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With the 2013 class well underway and the 2014 recruiting season on the horizon, SB Nation's National Recruiting Analyst Bud Elliott stops by to discuss the Hokies' 2013 haul to date and the chances that they are able to hang onto the class or even add to it. We also discuss how the Hokies start will hurt their 2014 recruiting efforts. Keep reading below for the full Q & A.
During the Q & A, I refer to myself as CM (ChicagoMaroon) and to Bud as BE. Enjoy.
CM: The Hokies are at an all-time high in recruiting. Three of their past four classes have been among the top five in school history, netting them the likes of Logan Thomas, David Wilson, J.C. Coleman and in this year's class, Kendall Fuller. With success in recruiting comes an expectation of on-field performance, something that at 3-3 on the season, the Hokies aren't meeting. How do you think Tech's on-field issues will affect their ability to add to their 2013 recruiting class, or even to maintain the players they have verbally committed to date?
BE: Indeed. Part of Virginia Tech's sales pitch is being that consistent, 10-win program. You look at a recruit like Holland Fisher and wonder if he will indeed stick with Tech, especially since he is being pursued by Alabama. I recently wrote about the recruiting impact this season could have not on the 2013 class,but on the class of 2014:
"The real impact of the losses by Virginia Tech (at North Carolina) and Virginia (at Duke) won't be felt as much this year. Both project to do about what they've been doing, which is to recruit well, but not at a special level.
But 2014 is a banner year in the state, with megastars Da'Shawn Hand, Andrew Brown and Quin Blanding already identified. Geography plays a much bigger role in recruiting than many realize, but the irrelevance of the Hokies and Cavaliers could knock them out of the race for some of these players before the opening gun ever sounds. Recruiting starts earlier and earlier each year, and currently Virginia and Virginia Tech are not having the type of seasons typical of a program that lands players of their caliber."
CM: In that same vein, where do you think current verbal commitment Holland Fisher will end up after his much publicized visit to Alabama?
BE: Haha, I should have read all the questions before starting. I think it depends on whether Alabama has room, how much early playing time Virginia Tech can promise, and the remainder of Tech's season.
CM: If the Hokies do somehow manage to keep this class intact or even add to it, where would you rank it among the nation's elite?
BE: That would be a big coup for the Hokies. If they can pull that off and add players at about the same rate they've been going, I could see this class ending up as one of the top 12 or so nationally. Some of that depends, of course, on the total numbers.
CM: You got to see Kendall Fuller up close in person at Gridiron Kings this year. What did you think of him as a prospect? Were there things you liked/disliked about his game?
BE: Indeed. I thought he was one of the more impressive players at Gridiron Kings. Fuller has good size, was fluid when covering, and seemed to have a good feel. I don't think he is on the level of a Vernon Hargreaves III (just not as explosive), but it's clear he is one of the better defensive back recruits in the country.
CM: With staff continuity being one of the Hokies' biggest selling points, if the football program were to let go any of their coaches at the end of the 2012 season, what kind of effect do you think it would have on recruiting?
BE: I think that totally depends on what coach is let go. If it is Bud Foster or one of the long-tenured defensive coaches, it could hurt. Virginia Tech's reputation is for defense. On the other hand, if Virginia Tech let go of its offensive coordinator or offensive line coach, I can't imagine recruits who do not already have a relationship with that coach would care too much.
CM: With the lauded 2014 class in the Commonwealth, do you think the Hokies and Cavaliers have played themselves out of contention for some of the top prospects in that class, such as Da'Shawn Hand, with their performance on the field?
BE: I'm not ready to say that. Geography plays a much larger role in recruiting than some realize. And while they certainly have not positioned themselves well of late for their services, NSD 2014 is still a long ways off.
Thanks to SB Nation Recruiting Analyst Bud Elliott for taking the time to do this Q & A with us. We really appreciate it. Make sure to check out all recruiting related content (both football and basketball) HERE on Gobbler Country, and the best part is, IT'S ABSOLUTELY FREE!
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