in 2005, the most highly-touted recruit on Virginia Tech’s board was Melvin
Alaeze, a defensive end from Randallstown High School in Maryland. The Hokies
had a legit chance to sign the blue-chip prospect, but he eventually signed a
letter of intent to play for the Maryland Terrapins, instead. But unlike most
prospects, the Melvin Alaeze story was just beginning.
When I say that Alaeze was the highest-rated target on Tech’s board, that’s
not a stretch. He was rated the #4 recruit in the country and the #1 defensive
end by Rivals.com. The highest-rated recruit to actually sign with the Hokies
that year was Macho Harris, the #28 player in the country and the lowest-rated
of all the 5-star recruits.
After Alaeze signed with Maryland, things quieted down … for awhile. He
failed to qualify academically and announced that he would attend Hargrave
Military Academy, which was somewhat surprising because he was expected to
qualify without much of a problem. As soon as it was announced Alaeze would head
to Hargrave, many Tech fans began speculating that his ultimate destination
would be Blacksburg.
That takes us back to his original recruitment, when it was made plainly
clear that his father wanted him to stay close to home at Maryland, while Alaeze
himself wanted to sign with Virginia Tech. This news made his recruitment all
the more frustrating for Virginia Tech fans and fueled rumors that Alaeze would
eventually end up at Tech.
Alaeze enrolled at Hargrave for the 2005 football season, where he started
for a team that was loaded with future college stars. He played in Lane Stadium
against the Virginia Tech Jayvee football team, where the few Tech fans that
attended the game lamented that the next time he set foot on Worsham Field he
would be wearing the uniform of a Maryland Terrapin.
Alaeze’s season at Hargrave went as expected. He dominated his competition
and was rated the #2 prep school player in the nation by Rivals.com, behind only
Hargrave teammate Callahan Bright,
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