Virginia Tech has locked up certain positions for the Class of 2018, but the Hokies have one position group that still has plenty of spots available — offensive line. In order to fill some of those spots, Virginia Tech has issued several scholarship offers to linemen, including Gabe Gonzalez.
Gonzalez is a 6-foot-4, 275-pound offensive lineman from Mebane, N.C. The rising senior at Eastern Alamance High School is rated as a 3-star recruit by Rivals, and holds several Power 5 offers from schools like Duke, NC State and Wake Forest.
Gonzalez plays right tackle exclusively for Eastern Alamance, and excels in that role as a run blocker. He uses solid technique to drive defenders out of plays. His feet are always moving and he does a good job of staying low and maintaining leverage. Gonzalez shows the ability to wall off defenders in order to set the edge, and moves well to the second level when he gets there. He finishes blocks and rarely gets beat once engaged.
There is limited film of Gonzalez as a pass blocker, and it seems like he still needs work there. He defends a bull rush well, but can be beaten off the edge by quick rushers. He does move his feet and forces defenders to go wide, but can be beat inside with a swim move as well.
Even though Gonzalez looks less athletic in the pass game, his numbers indicate he can move his feet very well. At The Opening regional outside Charlotte, N.C. in May, Gonzalez ran a 4.77-second 20-yard shuttle, which was the third-fastest shuttle time of any offensive lineman at the camp. Sure, Gonzalez ran a 5.42-second 40-yard-dash (though he’s also been clocked at a 5.15, per ESPN), but he moves well in limited space. That bodes well for his ceiling. He also has a big frame with tons of room too add on, so weight shouldn’t be an issue.
Virginia Tech has had their eyes on Gonzalez for a while, even hosting him for a visit last November. The Hokies finally pulled the trigger on May 24, offering him a scholarship. Gonzalez also visited Virginia Tech on June 10 and could make a return visit for the summer. If he does, it will only put Virginia Tech in a better position than they already are. Gonzalez did camp at North Carolina last weekend, and an offer from the Tar Heels could change things.
Gonzalez is one of the top targets on the board for Virginia Tech on the offensive line. Four-star prospect Rasheed Walker is still the top-dog, but is trending towards Penn State. Virginia Tech is also targeting Jordan McFadden, Austin Smith and Jovaughn Gwyn, as well as Aidan Rafferty. Tech has also offered JUCO lineman TJ Bradley, who might be able to help in the near future. Still, fans should expect more offers to offensive lineman as the fall approaches.