Georgia Tech using virtual reality to recruit

by: Zach Klein Updated:

ATLANTA - One of the most iconic plays in Georgia Tech history is now in the hands of every Yellow Jacket football recruit.

Foundry 45 is an Atlanta based virtual reality company where all the employees have at least one of their degrees from Georgia Tech. The company has now teamed up with the Georgia Tech football department to take recruits inside the program and onto the sidelines.

“The Georgia Tech coaches can take a headset and go out, visit a recruit, put it on their face and let them experience what it is really like to be on campus here,” says Dave Beck, managing partner at Foundry 45. “Everything from student life to actually seeing what it’s like to see the fans stream on to the field after a huge win.”

On October 24, 2015, the Yellow Jackets had one of the biggest wins in the history of their program when a last second, blocked field goal was returned for a touchdown to stun 9th ranked Florida State. Foundry 45 was there to record it all.

“At the end of the day, every fan unfortunately can’t be down on the 50-yard line,” says managing partner Mike Orndorff. “They can’t be down there in the end zone when Lance is running across for winning that game, but this is a way actually can transport them there.”

“I think it’s a next level thing as far as recruiting,” says Lance Austin. Austin’s touchdown beat the Seminoles and he was blown away with what he saw and heard when wearing the virtual reality headset.

“Hopefully they see that and (will) be the next commit and the next person to play at Bobby Dodd. (It’s) an influential piece right there and hopefully gets more guys on board.”

Inside the headset, recruits will see five aspects of college life. From walking down Yellow Jacket alley and onto the field, to training in the state of the art weight room, to the dorm rooms and classrooms. Recruits will feel like they are on campus, without actually being on campus.

Yellow Jacket coaches can take the VR units on the road and show recruits and their parents what it means to be a part of the Yellow Jacket program.

“Everyone is looking to get that advantage of giving recruits the real campus feel without really being on campus,” says Michael Huff, Tech’s Director of Football Operations. “I think virtual reality gives us that next step in reaching (the recruits who) can’t see all of campus or really don’t have the chance to come to campus. When recruits come, whether it is an official or unofficial visit, they have a schedule and you’d always like to get more in than what you can, but at the same time you have to stick with that schedule. What this allows us to do is say a kid needs to see a dorm, but you don’t have time to make that dorm tour, we can throw this headset on them and they can get the full dorm tour. If they haven’t been to a game and it’s down time and coaches are not actually coaching, we can throw the VR headset on and they can see what it’s like from the actual sideline. I don’t think you’ll get a better view than that.”

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