Recruiting. A subject fans and media alike spend probably a bit too much time on, but it’s fun to think about the future - especially these days. Star recruits provide additional hype for the year(s) ahead, but projected rankings coming out of high school don’t always translate into production in college. Whether that be for one season or over the course of four season’s of development.
Virginia Tech has name recognition across the country, plenty of talent in-state and in the nearby area, plus the added bonus of playing in the ACC. However, while programs like Duke or UNC will aim for the top of the top, and talent likely leaving for the NBA early, the Hokies will be focused on finding the best players for Mike Young’s system. Talent that will work well together and can continue to improve over an entire collegiate career.
For what was Mike Young’s first full recruiting cycle in Blacksburg, he had great results. The Hokies pulled in two of the top ten players from Virginia - Joe Bamisile and Darius Maddox. They came in as the 7th and 9th players overall from VA and are both considered 4-star recruits. Considering two of the top four in-state are headed to Duke - and then likely the NBA - Young’s haul continues to build a solid foundation when added to last season’s freshman class.
Now looking ahead to the class of 21. Virginia Tech will likely have three scholarship spots available as Wabissa Bede, Cartier Diarra, and Cordell Pemsl finish their collegiate careers. Of course, injuries and player transfers can always shift the roster and recruiting efforts even well after the season ends. But you’d expect Mike Young to look for another guard or two, as well as a big man.
A look at the current top 9 in Virginia for 2021 indicates that only one player has made his intentions known (Jalen Ricks to Arkansas). The bottom four players Jason Nelson, Marcus Ilver, A.J. Williams, and Garrett Johnson have thus far received no reported interest from the Hokies. All are three star players (two guards and two forwards) that the Hokies could always revisit as the upcoming season progresses and those individual’s complete their senior high school seasons.
Tech has made offers to Trevor Keels (VA #1), Efton Reid (VA #2), and Angelo Brizzi (VA #4). Keels is a 5-star shooting guard and while he would be a marquee pickup for the Hokies, he will garner offers from most major programs across the nation. Reid is a 6’11” center from Richmond, VA and would be a wonderful centerpiece for Tech to focus on from the class of ‘21 and would complement a nice core of guards Young will already have.
The one recruit missing from that list is VA #3 Roosevelt Wheeler, a 6’10” center from Richmond, VA. NC State and Louisville are seemingly leading the race for his commitment. Wheeler or Reid should be a priority for the Hokies, which lack a true center, with two solid options from the Richmond area.
Virginia Tech is not a program who will typically chase after the top 10/20 players in the country. Instead Mike Young and his staff are looking for the best fits for his system. Not too unlike how the Hokies’ Football team best operates - developing talent. However, it’s important to keep building and cultivating connections with in-state high school programs and coaches. The class of 2020 is a great first year for Mike Young’s recruiting efforts, but continuing to focus on in-state talent is key for the program’s long term benefit.