With just four days between now and signing day, the Virginia Tech Hokies top target is bunking down up in France right now on his last official recruiting visit. Rumored to have been a VT lean for some time now, Derrick Nnadi who is from Ocean Lakes (Va Beach) is milking the signing day spotlight in the Commonwealth of Virginia for all it's worth.
After Nnadi recently declared his three finalists as Virginia Tech, Florida State, and AN Ohio State University, could UVA and their ace recruiter Chip West be primed to steal a third top recruit from the Hokies? After already having snagged two five stars from the 757 region in S Quin Blanding of Bayside (Va Beach) and DT Andrew Brown of Oscar Smith (Chesapeake), it would be a devastating blow if West pulled the three top defensive recruits in the state out of the Tidewater area.
Nnadi is ready-bilt for action, and has the size to play immediately, just as Derrick Hopkins did and as Jonathan Lewis did before him. Unfortunately, Nnadi doesn't already have an older brother on the team as those two did. Nnadi appears to be the classic run stopper. It is essential that Cornell Brown and Charley Wiles close on him. Not so much because we fear UVA will actually do something with all of this talent, but simply because them stealing our Legos is leaving us with an incomplete battle station. Can we please get the rest of this wing for our Star Destroyer?
With a recruiting class already totaling 25, including four January enrollees, taking on more commitments would require some shuffling in terms of meeting the scholarship limits. It would probably necessitate a few grey-shirts. Knowing exactly how many will depend on how much movement the Hokies see between now and Wednesday. And for what it's worth, neither of us can recall so many possibilities in the air at this late date. Usually the Hokies are content to ride the success of the commitments they receive over the summer through their camps, and there isn't a lot of push left for the highly touted out of area stars. It would usually appear to be self-defeating anyhow, as VT hasn't fared too well late in the game.
Here are some of the "heartbreaks" that have occurred since 2005 we as always mark our criticisms beginning on D-Day, aka November 5, 2005 (27-7 Miami):
- LeSean McCoy. Sigh. To be honest he was ours for 4 hours of each day, then Miami's for four hours, then Pitt's, and so on. Until he signed with Pitt he was ours by the softest of verbals. He led the NFL in rushing this season. Branden Ore wasn't bad, but he wasn't Shady.
- Knowshon Moreno. Double sigh. Pre-Algebra. He decided to completely change his choice of schools because he didn't want to take a math class. He now plays for the Broncos on Super Bowl Sunday.
- Olufemi "Ladi" Adjiboye, originally committed to South Carolina, had to go to Hargrave, switched commitment to VT, then switched back to South Carolina.
- Doug Thacker, de-commit to Florida State. His father had played for VT, but his mom was from FLA. He was a good player for the 'Noles.
- DeAntre Rhodes, de-committed to Louisville while at Hargrave.
- Lafonte Thouroughgood, was a QB VT was going to designate as an ATH. Vandy recruited him to play QB, and he got moved to RB. He has now transferred back to JMU and is going to play QB.
- In the most WTF thing we might have heard in major college recruiting, Mario Nixon decided to join three of his teammates in France. OKKKKKKKKK.
- Jawand Blue, stolen at the last minute by Al Golden, prompting a Charley Wiles temper tantrum, is home at Miami getting served up beat downs from the visiting Hokies, so that's nice. Funny thing is, after de-committing, Blue was asked to grey-shirt.
- Robert Lockhart, was also pilfered by Golden (swiper no swiping!!!!) but got buried on the depth chart and had to go JUCO, he is now resuming his career in Nebraska.
- Brady Taylor got called home to Ohio State. As a Columbus native you have to be happy for him.
- Cequan Jefferson opted for Temple after someone held him hostage in a basement and forced him to watch the 1998 low-lights on a loop. 24-28! Did Bill Cosby, Himself (it's a book title also) make a plea for someone whose first name sounds like a shampoo ingredient to take his talents to North Philly? (Sorry been waiting to take that joke public, couldn't resist)
It's not all bad. We've had some late success too. As recently as 2011, VT scored three regulars by playing the spoiler: taking Kyshoen Jarrett away from Pitt when Dave Wannstedt lost his job, snaring Dadi Nicholas from Minnesota, and swaying Darius Redman to de-commit from UVA. And of course this year, VT secured QB Chris Durkin from Michigan State.
Some years the recruits are just more fickle, and with coaching movement, things can be volatile. Such is the case with another big name the Hokies have gotten involved with recently, WR Isaiah Ford. Coach Aaron Morehead, along with perennial smooth-talker Charley Wiles have moved in and put a full court press on the former Louisville commit.
Ford opted out after former coach Charlie Strong vacated the post for Texas when Mack Brown "stepped down". A tall, slight WR he possesses "plus" speed and good hands. He is a four star WR from Florida, a speed state, so we're going to go ahead and call him underrated for Virginia Tech purposes. Snagging him might be one of the highlights of the signing period. Found money. Shame on Tom Jurich (AD at Louisville) for not allowing each recruit a motorcycle ride with Petrino on official visits. It helps break the ice, or you'll help break coach's fall. It's all relative.
We don't know who got Charley Wiles hooked on the five-hour energy, but he and Moorehead are also teaming up to make a treasure out of another power schools' "trash". Notre Dame de-commit Isaiah McKenzie, WR, who is out of Fort Lauderdale, FL and is also rated a four star like his fellow "prophet" from upstate. Two prophets being led by two shepherds in Wiles and Moorehead. It's getting biblical in Blacksburg. McKenzie is small (only 5'8, 175) and quick, with excellent acceleration after the catch. He is six inches shorter than Ford but already thicker. He reminds many of Tavon Austin, and could be an impact specialist for VT immediately.
Continuing on with more pleasant surprises out of the sunshine state, we have another pseudo-legacy situation to cash in on. Weakside defensive end Kevin "Action" (it's cool I admit) Bronson is a huge VT lean right now, and we have the added bonus fortune of him hailing from Village Academy in Delray Beach. Senior Luther Maddy, and junior Dadi Nicolas also went to Village Academy. Which means that once again, Charley Wiles might be having the best recruiting week VT has seen since they secured Kevin Jones from Cardinal O Hara (PA) in 2001. Wiles has made significant inroads at both Atlantic High in Delray (Clowney, Flowers) and now Village Academy. If we weren't born yesterday, we might think that Wiles is scouting retirement properties in his spare time. Admittedly Bronson's choices aren't so attractive as McKenzie (SEC schools Ole Miss and FLA), or Ford (pretty much a lock from what we hear), with Rutgers, South Florida, and Florida Atlantic topping the list. Curiously, Florida is listed at the bottom, but Will Muschamp must not be making a tremendous push. At 6'4, 233 pounds, he takes a fierce picture. It would be nice if we could secure our first effective tall DE since Chris Ellis (you don't count Stephen Friday, you couldn't stop the run vs Boise or JMU and we'll never forgive you). Nolan, for your information, took his visit to VT last weekend.
Charley Wiles if you get all four of these young men, you are one magnificent bastard, and we salute you!
Now that we've covered the four big four star players, we'll move on to someone who may not be as coveted nationally, but is still a solid get locally: LB Raymon Minor of Benedictine (Richmond) a four star who is 9th rated in the state has been a heavy VT lean for sometime, with competing offers from Marshall and Nebraska. Shane Beamer is working on him this weekend on-campus. He is 6'3, 210 and looks like he might be able to fill any of the LB roles.
Thus far it sounds like more good than bad as we close down this recruiting season. VT is looking to maintain top 25 status, and getting any of these five will vault them further up the rankings. If they were to get all five, VT could have a record-breaking (forget breaking, we'll go with shattering) 16 commitments with a four star rating or higher according to the ratings on 24/7.
The potential for bad news is of course that Nnadi, who has already stated that he has made his choice, might be spurning VT in the interest of headlines (UVA, because choosing them would indicate winning was low priority) or to be a part of a national championship contender (FSU/OSU). And in slightly less shocking news, another FL recruit, Javon Harrison (ATH) may be inclined to de-commit if Jimbo Fisher and FSU put on a slightly harder press going down to the wire. Hopefully we hang on to Harrison and haul in five from the state of Florida, securing all of them would be a huge boon, and signal that maybe the energy level is getting TURNT UP in Blacksburg.
In what is our first year on the desk for GobblerCountry, this is exciting news to keep tabs on. We hope you'll follow us as we count down the signings on Wednesday here on GobblerCountry. Keep your eyes peeled on Twitter @gobblercountry, as we update you on the latest recruiting news and alert you to excellent work by our staff.