Six of the Hokies eight commitments to date in the 2014 class hail from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Of those players, two are currently listed in the top-10 in the state according to Virginia Preps (a service that evaluates and ranks players in the Commonwealth). But, on that same top-10 list (which was updated March 3rd), so too does the University of Virginia and several uncommitted players on the list are considered Virginia leans. So what will the Hokies have to do to reign supreme in the Commonwealth recruiting battle of 2014? Well, let's have a look, shall we?
First off, the No. 1 prospect in the state according to the site (and No. 1 in the nation by some sites as well) is Da'Shawn Hand. Hand, long considered to be a Hokie lean, has Tech very high among the programs that he is considering. His list right now includes Alabama, Florida, Michigan, South Carolina and the Hokies in no particular order. It is however believed that he is favoring the combo of Alabama, Michigan and Virginia Tech, and that if one team was to make a claim for him that would take him out of state, it would be one of those two teams. Although those appear to be Hand's final five teams, he has taken visits to other teams not on that list, including Auburn this weekend, though he did essentially dismiss the visit as nothing more than doing his due-diligence despite saying that he would be open to seeing what they had to say. If the Hokies would end up landing Hand, it would be a huge coup, despite the fact that he has been high on Tech since his recruitment began. It would also make a big push towards giving Tech the outright title for Commonwealth recruiting winners, even if Virginia were to have a greater number of the top-10.
Second on the list is Quin Blanding out of Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, a safety commitment to the University of Virginia. Blanding has shot up recruiting boards, and his commitment would appear to give the Cavaliers the early edge. Next on the list is Andrew Brown, a mammoth defensive tackle from Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, who is down to 11 schools: Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, South Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Fourth in the state is Steven Moss, an offensive lineman from Fredericksburg's Chancellor High School, a UVA commit in a position of need for the Hokies. Moss' commitment to the Cavaliers was a huge miss for the Hokies, but with Jeff Grimes' insistence that he will try to recruit that position more nationally and just try to get the nation's best offensive linemen to come to Virginia Tech (something he's been successful with at his previous stops), hopefully that commitment is not as significant as it seems.
Fifth is Derrick Nnadi out of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, another defensive tackle (and ranked the nation's second at the position according to Rivals), is not as far along in his recruitment, but seems to be keen on the Hokies. If Tech misses out on Brown, there's a good chance that they might land Nnadi, who is a pretty good consolation prize to say the least.
No. 6 in the Commonwealth is Lake Taylor High School defensive end Jalyn Holmes, a player who is pretty high on the Hokies though he has yet to narrow his list. Holmes may alter his opinion of the Hokies however if he is beaten to the punch by Hand's commitment to the Hokies, as Tech already has Vincent Mihota committed at defensive end in 2014, as well as some recent, talent-laden defensive line heavy classes.
No. 7 in the state is quarterback Caleb Henderson out of Lake Braddock High School in Burke. Henderson has committed to North Carolina, and there is no reason to believe that he will not honor that commitment. Plus, Scot Loeffler is more interested in several other nationally-ranked quarterbacks who apparently have a great deal of mutual interest. So if one of those guys commits, this is a non-issue.
Coming in at No. 8 is the Hokies highest commitment on this list to date in Fredericksburg's Massaponax High School defensive end Vincent Mihota, who committed at last year's spring game. Mihota has been solid to the Hokies ever since.
Ninth is also a Tech commitment, this one of the recent variety, Travon McMillian. McMillian, an athlete out of C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge, committed just over a week ago.
Last in the top-10 is Jamil Kamara, a wide receiver out of Catholic in Virginia Beach. He is considered a Virginia or out of state lean, as he has eliminated the Hokies from his list entirely.
So as of right now, Virginia Tech has just as many top-10 2014 Commonwealth commitments as Virginia, though the two 'Hoos are both higher on that list, and North Carolina has one. As for the remaining five, the Hokies have a good chance of landing at least two, something that would presumably give them the edge or keep them in the hunt for Commonwealth recruiting superiority.
The range between 11-25, the one where the Hokies usually dominate, already contains three current Tech commits in C.J. Reavis (No. 14), Marshawn Williams (No. 16) and Xavier Burke (No. 18). The only in-state commit that is not currently in the top-25 according to Virginia Preps is Terrell Edmunds. So the Hokies are well on their way there. By comparison, Virginia has approximately zero commitments from this range so far. So the fact that they have two of the top commitments in the state versus more top-25 in-state commitments shows that it's closer than what just looking at the top-10 would lead you to believe.
Likewise, this list will be edited, and players will make their way up or down the list based on several different factors (performance, injuries, etc.). While it's not clear if that would favor the Hokies or the 'Hoos right now, it would be less likely for the current Virginia commits to move up too far, as it seems pretty improbable any player is unseating Da'Shawn Hand as the best player in the Commonwealth in 2014. But it might benefit players such as C.J. Reavis, who may be a little low at No. 14 as of right now.
So that is a picture of where the Hokies are in their in-state recruiting battle with the 'Hoos and the battle to retain the services of the Commonwealth's best against some of the nation's elite. We'll continue to update you on the developments, both in the form of commitment news, state rankings and the class as a whole. For all that recruiting news and analysis and more, Gobbler Country is your Virginia Tech recruiting hub.