With rumors swirling about who might be the Jeff Grimes replacement as the Virginia Tech Hokies offensive line coach, the more important business of trying to retain his incoming class of offensive line recruits carried on. Unfortunately, the VT 2014 recruiting class suffered a significant blow today when three-star offensive lineman Brady Taylor rescinded his verbal commitment to play at Virginia Tech, and instead accepted a late Urban Meyer offer. He will attend A Ohio State University in the fall.
Taylor looked to be the most highly regarded of the five incoming linemen, who all hail from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio. I've always maintained that a three-star lineman from PA or OH is a four-star prospect at the position elsewhere, so all of these recruits have upside based upon their football pedigree(s).
Today, Taylor made an extremely gracious announcement on Twitter, stating "Virginia Tech will ways have a special place in my heart and I apologize for letting
#hokienation down, this was the best decision for me." Personally, though I would have loved to have him, once we heard Urban had made the offer, it was a foregone conclusion for a Columbus native like Taylor to jump at the opportunity to be a hometown hero. The fact that Grimes was exiting had little to do with anything, at least it's not as much of a factor in his decision as it might be for the remaining four prospective linemen.
Still remaining in this year's haul: Billy Ray Mitchell, who appears as resolute in his commit as ever, having tweeted, "#fab4". The other three, who will join Billy Ray on their official visits to Tech this weekend are Colt Pettit (Deschler, OH); Tyrell Smith (Ramsey, NJ); and Eric Gallo (Holland, PA). None rates higher than a three-star, but trusting in Grimes idea for who best fits for the transitioning Loeffler offense, and the regions from which they hail, we must remain optimistic that the star ratings are merely an arbitrary starting point that has no actual bearing on the quality of talent we will be receiving.
With signing day around the corner, there is the possibility that we make up for the attrition here. But it is also unlikely. VT likes to get their commits in early and not leave themselves left at the altar as higher-profile schools swoop in at the last minute with late offers. Historically, VT's classes have been almost completely filled by the time the summer camps have wrapped up. Coach Beamer doesn't like to roll the dice on highly regarded talent that may pull the rug out from under him. The risk/reward proposition in this sometimes leaves me frustrated with our lack of willingness to show we will stay in the game and battle for top recruits, but there is little that I can do about a process that may as well be engrained in the bedrock you see as you climb I-81 into the New River Valley.
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