As much excitement as there is for Coach Justin Fuente's inaugural season with Virginia Tech, there has been an equal or greater amount of anticipation for the future of the Hokies in 2017. The #Statement17 of new high school recruits wanting to make a statement and build a legacy in this new era of Hokie football is certainly an exciting time. The Hokies currently have a solid class of incoming talent, headlined by the announcement of consensus 4 star recruit Tahj Capehart.
Many people, including Coach Fuente himself, will tell you that the stars given by recruiting services don't matter and I respect their opinions. Both Virginia Tech under Frank Beamer as well as Coach Fuente have historically been able to succeed with lower ranked players and find diamonds in the rough. However, the top teams in the country typically have the highest ranked players. And remember, the goal should be for Virginia Tech to reach that success level. Alabama is ranked #1 for 2016 recruits and is entering the 2016 season atop the preseason polls. According to 247Sports, Virginia Tech had the 38th best 2016 recruiting class which doesn't deviate much from their preseason rankings (Phil Steele has the Hokies at #39 in his "Power Poll Top 128").
Other than wide receiver Tahj Capehart, the Hokies do not have another 4 star recruit (hopefully 4 star DE Tyjuan Garbutt decides to recommit). Their best chance to obtain another top recruit is within their own state. Virginia Tech is the best program in the state of Virginia and there is no reason they shouldn't be able to compete for the best talent in the state, especially in the talent rich Virginia Beach area.
That rich Virginia Beach area talent is home to Safety Devon Hunter, the best player in the state, according to 247Sports (Rivals.com has future Florida State running back, Khalan Laborn slightly ahead of him). Devon Hunter has incredible length at 6'1 and demonstrated the type of playmaking abiliity to make him a great fit in Bud Foster's Lunch Pail Defense. He had a total of 5 touchdowns last season and has breakaway skill in the open field after creating turnovers.
Watching highlights of Devon Hunter elicits memories of former Hokie Antone Exum of the Minnesota Vikings. Coach Justin Fuente could really use an upgrade in personnel from the defense to adapt to the eventual uptempo style of play that Virginia Tech will implement. Devon Hunter's length, athleticism, and ability to create plays off turnovers make him a perfect fit for the style of play the Hokies will adopt. Along with fellow #Statement17 DB Devante Smith, Virginia Tech will have an outstanding pipeline of talent to add to what has historically been their best position group here at DBU. With fellow Virginia Beach native Coach Zohn Burden allegedly doing the recruiting, the Hokies have a great chance to add Virginia's best talent, Devon Hunter, and put the statement in #Statement17.