Last Friday, Georgia Tech picked up a solid piece of its 2018 recruiting class in weakside defensive end Luke Johns out of Southeast Whitfield High School in Dalton, Georgia. The Florida native visited on Thursday, July 27th, received an offer the day after, and committed that same day. "I knew it was where I wanted to go. Georgia Tech was my first choice, even when you take football out of the equation," Johns explains. "Cannot ask for better in my opinion." Named to the 4A Preseason All-State Team by Recruit Georgia, the 6'5" 240 lb. defensive end chose Georgia Tech over offers from Rutgers and Washington State (along with numerous other "Group of 5" FBS schools) and reported interest from Vanderbilt and Georgia.
The versatile athlete moved to Georgia around 4 years ago from the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area and became a track star, specifically excelling in the high jump where he ranked second nationally, jumping 6'6" as a freshman and 6'10" as a sophomore before shifting his focus entirely on football. "I weighed 175 a year and a half ago, and am working hard to get into the 245-265 range. I've worked really hard to become a good football player, and I'm working as hard as I can to be the best I can be." Johns recently weighed in at around 240, all of it good weight. That work ethic paired with his natural athletic prowess is part of what makes him a special player. When asked what one thing we would want Georgia Tech fans to know about him, Johns responded "I'm going to work as hard as I can and I want them to see that. I'm going to put everything I have in every day." Johns currently works out as much as possible, trying to train at least once a day. He says he plans on staying at defensive end, likely as a weakside pass rusher, where Tech coaches want him.
It wasn't easy to get an offer in the first place, and it wasn't Luke's first visit to GT, either. In fact, he had attended the early summer camp at GT about 6 weeks prior. While he enjoyed the visit, he said it was nothing compared to his most recent visit, which was much more individually-focused. "Ron West was my primary recruiter, and he was an integral part in my recruitment process. He helped me get the offer in the first place. I know that Coach West was trying his hardest to get me an offer, but I expected that I would actually receive the offer after my first game. But then Coach Johnson called the next morning, and he told me he had been up all night thinking about it, and that he wanted to offer me. So I told him right away that I was committing."
Johns also remarked on how taken aback he was with the Tech campus. "I was shocked. It's a beautiful campus inside Atlanta. You feel safe on the campus, and it's really that nice. I was surprised, because even though I've lived here I had no clue that it was this amazing. My advice to every recruit is that you have to see the campus." When asked about what stuck out to him the most during his visit, Johns cited 2 factors: coaches and facilities. "The facilities were a lot nicer than I thought; in fact, they were amazing. I loved their facilities. So I'm a big fan of the facilities, and I'm a big fan of the coaches. When I talked to the coaches, they were clear that they really wanted me, and they were truly looking out for me. I loved how they talked with me and they talked about my strength in the classroom and didn't want to wait until the season to extend me an offer."
Strength in the classroom is no joke. Johns posts a 3.6 GPA and took AP Literature last year, and is taking AP Statistics this coming year. His biggest factor in his decision was the education and the academics Georgia Tech has to offer its student-athletes. Education has always been #1, and it shows. "Education should be the number one priority. Every guy's goal is to be the best at football, but you have to have a plan if it doesn't work out. I want to push myself academically, and their education is top of the line." Tech's academic focus was the biggest part of Luke's choice, and he already has a major in mind. "I want to get into computer engineering. I've done coding since I was a kid, and I love coding. If that doesn't work out though, I want to get into business."
Johns and the Southeast Whitfield High School football team have moderate hopes for the upcoming season. "This year we have a lot more talent and better leaders. I wouldn't put a number on it, but we're hoping to pick up from last year and do even better this year." The Raiders went 5-5 last year, and 2-4 in Region 6. Luke is also looking forward to the step up from his current level of competition in AAAA Georgia high school football to the ACC, a factor he said made Georgia Tech all the more desirable. "I want to play the big-time programs, and you can't get any better than the ACC."
While Johns hasn't gotten in contact with the current recruiting class yet, he's started following them on Twitter. "I'm relieved that the process is over. I've been to several schools, even up in New York and New Jersey, and it can get stressful at times." When asked to rate his excitement of committing between 1 and 10, Johns affirmed that he's a "100. I'm super enthusiastic, and my parents are very excited. This is a dream come true, and I'm 100% committed to Georgia Tech."
Multiple staff members contributed to this article.