In the wake of their victory over the SEC-champion LSU Tigers, the Hokies received a commitment from one of their top recruiting targets, offensive lineman Tripp Carroll from Andrew Jackson High School in Jacksonville, Florida.
Carroll is a national-level recruit who has favored the Hokies since the Tech spring game and finally committed. We spoke with Tripp Friday afternoon, prior to his commitment, and again Monday night, after his commitment. He raved about Tech’s beautiful campus, their coaching staff, their players, everything about the school.
“I visited Tech for the first time at the spring game,” he said Friday. “It’s like falling in love — you just know. That’s how I feel about Virginia Tech.”
“There was no second place [team],” said Gil Carroll, Tripp’s father and his coach at Andrew Jackson High.
Carroll originally told us he might wait and take some official visits before committing to Tech, but he went ahead and made it official Monday. He told us Monday night, “I thought about it, and thought about it, and I decided not to lead anyone else on. There’s too many good people out there, and I didn’t want to lead them on. It’s all fun and great, but why hurt somebody else’s recruiting efforts. So I went ahead [and committed].
“All along, I knew I was going to go to Virginia Tech. It was just a question of when I was going to do it [commit].”
Will he still take official visits elsewhere? “I’m not going to say I’m not. I’m definitely going to go to Virginia Tech, of course, and I told the Ohio State coaches that I wanted to come up there and visit. That was a while ago. Whatever I do, I’m not going to change my decision.”
Carroll had hoped to graduate early and arrive in January, but with his recent move to Florida (he played in North Carolina through last season), that won’t be possible. “It’s hard to explain, but I won’t be graduated in December. I’m going to further my education at a community college, take college credit classes, and have them credit towards my freshman year in college. I’m planning on taking freshman English and freshman math.”
Carroll tells us that in the forty, he runs a “legitimate 5.0, 5.1.” He recently benched 390 pounds, and he deadlifts 675. Carroll said he doesn’t one-rep squats for max weight, but he works out with 405 regularly. He has a 27-inch vertical leap.
As for other sports, he wrestled as a freshman but currently concentrates on football. Carroll also played defensive line and said that he has been recruited as a defensive lineman by some schools. “Last year, I had 7 sacks, 89 or 90 tackles, with about 15 for loss.
“By being around football all my life, I know football like the back of my hand. They say I could come in and play some guard and backup Jake Grove at center. I personally feel like I could come in and contend for a spot, but it’s all in the good Lord’s hands.”
When asked what he needs to work on the most, Carroll chuckles and says sheepishly, “I don’t know. It’s hard, being in high school and dominating like I do, I feel, to really know what I need to work on. I’ll tell you when I find someone who’s bigger than I am.” But he does admit, “I need to get a little bit more nasty. I’m strong, and I play hard, but I probably play with a little too much finesse sometimes.”
Carroll had approximately 80 offers and also considered UNC, Clemson, Ohio State and Florida.