Usually recruiting commitments come in small pairs or bunches, but this one was a bit odd. One player will definitively be coming to Blacksburg, another has committed to do so. Thursday afternoon, Wake Forest, NC defensive end/tackle Joe Kane committed to the Hokies, and Tech received a transfer from Ball State, Damon Hazelton. Hazelton joins James Clark as transfer receivers to enter the program, however, due to the fact that Hazelton is an underclassman, he will not be eligible to play until 2018. Out of high school, Hazelton was offered by FAU and Ball State. He was a two/three star recruit, rated as two stars by Rivals and Scout, three by 247, and unranked by ESPN. Listed at 6’-2”, 209lbs, Hazelton did gain some decent stats as a freshman- he caught 51 passes for 505 yards and four touchdowns at Ball State- especially over the tail end of the season. Kane is recently-offered defensive end/tackle, one that only got his offer on April 2nd on a Junior Day. Per 247, he’s been offered as a DT- likely as the secondary DT in Woody Baron’s mold.
Let’s get to the tape of both these competitors and see what’s up.
Damon Hazelton, Junior (Towson, MD via Muncie, IN. 6’-2”, 209lbs. Wide Receiver)
Hazelton is a good bad-ball-catcher. He’s got a very good catch radius and is pretty solid at bringing in balls that he does a solid job at high-pointing. I wouldn’t say he was amazingly fast- and he does show a couple of good shake-off moves- but his strength is going to be in the Isaiah Ford mold: go get the ball. He’s got some acrobatic flair as well. On the downside, I don’t see anything in how I can evaluate his route-running or blocking. It’s mostly simple fades, using his natural jumping ability and hand strength to beat cornerbacks one-on-one deep. He’ll be an interesting addition to an already loaded position group, but his time will have to wait until next year.
Joe Kane (Wake Forest, NC. 6’-3”, 265lbs. Defensive Tackle)
Kane isn’t highly touted right now. His only other offers from Power 5 teams are hometown Wake Forest and Syracuse. The rest are smaller division teams- Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, VMI, Furman, Cornell, Costal Carolina, Appalachian State, and the like. Granted, with accolades like what he has, it’s only a matter of time before that list grows. Mostly because this kid blows right through people to the ball. He’s got a quick step and a good motor. You can actually see some scheme versatility, as he’s often brought in as a stand-up pass rusher. He’s got enough movement and speed that he gets pass deflections, and seems pretty aware in general about the play and what’s going on. He’s definitely a developmental prospect when/if he signs, but one with upside as an interior pass rusher.
Please welcome Damon and Joe to the Hokies!