The Virginia Tech Hokies picked up some huge news on Wednesday morning when four-star offensive lineman Doug Nester of Spring Valley H.S. in Huntington, W.V., announced he had flipped his long-time commitment to Ohio State to the Hokies.
Folks, this was HUGE.
Per 247Sports, Nester is a consensus four-star prospect and the No. 106 prospect in the class of 2019. He was actually Ohio State’s first commitment for this class all the way back in the summer of 2017.
Nester was locked into the Buckeyes but Virginia Tech offensive line coach Vance Vice kept building his relationship with Nester. That paid off as all of the drama surrounding Urban Meyer unfolded, the Hokies kept their foot in the door and it paid off in a big way.
Make no mistake, Nester picked the Hokies over the Ohio State, Penn State and Georgia. Don’t buy the talk that he wasn’t a take. OSU and PSU wanted Nester badly and the Hokies won out. It’s major anytime the Hokies can beat out an Ohio State, Penn State or Georgia on the recruiting trail.
With Nester’s signing, that means head coach Justin Fuente signed 7 seven four-star players for the class of 2019. Not bad. And remember, according to some of the ex-Hokies on Twitter the sky was falling and things were going to get much worse.
It’s been a tough year for the football program. Whether it was the disappointment that was the 2018 season, losing some serious talent to the NFL Draft from the 2017 squad, a coach dismissed due to a personal scandal or a mass exodus of players, there was some negativity around the program. Yet, the Hokies still signed a solid class.
Much will be made about the players the Hokies didn’t sign like Devyn Ford or a late-bloomer like Eugene Asante. Asante went from a relative unknown to the Hokies being his first big offer in December and he ends up enjoying the recruiting process and signing with North Carolina when most expected him to end up in Blacksburg.
But let’s not dwell on who the Hokies didn’t sign. Let’s celebrate what is the greatest offensive line class in Virginia Tech history. Nester and Bryan Hudson had offers from all over. Jesse Hanson had a legit Clemson offer. All three stuck with the Hokies. That’s two straight years the Hokies have recruited well on the offensive line. That’s big for the future. Tech has struggled at recruiting and developing offensive linemen over the last decade.
Then there is Jaden Payoute, a four-star receiver out of Richmond. The Hokies offered him before his recruiting blew up and he stuck by his pledge. That shows character, which Fuente has emphasized.
As for Nester, the Hokies are getting a a 6’6”, 310-pound offensive lineman who is slated to play guard but could also play tackle. He already possesses elite size and solid athleticism and could legitimately see the field this fall. His athleticism can allow the Hokies to do different things with their run game as Nester can get out and move.
Ultimately, recruiting must continue to get better. For the Hokies to ever enter the conversation for the College Football Playoff, they need to get classes in the No. 15-20 range on a consistent basis. It’s getting better, but new staffs at Maryland and North Carolina are going to create more competition, too.
Take a victory lap, Hokies. Landing Nester over Ohio State was huge in both the short-term and the long-term and shows that Virginia Tech can compete for some players against the elite schools. And the Hokies could have a special offensive line the next few years.