On Wednesday, we profiled offensive lineman Antwan Reed, one of Virginia Tech’s top targets up front. Today, we’ll take a look at one the Hokies’ top defensive back targets in DJ Crossen.
Crossen is listed at 6-foot-2 and 180-pounds, and he is a 3-star recruit according to the 247Sports Composite ranking. He’s received 18 reported scholarship offers to this point, many from Power 5 programs on the East Coast. North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisville and Wisconsin are some of his more notable offers. Crossen plays defensive back and wide receiver for Dudley High School in Greensboro, NC., an area the Hokies are recruiting more frequently.
Crossen is listed as a cornerback, but really has the potential to play safety as well. He has good size for both positions and certainly has the athleticism. Crossen shows his speed on offense, as well as a returner, which bodes well for him being able to keep up in man coverage. He flashes good hands and has a knack for breaking up throws and forcing drops. He also tackles well.
One thing Crossen doesn’t immediately show on his highlight film is agility. I’m not sure how he would stack up against a great route runner, someone who has great footwork and can generate separation. Crossen has great top-end speed, but his change of direction is a bit slower. For that reason, I think Crossen would translate better as a safety.
A lot of people thought Crossen’s recruitment was over last summer. He committed to North Carolina in August 2016, after having Virginia Tech in his final group. Crossen decommitted on January 26, 10 days after North Carolina defensive backs coach Charlton Warren left for Tennessee. Since then, Crossen has picked up several offers, including one from the Volunteers.
Tennessee has emerged as one of the top contenders to sign Crossen, but Virginia Tech has been there from the beginning and should hold a slight edge at the moment. It doesn’t hurt that Crossen’s former teammate, Hendon Hooker, signed with Virginia Tech in the ’17 class.
Virginia Tech already has two commitments at defensive back for the 2018 class. Safety Chamarri Conner committed way back in November 2016 and Nasir Peoples, who can also play corner and safety, committed on February 22. Still, with the amount of defensive backs that Virginia Tech could lose after this season, the Hokies will likely load up on defensive backs in this class.
Trey Dean and Alan Tisdale have been on Virginia Tech’s board for a while now, as have Dyami Brown and Amari Burney, both of whom have potential on the offensive side of the ball. Virginia Tech recently offered Blake Veargis as well, another athlete who could play in the secondary.