Now that Tim Settle has finally been accepted, we know where the recruiting class of 2015 is- Blacksburg or elsewhere. Eric Whitehead was lost to junior college for academic ineligibility, as is Adonis Williamson. This basically releases them from their letter of intent, and they are free to sign elsewhere when their two years in JUCO are up. Counting on contributions from them now or in the future is put to the side completely; we wish them luck in getting their grades right and hope they can join us later.
This, however, has only a limited scope of implications for the class of 2016, which is still in the process of a standard, low-key build up. Since coaches are always aiming to replace graduates and transfers, let's look over the depth charts to see what kind of slots we're going to need to fill.
- Michael Brewer (R-Sr)
- Brendan Motley (R-Jr)
- Chris Durkin(R-Fr)
- Jack Click (R-Fr)
- Dwayne Lawson (Fr- Incoming)
Of that, only Brewer is guaranteed no further eligibility after this year, barring a medical redshirt. The team will look to put another quarterback in that vacated roster slot, ideally. Taking a QB a year gives you multiple options in terms of replacement strategy, especially if you're dealing with inconsistent play like we have the past few years. This past cycle we nabbed Lawson as a flip from Miami with an eye on him being the future- that doesn't mean that we can go out and fall flat on other options like we had done with Logan Thomas, where we couldn't seem to recruit anyone of quality for years.
Right now, per 247sports.com, Virginia Tech currently has one QB verbally committed, and only one or two that are, realistically, on our radar. For a short time that was Jawon Pass, a talented and highly coveted recruit from Carver, GA. He is off the board- he's headed to Louisville as of today, with Alabama and Auburn being the real losers in this competition.
Who we DO have committed to us is a talent from Michigan, which under normal circumstances would be surprising. However, he's got recruiting ties to Scot Loeffler, who was a friend of his father's when they both coached on the Michigan staff.
Joshua Jackson (Saline, MI. 200lbs, 6'-2", Dual-threat Quarterback)
Jackson reminds me of a larger Tyrod Taylor- more mass, less speed. His delivery flows well- he throws a nice looking ball with a good spiral. Jackson knows where and when to step up into the pocket, and has no problems taking a beating. Some of his opponents were very blitz-happy, and he had to deal with a lot of pressure in his face and still made the right reads. That ability to hang in the pocket and deliver passes translates regardless of level. He does very well rolling right and left, which has a tendency to worry me for the sake of optimization of skills. Our offensive strategy for the most part hasn't revolved around that concept. I do like the fact that he played outdoors in Michigan- if the season gets late, he's not going to be thrown off by Bleaksburg weather.
As far as taking another quarterback in this class, it's a possibility. Right now the other realistic option is a Pro-style quarterback from Florida.
Augie DeBiase (Jacksonville, FL. 220lbs, 6'-2", Pro-style Quarterback)
DeBiase is an interesting case. Making a comparison for him brings to mind a mesh of several players. Playing style wise, he reminds me of Collin Klein, the quarterback from Kansas State a couple years ago. He can throw well enough; he's decently athletic and can move around and avoid pressure or take off running. He currently runs the Chris Ault-invented Pistol formation, which basically is a short shotgun with the back behind the quarterback rather than to the side, combining shotgun and I formation. We experimented with this formation with Thomas for years. With how his offensive line blocked for him, he needed that extra time. He has a sidearm delivery similar looking to Philip Rivers- maybe a bit more exaggerated than that, though, as Rivers has made his motion very compact over years of refinement. He throws a better ball than Jackson, at least on tape. Right now he's getting some sniffs from SEC teams, including UGA and apparently has interest from Indiana (They're rated higher than us on the interest level in 247, which can mean something...or nothing. On lower level prospects, their success rates tend to be lower).
As for running backs, our cupboards are somewhat full. For once, we have a distribution of youth and experience and a good blend of skills that prevents obvious duplication at a spot you want versatility in choice between backs.
- JC Coleman (Sr.)
- Trey Edmunds (R-Jr.)
- Marshawn Williams (So.)
- Travon McMillian (R-Fr.)
- DJ Reid (R-Fr.)
- Deshawn McClease (Incoming Fr)
(Note: Shai McKenzie is still in self-inflicted limbo, and might not return to the team)
This is one position where we don't exactly have a supremely high need for additional talent. At present, we've got one recruit that might fit the replacement bill for Coleman's slot, if the coaching staff wants him to be a running back.
Reggie Floyd (Manassas, VA. 205lbs, 6'-0", Athlete)
From a skillset perspective, it's kind of easy to see why he's a solid three star on most sites (4-star on 247). He does a lot of things, but I'm not sure if he does any one thing excessively well. He runs rather easily and has some nice jump-cuts back and forth, and appears to have fairly good vision. He's also got the ability to run through tackles and stiff-arm. On top of that, he does seem to be able to accelerate through holes quickly and get downfield. To me, he's like the B/B+ level result of people trying to mash together all three of our past good college running backs (Darren Evans, Ryan Williams, and David Wilson). Is that B/B+ enough to be a feature back in college? We'll see.
One more recruit I want to share is an interesting case of what my father deems our ‘athle-rosclerosis': an obsession with recruits projected as ‘ATH' that might or might not fit at a college level at one position. For the following recruit, I'd suggest running back myself, once he bulks up- but the problem is that he's a tweener.
Jovonn Quillen (Hampton, VA. 185lbs, 6'-2", Athlete)
Quillen is another of the 757's quarterback style. Athletic, good arm, dodges tackles. He's plenty shifty and has a good juke move and ability to escape certain doom- a talent that plays well in Blacksburg. He's got another gear that gets him past the first level and into the secondary, and a solid enough throwing motion that he might just BE an actual quarterback. However, I like how Jackson projects more in that position. Quillen plays in an even more outlandish system- it's very similar to what NCAA Football dubbed the ‘Gator Heavy'- a formation in the Florida Gators playbook that worked as almost a pooch punt formation to the quarterback with the running backs in place of personal protectors. His offense does offer a bit of versatility, though- you can see him in normal shotgun and in ace (single-back) formation as well. To me, Quillen is a kid you have a hard time finding a spot for, however- is he a quarterback, a running back, or somehow does he end up at defensive back or wide receiver? Whatever it is, I'm sure he'll try his hardest, but sometimes, being a jack of all trades means you're not in a position to do any of them.
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