The off season is a busy time for NCAA coaching staffs. There are camps to attend and conduct, home visits to make, and future interest to garner. Remember that change that we talked about in the Strategic Planning part of the Playbook series? Well, here’s where all of that starts to come to fruition. Every college football team is fundamentally different every year. There may be some overlaps but by and large, this year’s team is just not going to be the same. It’s the programs that navigate these treacherous waters and recruit the kinds of players that will fill the depth chart several seasons in advance that thrive. Frankly, it’s been a serious weak point for Virginia Tech over the last decade. We are beginning to see the inklings of some solid successes on the recruiting trail.
Before we start into the list of High School Commits looking to be Hokies, it’s really important to go over the reality of the situation. Most High School rising Juniors are all full of gas and promise. Their first visits to a big college program might just be the first bright ring to grab at, and their commitments should be counted on as such. They are potentially temporary affectations. It’s nice information to know, but to a 16 year old, two years is a very long time.
Rising Seniors are much firmer commitments, but they are still subject to the whims of change, seasonal success, recruiting visits, family pressures, and other considerations, including the all-important NFL Draft situation, that can change minds and stop Letters of Intent from being signed. Recruiting is a business for both the program and the players. Though emotions like honor, and verbal contracts are all great and a handshake should be someone’s bond; it’s just not that way in the modern world of high powered NCAA sports.
So with all of that in mind, let’s take a trip through Tech’s current future commitment promises to see what’s being promised, and where they’ll fit in:
Derrell Bailey Jr. – Rising Senior- 6’ 6”/265 lbs from Greenback High School in Greenback, TN. He’s got some serious size already, and hasn’t even gotten on the field as a Senior. He’s been listed as a Defensive End, but with a conditioning program and some work, he’s probably good for another 30 pounds of muscle. If he sticks with this, don’t be surprised if he plays very few snaps on the outside. He’s a serious Defensive Tackle ready to happen. In the stars game Derrell is showing up at right around the 3-star level.
Christopher ‘CJ’Beasley, Jr. – Rising Senior- 5’ 10”/170 lbs from Maury High School in Norfolk, VA continues a string of really small runningbacks being recruited by the Hokies for future classes. This is looking to be a trend in the structure of the offense, and might be handing some folks in Hokie Nation, who spoil for a big time running game, some serious heartburn.
Jordan Brunson - Rising Senior – 5’ 11”/220 from Denmark High in Cummings, GA, is getting closer to a better size for an every down runningback. Brunson’s numbers netted him a three star rating, and some interesting offers. Tech’s runningback situation seems to be a real problem point for new talent. Big star runningbacks seem to be staying on the Hokie periphery.
Jalen Hampton – Rising Senior – 5’ 10”/190 lbs from Georgetown Prep who hails from North Bethesda, MD. Hampton is being recruited as a running back, and at three stars is rated as an above par choice. There are more than a few fans in Hokie Nation who’d like to see a running back recruited who pushed a bit past 6 feet, and pushed a bit closer to 220 or so. Hampton will need work and conditioning since he’s a bit on the small side to be an every down back. There is time, but he is on the small side of things.
Noah Kim – Rising Senior – 6’ 2”/170 lbs -from Westfield High School in Centerville, VA is a much prized in-state Quarterback commitment. Kim has attracted some good attention in his Junior outing. We’ll see how his Senior year progresses. Westfield is a top program from the 703, and the competition is near collegiate levels. Kim shouldn’t expect to see the field or even have a roster impact until 2022 at the earliest. He’s very atypical for a QB choice for this coaching staff, reminding us more of JJ than of Evans, Willis, or Patterson. We’ll see how it pans out.
Tyreem Powell is a 6’ 4” 185 lb Athlete (read Safety Bait for Bud) from Vineland North High, Vineland, NJ. Powell could go nearly anywhere even though his highlights are mostly offensive. Has potentially has the skill set and athleticism of a Cam Chancellor type of Strong Safety/Rover. It will be interesting to see where he ends up if he signs his LOI and comes to Blacksburg.
Lakeem Rudolph – Rising Senior – 6’4”/195 lbs from Green Run High in Virginia Beach, VA Rudolf is listed as a wide receiver prospect, and with his height there might be some images of a tree to throw to. At hovering right around 200 lbs being a possession receiver might be a bit of a chore, but if he can keep his speed up and put on about 20 pounds of muscle, he’s got some serious potential in the Fuente offense.
Stephen Sings - Rising Senior - 6’ 4”/225 lbs from Vance High School in Charlotte, NC. His Junior year was a premium effort, and he looks like a prime contender for the 2021+ Hokies. He’s got many Tremaine Edmunds characteristics, and unless he gets huge in his late high school career, he’s bound to play linebacker if he doesn’t stick at DE. Sings doesn’t seem to have attracted much in the way of star ratings.
Dorian Strong - Rising Senior -6’ 1”/165 lbs from Wise High School in Upper Marlboro, MD. He’s being recruited as a defensive back, and it looks very much like he’s well suited to be the Cornerback that he’s listed at. There aren’t any stars showing up on his line, but that hasn’t done much to stop Hokie coaching from recruiting people.
Recently Tech picked up a disappointing loss in the recruiting wings. Prize Graduate Transfer former Clemson Runningback Tavien Feaster has decided to head up the road to the East Coast USC. He picked the chickens over the turkeys. It’s an understandable move, with Tech’s commitment to developing a real feature running game a bit difficult to pick out of the ground clutter, Feaster would probably rather attract SEC level pro attention than come to Blacksburg and have to compete with the backs already in the mix for the staring numbers.
You will notice something about the list of commitments, besides being a bit short for now. It’s also not very 757 heavy. Most of the players are of unknown grading quality, and from out of state. This is another trend that many folks in Hokie Nation are really not used to.
We’ll keep updating things as they change or evolve. The Early and Regular signing days are months away. Two-a-days for High School football haven’t even started yet. Things are going to be different in a few months, of that we can absolutely count on.