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Back on the Recruiting Trail

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Virginia Tech just had two recent junior days...and came out with one player. Wrapping up things currently, I present to you some early returns...with some less than ideal results.

Winning these kinds of trophies doesn't buy you a ton of recruiting goodwill.
Winning these kinds of trophies doesn't buy you a ton of recruiting goodwill.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech has hosted two junior days since we had a talk about the specific state of Virginia Tech's recruiting for the 2017 season. Currently we've got two commitments, Tyjuan Garbutt and Devante Smith, a four star DE and a three star safety, respectively. Obviously we're gunning for more- a ton more. The roster has a total of 24 juniors and redshirt juniors, and, barring medical redshirts for whatever reason, those guys have to be replaced.

Since the first junior day (mostly an in-state affair) there's bit a bit of a troubling trend. Two of the top prospects in Virginia- Eric Crosby, a DT from Ocean Lakes, and Khalan Laborn, a running back from the same, have trended heavily out of state in 247's crystal ball predictors. Laborn currently has 9 crystal balls, all for Florida State, and the two recent ones for Crosby have him pointed at Tennessee. We're pretty much out of the running for Darnell Ewell (no. 5 player in state, a DT from Norfolk, who seems determined to leave it) and Luiji Vilain (No. 4, a DE from Alexandria that is also very likely headed out of state). We lost out on Dylan Rivers a while ago to Penn State, and now we also lost on Yetur Matos to the Nittany Lions- he committed on Saturday on their junior day. We're not really on the radar for the number 10 prospect, Jonathan Sutherland (safety, we're not even in his college list), or Breyon Gaddy (DT, no. 8, likely headed out of state). I keep hearing whispers that Devon Hunter (number 1 recruit, safety from Chesapeake) and Tahj Capehart (wide receiver from Ocean Lakes) might be tech leans, but right now, out of the top 15 prospects in Virginia, I hear we might be in consideration for...5 of them, including the one we have in Garbutt. As of this moment, according to 247, this is how the state stacks up for the top 25-

  1. Hunter: Between us and Clemson
  2. Laborn: Between us and FSU, with the latter having all the smoke
  3. Crosby: Between us and Tennessee, with the latter having all the smoke
  4. Vilain: Predicted between UNC and Rutgers
  5. Ewell: Ohio State has all the smoke on the planet
  6. Jordan Williams: Unclear, all over the map. We are in consideration, though.
  7. Garbutt: VT commit, at present
  8. Gaddy: Smoke indicates Clemson
  9. Dylan Rivers (linebacker from Stephens City): Penn State
  10. Jonathan Southerland: Predicted between UNC and Rutgers. We're not in his school list.
  11. Tahj Capehart: Unclear, though we might lead over UVA
  12. Ellis Brooks (linebacker from Richmond): Predicted to Duke, page not updated in a while
  13. Yetur Matos: Committed to Penn State
  14. Lindell Stone (QB from Woodberry Forest, where we've had zero success in the past): Not on his college list
  15. Elijah Conliffe (Nebulous position, DE or OT, from Hampton): Predicted to Penn State
  16. Alex Faniel  (QB from Richmond): Predicted to us, announcing March 17th
  17. Brailyn Franklin (Athlete, just moved here from Texas): We're his first offer from Saturday
  18. Devante Smith (Safety from Manassas): VT commit, at present
  19. Shon Mitchell (QB/ATH from Oscar Smith): Predicted between us and Nebraska, but our interest in him might have dipped
  20. Seth Harrell (OG from Grassfield): No predictions or interests, but he has been to VT
  21. Tommy Christ (DT/OL from Sterling): Brother a walk on currently at VT, but was not offered after a junior day Saturday.
  22. Lamont Atkins (LB from Burke): Vanderbilt commit
  23. Jason Brown (QB from Fredericksburg): VT displayed interest in past, but he has no predictions or offers
  24. Damone Drew (RB from Stafford): Only offer is Virginia with no predictions
  25. John Kirven (TE from Woodberry Forest): UVA commit.

For a team that wants to dominate its own state, we're far behind in this recruiting class as things stand now. In an extremely ideal world, we'd end up with Hunter, Laborn, Crosby, Williams, Garbutt, Capehart, and Brooks. I'll tell you that Tech got in late on the Conliffe game- we only recently offered him due to his nebulous position status- and that Matos had thought to be a lean to Penn State for a while. But to never even be in the picture for Vilain, Ewell, Gaddy, and Sutherland? That just feels wrong. It's going to be rough going in Virginia this year, and we've got serious ground to make up on a lot of these guys. It's why I'm not all sold on the urgency of ‘we have to own the state'. Until we start winning again (and that takes, you know, getting into season), we're going to have a rough go of it. The coaching staff has done a lot to get themselves out there- they've held free coaching seminars to the high school coaches of Virginia, three so far- but there's a lot of people moving to do.

Other offers have gone out, of course; a pile of them since signing day. Among those offers include:

  1. Kurt Hinish (Pittsburg, PA. 283lbs, 6'-2". 3* Defensive Tackle): Predicted PSU
  2. Bo Melton (Egg Harbor City, NJ. 180lbs, 6'-0". 3*/4* Wide Receiver/Athlete): Predicted Rutgers
  3. Mike Tverdov (Union, NJ. 225lbs, 6'-3". 3* Defensive End): Predicted Rutgers
  4. Riley Locklear (Huntington, WV. 290lbs, 6'-5". 3* Offensive Linemen): Predicted WVU
  5. Caleb Farley (Maiden, NC. 180lbs, 6'-3". Unranked Athlete): No predictions, only other offer is Wake Forest
  6. Sean Savoy (Washington, DC. 170lbs, 5'-11". Unranked Wide Receiver): No predicitons, other offers include Miami, Maryland, ODU, and Temple
  7. Jaelen Gill (Westerville, OH. 165lbs, 6'-0". 4* All-Purpose back, class of 2018): Predicted OSU
  8. Tre Turner (Greensboro, NC. 175lbs, 6'-3". Unranked Athlete): We supposedly lead, other offers include Duke, ECU, NC State, Wake, WVU, and UNC
  9. Jamyest Williams (Lawrenceville, GA. 170lbs, 5'-9". 4* Cornerback): Predicted to UGA
  10. Evidence Njoku (Cedar Grove, NJ. 196lbs, 6'-4". 3* Wide Receiver): Predicted to Miami
  11. Logan Rudolph (Rock Hill, SC. 225lbs, 6'-4". 3*/4* Defensive End): Predicted to USCe
  12. Jalen Holston (Stockbridge, GA. 200lbs, 5'-11". 3* Running Back): No predictions, other offers include Charlotte, CSU, Duke, FLA, MSST, NC State, Tulane, and UVA
  13. J'Marick Woods (Florence, AL. 196lbs, 6'-4". 3* Safety): No predictions, UK supposedly leads.
  14. Kenney Britt (Oxford, AL. 217lbs, 6'-1". 3* Linebacker): 2 predictions split between Auburn and Bama.
  15. Thomas Johnston (Spanish Fort, AL. 215lbs, 6'-2". 3* Linebacker): Predicted to Auburn
  16. DeMarco Artis (Seminole, FL. 220lbs, 6'-4". 3* Linebacker): Predicted to UCF
  17. Jonathon MacCollister (Deland, FL. 238lbs, 6'-4", 3* Defensive End): No leader, we're supposedly tied with Auburn, Clemson, UK, UNC, and Oregon.
  18. Trace Christian (Altamonte Springs, FL. 210lbs, 6'-1". 3* Running Back): No leader, we're supposedly tied with UK, UL, NC State, and Wake.
  19. Trey Blount (Powder Springs, GA. 192lbs, 6'-3". 3*/4* Wide Receiver): Oregon supposedly leads, but predicted to Bama
  20. Dax Hollified (Shelby, NC. 220lbs, 6'-1". 4* Linebacker, class of 2018): only 1 prediction to Clemson, but it's old and we're supposedly tied with them and UNC.
  21. Hezekiah Grimsley (Williamsburg, VA. 170lbs, 6'-0". Unranked Wide Receiver): We supposedly lead. Other offers include Iowa State, Marshall, Maryland, ODU, and Syracuse.

Is any of this final? Heck no. It's another eleven months before signing day. But based on what we see NOW, it's an uphill battle for Virginia Tech recruiting. Things will shake out one way or another, but that's where we stand with recent offers and some in-state prospects for now. As I get around to each position group and targets, I'll try and review all tape to give you guys a preview of what you would be looking at when they commit, as always. Stay tuned to Gobbler Country for more tales from the trail.