Hokie fans have reason to be excited about the group of wide receiver recruits Virginia Tech has assembled in the class of 2016. They may also get to see a few of them in the wide receiver rotation next season.
Mount Tabor’s (Winston-Salem, N.C.) Divine Deablo, Hanahan’s (S.C.) Sam Denmark, Forest Park’s (Woodbridge, VA) Eric Kumah and Bayside’s (Virginia Beach, VA) Phillip Patterson are Virginia Tech’s four class of 2016 wide receiver commits. Deablo, Denmark and Kumah plan to enroll at Tech this January, which is huge in terms of preparing them to see the field next fall.
Deablo suffered an arm injury in his team’s season opener this year. A back sprain hampered him throughout his junior season. He has shown toughness in playing through pain, but will the injuries continue? That’s the main question mark with Deablo; however, when healthy, the 6’3″, 205-pound prospect is a big, fast wide receiver target. There is a reason why he received offers from Clemson, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, NC State, Ohio State, Penn State, South Carolina and Tennessee, among others, before casting his lot with the Hokies.
Deablo has flashed his ability in two games this season, most recently in last week’s win over Reynolds, in which he had touchdown receptions of 36 and 77 yards. It was his second 2-touchdown outing of 2015, as he hauled in touchdown catches of 17 and 28 yards against Reagan.
6’0″, 180-pound Sam Denmark wasn’t highly recruited at the time he committed to Virginia Tech over Wake Forest. His senior season performance has been very impressive, though, and he could be one of Tech’s most underrated recruits in this class.
We knew Denmark had speed. He is a state champion in the 100 and 200-meter events in track. This season, he is showing off his speed but also consistent production. Denmark started off 2015 with five touchdowns in his first two games. The shortest of those scores was 20 yards. He also had a 67-yard touchdown reception, a 72-yard touchdown reception, an 80-yard touchdown reception and a 91-yard kick-off return for a score.
Since the first two games, Denmark has totaled 19 catches for 235 yards.
The 6’3″, 205-pound Forest Park (Woodbridge, VA) star has exploded in his senior season. Here is the rundown:
Game 1: 45-yard TD reception, 1 INT
Game 2: 4 catches, 175 yards, 3 TDs
Game 3: 6 catches, 146 yards, 1 TD
Game 4: 6 catches, 208 yards, 1 TD (91 yards)
Game 5: 7 catches, 154 yards, 1 TD (92-yard game winner), 1 INT (game-clinching)
Game 6: 92-yard kick-off return for a touchdown. 8-yard TD reception.
Kumah has size and terrific ball-skills. This season he is showing he has the speed to break big plays. With three touchdown of over 90 yards, he certainly has done that. Kumah has boosted his stock tremendously and taken his game to another level, which is obviously great as he eyes entering the Virginia Tech program in January.
Like Deablo and Kumah, Patterson has good size, measuring in at 6’2″. He opened his senior campaign with a 6-catch, 149-yard, 1-touchdown receiving performance. In addition, he returned two fumbles for touchdowns in that game as well. Patterson has five touchdown receptions on the season.
Patterson was recruited by Virginia Tech initially as a defensive back. It wouldn’t come as a big surprise to see him end up on defense, but for now he will start out his Hokie career as a wideout. Patterson will enroll at Tech in the summer of 2016.
With these four in the fold, Virginia Tech’s wide receiver scholarship projection for the 2016 season looks like this:
Through six games this season, seniors Kevin Asante (1 reception for 13 yards) and Demitri Knowles (1 reception for 7 yards) are the only wide receivers other than Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips to make a catch. Without question, there is an opportunity for others to step up next year.
Deable, Denmark and Kumah will have eight months in Tech’s weight training program as well as a spring practice to prepare to play as true freshmen. In light of what they have shown this season, they certainly have the ability to contribute for the Hokies next year.
ARE THE HOKIES FINISHED RECRUITING THE WR POSITION?
The staff could still add another prospect to the fold, with Grassfield (Chesapeake, VA) speedster Grant Holloway topping the list of remaining targets. Florida, Georgia, Oregon and Virginia Tech are the four finalists for Holloway, who plans to run track and play football in college.
And then there is DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD) star Tino Ellis, who is committed to Maryland. In the midst of reports that Randy Edsall would not return as Maryland head coach next season, Ellis said he remained solid to the Terps. Well, Edsall is now gone. If Ellis does reopen his recruitment down the road, Virginia Tech would likely be a top consideration. Tech was in the promising wideout’s final two when he committed.