The early signing period has taken much of the drama out of National Signing Day since its inception in 2017. For schools like Virginia Tech, this could be considered a good – or bad – thing, depending on how you look at it.
For one, it gets committed players signed almost two months sooner. And, most kids around the country sign in December rather than wait until February. For a team like the Hokies, it means they don’t have to fight off schools such as Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama, or lesser teams, for players whose recruiting profile has increased with a solid senior season for almost two more months.
That strategy ensures a rather drama-free National Signing Day.
A negative aspect, as it pertains to a school like Virginia Tech, is it puts the Hokies in direct competition with the aforementioned schools if, say, Clemson or even Florida State, miss out on one or two of its top targets and those schools begin to take a look at players the Hokies are thought to sit well for. It happened this week when three-star linebacker DJ Lundy picked up a late offer from Florida State, visited last weekend and the Hokies lost yet another top target.
Lundy, from Georgia, waited to sign until February hoping to receive a committable offer from Georgia. With the nation’s top-ranked class, that was not going to happen. So, when FSU offered, it was closer to home than Blacksburg, Lundy pounced on that opportunity.
This seemingly happens every year. Players like Lundy wait until February to sign hoping they pick up more offers after other schools miss on some of their top targets. Sometimes, that works out in Virginia Tech’s favor, but more often than not, it goes the other way.
The Hokies picked up one player on Wednesday in three-star receiver Dallan Wright from Saluda, S.C. Wright picked up a late offer from the Hokies, visited over the weekend and committed.
From people I have spoken to about Wright, we should not sleep on this signing. Considered more of a basketball prospect, Wright had a big senior season on the gridiron and made himself into a legitimate football prospect. I will offer a more thorough review of Wright soon once I have had time to watch him. I am told it would surprise no one if he saw the field as a true freshman this fall.
While most would surmise Wright would only see the field because of the attrition at the wide receiver spot, and that is partially true, some believe he could offer a similar impact as Tayvion Robinson in 2019. I am not making that leap, but I have heard good things about Wright and he could end up being a late steal.
The last two NSDs had a fair share of drama as Dax Hollifield took his recruitment to the final day in 2018 before picking the Hokies and Doug Nester flipped his commitment from Ohio State to Virginia Tech in 2019. That did not happen this year and I would expect little drama on National Signing Day in the future.
Overall, this was a disappointing recruiting class on many levels. We can argue this was always going to be a smaller class with so many underclassmen on the roster, but in no way should Virginia Tech ever finish No. 70 in the nation and, more embarrassingly, dead last in the ACC (rankings courtesy of 247Sports). The Hokies clearly missed out on top targets and had to sign lower-ranked players to fill out the class.
However, the additions of Alec Bryant and Robert Wooten from Texas and Justin Beadles from Georgia in December, make this a class with some promise. There are several players who signed in December who can help this team sooner rather than later and it will be interesting to see if Justin Fuente’s evaluations are correct.
As a whole, Fuente and his staff have missed a ton of evaluations over the first several years of his tenue. When you aren’t signing upper-echelon players, evaluation and player development – two areas the Hokies used to thrive in – are absolutely essential.