Zion DeBose Recaps Official Visits to Pittsburgh and Illinois, Will Visit Virginia Tech This Weekend


Virginia Tech is working hard to add to their defensive line as National Signing Day awaits on Feb. 1. The Hokies hosted multiple defensive linemen last weekend on official visits and will host another this coming weekend — Zion DeBose.

DeBose, a 3-star defensive end from Spencer, NC., is one of Virginia Tech’s remaining targets. DeBose is considering other schools as well, including Illinois, Pittsburgh and Missouri.

Last weekend, DeBose made his official visit to Pittsburgh. DeBose said he really likes Panthers Head Coach Pat Narduzzi and said he got to watch a Pittsburgh Steelers practice before their playoff game vs. the New England Patriots.

“Me and my parents loved it,” DeBose said. “I absolutely love the coaches, I love the love that they show me. Coach Narduzzi, he’s such a great guy and a great coach. Not only did he show me the program, he also made it pretty clear I was more of a need than a want for the program.”

DeBose officially visited Illinois on the Jan. 14 weekend and said the visit was better than he had expected.

“I was going in there expecting the regular Division I program stuff,” DeBose said. “It’s the same thing with Pittsburgh. Coach Lovie Smith and Coach Hardy Nickerson and Coach (Mike) Phair made it clear that I am most definitely a priority. I am a need more than a want. Hearing that from them sounds good, but it actually mean something when I was hearing it from the players. They were telling me that they’re real short. They’re going to need people to step up and be ready.”

DeBose said that he’s enjoyed all of his visits so far, but that he’s not putting all of his stock into them.

“I know official visits, that’s not everyday life,” DeBose said. “I want to see more. I’m not saying I want them to go all out and do a bunch of extra stuff to get me to commit. Every Division I school is going to have great academics, every Division I school is going to have tutor support for the athletes. Every Division I school is going to have a decent football program. My top-four, they all have those things.”

“I want to go somewhere where the foundation of the team is based off of the brotherhood and how the team moves as a unit,” DeBose said. “Anybody can go to a winning program, but I feel like you’ll enjoy the game if you’re playing beside people you have a strong relationship with. Not just the players, but the coaches.”

Virginia Tech recruiting Zion DeBose
Virginia Tech made an in-home visit with Zion DeBose on Jan. 18.

DeBose said he’s also hoping for a chance to see the field early on in his career, something he might find at Virginia Tech. Presumed starters Vinny Mihota and Trevon Hill both underwent offseason shoulder surgery and will miss spring practice. Behind them, Virginia Tech has Jimmie Taylor and possibly Emmanuel Belmar, both of who will be redshirt-freshmen next season. Belmar is listed at linebacker, but could drop down to defensive end this spring.  Houshun Gaines is the only defensive end who has game experience who isn’t hurt right now.

The Hokies have other options coming in for the Class of 2017, so it won’t be a cakewalk. Nathan Proctor and Robert Porcher IV are both committed, and Tech is still pursuing Tyjuan Garbutt and Brad Johnson, as well as DeBose.

“I know they have one or two defensive ends out because of shoulder injuries, so that leaves two starting defensive ends for spring ball,” DeBose said. “I know V-Tech is on the rise right now and they’re getting a lot of commitments. I’ve talked to one defensive end commit and I know they got another (Tuesday).”

DeBose is hoping to sit down with the Virginia Tech coaching staff this coming weekend when he makes his official visit to talk about the team’s situation at defensive end. Other than that, he feels like he has a good sense of what the Hokies have to offer.

“I want to see the depth chart and see how they stand against my other schools,” DeBose said. “That’s really the only thing I want to see when I go to V-Tech. I know they have a great engineering and architecture program. I know the support is going to be there. I know the football program is going to be good.”

Before his visit this weekend, DeBose and his family will host Pittsburgh’s Narduzzi and Missouri’s coaching staff for in-home visits. Illinois’ Smith was supposed to visit on Tuesday, but for some reason was unable to make it. DeBose still plans on announcing his commitment on Feb. 3, two days after National Signing Day.

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  1. Most VT fans did not like it when some other programs were negatively recruiting against Virginia Tech because Frank Beamer was nearing the end of his coaching career. There was a perceived hint of uncertainty about the future the program being put out there by some recruiters, maybe some head coaches as well. Those recruiting techniques really were unethical and classless. I’m not a Narduzzi fan at all, but that does not mean we should go ahead and use his on-field antics in a manner to degrade the coach and his program, to a potential recruit. Getting or losing one recruit does make or break a program, and some posters should stay away from suggesting such a recruiting strategy for VT. Stay away from the mud slinging and VT will do very well with CJF setting the example.

    1. Serious question. Is it really negative or unethical recruiting (using the example of Narduzzi) to just show video and highlight the fact that the guy is a complete maniac on the sideline with no self control. Just showing the video…It speaks for itself. To me that is different than getting in a kids head with speculation/rumors/innuendo about stuff like a coach retiring (when nobody has any idea when the coach will actually retire); or like with Hunter, CC mentioned that other schools were probably telling him that VT wasn’t a big time school, can’t play with the big boys etc. I don’t know, to me just showing video of a head coaches pattern of craziness on the sideline is different than pure conjecture and negative or downright false allegations. Thoughts?

      1. If you present facts w/o commentary or editorializing, then IMHO it’s not negative recruiting. The emphasis and focus should always be on what we bring to the party, not on what the other school doesn’t bring.

        We could show him a highlight reel of our wins, including the hard-fought victory at Pitt. It should emphasize the grit with which we competed, and close with the post-game footage of the players circling the stadium high-fiving with the fans. This will show the brotherhood and how the team plays as a unit – specific things DeBose is interested in. Of course, a couple snippets of the coaches would be thrown in, including a Narduzzi meltdown.

  2. We are the highest ranked school on the list in Architecture and Engineering. Ascendant and early playing time. Done.

    1. Actually Illinois is higher ranked in engineering. Not that it matters, VT is obviously a great engineering school. But Illinois is one of the top 5 or 6 engineering programs in the entire country.

  3. By the time he and some other DEs are ready to play, Mihota will have run out of eligibility. And Trevon Hill will be getting to be an upper classmen. Then it will be about competing with Gaines, Taylor and other recruits. Then it is about selling the value of depth like Alabama and the best DLs have depth. And that of course not everyone will pan out. So yes, there will be competition but if we can 2-deep on the DE, then there is room for 4 people to play in a season. At least. Then as people get older or not pan out, the opportunity is there…especially as r-freshman or r-sophomore.

  4. If he wants a brotherhood as indicated Virginia Tech is his best choice. Looking at engineering and Architecture listed as his major choices Virginia Tech is the highest rated school. If he wants a guarantee to be a starter I would say look elsewhere. If he wants a chance to compete for a starting spot he will get that as a Hokie.

  5. Would love for someone to create a side-by-side video of Fuente and Narduzzi’s sidelines demeanor and send a link to Debose’s Twitter…

    Fuente will show fire when needed, but for most part leads with a steady confidence. Do you want to be led by a coach who shows composure under pressure, or a coach who comes completely unglued…

    1. No. This is negative recruiting. Not only do we not want to be that type of program, it clearly doesn’t resonate with recruits and only serves to make us look poorly.

      1. Debateable…is it negative recruiting if it’s true? Technically yes, but I can think of a lot worse things then reminding a kid that he’s considering committing to an unstable individual.

        All that said maybe I’m getting too amped up and want us to land all these guys we are still after. You are correct…the HOKIE thing to do would be to take the high road.

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