The Virginia Tech efforts at getting proven players out of the Transfer Portal is beginning to take shape as a very important (not primary, yet) source for finding talent.
Today, Jordan Williams has committed to Virginia Tech. He’s a 6’4” 310 pound Virginia Beach native, Cox High School Graduate joins his fellow alumni, Tayvion Robinson and incoming freshman linebacker Isi Etute.
This brings up the issue of the Portal, again, and the dramatic change in how college football is scouted, recruited, and the programs develop their talent.
It’s probably best if you get used to the following things being regular items in the annual recruiting news:
- Losses to the Transfer Portal will be a common occurrence and will be more of a reflection on how a player saw himself fitting into the structure of the program. Translation: He is unhappy with losing places in the Depth chart or He’s got personal issues (lots of things non-football related there) that have impelled him to put his name in the portal. It’s just going to be a fact of life. It has been for a while, but the afterburner is now lit and firing white hot.
- High School Recruiting will become less of a major program building feature. High School recruiting is very expensive. From a straight business perspective it’s extremely risky. Freshmen and Sophomores with moderate performance grades take time and effort to develop. If they are good enough to play as true Freshmen and or Redshirt Freshmen, they are often either mis-graded or one of a small number of pure gems discovered at the secondary school level. High School players will still be recruited, but there will be fewer spray and pray offers out. Coaches will spend more quality time with recruits that they see fitting into the program before they arrive on campus. There are a maximum of 85 scholarships available, so that “money” must be spent wisely.
- Transfer Portal Offers will become wiser investments of scholarship money. The player has been in a collegiate program for some time. He’s been in collegiate conditioning and nutrition programs. He’s been to college drills, practices, travel, and games. More often than not he’ll have significant snaps under his belt. A transfer is more apt to stick with his full commitment with the portal rules allowing immediate eligibility. Spending that precious scholarship on a known collegiate commodity is far less risky than taking a chance on a 17 year-old who may or may not develop past a prospect, no matter what sort of development work is done. Transferred athletes have had all of that work already bought and paid for.
- Most teams in the great peloton of college football will be a bubbling brew of mixtures of transfer and the best of the home grown talent. Within a decade the added pressures of NIL and an ever greater churn from the Transfer Portal will have College Football looking much like major league baseball where most teams are free agents, with some home grown talent that hasn’t been traded away for experienced prospects.
So, Virginia Tech is getting ahead of the power curve. Say goodbye to the old ways of thinking and evaluating recruiting. When NIL hits there’ll be another shock over which we shall mull and sweat. But for now, and for the future in parallel to the anticipated compensation rules, it’s all Collegiate Money Ball.
Welcome to Jordan Williams! We love having you back in Virginia, and we certainly love having you choose to be a Hokie.