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Virginia Tech football: Brent Pry makes a big hire

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Mike Villagrana comes to Virginia Tech from Marshall, but spent time at Penn State with Brent Pry.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In recent years, one of the biggest complaints regarding Virginia Tech football was the school’s lack of commitment to critical off-field hires. The big-time schools and even the not-so-big-time schools made significant hires, such as a GM, to manage the 85-man roster in the NCAA transfer portal era.

After Virginia Tech parted ways with Justin Fuente in November, athletic director Whit Babcock made it clear that money would not be an issue in Virginia Tech’s coaching search. No, Virginia Tech didn’t Lincoln Riley, but it did hire former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry — an excellent fit for the Hokies.

The key to that hire was giving Pry the necessary resources to compete with not only the best in the ACC but also among the top 20 programs in college football.

On Sunday, Pry and the Hokies made a big hire, making Mike Villagrana as Virginia Tech’s new senior director of player personnel. Villagrana comes to Blacksburg from Marshall, where he served as the Thundering Herd’s GM in 2021.

A graduate of West Virginia, Villagrana began his coaching career at his alma mater, followed by stints at Savannah State and Hampton.

From there, Villagrana landed at Penn State, where he would begin working in player personnel under James Franklin. That’s where he developed his relationship with Pry. Villagrana spent three years at Penn State before moving to Mississippi State, where he was the director of recruiting. He worked at Mississippi State for three seasons before going to Marshall and serving as GM for his good friend, Charles Huff.

This is such an essential hire. This position is important. The roster mismanagement in the Fuente era was glaring and is a big reason the team is so barren in talent right now. Villagrana has plenty of experience in the role, working for elite programs and in high-profile positions.

Villagrana has significant experience with recruiting and roster management. He was credited with holding together Mississippi State’s recruiting class during a coaching change and was also an important part of Marshall’s 2022 recruiting class — the best in school history.

I love this hire for the Hokies.

Welcome to Blacksburg, Mike Villagrana.