Since we're out of season and into the NCAA mandated ‘Dead Period', the updates from now through the bowl season to Mid-January are going to be sparse, and possibly rife with speculation. Luckily there were some interesting events this past week, and some things that I need to cover or evaluate. The biggest news, in terms of at least ‘known quantities' is that we had a bunch of recruits make their talked-about early enrollment reality.
Virginia Tech Early Enrollment Press Release
Again, this was all expected, but Samuel Denmark, Divine Deablo, Joshua Jackson, Eric Kumah, Khalil Ladler, and Jimmie Taylor have signed their grant-in-aid paperwork, which means that they will be enrolling in January when the season starts. This is especially helpful for Diablo, Denmark, Kumah, and Jackson- the receivers to get in on the depth chart fight behind Ford and Phillips, and Jackson for getting in and learning the system to compete for the starting job. Between Jérod Evans, Dwayne Lawson, and Jackson, we'll have the three main competitors on campus when Coach Fuente takes over from Coach Beamer. All will have an equal opportunity to win the job- and that's not counting Chris Durkin, who may stick at QB as well for now. I personally don't think Motley's in that competition for much chance.
Of course, we also had two JUCO players of late enter Virginia Tech: Jérod Evans, covered last week, and Demetri Moore, who committed this week. I was scooped by a fellow writer here, but to chip in my two cents on his tape as usual, I'll grab it here:
Demetri Moore (Moorhead, MS. 285lbs, 6'-6". Offensive Tackle)
Moore is signed, so he's going to Tech in the spring for sure. Don't be deceived by the name in his highlight, that's him (It's a Naruto reference, something to do with an anime for those that don't know). The guy is definitely athletic. You don't see coaches willing to pull backside tackles on opposite-end running plays all the time. He's also pretty strong for his weight and makes quick work of defenders one-on-one, flattening them or simply mauling them. He does have the consistent ability to get to the second level, chasing down linebackers and moving fairly well in space. However, there are a couple of issues I can see- because I'm not a Mississippi Delta C.C. viewer, I can't ell the overall quality of their offensive line and who is doing exactly what on a consistent basis. What I mean by that is, sometimes I think that while Moore is doing his best one-on-one, I'm not entirely sure if that's exactly what the blocking scheme really dictates. Sometimes he seems really eager to let his guy go and get to the next level when another second or two at the first level would help the play. Two, he's not a true power blocker- he's a power blocker in a finesse mold. He does his best to counter defensive techniques and fold people up on themselves, not necessarily brute push them out of the way. He's definitely worth the scholarship, sure. He had offers from Auburn, Georgia, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kentucky, Memphis, Misssissippi State, Southern Miss, and USF on the board. That's a lot of teams that want him, and I think he can be good. My issue with him is, is he doing what he's supposed to or is he flying around on automatic and not helping his teammates. I can't tell that because I don't know their exact team blocking responsibilities and calls, but that takes time, trust, and continuity to develop.
Tech also had TJ Jackson commit this week, making Coach Fuente's couple of weeks before the Dead Period very fruitful- Patterson recommitted, Jackson committed, and Evans and Moore are signed, sealed, and delivered. He kept most of the class together and added to it, which is great work for someone on the job and working out of an ‘office' in Lane Stadium. He's not even finished hiring true staff or his recruiting wing, either. From what I've heard, they're intending on doubling the size of the non-official recruiting staff, and are also planning on getting ‘assistant' position coaches, ones that are freer of the NCAA regulations. This allows them to go after or watch other players and get into recruiting more heavily. It's a definite change and step-up from the Beamer Era. It wouldn't surprise me if you saw them try and hire someone from the 757 directly, up to and including a current high-school coach. Based on the 2017 recruiting outlook? It wouldn't surprise me if it was someone from the staff of either Ocean Lakes (featuring 4-stars Khalan Laborn, Tahj Capehart, and Eric Crosby) or Indian River (Devon Hunter).
Last bit of news on this week: Two Virginia Tech commits, Samuel Denmark and Divine Deablo played in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. If you're interested, you can catch a replay of the game here on ESPN3.
Thanks to 247Sports, we can see that Deablo and Denmark both caught passes for their teams. Denmark went for 50 yards on three catches and Deablo had two receptions for 64 yards and a TD.
Divine Deablo-- Great name, better catch. @ShrineBowlNCSC @Mounttaborsport pic.twitter.com/b5Np54jeHI— Derek Phillips (@DerekPhillips89) December 20, 2015
Thanks to a Mr. Derek Phillips, we're able to see Deablo catch his touchdown over the shoulder of former VT commit Troy Pride.
Pride, along with North Carolina lineman Landon Dickerson, are still VT targets, but neither are likely to come to Tech. Based on the fact that they grabbed Jackson, Moore, and a huge remaing target is Malcolm Pridgeon, a 4-star JUCO OT, we're out of the running for Dickerson.
To put an end to this article, here's the official explanation for the recruiting Dead Period from the NCAA:
‘During a dead period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period.'
In other words, the can continue to talk and be in someone's ear, but they can't be directly hovering. Official visits are kind of limited since the coaches can't engage with the recruits, but there's nothing stopping them from unofficially coming down by themselves and meeting with, say, Thomas Guerry, who's the director of ‘High School Relations'. In other words, he's the guy that handles recruiting and announcements when coaches can't.
Dead period lol... Time to close— Thomas Guerry (@thomasguerry) December 14, 2015
Time to close indeed.