Hokies Recruiting: How Did The Coaches Do?

Jimbo Keeping His Enemies Closer Than His Friends - Streeter Lecka

We are pleased to bring you comprehensive analysis of the Hokies coaches individual recruiting efforts.

Today, we are going to examine the recruiting data and see how the Virginia Tech coaches did in their individual recruiting. In what amounted to a compelling recruiting season, the Hokies did well without securing any so-called elite talent, or doing the least bit of damage in their home-state. Even though 15 inbound Hokies hail from Virginia, only one was in the top-10 and none were in the top five.

As you explore the various territories and see which coaches were traveling where and what they were looking for, some patterns become clearer.

The Data

2014 VT Recruiting Report: Scot Loeffler, Offensive Coordinator

Position

Player

Hometown

Star Rating

QB

Chris Durkin

Youngstown, OH

***

QB

Andrew Ford

Camp Hill, PA

***

RB

Shai McKenzie

Washington, PA

****

Totals

3


10

What stands out: This is clearly a case of Beamer letting the chef shop for his groceries. Loeffler made no attempt to conceal the fact he was out for quarterbacks, as he targeted six QBs out of the 16 players he pursued. Additionally, Loeffler challenged himself, as nine of the 15 targets he recruited were four-stars. Sure, he came away with two of those, and went 1-for-11 on the four-stars, but shooting for the stars is the right approach.

Territory Evaluation: Loeffler appears to have had more latitude than the other coaches, as he was in Southern California, Florida, and Pennsylvania. He wound up excelling in a football-rich region in former steel country. The fact that two of them are in school already is worth bonus points.

Additional Observations: Only 2 of the 13 who didn't sign took visits to VT. One was Isaiah McKenzie who came last weekend. He accepted Mark Richt's offer at Georgia. But hey, we got a scholarship K from Athens, GA, so that's even steven, right?

Bottom Line: Fantastic debut by Loeffler. He has gotten himself some major offensive pieces, and inserted himself up into territory usually reserved for Penn State and Ohio State. If we aren't going to win the battle for Virginia in some years, it's not bad to pull from those areas. The fact that he will coach the quarterbacks he recruited is a cradle to grave proposition that should pay off in spades.

2014 VT Recruiting Report: Shane Beamer, RB Coach

Position

Player

Hometown

Star Rating

DB

Holland Fisher

Fork Union, VA

****

ATH

Raymon Minor

Richmond, VA

****

ATH

Shawn Payne

Chesterfield, VA

**

DB

C.J. Reavis

Chester, VA

****

RB

D.J. Reid

Fork Union, VA

***

ATH

Tabyus Taylor

Hopewell, VA

**

TOTALS

6


19

What stands out: Some good players in here. Shane netted VT the most four-star players of any coach. He also netted the most two-stars. From a preliminary birds-eye look at the potential depth chart, it wouldn't be surprising if Taylor or Payne were a grey-shirt.

Territory Evaluation: Obviously, Shane was in charge of the 804 area code, and he was aggressively tweeting all throughout Wednesday's festivities. He did well with all of his targets in that area, going an impressive 6-for-8. Shane had 17 targets in all, eight from the 804, and nine more from the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. Of those nine, Shane got zero. He recruited eventual UNC commit Elijah Hood (a five-star) who was an early Notre Dame commit but flipped late. We'll get to see him every year for the next four years. Wunderbar.

Additional Observations: For somebody with SEC coaching roots, as Shane does, it's disappointing that we couldn't parlay that this time around. I'm not saying anybody off the street can handle Richmond, but Shane might be losing his luster. Holland Fisher was also signed last year, he just re-signed after prepping at Fork Union, so Shane monitored the situation well to make sure Fisher followed through. Beamer also had Cequan Jefferson (Temple) decommit, which is an example of how waiting on kids to finish prep school and recommit can be so tenuous. I am glad that of the two, it was Jefferson who flipped, and not Fisher.

Bottom Line: Everyone was acting like Shane had been sent off to Hogwarts to learn spells and potions when he went to work for Spurrier. But so far, the running backs are a mess and he's not setting the world on fire battling the SEC for elite talent in recruiting. But he did bring in volume, and at least he did well in a very important area of the state. If we aren't going to win the Tidewater region, then mining RIchmond for talent is essential. His effort was strong, and the results were good, I just wish maybe it were more refined.

2014 VT Recruiting Report: Aaron Moorehead, WR Coach

Position

Player

Hometown

Star Rating

LB

Melvin Keihn

Baltimore, MD

****

WR

Cameron Philips

Hyattsville, MD

****

Totals

2


8

What stands out: An astounding 25 targets on his list in his first year. Which makes the conversion rate a little low. He shot for the moon though going after the #4 WR in the country Josh Malone (Tennessee), #2 OT Damian Prince (Maryland), and #3 CB Jalen Tabor (Florida), all five-star recruits.

Territory Evaluation: He was after 10 from the DC/Baltimore region, and another 8 from Illinois/Indiana, and 4 more from Florida. Again not doing well anywhere outside the 4 hour radius, which is similar to Shane Beamer, Bryan Stinespring, Bud Foster, and Cornell Brown. None of them got a recruit from farther than 320 miles.

Additional Observations: Moorehead was the most active, and partially responsible for Isaiah Ford, as he and Charley Wiles tag-teamed on that effort.

Bottom Line: Can't argue with three quality recruits (if you include Ford). As I always say about three-star "gets" from the south: If they are at a speed position, the player is a four-star anywhere else in the country, and that would include Ford.Obviously, part of Ford's decision to come was based on his dealings with Moorehead.

2014 VT Recruiting Report: Bryan Stinespring, TE Coach/Recruting Coordinator

Position

Player

Hometown

Star Rating

WR

Jaylen Bradshaw

Chesapeake,  VA

***

TE

Xavier Burke

Lawrenceville, VA

***

DB

Terrell Edmunds

Ringgold, VA

***

K

Michael Santamaria

Athens, GA

**





Totals

4


10

What Stands Out: We offered a Kicker. He is in all likelihood a fine young man and a great kicker, but usually we make Kickers earn the grant-in aid. But that's just the gnat bothering me here, the hornet sting that's smarting is the abysmal showing in the 757 region. Of Stinespring's 14 targets, 10 were in the Tidewater. Only Bradshaw inked with VT. Stinespring had three of the top five targets in Virginia on his list in S Quinn Blanding, and DTs Derrick Nnadi and Andrew Brown. Stinespring allowed all three to get away, and all to ACC schools. Blanding and Brown to UVA, who VT will see every year.

I am so proud of Norm Wood of the Daily Press for putting Stinespring in position to explain himself on the struggles the Hokies have been facing in the 757. This is from Wood's article in the DP on 2/4/14, the day before signing day. Stinespring's response is in bold below.

Norm: U.Va. has done well recruiting elite prospects in the Hampton Roads area. I realize Tech isn't the only college U.Va. is competing with for those recruits, but how much has that success caught your attention?

In regards to recruiting, you always have to know who you're recruiting against and those type of things, but our emphasis in recruiting is on who we're recruiting and how we're recruiting them. We concentrate entirely on that, not on what somebody else is doing. I think there's things that people do in recruiting, just like when you're watching film, you'll say, 'That looks pretty good. We ought to think about doing something like that.' You're always trying to improve your recruiting, but when it gets down to what somebody else is doing in recruiting, what they're doing and how they're doing it, that's not it. We've recruited this state with our heart and soul and made it the foundation for how we're going to be successful.

What the HELL is THAT!? What language is he speaking? The only thing he left off at the end was SAVE THE WHALES! SUPPORT THE TROOPS! Just like Will Ferrell's character in The Campaign. Patently absurd response.

Territory Evaluation: See above. Grade: F

Additional Observations: Of Stinespring's signees, one is a Kicker and another was simple as Terrell Edmunds is a legacy product. His brother Tre was the primary running back for large swathes of last season. Low-hanging fruit in other words.

Bottom Line: Stinespring used to put in work in the 757, and now it's just a shell of itself. Naturally when the Hokies came out of nowhere in the early-1990s, it was too rich a region to hide from the rest of the world. Stinespring has done well enough over the years, and recruited many of the best players VT has had in recent years. But lately it's just been a series of whiffs, and not even getting our feet in the door on some of these guys. Perhaps it's time to assign a fresh voice to the region. There is absolutely no acceptable justification for losing the in-state recruiting battle to a 2-10 team that hasn't won the head to head matchup between the two schools in a decade.

Literally that's all you need to say:

In 10 years they haven't beaten us, and they lost to everyone but VMI last year. (I know BYU, but you gotta go for effect)

Then you just drop the mic and mean mug. Ask their mom for a fresh cup of coffee. That's how you own a living room.

2014 VT Recruiting Report: Jeff Grimes, Former OL Coach (Now with LSU)

Position

Player

Hometown

Star Rating

OL

Eric Gallo

Holland, PA

**

OL

Billy Ray Mitchell

Paramus, NJ

***

OL

Colt Petit

Deshler, OH

***

OL

Tyrell Smith

Ramsey, NJ

***

Totals

4


11

What Stands Out: Nobody from Virginia. Former OL Coach Jeff Grimes must have decided that the local crop was weak, and outside of going directly to Argentina for his beef, he looked to fertile Big 10 recruiting ground. Before departing for LSU, he had gifted VT with five linemen. But Brady Taylor of Columbus, OH opted to stay home and play for Ohio State.

Territory Evaluation: Grimes went wherever there were linemen in the Mid-Atlantic states and a little bit west. Of his 13 targets, 12 were offensive linemen. Loeffler has obviously convinced Beamer that he wants his position coaches to have input and establish relationships with their players early in the process.

Additonal Observations: Grimes was in charge of recruiting Damian Prince but it looks like Moorehead took over for the final push.

Bottom Line: These four look like they have great upside. It must have been a great sales job by Grimes for VT not to have lost one of these guys upon his departure. A nod to incoming coach Stacy Searels who likely did his part to smooth over any concerns. Excellent teamwork by the Hokies, really commendable.

2014 VT Recruiting Report: Bud Foster, Defensive Coordinator

Position

Player

Hometown

Star Rating

ATH

Travon McMillian

Woodbridge, VA

***

DE

Vincent Mahota

Fredericksburg, VA

***

DT

Steve Sobczak

Fredericksburg, VA

**

TOTALS

3


8

What Stands Out: Bud got three highly-regarded players. McMillian is mult-use, and the two DL are both candidates for early playing time.

Territory Evaluation: Bud handles Northern Virginia. As such, his target load is not typically large, and this year was no different. Bud got three of his ten targets though. There has to be some cachet for Foster at this point, with all of his top 10 defenses. I wish there were more output, and that he could impact the higher leverage regions that VT needs to be commanding, like RIchmond or the Beach.

Additional Observations: Foster went out EARLY in the royal rumble for D'Shawn Hand (Alabama) the Woodbridge five-star DL. And with Derrick Nnadi deciding on Florida State, Foster's consolation prize will be Steve Sobczak. Formerly 340 or so pounds, Sobczak has trimmed down and appears to have the mass to help anchor the interior of the DL.

Bottom Line: Good work Bud, now get cracking on figuring out how to prevent QBs from breaking containment on 3rd down and long.

2014 VT Recruiting Report: Charley Wiles, DL Coach

Position

Player

Hometown

Star Rating

DE

Kevin Bronson

Del Ray Beach, FL

***

WR

Isaiah Ford

Jacksonville, FL

***

Totals

2


6

What Stands Out: The Mayor of Del Ray Beach strikes again. But unlike most mayors, Wiles puts in a full day. He led all the assistants with 30 total targets. Wiles is a native of DeLand, FL which is likely a factor in his success in the sunshine state.

Territory Evaluation: This year the hit ratio wasn't so hot, but Wiles was all over SC, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. He's competing hard down there, and mining their second tier talent. The long-time Beamer lieutenant, Wiles can be counted on to deliver year after year.

Additional Observations: Wiles didn't pursue a single five-star in the thirty targets.

Bottom Line: A quiet year for Wiles, he was still a factor in saving the Hokies bacon and securing Ford after Javon Harrison flipped his commitment and opted for Florida State. Kevin Bronson also looks to be a serious talent.

2014 VT Recruiting Report: Cornell Brown, Outside Linbackers Coach

Position

Player

Hometown

Star Rating

DT

Ricky Walker

Hampton, VA

****

RB

Marshawn Williams

Hampton, VA

****

2

2

8

What Stands Out: Of VT's 28 signed letters-of-intent, just three came from the 757. Cornell earned two of them, and both recruits were highly-regarded. I've been nominating a younger voice on the staff to replace Stinespring in that region, and Cornell has made a nice application for the position. Between Brown, Moorehead, and Torrian Gray (Shane Beamer is obviously working in the 804); the Hokies will be able to find the right voice to be effective in battling programs like the 2-10 Goliath UVA.

Territory Evaluation: Brown had a light load, and was doing work up in New Jersey as well. He was in for a moment on five-star Quenton Ross an OL who eventually signed with Notre Dame. After turning in two players like these, we ought to look forward to his future efforts.

Additonal Observations: Cornell was not limited to focusing on one position, he had five different positions included in the 8 targets on his list.

Bottom Line: Brown did a great job with a limited load. Given his experience at VT, and in the NFL, he has a lot to offer in the way of testimonials and credibility. Hopefully in 2015 they entrust him with more.

2014 VT Recruiting Report: Torrian Gray, DB Coach

Position

Player

Hometown

Star Rating

WR

Kendrick Holland

Winter Haven, FL

***

WR

Greg Stroman

Manassas, VA

**

Totals

2


5

What Stands Out: Just two guys signed, just eight on his list. Why such a light load?

Territorial Evaluation: Gray is from Lakeland, Florida. So was Javon Harrison who was very interested in VT before ultimately deciding to stay home near his young daughter and attend FSU. Having another Florida connection would pay off more if there were more targets for him to pursue.

Additional Observations: There was only one DB on his list. Mostly WRs.

Bottom Line: Both players Gray brought aboard have promise, but you wonder why he's not pursuing double the volume. With his success on the field, and with putting players in the NFL you'd think those are stories recruits would like to hear.  Unfortunately, looking back on his track record for the past five years, he never has more than 15 or so targets on his list. He brought in his entire 2014 starting defensive backfield though, and he does have a higher conversation rate than anyone else. Very confusing.

VT Overview

Coach

Total Targets

Signed

5 star targets

4 start targets

3 star targets

2 star targets

Unrated

Scot Loeffler

15

3

-

9

4

1

1

Shane Beamer

17

6

1

8

4

3

1

Aaron Morehead

25

2

2

16

4

3

-

Bryan Stinespring

14

4

2

3

4

4

1

Jeff Grimes

13

4

1

2

9

1

-

Bud Foster

10

3

1

2

5

1

-

Charley Wiles

30

2

-

12

13

4

1

Cornell Brown

8

2

1

4

1

1

1

Torrian Gray

8

2

-

3

3

2

-

Totals

140

28

8

59

47

19

7

Total Signed

28


-

8

14

6

0

Conversion Rate

20%

-

0%

13.6%

29.8%

31.6%

0%

Three of the five-star targets they pursued were in the state of Virginia. One in Maryland. VT is definitely not spreading a wide net when it comes to attracting the elite talent. It is encouraging that the number of four-stars pursued was greater than the three-stars, and that the program is looking to be a little more aggressive in that upper middle-class.

It is difficult to nominate any one coach as the standout performer. As it stands, here are the grades:

  • Scot Loeffler: A-
  • Shane Beamer: A-
  • Aaron Moorhead: B+
  • Jeff Grimes: A-
  • Bryan Stinespring: F
  • Bud Foster: B
  • Charley Wiles: B+
  • Cornell Brown: A
  • Torrian Gray: C

I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below.. We still have some more recruiting analysis to come here on Gobbler Country. Please follow along @gobblercountry and on Facebook regularly. We post new material as often as possible.


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