Georgia Tech hadn't been able to make many in-roads recruiting in Alabama in recent years, but things began to change this past year when the staff signed two standouts from the state, defensive lineman David Brown and offensive lineman Nate McManus. Now one of the top players from arguably Alabama's top high school program has committed to the Yellow Jackets.
Hoover (Ala.) cornerback Jahi' Word-Daniels took an unofficial visit to Tech a few weeks ago and shortly thereafter he decided to tell the coaches he wanted to be part of the program.
"I committed to Georgia Tech about two weeks ago," Word-Daniels said. "I made a visit there about a week before I committed and they took me around and everything. I really like the campus. They have some great facilities. I've already told people that I like Georgia Tech because I have a lot of family over there. It's close. My older brother will be attending Georgia Tech in about a year to finish out his engineering degree. There are just so many pluses and it really fit for me."
Word-Daniels' family is excited about his decision.
"They were very supportive and excited because they like the fact that my brother will be over there too," Word-Daniels said. "Also that Georgia Tech is just such a good school academically because that was one of the main things for them. They were real excited about that."
Word-Daniels (5-11, 160, 4.5) was back in Atlanta this past Saturday for Tech's one-day camp.
"The camp was great," he said. "It was an all-day camp and I got to see the whole campus again. They kind of showed us some highlight tapes and I got to talk to the coaches and they told us a little bit about what kind of defense they run, stuff like that. I got to meet with everybody and after that we got into the drill work and all that stuff. It was well organized and it was a good camp."
Tech offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris recruited Word-Daniels, who said he got along great with the entire coaching staff.
"From what I can tell they're great people, great guys," Word-Daniels said. "All of them are nice. When I went to their camp on the 10th I got to see that they really get into it doing drills and they're real active with it. It's cool that they're nice on the outside of football, but when you get into it they get down to business and those are the kind of coaches that I like. I like all of them. They're all good guys."
Word-Daniels doesn't currently know any of the players on the roster but he's looking forward to getting to know some of them in the future.
"I was introduced to a few when I took my visit up there a while back, but I didn't get to sit down and talk with any of them," he said.
Georgia Tech was the only camp Word-Daniels attended this summer. He also had offers from Vanderbilt, Duke and Louisville. Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Mississippi State and Ole Miss were also extremely interested.
As a junior Word-Daniels recorded 25 tackles and four interceptions for the 14-1 and Class 6A champion Hoover Bucs. He'll be a cornerback at Georgia Tech, but he's not sure what his chances are of playing as a true freshman in 2005.
"They told me it would depend on when I reported to camp and everything and just how I do when I first get there and they'll make that decision then," Word-Daniels said. "It's kind of wide open whether I'd redshirt or not. It's kind of up in the air I guess you could say."
Word-Daniels hasn't attended any Georgia Tech games before but he'll definitely be a regular at Bobby Dodd Stadium this fall. He doesn't know when he'll take his official visit back to Atlanta. As for a potential major, engineering is a possibility.
"I'm still undecided," he said. "I'm pretty sure I'm leaning towards engineering. Probably something in engineering."
Georgia Tech is also recruiting a couple of Word-Daniels' teammates, cornerback Joel Caldwell and safety Cory Reamer. Is there any chance those guys could join him at Tech?
"I don't know," Word-Daniels said. "Right now I believe all the corner spots (at Georgia Tech) are pretty much taken and (Caldwell) plays corner too. Earlier on we were both real interested in Vanderbilt together and we were talking about that, but after Georgia Tech offered me it just kind of worked out differently I guess you could say. Depending on how things work out, maybe Cory (Reamer) and I will be going to Georgia Tech together. But that kind of still depends on him."
Word-Daniels said he is 100 percent solid with his commitment and will not take visits elsewhere. He will have no trouble qualifying with a 3.6 GPA and 21 ACT score.
Georgia Tech now has three commitments for the Class of 2005. Garden City (Ga.) Groves cornerback Tony Clark was the first player to commit to Georgia Tech in May. Arlington (Tex.) Bowie defensive lineman Brad Sellers committed to the Jackets during the one-day camp this past weekend.
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