New Additions (1):
Georgia Tech returns its full compliment of quarterbacks from the 2005 season. Reggie Ball will likely be in the starting role for the 4th year in a row in 2006, leaving an interesting spring battle to get a leg up on the staring role for 2007. Taylor Bennett, Jonathan Garner, and Kyle Manley are the returning scholarship players. Bennett was 2nd string last year but could get some pressure this spring from Garner, who redshirted last season. Manley is the dark horse candidate in his third year in the program. Nick Barwig and Ronnie Donaldson were freshmen walk-ons last season and will try to become relevant in the quarterback competition as well.
With the plethora of players returning at the quarterback position, there wasn't an obvious, urgent need to add a quarterback. But if you listen to Coach Chan Gailey speak about recruiting quarterbacks; you'll realize that he likes to land at least one in every class. With quarterbacks being hit or miss, you can't afford to not land one in a given season then have a miss the year before or after that one. At such an important position, it's better to be safe than sorry. With that said you can bet that Coach Gailey went out and landed one for this class.
Who GT signed:
Byron Ingram (6-5 190), #46 player in Georgia according to Scout.com rankings and #25 QB in the country, was the Yellow Jackets choice for QB this year. Ingram was the fourth player to commit in the class, so recruiting for this position was wrapped up very early. Ingram will be the tallest quarterback at Tech in recent history. He's pushing 6'5" and is known as an athletic pocket passer. You won't hear complaints with him about not being able to see passing lanes in the middle of the field over 6'4" linemen. Byron is not a finished product by any means though. He has the measurable qualities coaches like from a young prospect but will need to grow into his frame, add strength and work on the finer points of the position. Byron also comes from good football stock. His father played in the NFL for several years. Ingram camped at Tech and made a big impression on the Tech coaching staff. They feel like he has a lot of upside and could turn into a special talent.
According the Ingram, staying close to home and familiarity with the Tech program were strong draws for him. "I picked them because they have a good program and good academics. I've been in Georgia my whole life and I've been around Georgia Tech and I like how they play. I was one of their top recruits and I know I'll have a good chance when (Reggie) Ball leaves," Byron Ingram said. He is likely to redshirt in 2006 but should be a huge factor in the QB competition after that.
The one who got away:
Tech coaches had known about Zach for some time. They built up a good early relationship with Frazier going back to the beginning of his recruiting process. GT had a good shot at Zach but his stock kept rising and many schools started to get involved after his junior season. Notre Dame, #5 in Scout.com team rankings, swept in and won the services of Frazer by spring of last year. Frazer wasn't the only high profile QB that Tech was involved with this season. Others offered included: Nick Stephens (Tennessee), Sherrod Harris (Texas), and Christian Ponder (Florida State). Harris spent a few days at Tech last spring and seemed to enjoy himself at the practices and made a good connection with the coaching staff. Though Tech was one of the finalists for his services he decided to stay in his home state and play for the eventual National Champion Longhorns. Between Frazer & Harris it was tough to pick one as "the one who got away" this season. Both were near misses.
Recruiting Grade: B+
Gailey wanted one quarterback this season and hit that target. Early disappointments gave way to eventual satisfaction from landing a solid prospect in Ingram. Recruiting heavyweights such as Notre Dame, Tennessee, Texas and FSU won out for some of the early blue-chip targets. But after the first tier of quarterback prospects, the next group isn't separated by much. Talent-wise, Ingram is in the same group with some of the other early Tech targets who ended up at the bigger named schools. Overall this was a solid recruiting effort for the staff that netted the program a high upside prospect to compete for the starting role after Ball graduates.