VT Football Recruiting: 4th of July Weekend Recap

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

After missing out on a number of top targets, Hokies look to regain momentum

The past few months following VT football recruiting has been quite painful, missing out on top targets at positions of need coupled with losing out on top prospects in our backyard and home state hasn't helped brighten the moods of the Hokie faithful either. Is Tech is line for a rebound and momentum change to kick start it's 2015 class into high gear?

4TH OF JULY RECAP:

Let's begin with news from this past Thursday when news that 2014 Tech signee DE/DT Kevin Bronson (6'4", 240lbs) out of Delray Beach, FL (Village Academy) was given his release by VT and subsequently enrolled at South Florida. This is not welcomed news by Hokie fans as losing depth on the defensive line is the LAST place we can afford to endure further attrition. It appears Bronson was one point shy on his ACT scores and was not given the green light from the Tech academic committee. See the quote from his high school head coach, this is not how you want to hear a coach talk about how you handled his kid:

Bronson Story Transferring to USF

"After Signing Day, Virginia Tech said he'd need a 17 on all categories," said Hanna. "He ended up being a point shy on English and Math. We were told if he didn't get it, they'd go before the [academic] committee and they'd be able to get him in."

"The closer we got to him coming up, they started saying, 'There's a 50/50 chance we'll be able to get you up.' They were giving him the run-around."

"They didn't treat Kevin right from the beginning. He was like a second-tier guy for them. They missed out on some other defensive linemen and took a chance on Kevin. I don't think he would have had a great career there because he wasn't one of the guys they wanted."

After informing Bronson he was short of qualifying, Virginia Tech said they wouldn't be able to get him in asked if he would enroll in prep school during the fall. Following that discussion, Bronson requested for his scholarship release.

According to Hanna, the school made a sudden reversal as Hokies' head coach Frank Beamer then told Bronson he would go to the head of the academic committee and get him in.

By that point, Bronson and his family decided they were ready to move on.

"Once that happened, [Bronson and his father] came to the conclusion that they don't want to deal with that going forward."

The most glaring part of that whole things was when the coach stated:

"They didn't treat Kevin right from the beginning. He was like a second-tier guy for them. They missed out on some other defensive linemen and took a chance on Kevin. I don't think he would have had a great career there because he wasn't one of the guys they wanted."

Ouch, even he knows we wiffed on most of all our top targets at DL this past signing day. There's always two sides to every story, but I'm pretty sure we won't hear the VT side...and when you don't hear both sides of a story most people are going to believe and formulate their own perceptions from that explanation. Not good.

ANOTHER LOCAL PRODUCT GOES OUT OF STATE FOR SEC GLORY:

The trend of top local prospects spurning the Hokies and heading out of state continues as another top ranked offensive lineman in Northside High School (Roanoke, VA) three star (247Sports) prospect Chance Hall (6'5" 290lbs) committed to the Tennessee Volunteers over Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt.

Three weeks ago, four star offensive lineman Austin Clark (Lexington, VA) chose SEC program South Carolina over the hometown Hokies. How does Tech stop the drive by on I-81 of top ranked lineman headed south for the riches and grandeur of the SEC?

In the Roanoke Times article, Hall said his final two choices came down to Vanderbilt and Tennessee. His relationship with former All Timesland Offensive Lineman Coleman Thomas of Fort Chiswell, VA appears to have made a great impact on Hall's decision:

"...Fort Chiswell offensive lineman Coleman Thomas, a fellow All-Timesland choice whom Hall met at a photo shoot last winter. After graduating from Fort Chiswell, Thomas earned a starting spot at Tennessee this spring.

"We’ve been texting a lot and talking about it," Hall said. "He had a big role in the decision."

Hall's Highlight reel courtesy of hudl:

I know Offensive Line coach Stacy Searels has his hands full in changing the perception and on-field results for that unit. Until then, I feel we shouldn't feel like we deserve or "should get" these top ranked recruits anymore. This is a very what have you done for me lately game/business and results matter. Numbers and stats matter. These kids are smart, they watch and understand who has what to offer and who can optimize their skill set to get them to that next level.

DUDE, DO YOU EVER HAVE ANY GOOD NEWS?

Actually I do! In the wake of learning about the release of Kevin Bronson and recently missing out on in-state four star (247Sports) prospect Clelin Ferrell (Richmond,VA) and Maryland native three star (247Sports) Dee Fullwood, who surprised many when he chose lowly SEC program Kentucky -- Tech finally got some good news.

Saturday morning gave us the verbal commitment of high three star (247Sports) Defense end Trevon Hill (6'3", 210lbs) from Salem High School in VA Beach, VA. A position of need and a victory in the "757" was welcome news to Hokies waking up from their 4th of July hangovers.

Check out Hill's highlight film (hudl). Hill projects as a speed-edge rusher with excellent speed and quickness. His agility and aggressive play will fit nicely in Blacksburg.

And just a few hours later former UNC Tight End in first round NFL draft pick Eric Ebron actually posted a comment on Hill's Instagram account after learning that Hill had chosen the Hokies over the Tarheels:

Ebron_medium

Oh no he didn't. Yeah, actually he did. His statement isn't entirely true, but perception is reality most of the time and Ebron was the 10th overall pick in this years draft from a rival conference foe UNC, so I guess he has a little room to talk smack. 27-17, Eric.

ANOTHER COMMIT ON THE HORIZON?

The Hokie coaching staff hopes to keep the momentum going when in-state three star (247Sports) Outside Linebacker/DE Damien Dozier (6'4", 210lbs) from Virginia Episcopal School (Lynchburg, VA) will make his decision Monday morning with the Hokies the prohibitive favorites.

Based upon those schools, Tech and lead recruiter Cornell Brown should have no issue closing the deal on Dozier. Dozier also holds offers from WVU, Marshall and Cincinnati. An under-rated athlete, Dozier has a great frame to stack on 20-30 lbs hoping to add to Tech's depth on the front seven.

AND MORE?

Nash Central (Rocky Mount, NC) Strong-Side Defensive End Houshun Gaines (6'4', 220lbs) is rated a high three star (247Sports) and chimmed in shortly after Trevon Hill gave his pledge to the Hokies:

This would be a great get for Tech in its quest to replenish the gaps in our defensive front depth. Gaines also holds offers from the Florida Gators, Miami Hurricanes and NC State Wolfpack.

Don't play with my emotions, Mr. Gaines. 9-friday-quotes_medium

Stayed tuned on Gaines' decision...

AND DEN?

F6sulxv_medium

Despite the early struggles Tech has endured this year, the Hokie staff is in position to turn this year into a very solid to great class if it can finish in on their top remaining DE/DT prospects.

  • VT appears to be in the lead for four star (247Sports) DE Darrell Taylor (Hopewell, VA) and is also the cousin of 2014 Tech recruit Tabyus Taylor who recently found out that he would have to prep this coming year before being admitted.
  • Jalen Dalton, a 6'5", 235lb four start (247Sports) DE from Clemmons, NC (West Forsyth) holds over 20 offers from the likes of Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, South Carolina, Texas, and Notre Dame among others has according to our friends at 247Sports Virginia Tech, Florida, Florida State and UNC as his top four. The home standing Tarheels appear to have the edge at this point.
  • And the crown jewel of the class of course, five star (247Sports) #1 DE in the Nation Josh Sweat (Oscar Smith) Chesapeake, VA. Many pundits are calling him the best DE prospect since Jadeveon Clowney. What a tremendous get Sweat would be for the VT staff and an infusion of energy into this class. Tech currently remains firmly entrenched in his top schools along with Florida State, Ohio State, Tennessee, Oregon, Texas A&M and Georgia.
  • Sweat's teammate in three star RB DeShawn McClease is also nearing a decision with the Hokies also a top of his list along with Maryland, Louisville and UNC. The Hokies are in line for the double play, would be a great victory in the 757 for two tremendous athletes.

  • Another in-state talent to keep an eye on is Centreville High School (Centreville, VA) three star ATH/RB A.J. Turner. Turner will be participating in this weeks "Opening" combine with some of the best prospects from around the country at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, OR. Turner is believed to be favoring the Gamecocks in South Carolina and nearing a decision soon. Other schools that look to be in contention are Clemson, Michigan State, Ohio State and UVa. Turner played in last years state championship game for the Centreville Wildcats who defeated Oscar Smith in last years VA 6A state title game 35-6.

Stayed tuned for more recruiting updates as they happen!

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