The Virginia Tech Hokies have struggled to recruit the 757 in recent seasons. Tech’s struggles on the field, coupled with the success of Florida State, Ohio State and others, has led to more and more players wanting to head out of state for college.
Fortunately for Tech, Devon Hunter of Chesapeake decided to stay at home and head to Blacksburg in the class of 2017. Is this a sign of things to come for the Hokies?
Well, no one knows the answer to that, but head coach Justin Fuente certainly isn’t going to sit around and hope for some of the state’s top players to choose the Hokies. Instead, Fuente is looking at other places to help return Virginia Tech back to glory.
This past season, Fuente reached down into North Carolina and plucked some pretty good prospects from the Tar Heel State. Herndon Hooker, Caleb Farley, Drake Deiuliis and Zion DeBose could all have a major impact on Tech’s program, some as soon as 2017.
For the 2018 class, Fuente has already picked up a commitment from three-star defensive end Joe Kane from Wake Forest, N.C. However, more could be on the way for the Hokies.
Using 247Sports’ rankings of the top 25 players from the state of North Carolina, Virginia Tech is currently in contention for several of the state’s top prep stars.
North Carolina’s No. 2 player, defensive end K.J. Henry, has visited Blacksburg and has the Hokies as a member of his top group. Signing Henry will be tough, as Clemson and Alabama currently appear to be the toughest opposition, but Henry certainly likes Blacksburg.
Fact: I love coming to Blacksburg #NCtoVT pic.twitter.com/t1fFiOEzmU— The KJ Henry (@ywd_ballislife) April 15, 2017
Dax Hollifield has been to Blacksburg on numerous occasions and has a close relationship with Tech’s staff, specifically defensive coordinator Bud Foster. The super-talented linebacker continues to rack up offers but Tech will be in this one to the end, likely battling South Carolina for Hollifield’s services.
Wide receiver Tre Turner, a 6”4” burner from Greensboro, is currently projected to the Hokies.
A pair of outstanding defensive tackles, Tim Sandidge and Alim McNeill, currently have Tech in their final group. The Hokies appeared to lead for McNeill at one point but he has started to pick up more offers. His recruitment will be one to watch.
Two more of the state’s top players had the Hokies as a finalist before choosing other schools. Running back Jamal Elliott picked Oregon last month, however, he’s still firmly in play. Wide receiver Dyami Brown picked North Carolina over the Hokies, but with some of the other players, the Hokies have signed he’d appear to be a longshot to back out of his pledge to UNC and commit to VT at this point.
Linebacker Alan Tisdale and defensive back D.J. Crossen are two players who are very high on the Hokies. Both players, like Turner, are also from Greensboro. Crossen, a former UNC commit, has long been considered a VT lean since decommitting from the Tar Heels.
Running back Trent Pennix and athlete Nadir Thompson are also in play for Virginia Tech. Thompson has been to Blacksburg on multiple occasions while Pennix is currently trending for Tech.
The Hokies aren’t going to sign all of these players. They may only sign two or three. However, it’s clear Virginia Tech is clearly positioned for future success in North Carolina over the next several years. In recent seasons, the Hokies struggled to sign top players from their neighboring state. Now, under Fuente, Virginia Tech had made North Carolina a priority and it’s paying off.
While the 757 will always be important to Tech, the days of the Hokies relying solely on the Tidewater region are long gone. And that’s a good thing for Virginia Tech.