Revisiting the State’s Class of 2002

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Back in 2002, the Commonwealth of Virginia boasted its best-ever recruiting
class, on paper. The top of the class was headed by major national recruits such
as Ahmad Brooks, Marcus Vick and Kai Parham. This was the most top flight talent
that Virginia had ever produced, as many of those players garnered offers from
some of the top programs in the country. Despite such impressive offer lists,
most of those players decided to stay in-state.

Coming off a disappointing season in which UVA didn’t finish .500, new head
coach Al Groh pulled a major recruiting coup when he signed some of the top
players in the state ahead of Frank Beamer and the Hokies. Highly touted
linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Kai Parham headlined the UVA class. A total of five
of the Roanoke Times top ten players signed with UVA, while only two signed with
Virginia Tech.

On paper, this was a recruiting battle that UVA won, or best case scenario
for Tech, broke even with the Hokies. But as we’ve seen many times in the
past, football games are won on a football field instead of on a piece of paper.
That’s evident in the Class of 2002, where an argument can definitely be made
that the Hokies have gotten more out of their recruits. Some of the UVA recruits
panned out, some didn’t, and the jury is still out on some. The same can be
said for Tech, but the Hokies also seemed to reach lower into the barrel to pull
out some gems whose production thus far has been just as good, if not greater
than some of the players in the top five.

Let’s take a look at each player from Virginia who signed with either UVA
or Tech in 2002, and their accomplishments thus far. The Hokies and Hoos signed
28 players off the Roanoke
Times Top 50
list, with #37 Brenden Hill being the lowest-rated player
signed by either school.

1) LB Ahmad Brooks, UVA, Roanoke Times #1. Brooks committed to UVA and
was expected to be an immediate starter. After spending a year at Hargrave
Military Academy, Brooks enrolled at UVA for spring practice of 2003. He was a
Freshman All-American in 2003, collecting