Smith’s departure will hurt Georgia Tech recruiting in future

It may not be as devastating as losing head coach Paul Johnson to rival Georgia, but the loss of Giff Smith to former head coach Chan Gailey’s staff on the Buffalo Bills will eventually catch up with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team.

Smith, the defensive line coach and — most importantly — recruiting coordinator, was a Georgia native who knew the difficulties and the intricacies of recruiting kids to the Atlanta institution. Not only does Georgia Tech have tough academic requirements, but the team’s unique offensive philosophy made getting offensive players from more wide-open high school systems a little more challenging.

While some of Tech’s 2010 recruits were disappointed with Smith’s departure, none of the commitments have backed out as of today. National Signing Day is February 3 and the Yellow Jackets’ class is ranked No. 44 by Rivals.com and No. 45 by Scout.com.

According to the Associated Press, Smith told Johnson that he would remain on staff to help wrap up recruiting efforts before the signing deadline. Smith did not say, however, if Johnson accepted the offer.

Committed defensive tackles Denzel McCoy and Shawn Green were upset to hear the news of Smith’s departure, as the two had a lengthy conversation with Smith about comprising Tech’s defensive line of the future. According to McCoy, Arkansas has attempted to sway him to Fayetteville, but he remains committed to GT.

Fellow recruits defensive end Anthony Williams, running back Deon Hill, defensive back Jake Skole and quarterback Synjyn Days remain sold on Tech for reasons that include the education they’ll receive, the relationships they’ve made with other coaches and the overall solid state of the program.

Georgia Tech currently has 16 players committed with two scholarships remaining. Commitments are non-binding until letters of intent are signed next week.

During his time as head of recruiting at GT, Smith brought several nationally ranked players to Atlanta, including expected 2010 draftees Jonathan Dwyer, Derrick Morgan, Demaryius Thomas and Morgan Burnett. All four juniors turned pro this year, as they are expected to be taken within the first four rounds in April’s draft.

While Tech may not feel the impact of Smith’s departure immediately, next recruiting season could be much different. Smith knew the state of Georgia up and down, inside and out. It’ll be interesting to see who coach Johnson brings in to keep the influx of talent coming to the school.

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