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Going Deep: Hokie Receiver Prospects 2016

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A current recruiting snapshot of Tech's effort to replace one positional bumper crop with another.

Hokie Receivers Isaiah Ford and Willie Byrn celebrating a rare touchdown
Hokie Receivers Isaiah Ford and Willie Byrn celebrating a rare touchdown
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

You'd think that we'd learn our lesson. To call back to my father's depth chart preview for spring, we've currently got a bumper crop of wide receivers on the roster. That doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon. Tech is in line for several possible recruits on that end, with a few already committed. Since we seemed half-heartedly determined to develop a passing game, we're going to need to recruit plenty of wideouts, hopefully with different skillsets and abilities to set them apart.

Our current depth chart is as follows- making no distinction between ‘X' and ‘Z' receivers:

  1. Isaiah Ford (So.)
  2. Cam Phillips (So.)
  3. Kevin Asante (R-Sr.)
  4. Demitri Knowles (R-Sr.)
  5. Charley Meyer (R-Jr.)
  6. Deon Newsome (R-So.)
  7. Jaylen Bradshaw (R-Fr.)
  8. Michael Brainard (R-Sr.)
  9. Austin Jones (R-Jr.)
  10. CJ Carroll (R-Fr.)
  11. Alden Carpenter (R-So.)

It's unlikely the last four players see the field with any regularity this year, if at all. Bradshaw had some shine on him coming into spring, but it seems that whatever it was fizzled, the seniors are still ahead of them. Speaking of which, we've got three redshirt seniors and two redshirt juniors, meaning that it's time to reload.

First I'd like to examine someone we're very likely to keep a hold of, due to him already announcing his intent to enroll early. Must've sold him well on his potential- and I like the drive he has to get in at spring and work with the team.

Samuel Denmark (Charleston, SC. 175lbs, 6'-0", Wide Receiver)

Denmark is the perfect distraction. He's not too big, not overly weighty, but he sure knows how to get upfield in the hurry. I like his attitude, too. Several of the highlights shown are him beating up opposing corners in run blocking- for a smaller guy having that kind of guts, that's saying a lot. To get that kind of ability with a take-the-top-off-the-defense guy is just very useful cake. I say stick him in the slot and let him do his thing on the inside against worse corners, turn him loose.

The second recruit we currently have in hand is a name I've heard for a while. He's been mentioned on-and-off in Virginia Tech recruiting articles since he was a sophomore, and finally came around a short bit ago.

Eric Kumah (Woodbridge, VA. 205lbs, 6'-3", Wide Receiver)

Kumah's a classic big guy with non-traditional speed. He's got enough in him to light an afterburner and go after a catch. He's good at spotting the ball in flight and getting behind cornerbacks, but he also has a tendency to body catch in traffic and let the ball get too far into him. He is, however, an APY beast that also returns kicks, something we've been lacking around Blacksburg since Jayron Hosley left. He's an interesting piece to be sure. They'll likely line him up outside due to his height- lob it to the tree and make him come down with it.

The third recruit is actually a quiet one- Rivals doesn't even have him committed to us- but also the longest. He was the first recruit of this year, committing all the way back almost a year ago. He's had a TON of looks for someone this overlooked by the major recruiting services...so why is he so much in the dark in the Recruiting World?

Conner O'Donnell (Huntersville, NC. 160 lbs, 6'-0", Wide Receiver)

Conner O'Donnell knows how to catch the ball, that's why. Did you see that hudl statistic? 0 drops? In high school? With that quarterback? O'Donnell is going to have to bulk up- 160lbs is going to get him sawn in half. But he puts up ludicrous numbers because he just knows how to get open and find the ball. He's sounding a LOT like another 2-star unheralded recruit we had (though he easily has more recruiting buzz than Coale did, it's not that hard). But while his athleticism isn't elite, the get-open-catch-scattershot-pass routine is always welcome when your quarterback is scrambling around like ours usually are.

As for now, Tech's in on four other wide receiver recruits, and is leading for two of them thus far in the process. The first is from a popular Maryland prep school, one we really haven't gotten into so far, but could and should be a target for talent.

Tino Ellis (Hyattsville, MD. 185lbs, 6'-1", Wide Receiver/Safety)

Ellis has a star more than Kumah because Ellis is shiftier and more positionally versatile. He combines catching ability with the ability to run routes and bob and weave through traffic. I always appreciate a guy who knows how to earhole a defender on a run, too- he'll peel back and bust someone following the play that might be anywhere close to making the tackle. He's a sure tackler and a hard hitter at safety, which makes me afraid that Foster will steal him from the offense- though who am I kidding, it might be better for him to be over on that side of the ball for his own success. I could see him being a Rover in the future just as much as a wide receiver. Either or, Ellis would be a good get.

Now, they say you shouldn't get hyped up for track athletes and football. While that might be true, Virginia Tech had success with one past one, David Wilson. The second of the high-favorite receiver targets is a track star in the making.

Grant Holloway (Grassfield, VA. 190lbs, 6'-2". Wide Receiver)

Holloway is a hurdler, and it shows. He's very lanky, very long...and VERY fast. You stick him on the outside and have him run go-routes all day long just to tick off the safety and cornerback on his side. The kid has alright hands and decent moves, but what's taking him from a three star to a four star on other sites is his raw athleticism and speed. He simply has a longer faster stride than everyone around him and can get behind almost any cornerback. Tech has been on him for a long time, and currently is the favorite and is named as such. He's got a LOT of offers, and for him to be this interested in us this late in the process shows well for our ability to get him into the program.