paul Johnson.
“It wasn’t that it was a helicopter, because we’ve seen them,” Glisson said. “It was that it was Georgia Tech in a helicopter. So that’s exciting. And he spent close to two hours here with us.”
For all schools, including Callaway, LaGrange and Troup, this is the busy season when it comes to recruiting.
Whether they’re arrived by air, or by automobile, coaches have spent plenty of time at the local schools as they look to shore up their current recruiting classes while also hoping to land commitments from some younger players.
Callaway has more than 20 players on current college-football rosters, ranking the program near the top of the state in that category.
That’s particularly impressive considering Callaway is a Class AA school, with a little more than 800 students.
Coaches have had plenty of success with Callaway players in the past, and Wiggins said that makes a difference.
“Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a lot of college coaches come through the doors here at Callaway,” Wiggins said. “We feel like the work ethic our kids have, the performance on the field. It helps them to get to the next level. I know that college coaches want our players. They want our guys, because they know how to win, they know how to work, they come from a successful program. That makes college coaches want
At Troup, things have changed considerably when it comes to recruiting.
When Glisson arrived at Troup as head coach before the 2015 season, the program was struggling, and only a handful of college coaches visited the school.
Now, Troup is coming off a 12-2 season that ended with a loss to eventual state-champion Blessed Trinity in the state semifinals.
The program is rolling, and Troup has become a must-stop destination for coaches and recruiters.
Troup has numerous high-profile recruits, including quarterback Kobe Hudson, who has committed to Auburn.
Among the current seniors, King Mwikuta took advantage of the early signing period to sign with Alabama.
A handful of other seniors will sign in February.
“We had 91 coaches come through last spring, 91 different schools,” Glisson said. “That’s a lot. Our kids have gotten used to them coming in and out all the time.”
While everyone gets excited when the big names in the coaching world stop by, Glisson said it’s important to make sure every coach gets all the attention they deserve.
“Today, we had Shorter and LSU here at the same time,” Glisson said. “We try to show as much love to Shorter as we do to LSU. Really and truly, the LSU kid is going to recruit himself. It’s the Shorter kid that needs the little extra push.”
Wiggins said the goal with recruiting is to make sure every player finds the school that is the right fit.
Callaway could have more than 20 seniors sign to play college football, and offensive lineman Keiondre Jones has already signed with Auburn.
“The choice the young men make as far as choosing the school they’re going to go to is a huge part of their life,” Wiggins said. “Once they get out of high school, the step to college will determine what path they go.”
Wiggins added that “the relationships that we have with these coaches is really important. The relationships that the kids build with these coaches, and finding the right fit to make them be successful is important.”
Chuck Gibbs, who is preparing for his second season as LaGrange’s head coach, has welcomed numerous college coaches to his school as well.
Among the LaGrange players that coaches have a keen interest in is lineman Jonathan Sutton.
“Tennessee, they’re offering Jonathan,” Gibbs said. “Florida’s there, and Auburn came through and saw him this morning.”
Gibbs said it’s important to make things as easy as possible for college coaches who stop in Troup County.
“We need to do our part as a community to help the colleges get in here,” Gibbs said. “The more they recruit all three, the better the county is.”
OF NOTE: National Signing Day is Feb. 6, and players from Callaway, LaGrange and Troup will be signing that day.