Virginia Tech Class of 2018 Prospect Profile: Jaelen Gill

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Jaelen Gill Virginia Tech recruiting
Virginia Tech needs to add a difference maker at running back in the Class of 2018. (Picture via @jaelengill21 on Twitter)

Now that Virginia Tech has finished up their Class of 2017, the Hokies can now turn their focus on next year’s targets. Over the next month or so, we’ll take a look at some of the Hokies’ biggest targets for the Class of 2018. On Monday, we profiled 5-star defensive end KJ Henry. Today, we’ll take a look at running back Jaelen Gill

Gill is a high-end 4-star prospect from Westerville, OH. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound recruit is rated as the second-best player in the state of Ohio and is ranked No. 31 nationally, based off of the 247Sports Composite. Gill already has 26 reported scholarship offers, 25 of which are from Power 5 programs.

Gill’s senior season will be important for teams to get an idea of where his development is. Gill suffered an unspecified lower leg injury just two games into his junior season, causing a major setback in his development.

Still, Gill is an elite-level player. His speed is the first thing that stands out when it comes to his skill set. Gill regularly runs away from defenders once he gets into a crease. He also shows the ability to make other players miss in open space and in the backfield. Gill is dangerous in the screen game, which is something Virginia Tech and Justin Fuente want to do more of in the future.

Of course, Gill is being pursued by several powerhouse programs and will not be an easy get for Virginia Tech. Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State have a leg up on many schools, due to their location and proximity to home. However, Gill has visited Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and even attended a camp in Blacksburg over the summer that I attended.

An issue Virginia Tech will have to move past with Gill, along with other targets, is how running backs are used in Virginia Tech’s system. Travon McMillian, who rushed for 1,043 yards in his freshman season, posted significantly lower numbers under Fuente and the new staff. McMillian carried the ball 55 fewer times in 2016 and ran for 372 fewer yards. McMillian did post slightly better receiving numbers, but the Hokies often used a committee of backs throughout the season.

Despite that, Gill seems to be a perfect fit for Fuente’s system. He has experience running out of the gun and catching out of the backfield. If Virginia Tech can steal Gill from the Midwest powers that be, it’ll be a big haul and instantly add depth to a thin position for the Hokies.

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8 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Has that extra gear that Mike Vick had. Seems to be running easily and all the sudden he pulls away. Some of the defenders seem to have taken decent pursuit angles and he just runs past them.

  2. Somebody needs to tell Hudl that blocking ability is an important skill for running backs, and needs to be featured on their film.
    Speaking of which, lack of blocking ability/willingness is the reason McMillan was under-utilized in 2016; and will be in 2017 if he does not commit to improving. See VT’s last two offensive plays in the ACCCG.
    It seems to me that at 180/190 lbs this guy is primarily a slot receiver, not a running back, and he could really light it up from that position.

  3. You sure he’s 182? Looks much bigger than that on the film! Either that or his competition is tiny.

    1. 247 lists him at 182, Rivals lists him at 176 and Scout lists him at 180. Hudl lists him at 185.

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