Photo courtesy of Old Dominion athletics
Everyone knows about the upset. Old Dominion welcomed “big brother” Virginia Tech to Norfolk in 2018.
The Hokies came in ranked 13th, while ODU was 0-3. The day ended with the Monarchs upsetting the Hokies, 49-35, in front of a packed Foreman Field.
In the years since, both teams have been through some things. ODU went 1-11 in 2019 and head coach Bobby Wilder resigned, giving way to Ricky Rahne. Virginia Tech finished that season 6-7 and lost its bowl game. In 2019, the Hokies lost to Virginia for the first time since 2003.
Virginia would go on to represent the ACC Coastal in the ACC Championship before ultimately falling to Clemson and then Florida in the Orange Bowl.
Virginia Tech Class of 2018 Recruiting
After the loss to ODU, Virginia Tech signed the 24th best recruiting class in 2018, via the 247Sports Composite.
In-state commits included wide receiver James Mitchell (.8904 composite), athlete Armani Chatman (.8837 composite), linebacker Keshon Artis (.8769 composite), running back Coleton Beck (.8630 composite), defensive end Jaevon Becton (.8622), tackle Luke Tenuta (.8601). Christian Darrisaw did come to Virginia Tech from Fork Union, which is in Virginia, but Darrisaw went to high school in Maryland.
Mitchell, now a tight end, played mostly special teams in 2018, and saw action in 2019, catching two touchdowns for the Hokies.
Armani Chatman, who was turned into a defensive back, redshirted in 2018 after playing in two games. He made 22 tackles in 13 games in 2019.
Artis played special teams as a freshman before playing four games and redshirting in 2019. Artis has three total tackles in his time at Virginia Tech.
Beck, an ACC track and field champion, has not seen action at Virginia Tech.
Becton is no longer a Hokie after being suspended in 2020 and announcing his intent to transfer.
Tenuta redshirted in 2018, before playing in 13 games in 2019, starting five of them.
Old Dominion Class of 2018 Recruiting
The Monarchs finished the season 5-7. Their class finished 128th in the nation and last in Conference USA, despite having a higher average 247Sports Composite score than the year before.
The Monarchs’ in-state recruits included wide receiver Robert Mayo (.8315), running back LaLa Davis (.8299), quarterback A.C White (.7898), athlete Isaiah Spencer (.7781), wide receiver Aaron Moore (.7698), and safety Damion Charity (.7597)
Mayo was in the transfer portal. Mayo reportedly suffered a career-ending injury.
Davis has been a fan favorite in his time at ODU. In 2018, Davis played four games before redshirting. In those four games, Davis ran for 131 yards and four scores. Davis played in 11 games in 2019, starting four. Davis accounted for 337 yards and four scores, including the game-winning score in the opener against Norfolk State.
White, now a tight end, played two games before redshirting in 2018. In 2019, White played in all 12 games and helped ODU lead Conference USA in kickoff returns.
Spencer was turned into a tight end and caught three passes for 43 yards in 2018 before redshirting. Two of those passes were for 32 yards in the Virginia Tech upset. 2019 saw Spencer catch his first touchdown while playing in 11 games. That touchdowns was a 42-yarder against UTSA.
Moore played in one game in 2018 before redshirting. In 2019, Moore broke out and led the Monarchs with 389 yards receiving and three scores. He had his first multi-catch game against Florida International. His touchdown catches were all big plays with lengths of 44, 58, and 63 yards. Moore averaged 15 yards per catch.
Charity played in four games in 2018 before redshirting. In 2019, Charity played in four games, with one special teams tackle.
Recruiting: Virginia Tech.
Play and impacts of recruits: Old Dominion.
Both teams have gotten solid guys out of the 2018 class, but the players at Old Dominion have had a bigger impact on the program than Virginia Tech. Aaron Moore was key to an injury-plagued ODU wide receivers corps in 2019, while LaLa Davis has been a good backup in the backfield.
James Mitchell at Virginia Tech has been the best of the 2018 class for Virginia Tech, catching two scores in his career. The fact that one recruit hasn’t played, and one has transferred out after being suspended hurts the Hokies.
Virginia Tech Class of 2019 Recruiting:
In 2019, the Hokies signed the 26th-best class in the nation; six of those players were from the commonwealth: athletes Jaden Payoute (.9326) and Tayvion Robinson (.8939), guards Jesse Hanson (.8709) and William Pritchard (.8580), safety Dean Ferguson (.8559), and defensive tackle Joshua Fuga (.8530).
Payoute plays wide receiver currently for the Hokies. In 2019, Payoute played in one game before redshirting.
Robinson is one of the few players in this article who did not redshirt. At receiver, Robinson caught 31 balls for 404 yards with a touchdown against Boston College in the opener. He also ran for 132 yards on the season. Robinson also returned three kicks and 13 punts with a long of 35 yards.
Hanson played against Georgia Tech and redshirted in 2019.
Pritchard medically retired from football as a freshman after suffering multiple brain injuries.
Ferguson plays linebacker now for the Hokies and played in three games in 2019, recording one tackle against Georgia Tech before redshirting.
Joshua Fuga played against Georgia Tech and redshirted.
Old Dominion Class of 2019 Recruiting:
In the 2019 class, Old Dominion signed the 117th-best class, an improvement from 2018’s 128th ranked class. As a whole, the Monarchs average composite score improved by a point to .7920. The class included six players from Virginia: defensive end Elonte Jones (.7982), athlete Javon Harvey (.7842), tight end Isaac Abel (.7791), guard Teagan McDonald (.7731), linebacker Joshua Burdsall (.7781), and tackle Brandon Ruff (.7781)
Jones is in the transfer portal.
Harvey was turned into a wide receiver and played on kick returns for four games before redshirting in 2019.
Abel played in four games on the kickoff team in 2019 before redshirting. Abel was not listed on the Monarchs’ most recent roster.
McDonald is currently in the transfer portal.
Burdsall played in four games on special teams and recorded a tackle before redshirting.
Ruff redshirted in 2019.
Recruiting: Virginia Tech
Play and impacts of recruits: Virginia Tech
With one player in the portal and one not on the roster, the best performance by a 2019 recruit was Javon Harvey. Virginia Tech benefited greatly from the production of Tayvion Robinson after both Eric Kumah and Chris Cunningham transferred to ODU. Both classes had pros and cons, but Virginia Tech’s pros outweighed its cons.
Virginia Tech Class of 2020 Recruiting:
The Hokies slipped down to the 75th ranked class in 2020 and had one of their worst cycles in the state of Virginia in the last 25 years. They only signed one recruit from the home state — wide receiver Lakeem Rudolph (.8491)
Old Dominion Class of 2020 Recruiting
ODU had a banner recruiting cycle in 2020, even with the resignation of Wilder. Rahne brought a new energy to ODU and hit the ground hard in the last month or so of recruiting before the second signing day.
ODU signed the 95th-ranked class with a program-best .8134 average. Six of those signees were from Virginia.
Defensive back LaMareon James (.8608), linebacker Malcolm Britt (.8287), defensive end Amorie Morrison (.8286), wide receiver Noah Robinson (.8185), defensive tackle Alonzo Ford (.8105), and athlete Devin Lester (.8091) all hail from Virginia.
Recruiting: Old Dominion
Play and impacts of recruits: TBD
ODU had more from the state in this cycle and LaMareon James was the steal of the cycle in the state. Virginia Tech was never in the running for the top-10 recruit.
The class of 2021 is still being put together but Virginia Tech has five from the commonwealth.
Safety Jalen Stroman (.8639), receiver Jaylen Jones (.8607), athlete Keli Lawson (.8366), linebacker Isi Etute (.8255), and cornerback Shawn Asbury (.8255) are all committed to the Hokies.
Old Dominion has signed two from Virginia: quarterback Billy Edwards Jr (.8322), and receiver Tariq Sims, who does not have a composite score; his 247Sports score is 83.
It seems like Virginia Tech has been more consistent with production, but could ODU be recruiting better? Time will tell.