Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech athletics
It’s a statement that Virginia Tech fans have been dying to hear recently: sixth-year head coach Justin Fuente and the Hokies are hot on the recruiting trail.
According to 247Sports’ Composite rankings, Virginia Tech currently holds the 25th-best 2022 recruiting class in the country. That’s good for fourth in the ACC behind Florida State, Boston College, and Clemson, respectively.
Is it early? Of course. Is it a good start for the Hokies? Absolutely. Nothing is set in stone until National Signing Day comes and goes, but this is certainly a welcomed sight for Virginia Tech fans starving for some program momentum.
Momentum indeed. Since June 15, the Hokies have added six new commits, and have very clearly taken advantage of the luxury of hosting recruits on campus for the first time in almost 15 months.
A Long Journey
We had heard about a massive recruiting surge taking place ever since former co-defensive line coach Darryl Tapp took over in December 2019. Before the Virginia Tech great and Chesapeake native could ever get his feet wet in the coaches office, the COVID-19 pandemic seized normalcy. All on-campus visits were halted until this past month.
Behold, Tapp ended up getting the chance to carry an NFL whistle. Tapp was hired away by the San Francisco 49ers back in February as their assistant defensive line coach.
Now, months after Tapp’s departure, the Hokies have begun that much-anticipated surge following a brief period of concern. They have been landing one commit after another over the last week and change.
The New Hokies
The Hokies’ 2022 class now sits at 12 total prospects. Fuente and company have doubled their previous total in just more than a week. Linebacker Xavier Simmons, out of Northwest Guilford High School in Greensboro, highlights the list. The three-star 6-foot-3, 235-pounder will be a welcomed addition for new linebackers coach Jack Tyler to work with.
Virginia Tech beat out schools like Oklahoma, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wake Forest to secure Simmons’ services. That’s an impressive list.
Johnny Garrett was also a nice pickup recently on the offensive line for position coach Vance Vice. The 6-5, 265-pound product out of Boston College High School in Boston, Mass. chose the Hokies over…Boston College. It was an interesting snag reeling in a future Hokie out of New England.
Vice also added 6-5, 285-pound Texas native Jakson LaHue a few days prior to Garrett’s commitment. The commitment adds depth to a class that already features three offensive tackles.
Tight end Matt Hoffman and safety Malcolm Jones were two unranked guys also added this week. But don’t overlook either of them just yet, especially Jones.
The Hokies and defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton have been known to develop some under-the-radar guys. Just look at where cornerback Dorian Strong is just a year removed from picking Virginia Tech over his lone other offer: FCS Delaware State. The Maryland native now finds himself as one of the better lockdown corners in the ACC.
Bryce Duke is the most recent pickup for Fuente’s running back room. The 5-11, 196-pounder comes to Virginia Tech from Tuscarora High School in Leesburg. Duke became just the third Virginia native of the class. He chose to stay home over offers from Rutgers and the Duke Blue Devils.
Tight end Harrison Saint Germain, out of Westfield High School in Chantilly and defensive lineman Lemar Law from Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, are the other two members from the commonwealth.
That’s a number the Hokies’ staff certainly will try to increase as they continue to mold together what needs to be a successful class for Virginia Tech.
There’s still six months before these prospects need to sign, so there’s a lot of dominos to fall. But this has been a welcomed start on the recruiting trail for Fuente and the Hokies.
The folks in Blacksburg still have a lot of work cut out for them. Selling the beautiful campus of Virginia Tech however, will be a little easier with recruits in town.