The Virginia Tech Hokies have struggled on National Signing Day in recent years. In the final years of the Frank Beamer era, the Hokies would watch as players like Josh Sweat, Derrick Nnadi and a host of others expected to choose Virginia Tech, end up somewhere else. The new Early Signing Period takes a little bit of the drama and intrigue out of National Signing Day, however, the Hokies had plenty of drama on Wednesday as the Hokies were finalists for up to five players.
Running back Anthony Grant, defensive end/outside linebacker Javonte Jean-Baptiste, linebacker Dax Hollifield, defensive end Jamarcus Chatman and offensive tackle Rasheed Walker were all considering Virginia Tech. The Hokies landed just one of these players, however, it just happened to be the most important one in Hollifield.
Well, I'm a Hokie! pic.twitter.com/DYXnwQkeDo— Dax Hollifield (@ChiefDax_25) February 7, 2018
Defensive coordinator Bud Foster worked tirelessly on Hollifield and it the young linebacker took notice. The relationship between Hollifield and Foster was the biggest reason he chose the Hokies over offers from Clemson, Stanford, Alabama, Florida State and home-state UNC.
In fact, Foster was so happy when this one was over and Hollifield picked the good guys he did cartwheels.
Virginia Tech #Hokies DC Bud Foster was thrilled when 4* LB Dax Hollifield (@ChiefDax_25) committed and showed off his cartwheel game, once again.— Matej Sis (@MatejS247) February 7, 2018
Last time Foster did cartwheels was when 4* DE Wyatt Teller committed to VT.@VTScoop247 pic.twitter.com/xeQl9tJauM
This was a huge win for Virginia Tech on the recruiting trail. It showed this staff can close with elite recruits. Back in December, the Hokies also closed the deal with Jeremy Webb and Walker Culver. While most wouldn’t consider those elite recruits, the Hokies may have lost them had they not been signed in December. Culver and Webb are players this staff was extremely high on and are a big part of the future in Blacksburg.
Sure, the Hokies lost out on Grant and Baptiste. Grant supposedly committed to the Hokies on Monday night then sent his letter of intent to Florida State on Wednesday morning. That shows a lack of character on the kid’s part, not an issue with this coaching staff.
Baptiste had a wild recruiting process. The Hokies were on him last spring, early in the process before most teams even knew who he was. He had a great visit to Blacksburg in December and almost committed. He didn’t. He then saw his recruiting take off as Ohio State and Texas A&M offered only after missing out on some of its higher priorities. Baptiste chose the Buckeyes who actually only offered him recently.
That’s ok. Justin Fuente wants players in Blacksburg who want to be here. He wants talented players who are good fits. In this class, especially with players like Hollifield and quarterback Quincy Patterson, he has found that.
Get excited, Hokies. This is a good class and next year is shaping up to be even better.