Gilman’s Keihn Chooses Hokies

Chris Horne, SportsWar Recruiting Analyst, on December 24, 2013
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Virginia Tech’s impressive recruiting run continued today, when Gilman (Baltimore, MD) senior linebacker Melvin Keihn (pronounced Kine) verbally committed to the Hokies. Keihn is the third prospect to commit to Virginia Tech in the past few weeks, joining Pennsylvania running back Shai McKenzie and Ohio quarterback Chris Durkin. All three players are rated a 4-star by at least one of the four national recruiting outlets (Rivals, Scout, 247Sports, ESPN).

Keihn chose Tech over Maryland and Virginia, and he also considered offers from Miami and Penn State, among others. He is the 25th high school senior to commit to the Hokies.

An avid user of Twitter, Keihn used the popular social media site as the forum for his announcement.

“Officially committed to Virginia Tech for football! #hokienation” – Keihn wrote.

Back in the summer, it appeared the Gilman star may go in a different direction. He expressed interest in committing before the start of his senior season, and in the early summer months Maryland and Virginia appeared to be in strong position. Not 100-percent sold on any school, though, he decided to wait. An unofficial visit to Virginia Tech for the UNC game on October 5 impressed the 6’2”, 220-pound prospect, who named Tech as his favorite shortly after that trip. He would go on to take official visits to UVa, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Penn State before committing.

Keihn visited Tech three times in total. The first experience came the weekend of April 19-21, which was the weekend of Tech’s Spring Game.

“I was asked to rate the Virginia Tech visit from 1-10 and I think I rated it an 8.5 or a 9 or something. I rated them really, really high,” Keihn said in an interview with TechSideline. “That trip was the only one where I actually stayed a few nights and got a chance to watch and learn and a chance to walk around the entire campus. Donovan Riley , who went to Poly (Baltimore, MD), I had a chance to walk around with him on Friday. We hung out and he showed me the whole campus. The next day there was a get-together with all the other kids. I watched film, and then I went to the Spring Game. [Riley] took me around town again afterward. It was just a good experience. He showed me everything. Then we played some video games and then I went back to the hotel with my brother. It was good. I saw a lot.”

Keihn, an Under Armour All-American and Rivals.com 4-star prospect, racked up 85 tackles including 16 tackles for loss and nine sacks his senior season. He forced two fumbles on a Greyhounds defense that surrendered less than 10 points in four of the 10 games this season. Gilman went 7-3 on the year.

Keihn is Virginia Tech’s first sure-fire linebacker recruit in this class. He will start out playing the Backer position (Keihn’s junior season highlights are below). Academically, Keihn is eyeing a major in Engineering.

TSL’s Take

Having seen Keihn in person and watched film, his closing speed is what stands out to me most about his game. He closes on the ball very quickly. He has a good physical frame and can run. You can also do different things with him, such as putting his hand on the ground and rushing him off the edge, something he did a good amount at Gilman. Since he did play a good amount with a hand on the ground at Gilman, he may need some time adjusting to primarily playing in space. He has the speed to do it, though.

As mentioned, Keihn is Tech’s first sure-fire linebacker in this class. Tabyus Taylor could well end up there as well, though he may need time at prep school before arriving at Tech. Counting only Keihn, Tech’s 2014 season scholarship projection at linebacker is as follows:

Seniors – Derek DiNardo, Chase Williams
Juniors – Deon Clarke, Joshua Trimble, Ronny Vandyke (possible SO if gets medical hardship)
Sophomores – Dahman McKinnon, Devin Vandyke (possible RFR if gets medical hardship)
Red-shirt Freshmen – Andrew Motuapuaka, Jamieon Moss
2014 Class – Keihn

Certainly, linebacker still appears to be an area of need for Tech in class of 2014 recruiting. Keihn’s commitment was huge but the Hokies could use at least one more linebacker in this class. Tech remains in great shape with Benedictine (Richmond, VA) product Raymon Minor.

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