Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson got his first-ever commitment in front of ESPN cameras on national signing day with Myles Autry.
The 3-star athlete from Norcross High School put on a baseball cap from Georgia Tech over Florida State this past February.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder told the AJC that he secretly intended to go to FSU until having a conversation with his family on the morning of signing day. His older brother, Anthony Autry, already plays on Georgia Tech’s football team.
“Florida State did a great job of recruiting me,” he said. “To tell you the truth, that was the school I was going to sign with initially. The only person that knew was my mom.
“On signing day, I changed my mind. I talked to both coaches that morning. I talked to my family, and we sorted it all out. I decided that I really wanted to play with my brother and makes things happen at Georgia Tech. That made my mom smile.”
Autry was Georgia Tech’s top-rated signee for 2014. He was ranked as the state’s No. 28 prospect and the nation’s No. 344 overall recruit.
Here’s the rest of the Q&A:
Funniest thing a college coach said to you? “When Jimbo Fisher was talking to my mom, he was like ‘We went Myles, we want Myles. If he doesn’t commit here, I would rather him play overseas because I don’t want to go against him.’ That was pretty funny.”
Your biggest regret? “I should’ve taken all five of my official visits. That was my fault. I sort of stalled on things.
Where else would you have gone? Oregon and Ohio State for sure, and probably Oklahoma State.
Early in the recruiting process, you often talked about how much you liked UGA. What happened there? “At first, I really liked Georgia. It was just my mom is all about family. She felt like if I went to Georgia and was going against my brother, she wouldn’t like that. I love to see my mom smile. I would never make a decision where I knew she would be unhappy. That would be wrong on my part. So UGA, for myself, I loved Georgia. They would’ve been in my top three, if it were up to me. I loved my visits to Georgia and talking to the coaches. But I feel like my mom wouldn’t have been happy if I had committed there. I feel like going to Georgia Tech with my brother made my mom happy. I love to make my mom smile.”
How much negative recruiting was out there? “There was a lot. UGA did that a little bit. Even Tech did it. The only school I can say that didn’t talk about other schools was Florida State. They didn’t say anything bad about anybody. But everybody else said stuff about each other. It was crazy.”
What did UGA say? “They talked about if I come there, ‘We’ll smack on Georgia Tech multiple times. I know you want to smack up on your brother. He plays for Georgia Tech, and you can smack up on him if you play here. Multiple times.’”
What about Georgia Tech? “I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly but I remember some stuff they said.”
Which non-Tech coach was the nicest? “Jimbo Fisher. I feel like we had a connection. I really felt comfortable around him. And then Mark Richt and (Tennessee’s) Butch Jones.”
Which coach was not so nice? “Nick Saban. I’m not talking bad about him, but … I don’t know. When I met him, it was quick and he didn’t really have anything to say. That’s the only coach that was like that. He didn’t really talk to me. He just said ‘hey’ and took off. And that was the first time I ever spoke to Coach Saban. I never talked to him on the phone. My first time in even speaking to him was that day in person. And it was like a quick ‘hey’ and really distant. With him being one of the top recruiters in the nation, I expected a little more than that. Even though a good friend of mine, (former Norcross running back) Alvin Kamara, went to Alabama, I guess Coach Saban had an attitude against me because Alvin wasn’t doing well there. I didn’t have any control over that. I didn’t like the vibe between us. Like I said, I’m not talking bad about him. I heard he’s a great coach. It was just my first time meeting (Saban), and it didn’t go like I expected.”
Alvin Kamara transferred from Alabama after his freshman season. Do you think that situation affected your recruitment by Alabama? “I understand why Alvin left with what was going on between him and Alabama. I understand why he left. I don’t want to say (Kamara’s situation) affected how they recruited me. But I don’t know. Whatever was going on between Alvin and Alabama, it shouldn’t have affected me. I don’t know. Alabama probably knew they didn’t have a chance and never showed me any love. But other schools knew I wasn’t going to their school, and they still showed me love.”
Most creative thing a college did to get your attention? “It was Tennessee. When I went on a visit there, the running backs coach put up some video up on a flat screen TV. It said ‘Freshman All-American’ and it had my name and rushing yards on the video. He would show me a play that they would run at Tennessee, and the next slide would be a play that my high school at Norcross would run. It really impressed me.”
How far did it go with Tennessee? “It went far. They were in my top eight. They just wanted a decision too soon. They were trying to pressure me to commit early, and that really didn’t work out so well. But I liked Tennessee, and I really liked everything about there (on my unofficial visit).”
Biggest rumor that wasn’t true? That I was secretly committed to Florida State. That went on for a while. I was never committed to Florida State. I wanted to go there, but I didn’t let anybody know.”
What about the chatter that you and your teammate, Lorenzo Carter (who signed with UGA), were a package deal early in the recruiting process? “When he first got to Norcross (as a junior), it was funny. We were talking about going to Georgia Tech together when they first offered him. We talked about playing at Georgia Tech together. But that didn’t work out because we both had to make the best decision for ourselves.”
What’s the latest with Georgia Tech? “I report on June 17. But I will be going up there earlier, after I graduate from high school. I’ll be hanging out with my brother. I’ve already been accepted, and I’m ready to go. My knee is 110-percent. My expectations for this season are for us to get better as a team. And I feel like we should get better every year.”
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