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Virginia Tech football: A preview of the Early Signing Period

The Hokies can start signing the class of 2019 next week.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at North Carolina
Virginia Tech LB Dax Hollifield
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day used to be a big deal for college football. The first week of February brought high drama around some of the nation’s top programs on an annual basis. That all changed last year with the addition of the early signing period in December. Most schools locked up committed players and signed them, meaning February brought a lot less drama in 2018.

There was still some drama, for instance, the Virginia Tech Hokies received a commitment from 4-star linebacker Dax Hollifield on National Signing Day. However, the majority of Tech’s 2018 class was wrapped up in December and that’s how most coaches will choose to do business.

With the early signing period just a week away, the Hokies expect to sign most, if not all, of their current committed prospects. It actually wouldn’t be a surprise if another late addition or two came into the fold this weekend as the Hokies are expected to host a number of players, including current commits, on official visits. Fortunately, there won’t be a blizzard in southwestern Virginia this weekend, so most players expect to be present.

Currently, the Hokies have 16 commitments on board for the class of 2019. That number should grow by February with some of the attrition already experienced in the program. This class is led by 5 four-star players in offensive lineman Bryan Hudson, athlete Jaden Payoute, defensive back J.R. Walker, wide receiver Tayvion Robinson and running back Keshawn King. All players are expected to sign next for Virginia Tech.

Just last week, the Hokies lost the commitment of defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus, who backed out of his pledge and is expected to choose between Florida and Oregon. Another player the coaching staff was excited about was cornerback Mike Sainristil of Everett, Mass. Sainristil had been a Hokie commit for awhile, however, continued to play the recruiting game until eventually backing out of his commitment and choosing Michigan last month.

Of course, the two positions that look perilously thin heading into next season are cornerback and defensive tackle. Both positions were an issue this year and could be even worse in 2019 with Ricky Walker’s graduation. That’s why the coaching staff has been heavily recruiting the junior-college circuit this season and put out several new offers in the past couple of weeks. It’s not the preferred way of building a roster but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Don’t be surprised if the Hokies add a few names, specifically from the JUCO ranks in the coming days. Those players will be expected to come in and compete for a spot in the two deep this spring.

In the coming days, we’ll take a closer look at this class and make sure to stay right here for any new additions to the class of 2019.