It's been interesting to watch recruiting news and crawlers and hear from my source over what's been happening so far in the Fuente era. Obviously, Coach Fuente can't do much else other than sales and politics at the moment. Installing his new offense would be a distraction to the team, and ultimately disrespectful. So he's been out and about. This week he was down in the 757 and he made it to the Indian River- Highland Spring football game (more on that later).
Coming for you 757!! pic.twitter.com/ycwV0g54mT— Justin Fuente (@CoachFuente) December 1, 2015
New @VT_Football head coach Justin Fuente in the house at Highland Springs. @NBC12 pic.twitter.com/V00bR7G1a7— Marc Davis (@marcdavissports) December 5, 2015
Based on 247 headlines and information I'm getting, he's also been sure to show up in front of or call almost every recruit. From what I can tell, those committed right now are on board with Coach Fu and the new Virginia Tech regime. That's at least a quality start. The other thing I've noticed was that we've been offering players from across the country- Alabama (Velus Jones, Jr., currently committed to USC), two in Oklahoma (Kyle Mayberry (currently committed to Kansas) and Lon'Trelle Miller), and a JUCO prospect in South Carolina (Dre Massey, recently committed to Florida). That's one thing that Fuente might bring- now that he's got the Virginia Tech name, he's going to go use it. You miss on 100% of the recruits you don't offer. He's also showing an aggressive streak, going after guys that are already committed. I like that, just that obviously it's lower percentage. But who knows. We'll see how that ends up.
The rest of this week has been confirming who exactly will make up his staff. We already knew Foster was going to stick, but now we've got more names: Torrian Gray, Charley Wiles, Holmon Wiggins (his WR coach at Memphis who was visiting Samuel Denmark this week, among other things), James Shibest (Special teams and tight ends from Memphis), Brad Cornelson (his co-OC and QB coach from Memphis), and Vance Vice (his OL coach from Memphis). That means we're still lacking anyone at the linebacker level or at the running back spot (you get 9 full time assistants per this contract and due to NCAA rules). Right now, there's plenty of smoke in the air that current WRs Coach Zohn Burden might come back to the team (mostly because he's a 757 guy, and that area takes special attention if you're not someone of Florida, Alabama, or etc.'s caliber on the national stage, which we aren't). In that case, Holmon Wiggins would move to the RB coach spot. On the potential Burden hiring, unfortunately, even Virginia Tech can't simply walk into the 757 and demand attention. Canning Bryan Stinespring has its problems, and the relationship he'd built up with the players from the 757 and the coaches there is a problem when he's out of a job- and possibly working for someone else. I'd not be surprised if he shows up on UVA's coaching staff next year. And that'll hurt. The problem with winning the state, as has become the motto, is that VT isn't ‘local' to a lot of these high schools. It's 3-5 hours away, and for that, you might as WELL go out of state. Combine that with our lack of success, it's easier to see why we've been tanking Virginia recruiting so often.
At any rate, back to the high school playoffs. Below are the players still in season, thanks to playoff games. Players out of season include Jovonn Quillen, Clay Dean, Emmanuel Belmar, Jimmie Taylor, Divine Deablo, Reggie Floyd, Eric Kumah, Joshua Jackson, Samuel Denmark, Thomas Jarrett Hopple, Patrick Kearns, and Khalil Ladler. That leaves only Victor Greene and Tavante Beckett in the playoffs as of now. Insofar as I've heard, we could have a return to the commitment list by Phillip Patterson if Coach Burden stays aboard, but nothing guaranteed. And anything beyond that? Guesswork.
Tavante Beckett (Chesapeake, VA. 215lbs, 6'-0", Outside Linebacker)
Ouch. Beckett and Indian River were bounced unceremoniously from the playoffs at the state semifinals with a 35-10 trouncing by Highland Springs, and Tavante had to leave the game with an ankle injury. Things obviously went downhill from there, as they also had lost Jaquan Yulee (VT target and Alabama commit) to an unsportsmanlike penalty. That doesn't help anything at all.
Victor Greene (Spotsylvania, VA. 215lbs, 6'-0", Outside Linebacker)
No current video, sorry.
Well, crud. Tech's lost all of its committed recruits thanks to another bouncing. Lake Taylor booted Courtland out of the playoffs with a 47-33 butt-kicking.
...Well, trying to figure out what to publish next week is going to be a headscratcher. Guess a best of? Awesome, we'll roll with that.