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Today has turned into a banner day for Virginia Tech’s football program, which has added a third top rising senior prospect to its 2010 football recruiting class. Moreover, head coach Frank Beamer and company have scored a second top quarterback recruit after securing a commitment from Ricardo Young.
Atlantic (Delray Beach, FL) quarterback Mark Leal became the latest rising senior to pledge to Virginia Tech, doing so earlier this evening. He becomes the seventh prospect to commit to Tech’s 2010 class.
“Earlier today, I talked to my head coach and we were talking about the situation,” Leal said. “Then, I talked to my parents. I felt this was a good time to commit. I just had a feeling. I called Coach Wiles earlier and let him know I was verbally committing. He was really excited. He said he was really happy that I was committing.”
Leal pledged to the Hokies despite having never visited the campus. He is scheduled to visit Tech for the first time ever on the weekend of July 11th, but for now he felt comfortable enough to go ahead with a commitment.
Virginia Tech has been at the top of Leal’s list since offering in March.
“Virginia Tech has a great program. I’ve always been a Virginia Tech fan and I have a teammate going there,” said Leal, who also had been offered by Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Rutgers and Vanderbilt. “Early on, I’ve built really good relationships with the coaches. I call them frequently and I’ve done my research. All the people I know who went to Virginia Tech loved it. I had a lot of different sources. The situation at quarterback, having the chance to compete and maybe be a starter early on in my career, it is a perfect situation for me.”
Virginia Tech, led by primary recruiter Charley Wiles, has been upfront with Leal about its plans for recruiting the quarterback position in 2010. With only two scholarship players projected on the roster in 2010 (including Tyrod Taylor and Ju-Ju Clayton and assuming Marcus Davis stays at receiver), the quarterback position was a major need for the Hokies. After today, Tech now has two top targets in the fold.
“Coach Wiles pretty much said they offered about four quarterbacks and they were definitely going to take one, maybe two,” Leal said. “Obviously, they did take two. He told me I was up there on the list. I’ll have to go in and compete against the other quarterback and I’ll have to beat him out.”
Leal admits to learning about H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.) star Ricardo Young’s decision earlier in the day. Did Young’s decision facilitate Leal’s decision-making process?
“It did a little bit,” Leal replied. “Once I saw he committed to Virginia Tech, then we all started talking about it. I felt I didn’t need to wait anymore. I was set on where I wanted to go.”
After getting the green light from his parents, Leal called Coach Wiles. He has yet to speak with Coach Beamer but plans to do so tomorrow.
“My parents really like the school, but they were making sure I wasn’t pressured because the other quarterback committed today,” Leal said. “I’m not pressured. I expected they would get another quarterback. Wherever you go, other quarterbacks are going to be there.”
A starter on the varsity level since the end of his sophomore season, Leal threw for 2,355 yards with 21 touchdowns to seven interceptions last season as a junior. Of his talented signal caller, Atlantic head coach Andre Thaddies said, “Mark is a quarterback. His sophomore year, at the end of the season we decided to go with him over a senior quarterback. We thought he’d get it done because of his versatility. He is athletic and has a cannon for an arm.”
More with Mark Leal …
Hypothetically, let’s say Tyrod Taylor has a terrific year and decides to turn pro. What would your thoughts be? Do you hope to have him around to learn under for a year or do you want the chance to win the starting job as a true freshman?
“Both,” Leal answered. “I’d like to be able to meet him and get to know him so he could help introduce me to the system. But also, if he left, I’d love to have a chance to step up and be the man my first year.”
Did you call former teammate Jayron Hosley to tell him of your decision? (Leal says that Hosley, a cornerback who signed with Tech’s 2009 class, has been a consistent and persistent recruiter for the Hokies.)
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