So, ladies and gents, Coach Fuente and Coach Scott went out and grabbed another receiver. This guy's actually from within the boundaries of the 757 for all you ‘we must win the state' people out there. Of course, he's another example of Coach Fuente playing Moneyball with his recruiting- and that's not a bad thing.
Truly blessed to say that I am verbally committing to play football at Virginia Tech #GoHokies pic.twitter.com/lnGCJNqviY— 2⃣ΗΣζζΨ (@Talented_hezy) May 27, 2016
The Hokies just got better!! #Statement17 pic.twitter.com/pVV4xQYKOC— Justin Fuente (@CoachFuente) May 27, 2016
To me, at least, Fuente's playing the market for inefficiencies. Right now, Virginia Tech isn't exactly the Oakland A's in early 2000s MLB, but in some ways it's closer to that than the Yankees due to the stratification of the top of the NCAA Football rankings, and more especially at the top of the NCAA Recruiting rankings. Now, I know that Fuente and his staff aren't especially fond of recruiting services, what people on the internet think, etc. But there's a reason why (often, but not always) teams that recruit highly on those sites do well. Certain teams go out and get the best talent, for various reasons. It's also usually the more OBVIOUS talent. It's why you can have big success stories from walk-ons to three-star guys: Some guys are overlooked or discounted for whatever reason. A position change, lack of competition, lack of ideal size or grades (Though obviously it's a bit easier to forgive the first one than the last one simply due to qualification rules), or just due to being from a random program in the middle of nowhere that gets no attention, or their part in success is undervalued. Fuente views his offensive system as a way to free up receivers, and to get talented people out in space. So far, the commitments for that position are:
- Caleb Farley, a lightly recruited quarterback with track speed and some receiving talent.
- Kalil Pimpleton, a shifty quarterback that is brutally undersized for his typical position but has very good agility
- Hezekiah Grimsley, a wide receiver in an offense that barely passes to give him very little in the way of highlight reel opportunities.
That's not even to mention Jaelon Darden, who is a bigger version of Kalil Pimpleton. He's looking for smart guys that can make the reads for the option routes on the field, get open, and get into space and go. He wants a quarterback's instincts to some degree in a wide receiver. He's going to exploit the fact that few people are after or view these guys as highly as he does to go grab commitments from kids that not enough people are chasing for smaller reasons. And with his track record? I wouldn't doubt him so far, despite my own misgivings due to the past coaching staff's iffy history of receiver conversion projects. At any rate, on with the tape review.
Hezekiah Grimsley (Williamsburg, VA. 170lbs, 6'-0". Wide Receiver)
I wonder if Grimsley has another gear, because he makes running as fast as he does look really simple and like he's not trying for this most part- it's interesting that ESPN clocks him at a 4.77 40, he doesn't look that slow. He's running a lot of deep routes, of course- he's in an option/wing T offense that doesn't lend itself to numbers, or route tree complexity. Granted, high school in general rarely has great wide receiver route combinations or complications. He seems to have fairly natural hands and is pretty good with separation at the point of the catch, with good jumping ability and flexibility to go up and high-point a ball. I think his ball skills are solid, but the issue is with his offense it's a lot of the same looks- up the seam or the outside. I'm not sure how much private work has been done with the staff present, but you can see why he's not that highly rated- ESPN, Scout, and 247 don't have rankings on him, Rivals gave him a salutary 3-star due to his offer list and probably seeing him at the Opening. He's a natural hand catcher, which is good.
But the bottom line is that he's got work to do to learn the position as more than simply a streak runner- but that's what coaching is for, and that's why Fuente's recruiting who he's recruiting. He's looking for those market inefficiencies, and Grimsley is a dollar stock you can make into something more than that with time, which is hopefully a luxury Coach Fuente has. Rebuilding VT is a multistep process, and we're glad that Hezekiah will be a part of it.