Which "Sleeper" Will Emerge From The 2014 Recruiting Class?

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech football program has had its fair share of successful "sleeper" recruits in the past. Who has the potential to follow suit coming out of the 2014 class?

As National Signing Day approached, optimism reigned throughout much of HokieNation. Unlike in many years past where most of our classes and key targets were firmly in our grasp after summer camps or midway through the fall season, Virginia Tech was in contention for many nationally rated recruits and attempting to go head to head with the big boys. Despite not being able to close in on most of the top guys we were final candidates for, Coach Frank Beamer and staff tried to raise their game and stayed in the fight to the bitter end. This has always been the issue with the Hokies, close but not quite there. I won’t lament the sting of this past Wednesday’s misses and flips, I'd  rather focus instead on the unheralded guys who may surprise and make an impact in their Tech careers.

The true diamonds in the rough are few and far between, with college recruiting being such a big-time industry now, there aren't often that many surprises. But sometimes guys don’t play in a talent rich area's or don’t develop until late in their high school careers, and these talents seem to come out of nowhere.

Let’s take a look at the VT class of 2014. I have identified a few players I feel may be able to breakout and make a name for themselves on the offensive and defensive side of the ball:

Greg Stroman - 5’10" 162lbs

Stonewall Jackson (Manassas, VA)

Rivals – 2 Star

Offers: VT, Wisconsin, UVa and 5 others (Charleston, Duke, UMass, Norfolk St and ODU)

Stroman, who was offered by VT and UVa also received an offer from Big 10 power Wisconsin (Offer came from Chris Beatty who coached Percy Harvin at Landstown HS in Virginia Beach – definite VA connection there). You may say, "He’s no sleeper" but if you look at his Rivals rank and other offers it’s not what I would call "highly touted." In looking at his film and catching a few games at Stonewall Jackson High in Manassas, VA it was no secret who the best player on the field was. While many are down about losing out on the Isaiah "Joystick" McKenzie sweepstakes to Georgia, I say we have our very own version of the "Joystick." Stroman played QB for his squad in HS as you want the best player to have the ball in his hands as much as possible, use his tremendous athletic ability and make game breaking plays. I think Stroman has been overlooked due to his size (5’10" 160lbs may be stretching it, no pun intended) but McKenzie was just as slight in stature, being from Florida and having more exposure definitely has its perks.

Some say we only gave him an offer because we are looking to get in good with 2015 five star DT Tim Settle who will be a rising senior this fall at Stonewall Jackson. Sometimes familiarity works, but when Alabama and Nick Saban come knocking on your door, offering you a chance to play for the elite in the SEC and have a direct path to the NFL in four years, that’s really hard to pass up. By now, we shouldn’t be so naïve to think we are in any better position with a guy like Settle just because we signed his friend and teammate the previous year.

*Hokie great RB Ryan Williams is also from Manassas, VA and attended Stonewall Jackson HS.

As I said in my review for the DB’s and ATH’s, I hope we try to put the ball in Stroman’s hands and not immediately hand him over to Coach Torrian Gray’s defensive backfield. Watch his highlight reel, see if you agree:

Greg Stroman Class Of 2014 Stonewall Jackson High School Senior Highlights "" Virginia Tech Commit"" (via Greg Stroman)

Steve Sobczak – 6’1" 305lbs

Massaponax (Fredericksburg, VA)

Rivals – 2 Star

Offers: VT and JMU

Steve Sobczak, high school teammate of current Hokie and fellow class of 2014 recruit Vincent Mihota is my pick for sleeper in this year’s defensive haul. With offers coming from FCS in-state school JMU and VT, Sobczak is the definition of sleeper. It has been reported and even mentioned by his recruiting coach and defensive coordinator Bud Foster that many schools may have passed on Sobczak due to the fact that he had ballooned up to 340+ lbs and not being able to maintain the stamina it takes to be a legit collegiate football prospect. Sobczak was able to get his weight under control and down to a good playing weight of 300lbs, making him nearly unblock able in high school competition.

If you watch closely in his highlight reel, Sobczak maintains great low pad level and generates exceptional leverage using all 300lbs to manhandle the offensive linemen in front of him. Upon further evaluation, I was shocked to see how well he ran laterally and down the field. It must be a scary feeling having a big man like that chase you down. With Tech’s paper thin depth at DT moving into 2014, I think Sobczak has as good a chance to play right away and add some much needed beef up the middle. While most recruited DT’s may take a year or two to get their bodies right to endure the battles in the trenches, Sobczak is already there making him a Luther Mady-esque type guy who nobody really wanted, only to play right away and make a huge impact on a big time program’s D-line.

Steve Sobczak (via ACC Recruiting)

Terrell Edmunds - 6’2" 186lbs

Dan River (Ringgold, VA)

Rivals – 3 Star

Offers: VT, Cincinnati and Hampton

Despite his older brother Trey Edmunds being a Parade, SuperPrep and PrepStar All-American, the younger Terrell isn’t quite so heralded. The three star RB-CB managed to garner only two other offers outside of VT, that being Cincinnati and Hampton. I think the recruiting services may have given him the benefit of the doubt due to his incredible bloodlines (his father Ferrell was an All-Pro TE in the NFL) or, perhaps other schools thought it was a foregone conclusion he was going to be a Tech commit all the way as a result of the strong family connection (much like the Fuller’s) therefore not even bothering with recruiting him.

I see some similarities to his situation as I did with the recruitment of Kyle Fuller, who’s older brother Vinny Fuller had a good Tech career while playing a few seasons in the NFL. Despite his brother’s success, Kyle wasn’t exactly a must have recruit by the major programs as was his younger brother Kendall, who was a consensus five-star and having his pick to play anywhere in the nation. Kyle was also a three-star and had a few offers, Maryland being his best offer outside of VT. In watching Kyle play, he definitely had a chip on his shoulder, playing aggressive and angry.

I see Terrell having the same type of chip on his shoulder, being Trey’s "little brother" and not having the respect of the recruiting services or offers to justify his three-star ranking. While I don’t see him playing early on in his career, I think by year two or three he will definitely have an impact at his eventual position, most likely in the defensive backfield. He's tall and has great size to match up with the typically taller WR's, with the speed to keep up. Terrell has a great support system with his brother there to guide him, his path to success lines up very well for him.

Terrell Edmunds Junior Football Highlights (via Brian Henderson)

Let us know your opinions on who you think will be a sleeper below!


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