After the impromptu firing on Seth Greenberg, many Virginia Tech fans were worried about how the move would affect the Hokies' recruiting efforts as well as their current crop of players. It appears to this point those concerns were legitimate, as already we've seen two of the biggest recruits (one former and one current) in program history decide to go elsewhere.
However, the inability to keep the aforementioned players/sign new ones is not on the new coaching staff. It was WAY too late in the recruiting cycle for the coaches to get a foothold. That is on Jim Weaver for the timing of his decision to fire Seth Greenberg.
Coach Johnson put a staff together lightning quick, and although there were a bunch of no-name guys added (to the casual observer at least), Johnson put together probably the best staff that could have been expected under the circumstances (more on that in a later post). Although the new staff hasn't had the results they wanted yet in terms of commitments, they've been out burning rubber and making their mark on the road. Since they haven't secured a commitment, I thought I'd show you what they have been up to. Here's a look into their efforts.
Today the Richmond Times Dispatch's Virginia Tech beat writer Mike Barber tweeted that the Hokies are still looking to take a player/players for their 2012 recruiting class. This is about the tenth time I've heard something to that effect, so I would say it is safe to assume the Tech coaching staff has not completely ruled out the possibility of bringing in a 2012 player despite the lack of good/eligible players available at this point.
One player I have heard rumors about is Corbin Collins, a point guard out of Massanutten Military Academy in High Point, NC. He now claims four power conference offers, though Tech is the closest of those schools proximity-wise and can likely offer him the most playing time early on. I could only find one video on Collins, so...here it is. It's tough to judge how good of a player Collins is as it's a relatively short video and doesn't include multiple events. He appears to have a pretty reliable jumper, good playmaking ability and pretty good speed that allows him to drive and shoot or drive and kick. But three words I can say: LACK OF COMPETITION. Fortunately that factor doesn't determine how good a player will be, but seems to suggest HOW SOON a player will contribute. So far he is the only new player that I haven't included in my previous 2012 basketball recruiting posts for which I can substantiate a Tech offer.
Switching to the class of 2013, the coaching staff is also trying to get a handle on those players. Believe it or not the coaching switch doesn't only put the Hokies behind the 8-ball for the 2012 class, but also the next couple classes. The program will likely see the residual effects of that move for several years. Hampton, VA point guard Anthony Barber, a 2013 prospect offered by the Greenberg staff still apparently holds a Tech offer, but continues to maintain that he has had very little contact with the new coaching staff, that he didn't really know James Johnson well when he was a Greenberg assistant and that he was not keen on the move to fire Greenberg. It is believed the Hokies are out of consideration for him despite him saying he will still consider them though they are not among his favorites.
Troy Caupain is another guard prospect that the Hokies are interested in for the class of 2013. Caupain had an offer from the Hokies before Greenberg was fired and according to numerous sources, he still maintains an offer. What may help the Hokies is that he has somewhat of a close relationship with James Johnson and Johnson was actually one of his primary recruiters on Greenberg's staff.
Caupain's Team Loaded AAU teammate R.J. Curington has also drawn interest from the Hokies, but not an offer to date. Curington might be the more lauded of the two players a year from now simply because he is at Oak Hill which provides him with a national audience and therefore more scouts and assistants to see him play. It is generally thought that he is under the radar right now, but that offers should roll in for him soon. He is a little undersized for the small forward position, so it is unclear if that is where he projects. He may be a hybrid wing guard/forward, especially if he ends up in a power conference.
Another 2013 player the Hokies are pursuing is Columbia, SC shooting guard Matt Howard. Howard is one of the Hokies' top priorities in the 2013 class and held an offer from the Greenberg staff. The interest from the new staff has apparently only intensified as they have jumped on him on the recruiting trail. Howard is one of the top guards in the nation for the class of 2013 and has an offer list like you would expect for a player of his caliber, so the Hokies have their work cut out for them.
There are a litany of other names that have been talked about as Hokies prospects for the class of 2013 and 2014, but many are not confirmed or do not hold offers. One thing is for sure though looking at some of those names, the overall talent level of the players the Hokies are looking at in those classes is lower than in previous years, at least according to the rankings of the major recruiting sites. I am always quick to caution that rankings are not the end all and be all, but rather strong correlation with how a player will probably perform at the next level. As we all know, Greenberg had the best recruiting rankings consistently in Tech's history but still failed to get the level of talent and production out of those players as their rankings suggested he should, opposite the trend that the Virginia Tech football program has championed.
As the 2013 recruiting class takes shape and should the Hokies' 2012 class add a member, rest assured Gobbler Country will have you covered. All you have to do is to keep a watchful eye for all your Virginia Tech sports news needs.