Although there were no immediate commitments, Virginia Tech’s “Prospect Day” appears to have been a success. Tech hosted a number of top rising senior prospects and even a few top rising juniors, including Hermitage (Richmond, VA) LB Curtis Grant and South County (Lorton, VA) S/WR Ronnie Van Dyke. There is no question that the primary focus, though, was on a talented group of 2010 class visitors.
Overall, the day was a success as Tech impressed each one of the prospects we have spoken with. The experience reportedly was a hit with those we haven’t reached yet as well. Virginia Tech appears to have improved its position or solidified an already good position with the prospects who attended, which is all you can ask for aside from actual commitments.
The event took place last Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and lasted until the Virginia Tech/Duke basketball game. Most prospects left a few minutes into the basketball game or by halftime.
Wondering what went on last Saturday? Deep Run (Glen Allen, VA) offensive lineman Conner Davis provided a detailed explanation…
“When the recruits got there, the coaches took us all in a meeting room and all of the coaches introduced themselves,” Davis said. “They talked to us briefly and then took us over to the academic building to show us around. Then we had lunch at Lane Stadium. They showed us a sky box, which was really nice. We then went to the Strength and Conditioning room and met with Coach Gentry. It was nice to see him because I’ve heard great things about him. Then they had current players come out and answer questions. After that, they broke us down into our positions. For the offensive line, it was me, [Fork Union star] Mark Shuman and [Rockbridge County standout] Caleb Farris. The three of us went into a meeting room and Coach Newsome told us how the meetings are run and how he critiques the offensive line. He told us how they go through practice film and game film. Coach Newsome left and three players came in to answer questions. After that, we had one more little meeting with all the coaches and then they took us over to the basketball game. Some of the players were over there and I talked to a few of them. At halftime, they recognized the team for winning for the Orange Bowl and the ACC. I left about five minutes into the second half. Coach Cav said thanks for coming and he hopes I go there.”
The biggest news may have come from Virginia Tech’s lone commitment, defensive tackle Nick Acree. The 6-6, 310-pound Acree, one of the top prospects in the country let alone the Commonwealth, told TechSideline.com that he does not plan to make official visits to any other programs and will stick with his commitment to Tech. Acree, who will attend Christchurch School (VA) his senior season, claimed to be solid previously while stating he would like to take official visits to other programs.
“I’m not going to take any visits,” said Acree, who boasted offers from Florida and LSU, among others, in addition to Virginia Tech. “I’m going to stick with Virginia Tech. I’m committed and my commitment is strong. I see what they have to offer me and I’m very excited about it. I’m ready to go ahead and get there and see where the program can go.”
A number of top in-state rising seniors made the trip to Blacksburg last weekend. Those that had been previously offered by Tech included Acree, Davis, Robinson (Fairfax, VA) linebacker Brian Laiti, Fork Union Military Academy offensive tackle Mark Shuman and Brooke Point (Stafford, VA) wide receiver/defensive back E.L. Smiling.
Davis, a 6-5, 255-pound prospect, enjoyed his time in Blacksburg and plans to return again this spring. At this point, his recruitment seems likely to come down to an in-state battle between Tech and UVa. I’d still give the edge to the Cavaliers right now, but Tech is very much in the running. Boston College, Duke, Maryland and West Virginia have also offered the Wildcats star.
6-3 1/2, 205-pound Brian Laiti, subject of a TSL Pass article yesterday, called the experience a “good visit.” He has now visited Tech three times and plans a return trip for the Spring Game, so the interest is certainly there. He has visited Maryland and plans several other out-of-state trips, but at this point Tech probably likes its position with the second-team all-state selection.
Tech, Tennessee and Virginia topped 6-7, 270-pound offensive tackle Mark Shuman’s list prior to the weekend, although I felt Tech had the edge over those other two programs. Nothing has changed since that time and I still believe Tech is the team to beat. Shuman, of course, is the son of Fork Union postgraduate head coach John Shuman and brother of former Hokies center Ryan Shuman.
6-4, 180-pound E.L. Smiling reportedly had a good experience as well and hopefully we can have more on this talented prospect soon. Virginia Tech, Smiling’s only offer right now, is looking to score its third Brooke Point prospect in as many years.
Rockbridge County (Lexington, VA) offensive guard Caleb Farris and Pulaski County (Dublin, VA) linebacker Tahrick Peak were among the in-state juniors on hand that had not been offered by Tech. The Hokies continue to monitor both prospects very seriously, though there is no indication if/when an offer will come. Peak is the younger brother of 2009 class recruit Nubian Peak.
And, as stated above, Tech hosted a couple of top 2011 class prospects from the state of Virginia in Grant and Van Dyke. The Hokies have verbally offered both prospects (No rising junior is allowed to be officially offered until the start of his junior year). South County head coach Pete Bendorf believes Tech “has a good chance” with Van Dyke, a 6-3, 185-pound safety/wide receiver prospect and a Tech football fan.
Tech has had success in the past at Hermitage and is looking for more with Grant, a 6-3, 210-pound linebacker. Past Panthers to sign with the Hokies include current Houston Texans offensive lineman Duane Brown and linebacker Andrew Bowman. Two past Panthers are current Hokies, including safety/linebacker Alonzo Tweedy and quarterback Ju-Ju Clayton.
Out of state…
So far, TSL has caught up with three Tar Heel state standouts that made the trek to Blacksburg last weekend. Southeast Raleigh (Raleigh, N.C.) quarterback Gabe Henderson, Southern (Durham, N.C.) wide receiver Anthony Creecy, Jr. and Southern (Durham, N.C.) cornerback A.J. Marshall all had positive things to say about their experience last Saturday.
Henderson, a 6-0, 190-pound signal caller who had been offered by Tech a week before the visit, did not name any favorites but seems very high on the Hokies. He especially likes the possibility of early playing time in the Tech program.
“Playing time is a big factor,” Henderson told TSL last Sunday. “Grades are important, of course, but playing time is a big factor. Out of all the schools I’ve talked to, Virginia Tech says I have a really good chance of playing my freshman year. They said one of the current quarterbacks may switch positions to wide receiver. I could come in, red-shirt and compete for a starting job my freshman year.”
Kent State is currently the only other offer for Henderson, who is also drawing serious interest from Clemson and Maryland, among others. He is eyeing a spring decision.
Of the two Southern Durham stars, Virginia Tech seems to be in the best position right now with Marshall. The 5-11, 170-pound cornerback admits to being a Tech fan throughout high school and claims Tech to be the top out-of-state school on his list right now. He plans on taking his time with a decision, though, as he will make all five official visits. In the end, he wants to narrow his list to one in-state and one out-of-state school before making a final choice.
Tech is one of eight schools to offer Marshall, who also holds offers from Clemson, Duke, ECU, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest.
Creecy, Jr. boasts close to 20 offers but currently lists N.C. State as his favorite. Tech helped itself last weekend, especially since Creecy learned about the Tech Engineering program. He wants to major in Engineering and wasn’t aware of Tech’s program before the weekend.
The 5-11, 195-pound junior wide receiver/running back does not plan to go to school far away from home, so the in-state and surrounding state programs seem to have the edge right now. Since location is such a factor, the in-state programs – especially N.C. State – could ultimately be the favorites.
Dudley (Greensboro, N.C.) defensive back David Amerson, Mount St. Joseph’s (Baltimore, MD) cornerback Kyle Fuller and Linganore (Frederick, MD) linebacker Zack Zwinkak were some other top out-of-state juniors on hand last Saturday. Tech has offered all three of these prospects. Stay tuned for more from this talented trio and more in the coming week or weeks.
For those with TSL Pass subscriptions, be sure to check out all of the updates posted throughout this week. This includes updates on Nick Acree, Anthony Creecy, Conner Davis, Caleb Farris, Gabe Henderson, Brian Laiti, A.J. Marshall and Ryan Van Dyke.