National Signing Day is just weeks away and Virginia Tech looks to finish with its best class in years. Currently, the Hokies have commitments from 21 athletes and rank No. 25 overall in the 247Sports Team Composite.
In recent years, Virginia Tech fans were accustomed to limping to the finish line as it pertained to recruiting. Players like Josh Sweat or Derrick Nnadi flirted with the Hokies, only to shun them in the end. That trend could be changing in Justin Fuente’s first full year at the helm.
Last season, the Hokies finished with a class ranked No. 40. Several players Tech was in the running for, chose other places in the end. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Hokie fans as North Carolina, Minnesota and Iowa State were some of the schools those players chose.
Well, times, they appear to be changing.
The Hokies, already with an impressive class, have an opportunity to close strong with multiple 4-star prospects, including Devon Hunter of Chesapeake and Tyjuan Garbutt of Fredericksburg. Hunter, one of the top prospects in the nation, has always been considered a strong Virginia Tech lean, but is enjoying the recruiting process at the moment. Tech must fend off numerous SEC schools for Hunter, but still appear to be in prime position to land the talented star from Indian River High School.
Garbutt is a former Hokie commit who backed off his pledge over the summer. Instead of folding, Fuente and his staff—Bud Foster in particular—ramped up their pursuit of Garbutt. Decommitments generally don’t commit back to the same school. Garbutt is a favorite to buck that trend. Pittsburgh is the team to beat for Garbutt and the Panthers will get an official visit this weekend. The Hokies will get the last crack at Garbutt as he’s scheduled for an official visit in Blacksburg before the end of the month.
Garbutt went to seemingly every Hokie home game in 2016 and was also at the Belk Bowl cheering on Tech.
While those are the headliners, Virginia Tech is in good shape with several other prospects, too.
Dylan Rivers, 4-star LB, Stephens City, Va: A longtime Penn State commit, Rivers is still deciding between the Hokies and Nittany Lions. The 6’2”, 230-pound linebacker would be a huge addition to the class of 2017. Rivers is torn between the two schools and has legitimate interest in VT. He is arguably Foster’s favorite player for this class.
Ameer Speed, 3-star CB, Jacksonville, Fla: The Hokies never have trouble recruiting defensive backs. This class, though, has been a bit of a challenge. Speed stands out as the player this coaching wants. At 6’3”, 195 pounds, Speed has terrific size and Florida defensive backs usually work out pretty well for Virginia Tech. Watch out for Georgia in this battle.
Robert Porcher IV, 3-star DE, Orlando, Fla: If the name sounds familiar, well, it should. His father was a tremendous pass-rusher and three-time All-Pro for the Detroit Lions from 1992-2004. A former Nebraska commit, Porcher will be deciding between the Hokies and Michigan State. This one could be a tough pull for the Hokies as Porcher spent a number of years living in Michigan.
Khalan Laborn, 4-star RB, Virginia Beach, Va: Don’t get your hopes up on this one. Laborn committed to the Seminoles back in the summer in spectacular fashion. FSU has since picked up a commitment from 5-star RB Cam Akers leading many to wonder how solid Laborn was to the ‘Noles. Well, he appears to be intent on sticking with FSU, but Fuente isn’t giving up. Laborn would be an unbelievable pull for the Hokies. The mere fact Fuente and his staff are still recruiting Laborn speaks volumes about how hard this group is working.
Mekhi Becton, 3-star OT, Highland Springs, Va: Becton is a mammoth prospect (6’7”, 345) that Virginia Tech needs badly. Folks have criticized VT’s offensive line recruiting in recent years, and rightfully so. The Hokies must get the state’s top OL prospects. Becton is a hard player to read, although most around him have long viewed him as a UVA lean. However, the Hokies are firmly in this one and look for Becton to decide between the Hokies, UVA, Michigan and Oregon.
The Hokies are in it for several other talented prospects, too. While Tech won’t sign everyone from this list, just getting three or four would go a long way toward showing VT fans that Fuente can close the deal with top prospects.
These next few weeks should be a fun ride for Hokie fans, so make sure to stay right with us and we’ll give you a detailed look at every member of Virginia Tech’s class of 2017.