Quite simply, this weekend may be the biggest recruiting weekend in the history of Virginia Tech football. Blue-chip recruits from all over – Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina and of course Virginia – plan to be in Blacksburg this weekend. Four 5-star recruits and 12 4-star recruits are expected in town, with three 5-star players and six 4-star prospects on official visits.
Here is an overview of the recruits expected to be in attendance. First, we start with the uncommitted official visitors. OL Clark Crum and TE Andre Smith are making official visits as well, but both have already committed to Tech.
Marcus Ball, 6-0, 205 pounds, 4.5
Stephenson High School (Stone Mountain, GA)
Ball, the brother of Georgia Tech junior quarterback Reggie Ball, is one of the top defensive prospects in the nation. As a junior last season, he racked up 136 tackles including 73 solo efforts. He had eight sacks as well.
Virginia Tech, which is recruiting Ball as a safety/rover, will be Ball’s first official visit and this will be his first ever visit to Virginia Tech. The other schools under heavy consideration include Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Tennessee.
Vidal Hazelton, 6-3, 200, 4.5
Hargrave Military Academy
Hazelton is playing well at Hargrave after making 39 catches for 784 yards and 17 touchdowns last season as a junior at Moore Catholic school in New York.
Before his recruitment really blew up, Hazelton showed serious interest in Virginia Tech. He mentioned that he followed the Hokies during the Michael Vick years. The favorite schools on his list have changed quite a bit and, as of last check, Vidal was going to take official visits to Florida, Tennessee and Southern Cal in addition to Virginia Tech. Hazelton recently decided to take an official visit to Virginia Tech.
Vidal’s list changes a lot, but getting an official visit is big. I believe he will make more official visits, however, before making a decision.
LeSean McCoy, 5-11, 205, 4.3
Bishop McDevitt High School (Harrisburg, PA)
Can Virginia Tech do it again? Can the coaches go into Pennsylvania and land one of the nation’s top overall prospects once again, as it did with Kevin Jones? There is certainly a decent chance at doing so, as LeSean enjoyed an unofficial visit to Tech this August.
McCoy made an official visit to Southern Cal last weekend and will likely take an official visit to Penn State. Alabama and Miami are also likely to get official visits from the talented back, who unfortunately is out for the season with an ankle injury. Still, McCoy is considered a can’t-miss running back with exceptional speed (ran a 4.25 at a Nike camp).
PSU and USC may be the primary competitors here.
Navorro Bowman, 6-0, 218, 4.7
Suitland High School (Forestville, MD)
Virginia Tech has always been high on Bowman’s list and this weekend’s visit will be his first ever trip to Blacksburg. Penn State is the primary competition right now, but Virginia Tech, which was named as the leader earlier in this year, is in a good position to make a significant impact this weekend. Florida, Ohio State and Tennessee are the other schools in contention for the player who led Suitland to a state championship last season.
Bowman has taken official visits to Penn State and Ohio State and has an official visit scheduled with Tennessee in December. He plans to graduate early and enroll in college in January of 2006.
Jermaine Cunningham, 6-4, 200, 4.6
Stephenson High School (Stone Mountain, GA)
Cunningham, a three-year starter at defensive end, will take official visits to Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Auburn and Florida, in that order. Right now, I’d give the edge to the SEC, but Cunningham has never visited Virginia Tech before and, after this weekend, I’ll be able to get a better sense of where the Hokies are with one of Georgia’s best.
Lou Eliades, 6-4, 285
Ocean Township (Oakhurst, N.J.)
Virginia Tech has been at the top of Lou’s list for quite some time. Could a commitment happen this weekend? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does. Even if it doesn’t, I suspect Virginia Tech will continue to feel pretty good about its chances. Notre Dame, Penn State and South Carolina, where Eliades has already taken an official visit, are the primary competition.
Damon McDaniel, 6-0, 195, 4.5
Landstown High School (Virginia Beach, VA)
Virginia Tech has always been mentioned by D-Mac, but finally landed an official visit and is firmly among his top schools. McDaniel has already made an official visit to Florida, which has really impressed him thus far. Miami, his childhood favorite, and LSU are the two other schools likely to get official visits.
McDaniel told me that he doesn’t plan to make a decision any time soon. I think he will take an official visit to Miami and one to LSU. This will be Damon’s first experience at a Virginia Tech football game, and a great weekend could cement Tech’s place a finalist in this race. The competition will be fierce, however, with Florida and Miami being the top competition. Official visits will be big here.
Morrice Richardson, 6-2, 230, 4.55
Westlake (Atlanta, GA)
Richardson could make a decision soon after this visit, so it’s good that Virginia Tech will likely get the last shot here. Florida, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame (he visited ND unofficially for the USC game) are the top competition. Like several others, this will be Richardson’s first ever visit to Blacksburg. It’s an obvious statement, but how the official visit experience goes is crucial in these cases in telling exactly where Virginia Tech stands.
Brandon Spikes, 6-4, 225, 4.7
Crest (Shelby, N.C.)
Virginia Tech and Florida really seem to be the primary competitors in this race. Spikes has visited Florida twice and plans another trip to Gainesville later this month. He likes Virginia Tech’s proximity to home as well as the defense.
Mario Edwards, 6-1, 180, 4.6
Westlake (Atlanta, GA)
Edwards has Virginia Tech at number one on his list right now. Mississippi State is another school the Westlake standout has talked about visiting, but the Hokies are in the driver’s seat right now.
The above prospects are the official visitors. It’s an impressive list, but what is also impressive is the unofficial visitors expected on Saturday. A handful of top 20 in-state prospects will be on hand – Highland Springs LB Jarrell Miller (TSL In-State Rank #4), Meadowbrook DE John Graves (TSL #5), Varina RB Brandon Minor (TSL #7), Oscar Smith DE Brian Whitmore (TSL #8), Westfield RB Evan Royster (TSL #9), Robinson RB/DB Lucas Caparelli (TSL #13), Liberty DT and VT commitment Daryl Robertson (TSL #14) and Centreville OL and VT commitment Beau Warren (TSL #19). The top prospect in the state and maybe the top prospect in the country, 5-star Landstown wide receiver Percy Harvin, will likely be in attendance but is not seriously considering Virginia Tech at this time.
Virginia Tech is in good shape with Miller, Minor and Whitmore. It’s in the top two for John Graves, with Virginia having the edge right now but Virginia Tech not out yet. Caparelli has been quiet on the recruiting front, but Tech is up there on his list. It will be interesting to see where the Royster recruitment goes after this weekend. Royster has been looking to leave the state for a long time, but recently began considering Virginia Tech seriously again. Fork Union standout Jacoby Ford will be in attendance as well. Virginia Tech offered Ford, a wide receiver with exceptional speed, a few weeks ago.
2007 star quarterback Tyrod Taylor will likely be in attendance as well. Taylor is the star for Hampton High School. In addition, several Deep Creek 2006 standouts will be in attendance, including offensive lineman Billy Cuffee, who could earn an offer from Tech later in the process, and outstanding athlete Ras-I Dowling.
Out-of-state, Carteret (N.J.) defensive end Jason Adjepong, Hertford County (Ahoskie, N.C.) wide receiver LaMarcus Bond, Lumberton (N.C.) offensive tackle Hutch Eckerson and Pulaski Southwestern (KY) defensive lineman Josh Minton are the top uncommitted recruits expected to be in attendance. These are the prospects who have Tech under serious consideration. Tech is right at the top for Adjepong, is one of five schools in contention for Bond, is just behind Virginia for Eckerson and is on top for Minton.
4-star OL Aaron Brown, a top 2006 out-of-state commitment, is expected on hand in an unofficial capacity as well.
Stay tuned on Sunday, when TSL will be bringing you as many updates as possible from this weekend. It should be an exciting weekend for all Hokie faithful.