For the class of 2015, Hokienation finds itself in a familiar place: one of the biggest fish in the 2015 pond is again in our backyard and we’re hopeful but skeptical that we can land him. Tim Settle (6'3.5" 305) out of Stonewall Jackson High School (Manassas, VA) is listed by 247Sports as the #1 DT in Virginia, #4 DT nationally, and the #19 overall player for 2015. His offer list stretches 34 schools long (as of March 14) and is a veritable Who’s Who of NCAA Football, including all of the "expected" East Coast ACC and SEC schools, plus national powers such as USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as well as up-and-comers Texas A&M and Mizzou.
Tim possesses freakish physical attributes and an elite skill-set, and is even compared to one of the all-time greats in this writeup by SBN's Bud Elliott:
"I am a big fan of Tim Settle. If I had two words to describe him, they would be "explosive" and "disruptive." On film, he does a great job of exploding through blockers and quickly getting off them and after the running back. He showcases excellent skills for a three-technique defensive tackle, the position made famous by Warren Sapp in Tampa Bay.
Settle is ridiculously flexible and his first step is unreal in terms of power and quickness. He—as are nearly all 300-pound high school defensive linemen—is at his best when he’s bull rushing the poor offensive lineman across from him; however, he will spin to get himself free for outside pursuit and added a nifty and effective swim move to his tool box for his junior season:
Stonewall Jackson (VA) Tim Settle #70 T,DE - Class of 2015 (via MaxPreps High School Sports)
And he’s only 16 years old. Talk about scary…
Virginia Tech will certainly try to sell Tim on the obvious: playing time will be available for him in Blacksburg. Luther Maddy is set to graduate in 2015 (as is current question mark Corey Marshall), leaving only Woody Baron, Kris Harley, Nigel Williams, and incoming signees Ricky Walker and Steve Sobczak in Bud Foster’s LPD DT cupboard. Unfortunately with a player of Settle’s caliber and physical attributes, everyone and their mother will be selling him on playing time.
One question that has come up among Hokie faithful is how was VT so comparatively late getting in on such a highly-touted Virginia prospect? Until the 2012 season that saw the Raiders go 9-2 before being upset in the playoffs by Colonial Forge, Stonewall Jackson had been flat out terrible since 2004, even with former VT standout Ryan Williams toting the rock for the Raiders from that season until his graduation in 2008. Given that his team hadn’t done him any favors in terms of exposure and also that he hadn’t been promoting himself individually on the camp circuit, Settle was a complete unknown with merely a "local" reputation until he attended UNC’s Junior Day last February with his quarterback, incoming Hokie signee Greg Stroman. There, UNC inquired more about him, watched his film, and offered him on the spot.
Even then, the offers didn’t start rolling in until Settle went with Stroman and a couple other teammates to the Richmond Rivals Camp in mid-April. There, he was named #2 on Rivals’ list of Top Underclassmen, and his recruitment exploded. He received offers from ODU and Michigan, and on May 1, Alabama pulled the trigger on him. Ohio State and South Carolina offered the very next day, and on May 4, South Carolina offered without ever having seen Settle in person. On May 9, Virginia Tech became Settle’s ninth overall offer. Late? Perhaps. But, considering Settle has netted nearly forty offers to date, if he chooses someone other than Virginia Tech, it is highly unlikely that VT being his ninth offer will be the reason for his choice.
Both Rivals and 247Sports are under the impression Settle is a heavy ‘Bama lean. That is absolutely not the case. Early on, perhaps; however, the longer the process has gone on, interest has faded quite a bit on both sides. It is quite hard to say who Settle IS leaning toward, as it seems he has a new favorite after every school he visits…and he’s visiting a lot of them.
This one will absolutely go down to the wire—on many fronts—until National Signing Day 2015. As long as Stroman is in Blacksburg the Hokies will be firmly in the race, as Greg will definitely have Tim’s ear when he talks of his experiences. Settle is scheduled to narrow his list before the start of his senior season and announce his college choice at the Under Armour All-American Game in January. He is being recruited for the Hokies by both Torrian Gray and Bud Foster. For inside scoop straight from the source, follow Tim on Twitter (@tim_settle).