One of the biggest weaknesses for Virginia Tech football team in the last few years has been depth on the offensive and defensive lines. The Hokies' coaches addressed that issue with their 2010 recruiting class, signing four offensive linemen and five defensive linemen among their 21-member class.
This year's recruiting class isn't about to earn any headlines due to its lack of skill players. The Hokies signed two quarterbacks and a wide receiver, focusing primarily on the offensive line and defense this year. The class was ranked No. 35 by Scout and wasn't among ESPN's Top 25 classes. But Rivals was bullish on Virginia Tech's class, ranking it No. 22, third in the ACC.
What this class lacks in star power, it makes up for with strength and size. The offensive line signees include Mark Shuman, the brother of former Hokie Ryan Shuman. He played for his father, John, at Fork Union Military Academy and comes in at 6-6, 280. Fellow O-lineman Laurence Gibson is 6-6, 296 and is already on campus. He'll probably be the first of the O-line recruits to have an impact for Tech.
The defensive line brought in two very talented recruits in Zack McCray and Nick Acree. McCray, a defensive end from Brookville High School in Lynchburg, is tall at 6-5 and fits more of the Chris Ellis/Jim Davis mold. Acree, a defensive tackle, adds much needed depth to that position if he can prove himself ready during fall practice. Acree is tall for a defensive tackle at 6-6, but is already nearly 300 pounds, making him a gap-clogger.
There isn't a lot of athleticism among this year's class, but Tech did bring in safety Nick Dew and athlete Dominique Patterson. Dew played linebacker and running back in high school and could end up at whip for the Hokies. Patterson grew up a Hokie fan and was under recruited due to a broken wrist his junior year. He played running back and defensive back in high school and intercepted Phillip Sims twice when the two met this season.
None of these players will likely see the field very much in 2010. However, if any of them are going to, my guess would be Gibson or McCray. The Hokies need depth on both lines and if the two show they're capable they could get thrown into the fire early.
Hokies Football Signing Day 2010 (Kyle Tucker)
"Tech’s third consecutive top-25 recruiting class is led by big names like DE Zack McCray, S Nick Dew and DTs DeAntre Rhodes and Nick Acree. Each of them is rated a four-star prospect. McCray is a potential superstar. Dew maybe the most versatile guy in the class, capable of playing whip linebacker, rover or free safety. And, um, Acree is ... the Incredible Hulk. Despite being 6-5, 295, he appears to have about three percent body fat. He has been built like an NFL All-Pro since his sophomore year in high school."
Interview with Zack McCray (Nathan "Tommie Frazier" Warters)
"I talked to Brookville’s Zack McCray today after his signing day ceremony at school. I gave him a hard time for being the last Tech player to sign his letter of intent. He laughed it off. School was out today, and they scheduled the ceremony later to account for the bad weather."
Linemen highlight Hokies' 2010 haul (Randy King)
"Tech's class included 13 players from Virginia, including seven of the top 13 and 10 of the top 25 players in the state as rated by The Roanoke Times. The in-state contingent included two Timesland players -- Pulaski County linebacker Tahrick Peak and Rockbridge County offensive lineman Caleb Farris."
Recruiting rewind: Virginia Tech (Annette)
"Virginia Tech fell out of the top 25 on signing day, but considering the Hokies are likely to enter the 2010 season as a top-10 team, the staff clearly has a knack for finding and developing talent. This class shouldn’t be much different."
Signing Day Blitz: Ranking the ACC (Rivals)
"Sleeper: Athlete Dominique Patterson finished with just one offer following an impressive performance at Virginia Tech's second summer camp. He has outstanding quickness and range."
Around the ACC
With Signing Day Nearing an End, What Did We Learn? (Testudo Times)
"Better Than Expected - I was one of the ones that called a recruiting collapse for Maryland. They went 2-10, had no momentum, and had not only a lame duck coach but a lame duck staff. And yet they'll end up with a Top 40 class. Maybe the record will hurt more in 2011, but for now Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin pulled off a minor miracle closing this class they way they did."
Florida State's Post Signing Day Hangover (Tomahawk Nation)
"Florida State is not in the SEC and has only been playing new-millennium football for 5 weeks. Right now, there are too many obstacles for FSU to use the SEC as its benchmark. But when compared to its own conference, Florida State was the cream of the crop this recruiting season. If the Noles can continue to show this type of dominance over the rest of its conference in recruiting and translate that into on-field success, Jimbo Fisher can build the type of program that can hopefully compete nationally with UF, Alabama, Texas, and USC."
Signing day special (From Old Virginia)
"Just like last year - a year ago tomorrow, if you want to get specific on me - it's time to take stock of what we managed to do on the recruiting trail. Close out the 2010 class with a Signing Day Special. Actually, since I did this last year, I suppose technically that means I can call it the Second Annual Signing Day Special, just for that little extra je ne sais quois."
State of the Union: National IPTAY Meeting Recap (Block-C)
"College athletics in America and recruiting for the sports is an arms race. We don’t have a humongous, millionaire fan base like everyone else does. In our case, it’s extremely important that every dollar we give isn’t wasted money. This is why I’m taking the view point that I am. There is literally no amount of room for error."
Mega recruiting roundup on Spaz's first full class (Eagle in Atlanta)
"With a full year under his belt, Spaz signed and announced his first full BC class. Although I am repeating myself, let me say that I try not to get caught up in the emotion of recruiting. We won't know the impact or success of these guys for two or three years. There are some definite positives though about this class as well as a few areas of concern."
Signing Day '10 comes to a close (AllCanes)
"To say that college football recruiting has gotten out of hand - the understatement of understatements. Played out hat tricks. Flip flopping and double-talk. Coach-speak coming out of the mouths of babes. Star rankings rising and falling based on the outcome of one game. Not taking 'competition faced' into the evaluation. Everything is so arbitrary, which makes for less accountability and more wiggle room when making predictions."