Jake Grove played for Jefferson Forest High School. A unanimous All-American and Rimington Trophy winner in 2003, he was selected in the second round of the 2004 draft by the Oakland Raiders. Virginia Tech fans will remember him as the anchor of what was one of the best O-Lines in recent memory. He had a serious chip on his shoulder during his playing days. He was physical, and unrelenting. Larry Coker, former coach of the Miami Hurricanes, tried to brand him as dirty. These days, as a father of two, Jake has returned to Forest, VA to coach the J.F. Cavaliers as an assistant. I spoke with Jake about what it was like being a target during recruiting, and what it was like progressing to the N.F.L..
"I had gotten a lot of letters from a lot of different colleges. Some of the coaches had come to see me and some of the other players at my high school. Coach Beamer and coach Bustle came to my school one day, and I had not gotten a scholarship anywhere. Coach Beamer and coach Bustle came in to look at one of my teammates, and my coach, Ed Landis, pulled me out of class to introduce me. Three days later Coach Bustle called and offered me a scholarship to Virginia Tech." The Hokie coaches were there to actually recruit Butch Jefferson, who would later sign with (gasp) U.V.A.. Now committed to Tech, Grove had no second thoughts. "I called Rickey Bustle who recruited our area. I told him I wasn't interested in looking anywhere else."
In the age of the "hat dance", the Twitter announcements and the like, Grove was recruited in a simpler time. He told Bustle he was coming, and he delivered. I asked Jake what he thought about the evolution of recruiting. "It's nothing like it is today. I'm not too big on all of that." On signing day, Jefferson Forrest had 3 players including Groves who signed Division One letters of intent. There was press from Lynchburg and Roanoke to cover the festivities. Jake takes a more conservative view when it comes to signing these youngsters of today. "They haven't done anything. Half of them won't even pan out. I think you should prove yourself before you start doing those sort of things" In an era of self-promotion and me first, Groves hit this nail on the head. "Hey, everybody has their own way." Groves' way was to under promise and over deliver. So when you watch the video below, remember a simpler time. Remember when a kid just said, "I'm coming to Virginia Tech."