The Virginia Tech football coaches used to walk around the heralded 757 area code with a bit of swagger. That's not exactly the case these days. It's no secret the perception of the Hokies has waned a bit from years past, and that was quite clear from the big misses with elite recruits to out of state programs and head to head losses with our in-state rivals in Charlottesville, who boast a joke of a program.
As we move into the 2014 season in anticipation of our 2015 recruiting haul, Tech must not only be able to bring in top flight talent but also bring in the best from our own backyard. Re-establishing fractured relationships and over-coming objections from 7 on 7 academies who have turned on Tech in recent years are just a few of the key points that the coaching staff must address. As it stands now, Recruiting Coordinator Bryan Stinespring and Outside LB Coach Cornell Brown have work to do in gaining back the advantage in the area.
TELL US ABOUT THIS GAME-CHANGING PROSPECT
Enter Josh Sweat who the Hokies offered back in late May of 2013. Sweat who hails from Chesapeake, VA is a composite five-star prospect according to 247 Sports and a consensus top 5 DE in the entire country from all of the major recruiting publications. He no doubt will play early and often at the school of his choice. Take a quick look at Bud Elliott's assessment on Josh Sweat.
Gaining the commitment from a game changing DE like Josh Sweat is the first step in swaying the momentum. Sweat, who attends powerhouse Oscar Smith High is essential for the 2015 Hokie class. He is a big time player who holds over 30 offers from major powerhouse programs. Standing 6'5" and weighing 230 lbs as a high school junior are eye popping vitals. Sweat possesses a long wingspan and incredible physical attributes, his "get off" at the snap makes him a nightmare for opposing offensive tackles. He exhibits great hands and is able to "flip" his hips very quickly when pursuing the quarterbacks.
Take a look at Sweat's highlight reel and you'll see what I mean. Imagine him coming off of the edge on Coach Bud Foster's Defense. At first glance, Sweat reminds me of a cross between Jason Pierre-Paul and Jedeveon Clowney. Whoa! Slow down buddy! I don't claim to be a prospect guru like Mel Kiper, Jr. or Todd McShay but I've watched enough football in my lifetime to make fairly decent comparisons without going overboard.
It's too early to see how much more weight Josh will eventually stack on, but at 6'5 and an eventual 250-260 lbs to go along with that strength and speed is elite. In Coach Foster's defense and to take advantage of his speed and agility, I could foresee him playing the weak-side or "stud" defensive end. Right now, Dadi Nicolas occupies that spot with his too, freakish abilities and relentless motor.
The Hokies have one advantage outside of the in-state ties, is that the overall depth in Blacksburg is paper thin. When we talk about two-deep, we really mean two-deep! There is undoubtedly an "early playing time" pitch the Tech coaches can and SHOULD use. He is far advanced physically for a rising high school senior, and Coaches Foster and Wiles need guys who can produce sooner or later.
WHO LEADS FOR HIS SERVICES?
It appears to be a two horse race for Sweat's signature. Currently the Hokies and our recruiting nemesis in reining National Champion Florida State seem to have his full attention. We all know by now to take this information with a grain of salt, we are dealing with 17-18 year old's after all. The other programs that Sweat seems receptive to are Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon and Texas A&M. In addition, his offer list also includes:
Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCLA and USC just to give you an overview of the type of interest Sweat is generating.
I feel Virginia Tech needs to secure Sweat's pledge and get him to sign that LOI next February, he is the exact type of player VT needs to stay competitive in the national landscape and to regain a strong-hold on the best players in the state. Coach Stinespring and Brown have their work cut out for them as you can see by the offer list. The Hokies cannot have a repeat of the misses they endured just two months ago.