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Virginia Tech football: State’s top player spent some time in Blacksburg this week

Chris Cole is from nearby Salem.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Virginia Tech Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies, under head coach Brent Pry, have prioritized recruiting in the state of Virginia. Since Pry took over before the 2022 season, he and his coaching staff have made it a point to step foot in every high school in the state. It didn’t matter if the schools didn’t have a player worthy enough of a Virginia Tech scholarship; Pry wanted to repair the relationships from the previous regime, which often ignored schools in the Commonwealth.

In Pry’s first full class for 2023, he signed 12 players from Virginia. He signed even more from the state in the transfer portal, including Ali Jennings, Quan Felton and Antwuan Powell.

As we now look ahead to 2024, where the Hokies currently have six commitments, the state’s top player, according to 247Sports, resides less than an hour from Lane Stadium.

Salem linebacker Chris Cole recently saw his ranking increase enough to put him at No. 1. Cole’s recent offer list likely also had something to do with his ranking increase. He’s received offers from Georgia, Alabama, Penn State, Notre Dame, Miami and Tennessee, among others.

However, the Hokies were first. And that meant something to Cole. Cole has been to Blacksburg numerous times and has a strong relationship with Pry and the staff. The Hokies appeared to be in good shape with Cole before his recent offers over the last few months. Despite those big-time offers, Cole remains interested in the Hokies and took another trip to Blacksburg this week with his family.

The Hokies have made Cole their top target, and that’s before he was Virginia’s No. 1 player. Remember when the entire coaching staff showed up on Cole’s field trip to surprise him? That’s how you recruit. Of course, that doesn’t mean the Hokies land Cole, but no one can question their efforts.

Landing Cole is going to be difficult. Virginia Tech doesn’t fend off Georgia and Alabama. Nor do other schools, for that matter, outside of perhaps LSU, Clemson and Ohio State.

“Had a great visit with Virginia Tech today,” Cole told Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports. “Spoke in detail with Coach Pry, (Chris) Marve, (Shawn) Quinn and the entire defense and special teams coaches about their academic and athletic development plan for me.”

“Coach Pry and Marve said that I’m VT’s No. 1 priority prospect across all positions and they have a solid plan specifically for my individual development both on and off the field. They touched on how my upside is through the ceiling and how I can make an immediate impact in at least three different defensive positions. “

Cole is saying all the right things. It doesn’t mean he is coming to Virginia Tech. But credit the Hokies for making it difficult for Cole to say no to them. There’s clearly a connection between Cole and Tech’s coaching staff. It remains to be seen whether that matters in the end or not.

Cole has a busy month ahead, with official visits to Penn State, Georgia, Notre Dame and Miami.

It doesn’t sound like Cole has a timeframe for a decision, but the Hokies will recruit Cole until he signs.