With our 2021 recruiting class profiles all wrapped up, it’s time to turn our attention to Georgia Tech Football’s plethora of incoming transfers. We’ll be going through these players by alphabetical order, which would mean starting out is kicker Brent Cimaglia. However, since he is a recent transfer and we just did a piece on him last week, we’ll start this series with Maryland linebacker transfer Ayinde Eley.
As a recruit:
A former three-star recruit in the class of 2022, Eley was a three-star prospect out of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Maryland. He was ranked by 247Sports’s composite rankings just outside the top-400, coming in at No.403 nationally as well as the 22nd ranked outside linebacker and 10th best player in Maryland.
He received 15 scholarship offers out of high school, mostly from the Big Ten and committed to the Terrapins over programs such as Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Penn State just to name a few.
Eley’s career at Maryland:
Eley saw his first action in 2018 as a redshirt freshman, playing in 12 games and picking up 13 tackles. After a quality freshman season that saw him show flashes, he stepped up his game as a redshirt sophomore in 2019. That season for the Terrapins, he collected 79 tackles including four tackles for a loss and a sack. His 79 tackles ranked second on the team for the season. He also finished the year with four pass deflections, one interception, and two fumble recoveries.
This past season, Eley was expected to be a big part of Maryland’s defense but ultimately played in just three of Maryland’s five games, recording 19 tackles including a lone tackle for a loss. He recorded at least four tackles in each of the three contests including eight tackles against Northwestern and seven tackles against Minnesota. He ended up missing both of their final two games of the season against Indiana and Rutgers.
What his game brings to The Flats:
Prior to this past season, there were those who believed Eley with a good junior season could enter the 2021 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, the season didn’t go to plan for the Maryland native but the potential remains. Eley brings great size at 6-foot-3 and 240-pounds but also remains a very athletic linebacker who could really do it all. He has shown the ability to rush the passer, drop back into coverage, and also play the run all at a strong level. He’s got good sideline-to-sideline range and can cover most tight ends and even some running backs in passing situations. He’s the type of player who will always find his way to the ball as shown by his stats and plays a smart, heads up game. Being the son of a football coach, you know having strong football IQ has been drilled into him since a young age and he shows that on the field. He’s not a perfect linebacker but he certainly has great potential both on The Flats and at the next level.
What to expect out of Eley:
In 2021, Eley should be able to step in and be either a starter for the Jackets or at the least, a solid contributor. He’ll bring a great deal of experience to the Jackets linebacker room which will be much needed especially with the departure of David Curry. With that being said, in terms of what type of role he’ll play, I expect Eley to play a role similar to that of Curry’s and I think of him as a more athletic version of Curry as well. All in all, Eley has a chance to be a great pickup for the Yellow Jackets and a big time contributor on Tech’s defense right away.