With Virginia Tech Football fast approaching, we start to take a hard look at the 2015 recruiting class and what holes the Hokies need to fill on the roster for success in the future years to come.
First, let's take a look at the break down of upperclassmen on both sides of the ball for the Hokies:
Offense: Eleven Seniors / Nine Juniors:
OL-Joe St. Germain
Defense: Five Seniors / Seven Juniors:
OLB-Derek Di Nardo
We see that the Hokies will be losing a lot along the offensive front in the next two years and will need to mainly go after offensive linemen. The staff does have some young and promising linemen on the rise with Wyatt Teller, Augie Conte, and Parker Osterloh, but will need to find talented players to complement them in the coming years.
Meanwhile, the receiver position has been an area of concern ever since the departures of Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin. Joshua Stanford and Willie Byrn will have to step up along with Demitri Knowles to lead the receiving corps this year. These guys will be here for another year, but the staff must find dependable receivers to catch passes and make plays in either this class or the next with Byrn leaving after this season.
Ignore RB, TE, and the Kicking Game
The running back position is taken care of as usual with the emergence of Marshawn Williams and newcomer Shai McKenzie along with Joel Caleb and Jerome Wright. But don't be shocked if the Hokies pick up a couple of decent running backs in 2015 just because they always like to have plenty of options to pick from in their stable.
Tight end could also be an area that the Hokies should address, but they look to be okay for the next few years with Kalvin Cline and Bucky Hodges.
Finally, the place kicker and punting situation will most likely always be settled by a battle of walk-ons, as Tech won't waste a scholarship on any of them.
Now for the defense. This is always something Tech is will to improve upon because of the belief that a great defense will win Tech a national championship. Although, Tech isn't losing too many players after this season, it is losing key players such as Luther Maddy and then Dadi Nicolas after next season. Then both safeties Kyshoen Jarrett and Detrick Bonner will be gone after this season as well. To make matters worse Chase Williams, Josh Trimble, and Ronny Vandyke will also be leaving after this season, making the linebacking corps even more inexperienced than it already is. This proves that the defense is something that has to constantly be recruited and reloaded year in and year out in Blacksburg if the Hokies want to succeed and win games. Tech is always looking to get better on the defensive side of the ball, and is going hard after talented players, already gaining four commitments on that side of the ball for 2015:
Early 2015 Defensive Verbal Commitments
Greensboro, NC (Northern Guilford)
Washington, DC (Woodson H.D.)
Hampton, VA (Phoebus)
Indianapolis, IN (Lawrence Central)
Where Do We Look To Fill These Holes?
One notable item is that there is only one player from the state of Virginia in the table above, which is Top 30 Virginia prospect Harry Lewis of Phoebus. The other players are from pipeline areas/states like North Carolina and D.C. along with Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis which also produced Tech running back Darren Evans.
Tech likes to recruit versatile players that can move around, so by gaining a defensive tackle and defensive end you never know if they could switch positions along the line, put on weight, or even shed some off to fit a particular role. Then a lot of times with cornerbacks and safeties, they can switch to either position and the coaches will mold them to their liking. It's all a part of the game Virginia Tech likes to play. And they can play it well.
In all honesty, I believe the Hokies will find their talent on defense in the continuing trend that you see in the table. They will attack in state prospects first and always have a fall back plan. They will attack the 757, Richmond area, and Northern Virginia first to get top in state talent. If things get cold they will pursue pipeline state prospects that fit their needs and mold and go after them and make offers the players won't refuse. (Had to use the Godfather line here). Tech selects their players with technique and a lot in mind with where their team is at the moment. This is something that won't change in the next couple of years. So look for more defensive players from the Carolina's and the D.C./Maryland area if Tech can't land the home-grown talent they desire in 2015.