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National Signing Day: Tech's signing class complete

Johnson pleased with first recruiting effort with Jackets

POSTED: February 17, 2008 5:05 a.m.

ATLANTA - Georgia Tech first-year head coach Paul Johnson announced Wednesday the signing of 20 high school seniors to National Letters of Intent, including eight from the state of Georgia.

"I am very pleased with this class," said Johnson, who was hired to take over the Yellow Jacket football program Dec. 7. "We feel like this is a group of kids who will work hard and who are extremely excited about coming to Georgia Tech.

"I think we were able to recruit quality kids while filling some needs at every position group. I think we have some good fits for what we want to do on offense and defense. My staff worked very hard to produce solid results in a short amount of time."

Johnson’s first recruiting class includes prospects from seven different states, including eight student-athletes from Georgia and six from Florida. The Yellow Jackets also signed two players from Alabama and Ohio and one each from California and Texas.

Two of the 20 signees are quarterbacks: Jaybo Shaw (Flowery Branch) and Tevin Washington (Wetumpka, Ala.). Tech signed three offensive linemen, including highly-regarded Georgia products Omoregie Uzzi (Chamblee) and Nick McRae (Dublin). The Yellow Jackets also received letters from three running backs, three linebackers, two quarterbacks, two defensive linemen and two receivers.

The list of 20 does not include Tyler Melton (Houston, Texas), who was part of the 2007 recruiting class but did not enroll at Georgia Tech until last month. Melton, a wide receiver, will be a freshman in 2008.

Player Sketches

T.J. Barnes
DT/6-7/325
Enterprise HS
Enterprise, Ala.
Was a standout defensive tackle at Enterprise High School and can play line on either side of the ball. ... ranked as the 48th-best offensive tackle prospect nationally by Rivals.com. ... ranked by Rivals.com as the 18th-best high school prospect in Alabama. ... ranked as the 24th-best Alabama prospect by Scout.com. ... ranked No. 59 nationally among offensive tackle prospects by Scout.com. ... made more than 70 tackles, 20 tackles-for-loss, one sack and one interception as a senior. ... set a school record with eight sacks in one game. ... played four years of high school football at almost every position on the offensive and defensive lines. ... father, Terry Jones, played football at Auburn. ... cousins Fred Baxter and Randy Hart played football at Auburn. ... chose Georgia Tech over Louisville, Alabama, Auburn and others. ... selected Georgia Tech because of the academics, the football and the atmosphere* born June 14, 1990 in Montgomery, Ala* given name is Tarence Jariviz Barnes, but goes by T.J* has four teenage siblings.

Brandon Leslie
S/6-0/195
Edison HS
Fresno, Calif.
Has good agility and is fast in the open field* an aggressive player who delivers hard blows* had 71 tackles and four interceptions as a senior* named to Superprep’s All-California team* rated the 49th-best safety prospect nationally and the 73rd-best overall prospect in California* an all-state and all-west coast selection as a sophomore* all-league and all-state as a senior* a good student with a lofty GPA* missed his entire junior season with a shoulder injury* earned four letters in football* served as team captain two years* also earned two letters in basketball* chose Georgia Tech over Nebraska, Stanford, Washington, among others* Leslie said: "The area of the school was just great. I want to be a part of that D. The people at the school, and the fans, they really showed me a lot of love."* chose Georgia Tech because of the academics, the people, the city of Atlanta and the football program... wore No. 24 in high school as a tribute to a close friend who passed away* given name is Brandon Jamal Leslie* born June 11, 1989 in Fresno, Calif* has one sister, Shymel* comes from an athletic family* cousin of former NFL running back Ickey Woods* another cousin, Steve Taylor, played football at Nebraska* father, Mike Leslie, played basketball at Santa Clara* has an uncle who played baseball at Fresno State.

Jon Lockhart
CB/6-0/190
Blountstown HS
Blountstown, Fla.
Has a good blend of size and speed* a good athlete with playmaker potential* has the versatility to play safety and/or receiver* played both wide receiver and cornerback on the high school level* ranked by Rivals as the nation’s No. 70 cornerback prospect* ranked No. 61 nationally in the same category by Scout.com* led Blountstown HS to three district championships* was a second team all-state selection at wide receiver as a junior* played four years of high school football under coach Greg Jordan* also played three years on the Blountstown HS basketball team* chose Georgia Tech over Vanderbilt, South Florida, Mississippi, Duke and others*. selected Georgia Tech because the of the academics, the athletics and the city of Atlanta* born October 19, 1989 in Tallahassee, Fla* power-cleaned 385 and had a 41-inch vertical at the Scout.com combine* given name is Jonathan Sinclair Lockhart* has three siblings * Timothy, Raven and Sage.

B.J. Machen
LB/6-1/225
Hilliard Darby HS
Hilliard, Ohio
Has great strength, runs well and is rarely knocked down* relentless in pursuit of the football* athletic enough to avoid blockers* named first team Associated Press Division I All-Ohio* selected to the Columbus Dispatch All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year* Rivals ranks him No. 23 among prospects in Ohio and No. 43 nationally among outside linebackers* ranked as the 73rd-best prospect in the Midwest by Superprep* registered more than 130 tackles to go with five sacks in 13 games as a senior* played in the Big 33 (Ohio vs. Pennsylvania all-stars) Game in June* averaged 13 tackles per game as a junior* led team in tackles, sacks and tackles-for-loss in both 2006 and 2007* led Hilliard Darby to an 11-2 record and the Division I regional final * the school’s first playoff appearance* earned three varsity letters in football* also played two years on the track and wrestling teams* the cousin of current Yellow Jacket defensive back Deron Jasper* a good student with a lofty GPA* chose Georgia Tech over Maryland, Stanford, Duke, West Virginia and Syracuse* Machen said: "I like the location, I like the coaches and I have family down there."* his father, Ron, played at Stanford and his grandfather played at Illinois*. Born June 8, 1990 in Akron, Ohio* given name is Bijan Chrsian-Joseph Machen.

Daniel McKayhan
WR/6-0/180
Martin Luther King, Jr. HS
Decatur, Ga.
Helped lead Martin Luther King, Jr. High School to a Division 5A championship in 2007* a versatile player who may also develop into a punt and kick returner* named all-region and all-county honorable mention in 2007* returned punts for a total of 312 yards as a senior* named all-county and all-region in 2006* made four catches in the DeKalb County East vs. West Game* made six receptions vs. North Atlanta High School as a junior* earned three varsity letters in football at MLKHS, where he played wide receiver, quarterback and returned punts and kickoffs* also earned one letter in baseball* a good student who was on the honor roll every year of high school* member of the National Honor Society* chose Georgia Tech beause of excellent academics, it’s close to home and an "opportunity to be a part of something great"* was recruited earlier by Paul Johnson’s staff at Navy* chose Georgia Tech over Memphis, Vanderbilt and others* given name is Daniel Lamons McKayhan* born Jan. 15, 1990 in the golf town of Southern Pines, N.C* has two younger siblings, Dee-Dee and Jae-Jae.

Nick McRae
C/6-4/290
Dublin HS
Dublin, Ga.
A highly-touted center prospect with good size* Class 2A all-state honorable mention* also played on Dublin’s 2006 state championship basketball team* in the fall of 2006 he led Dublin HS to a state title in football* ranked by Rivals as the 18th-best center prospect nationally* ranked by Superprep as Georgia’s No. 45 prospect* earned four varsity letters in football under coach Roger Holmes* played center, defensive tackle and defensive end* served one year as team captain* also played two years of basketball at the center position* chose Georgia Tech over Maryland, Mississippi, NC State and others*. McRae said: "I like Coach Johnson. He seems like a good person and a good coach."* wore No. 76 in high school * the same number his father, Ronald, wore as a prep* born October 23, 1989 in Dublin, Ga* given name is Nicholas Rashad McRae* has three siblings * Natoya, Jasmine and Josh.

Malcolm Munroe
LB/6-3/215
Coral Reef HS
Miami, Fla.
Tall, rangy and athletic linebacker* has a good mix of size and speed* has the versatility to play almost any position on defense* earned three letters in football at Coral Reef High* earned one letter in track in the 200- and 400-meters* named to the Florida Times-Union Super 75* the No. 36-ranked outside linebacker prospect according to Rivals* ranked by Rivals as the No. 42 prospect in the state of Florida* one of Tech’s highest-rated recruit by ESPN* invited to play in the Dade County North-South All-Star Game* earned numerous local awards including the Miami Herald’s Dade Top 25, top defensive lineman (team award) and all-camp team* nominated for the National Honor Society* considering a major in biotechnology* chose Georgia Tech over Auburn, Louisville, South Carolina and others* chose Georgia Tech because of the football program, the campus atmosphere, the academics, the defensive scheme, and the opportunity to excel off the field* wore No. 42 in high school* given name is Malcolm Shakajamal Munroe* born March 12, 1990 in Miami* has three siblings* brother, Dorian, is a red-shirt junior safety at the University of Florida* father, Norman, captained his collegiate cricket team in England* has an uncle who served in government in Guyana.

Embry Peeples
A-Back/5-10/175
Dr. Phillips HS
Orlando, Fla.
An extremely fast player and an elusive back* has the speed and athleticism to be a return specialist* possesses receiving skills out of the backfield* rushed for 636 yards on 103 carries in 12 games last season (average of 6.18 yards per carry)* rushed for five touchdowns* also had a pair of receptions for 22 yards* plagued with an injury most of senior year* rushed for 909 yards as a junior including eight consecutive 100-yard games* named to Superprep’s All-Florida team* on Rivals’ list of top 100 prospects in Florida* Rivals ranks him the No. 38 all-purpose back nationally* ranked by Scout.com as the No. 69 running back prospect nationally* named the Orlando Touchdown Club Player of the Week in Week 1 after rushing for 223 yards on 21 carries* helped lead Dr. Phillips HS to a district championship in 2006* played three seasons of high school football * two under coach Kevin Pettis and one under Bob Head* ran track for three years* has run a 10.71 in the 100-meters* maintained a high GPA of 3.5 or better each year* chose Georgia Tech over LSU, West Virginia and others* selected Georgia Tech because of the academics, location and football tradition* born August 24, 1990 in Miami* given name is Embry James Peeples* cousin, Jameal Cook, played more than two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers* has two siblings * Beau and Thi.

Rashaad Reid
CB/5-10/180
St. Augustine HS
St. Augustine, Fla.
A versatile defensive back with a number of skills* named to the Florida Times-Union Super 75* rated as the No. 58 cornerback prospect nationally by Scout.com* played three years of high school football and served one year as team captain* led St. Augustine HS to three consecutive district championships in 2005, 2006 and 2007* was on the class 3A state championship team as a sophomore in 2005* also played three years of basketball and ran track for three years* led the track team to district titles in 2006 and 2007 and was selected all-district in the 4x100 relay* a good student who consistently made the honor roll* chose Georgia Tech over South Florida, Arkansas, NC State and Central Florida* selected Georgia Tech because of the academics, the football program, a chance to compete for a national championship and the city of Atlanta* born Dec. 11, 1989 in St. Augustine, Fla* given name is Rashaad Dwayne Reid* has two siblings* cousin, Willie Cooper, played football at Miami* cousin, Quinterrance Cooper, played football at Western Kentucky.

Kamaron Riley
CB/6-2/180
Hawkinsville HS
Hawkinsville, Ga.
A naturally-gifted athlete* was a standout on both sides of the ball as a cornerback and receiver on the high school level* ranks third in Hawkinsville High history with 10 career interceptions* had six interceptions in 2007 including two in one game* named Class A all-state in ’07* was first team all-region as a receiver in ‘06* also among the top receivers in Hawkinsville history* had 43 receptions as a junior and 78 receptions for his career* averaged 16.4 yards per receptions with 707 yards total as a junior* was a freshman on the 2004 team that won the state championship* Scout.com ranks him among the top 100 prospects at his position nationally* played football at Hawkinsville under coach Lee Campbell* also ran track and played basketball* current Yellow Jackets Trey Dunmon, Robert Hall and Jim Henry also attended Hawkinsville High* chose Georgia Tech over Vanderbilt, Indiana and others*. selected Georgia Tech because of the academics and the people* owns a 36-inch vertical* born March 8, 1990 in Hawkinsville, Ga* given name is Kamaron De’Shaun Riley... has two siblings* cousin, Charles Johnson, played three years of football at Georgia and now plays in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers.

Jaybo Shaw
QB/6-0/190
Flowery Branch HS
Flowery Branch, Ga.
A dual-threat quarterback who could fit nicely into Georgia Tech’s offensive scheme* utilizes his athleticism to avoid the rush and buy more time in the pocket* good at improvising when play breaks down* throws well on the run* does a good job of reading the end on the option* fundamentally sound son of a football coach* as a junior he threw for 2,700 yards and 28 touchdowns* rushed for 1,500 yards and 21 TDs as a junior* set just about every school quarterback-related record at Flowery Branch* finished his career with 9,340 yards and 127 touchdowns* named to the North squad in the GACA North-South All-Star Game* selected to the Gainesville Times 2007 all-county first team* ranked as the nation’s 10th-best dual-threat quarterback prospect nationally* among Rivals’ top 50 prospects in the state of Georgia* ranked as Georgia’s No. 58 prospect by Superprep* ranked the No. 56 prospect nationally at quarterback by Scout.com* led Flowery Branch to consecutive sub-region championships and state playoff appearances* played four years of football under coach Lee Shaw* served two years as team captain* also played basketball for three years, ran track two years and played one year of tennis* chose Georgia Tech over Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and others* Shaw said: "I like Coach Johnson because he’s a straight shooter and he’s been successful everywhere he’s been. He’s a winner.".. born October 27, 1989 in Gainesville, Ga* given name is Jaybo Lee Shaw* has two younger siblings * Connor and Anna Kate* father, Lee, played fooball at Western Carolina* mother, Dawn, played basketball at North Georgia.

Quentin Sims
WR/6-3/190
Colerain HS
Cincinnati, Ohio
Has good size and athletic ability* played for one of Ohio’s top prep programs* Colerain went 12-1 in 2007 and finished No. 14 in USA Today’s National Super 25* had 24 receptions for 313 yards and two touchdowns in 2007* also rushed 75 times for 764 yards and seven touchdowns* moved to quarterback during the state playoffs in place of an injured starting QB* led Colerain to conference championships in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007* won district championships in 2004 and 2006* was part of the 2004 state championship team* earned nine varsity letters at Colerain High School * three in football, four in track and two in basketball* was a sprinter and high-jumper for the track team* a second team all-conference selection in 2007 as a running back* also named all-city honorable mention* had a memorable season opener as a senior in 2007* playing quarterback, he rushed for 228 yards on 12 carries, was 3-for-3 passing with two touchdowns, with one of the TDs going to his younger brother, Damon* was a two-time all-conference selection in track* was part of the school record-breaking 4x400 relay team in ’07* member of the high school student senate* chose Georgia Tech over Buffalo, Virginia and others* selected Georgia Tech because of the Management program, the football team and coaching staff, and the city of Atlanta* earned a national championship in karate in 2000* father, Fred Sims, was a running back at Oklahoma in 1981 and 1982* born July 11, 1990 in Tucson, Ariz.

Phil Smith
OT/6-6/290
Jesuit HS
Tampa, Fla.
Possesses good speed for a player his size* earned all-county honors in 2007 as an offensive lineman* selected All-Hillsborough County second team* earned all-state honors by the FSWA as an offensive tackle* rated as the No. 56 prospect nationally at offensive tackle by Scout.com* recorded six sacks on the defensive line as a junior* earned three varsity letters in football at defensive end, offensive tackle and tight end* also earned three letters in basketball as an imposing center* served one year as captain of the basketball team* recorded a triple-double as a sophomore with 18 points, 13 rebounds and 11 blocked shots against Berkeley Prep* selected for the student council as a senior* attended same high school as current Yellow Jackets Andrew Smith, A.J. Smith and Michael Peterson* former Tech quarterback George Godsey also attended Jesuit HS* Smith said "It’s a family atmosphere" at Georgia Tech* chose Georgia Tech over Penn State and several other schools* born July 24, 1990 in Tampa* given name is Philip Wallace Smith* father, Mark, played football for four years at Nicholls State* has a younger brother, Brad.

Steven Sylvester
LB/6-2/225
Union Grove HS
McDonough, Ga.
Has natural tools of a linebacker but also the skills to play running back* has good size* a strong tackler who consistently knocks ball carriers backwards* ranked by Superprep as Georgia’s No. 21 prospect* ranked No. 26 in the same category by Rivals* Rivals ranks him the 26th-best prospect nationally at inside linebacker* Scout.com ranks him 23rd nationally as a weakside linebacker prospect* named first team all-region as a senior and second team as a sophomore and junior* selected to play in the Georgia North-South All-Star Game* scored four touchdowns in his final high school game* earned four varsity letters in football under coaches Bill Hobbs and Mike McDonald* also earned three letters in basketball as a power forward* former teammate of Georgia Tech redshirt freshman linebacker Kyle Jackson* was vice-president of the student body* homecoming king as a senior* received the Coca-Cola Award for outstanding athletic and academic achievement* chose Georgia Tech over Georgia and Alabama, among others* Sylvester said: "I like Coach Johnson. He’s a no-nonsense type guy and knows what he wants. He was really successful at Navy and I’m happy to be able to play for him."* born October 18, 1989 in Enterprise, Ala* once lived in Seattle* given name is Steven Joseph Sylvester.

Cooper Taylor
S/6-4/195
Marist School
Atlanta, Ga.
A good-sized safety with ability to play linebacker* a solid pass defender* ranked by Superprep as Georgia’s No. 61 prospect* ranked by Scout.com as the No. 78 prospect nationally at safety* a two-time all-state and all-county selection* a good student* earned three varsity letters in football* played a variety of positions on the prep level including wide receiver, free safety, running back and quarterback* led team to the state championship game and a regional championship in 2006* broke the school single-season interception record in ’06* chose Georgia Tech over Mississippi State, Virginia, Duke and others* Taylor said: "I really like Coach Johnson and he told me what plans he had for Georgia Tech."* born April 14, 1990 in Atlanta* given name is Cooper Austin Taylor* the son of former Georgia Tech quarterback Jim Bob Taylor, who went on to play for the Baltimore Colts in 1983.

Omoregie Uzzi
OG/6-3/291
Chamblee HS
Chamblee, Ga.
A highly-touted recruit who excelled on both the offensive and defensive lines in high school* has good size* moves well laterally and plays with great effort* the ninth-rated offensive guard prospect nationally according to Scout.com* a first team all-state selection in 2007* also named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s All-Citywide Team* a 2007 U.S. Army All-American* chosen to play in the first Dekalb County Senior All-Star Game* named most outstanding lineman at Chamblee High School* helped lead Chamblee to a 12-2 record in 2007 * the most wins in school history* Chamblee advanced to the state semifinals and earned a final state ranking of No. 3* was instrumental in Chamblee rushing for 4,267 yards (7.5 yards per carry) and 60 touchdowns in 2007* as a junior in 2006, Uzzi recorded 70 tackles and two sacks* selected Georgia Tech over Alabama, Virginia, Georgia and others.

Tevin Washington
QB/6-1/205
Wetumpka HS
Wetumpka, Ala.
Named first team class 6A all-state* also a two-time member of the Montgomery Advertiser all-metro team* earned all-county honors three times* ranked as the No. 60 prospect nationally at quarterback by Scout.com* posted career numbers of 5,042 yards passing, 2,097 yards rushing, 42 passing touchdowns and 25 rushing TDs* rushed for 1,088 yards and 14 TDs as a senior* led Wetumpka to a 10-2 record in 2007* passed for more than 200 yards five times in ‘07, including a season-high 254 yards in the second round of the state playoffs* rushed for more than 100 yards in five games, including a season-high 214 yards vs. Fairhope HS* a three-year starter for the Indians* played four years of football, including two as team captain, under coach Chad Anderson* also played basketball and baseball in high school* Coach Anderson on Washington: "He doesn’t try to force things, but he can get you out of a bad situation with his ability. He routinely made plays that made you just say ‘Wow!’"* chose Georgia Tech over Louisville, Troy and Memphis* selected Georgia Tech because of its academic tradition, the opportunity to play college football at the highest level and to play for Coach Paul Johnson* born May 19, 1990 in Montgomery, Ala* given name is Tevin Cory-Hunter Washington* has three siblings * Trey, Adrienne and Audrie* father, Lewis, played basketball at Faulkner University.

Richard Watson
B-Back/6-1/225
FAMU HS
Tallahassee, Fla.
A big, bruising back who runs with power* a north-south runner who is very tough between the tackles* has good balance and quick feet for a big back*. prefers to run through defenders as opposed to around them* was a star on offense on the high school level but has the skills to play linebacker on defense* selected to the FSWA Class 1B All-State Team* member of the Florida Times Union’s Super 75* named to Superprep’s All-Florida team* rated as the nation’s third-best fullback recruit by Rivals and the fourth-best fullback by Scout.com* also among Florida’s top 75 prospects by Rivals* led FAMU High School to the Class 1B state championship game in back-to-back years including a state title as a junior* led team to three consecutive district titles and two straight regional crowns* rushed for more than 1,500 yards as a senior* as a junior, ran for 2,140 yards and 34 touchdowns, ending the season with a 123-yard effort in the state championship game* served two years as a team captain* earned the Tallahassee Quarterback Club’s Offensive Player of the Year* made 75 tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss and five sacks as a sophomore* chose Georgia Tech over Ohio State, Boston College, Arkansas and others* selected Georgia Tech because of the academics, the coaches and the family atmosphere* born June 18, 1990 in Irvine, Calif* given name is Richard C. Watson* has two brothers * Brandon and Alexander.

Antonio Wilson
DE/6-6/220
Columbia HS
Decatur, Ga.
An intriguing prospect who starred in basketball but played high school football for the first time as a senior in 2007* listed as a defensive end but is athletic enough to play receiver* played in just four games in 2007 after suffering an injury in an automobile accident* had 25 tackles and 11 sacks in those four games* has fully recovered from the injury* played three seasons of basketball at Columbia* helped Columbia to the 2006 state championship in basketball* an outstanding student with a GPA approaching 4.0* consistently on the honor roll* member of the National Honor Society* chose Georgia Tech over Vanderbilt and others* selected Tech because of the football, the engineering major and because it’s close to home* considering a major in chemical engineering* born October 9, 1989 in Decatur, Ga* given name is Antonio DeMario Wilson* has one sister, Kristie.

Marcus Wright
A-Back/5-8/175
Reagan HS
San Antonio, Texas
A small but extremely quick back* has an exceptional initial burst* has a second gear in the open field* compared by some to Garett Wolfe* rushed for a San Antonio city record of 3,374 yards on 359 carries and scored 45 touchdowns last season as a senior* had at least one carry of 70-plus yards in eight consecutive games* a Parade All-American* an Army All-America selection* played in the Army All-America Bowl* a first team all-state selection* played in eight career playoff games, producing 2,201 yards and 31 touchdowns* named the Texas Class 5A offensive player of the year* selected to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl* finished high school career by rushing for 100 or more yards in 25 consecutive games* had a career total of 7,036 career yards and 85 touchdowns* earned three varsity letters in football and three in track and field as a sprinter* wore No. 21 in high school * the same number worn by his brother* has four siblings* chose Georgia Tech over Tulsa, among others* chose Georgia Tech because of the football program, academics and the location* given name is Marcus Lamar Wright* born Nov. 28, 1989 in Atlanta* father, Michael, played football at Alabama State.



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