Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson offensive lineman Errin Joe made his way to Atlanta, Ga. this weekend for an unofficial visit to watch Georgia Tech host Duke. The talented lineman from the Sunshine State came away impressed by everything he saw at the campus he has grown familiar with on previous visits.
"One thing I really did enjoy about it was that I was pretty familiar with everything," Joe said. "It made me feel a little more comfortable with where I was at."
He talked a bit about what he did prior to kickoff of the game.
"I had a chance to meet with all of the coaches and they made me feel like I was at home and like I was part of Georgia Tech already," Joe said. "What they told me is how bad they really need me. They have a tough time trying to find linemen and they have a lot of people leaving next year. I got a chance to sit down with Coach (Paul) Johnson along with my parents, privately, and he told us that he was glad that I was up there and that they are very interested in me. He told me that they have four committed linemen and they are looking for someone to fill that fifth spot, and they are looking for me to do that."
Before the game began Joe was able to attend certain parts of the Jackets' pregame rituals and spend some time around the fanbase. He came away impressed with how the fans were into it despite some struggles for Georgia Tech on the field this season.
"One thing I really loved about the trip is that you can see the tradition that Georgia Tech has," Joe said. "The tradition with the alumni, no matter what kind of season they are going through they still love their Georgia Tech football team. One of the best experiences there was going through their little pregame walk called the Yellow Jacket Alley. I was surprised that some people were calling out my name."
As for the 30-20 victory, he liked being able to get an up-close and personal view of the team in action.
"The game went pretty well," Joe said. "Duke gave them a little scare there but they ended up pulling it together. I know it is kind of a rebuilding year for them since (Joshua) Nesbitt went down, but I enjoyed the game."
While Joe is a standout on the football field, he is also a very focused student in the classroom. Throughout his recruitment he has made it clear that academics will play a vital role in his decision. At Georgia Tech, he got positive reinforcement of the academic environment that exists there.
"That aspect made it even better," Joe said. "After the game I got to talk to one of the linemen and I told him who I was considering and I told him Florida State was my number one and that they are closing up with linemen and that Georgia Tech was up there right behind them and they have four linemen. I named some of the other teams as well. He told me I can't go wrong with any of those schools but the academics at Georgia Tech sets them apart from all of them. That stood out to me, him as a player, realizing that himself. It is a great academic school and that is just a plus with playing football there."
During the visit, Joe said he made it clear to Paul Johnson and his staff that he wouldn't commit while on campus.
"I told him I was going to take my time during the process," Joe said. "Overall it was a great experience though, I can't wait to go back for my official."
"That was my last unofficial," Joe added. "We are still in the playoffs, but once they wrap up I plan to schedule and take my officials. I haven't scheduled any dates yet. I know I will take one to Florida State, Georgia Tech, and then South Carolina, West Virginia, Missouri - all of those are going to fall into place."
Entering the visit, Joe had Florida State on top of Georgia Tech for his services. The weekend trip has helped close that gap and Joe admits that he has a lot of thought to give his upcoming decision.
"Right now it is still about the same but Georgia Tech made me sit down and think to myself that I had a great experience there and it feels right, I feel comfortable there," Joe said. "It is just going to make it tougher when I sit down and re-evaluate all of my schools."
Lake Gibson faces Lakeland (Fla.) Kathleen on Friday in the second round of the playoffs.