Virginia Tech Recruiting Stories With Lew Johnston: Part 3

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Lew Johnston
Lew Johnston won the State Championship in 2015…his final season as a head coach.

Dre Bly had a great football career. He played in the NFL from 1999 through 2010, intercepting 43 passes and winning a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams. Before that he was a Consensus All-American at North Carolina in 1997 and 1998. His 11 interceptions led the country when he was a r-freshman. Bly was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.

Before all that he was a Western Branch Bruin, where he played under Lew Johnston. Johnston, who had a large number of players who went on to attend Virginia Tech, also had a couple of high-profile players who did not. Bly was one of them. He ranked #2 in the state of Virginia on The Roanoke Times’ Top 25 list for 1995.

The Hokies missed out on every single player in the Top 10 that year, including the following standouts…

Bly: UNC, 12 year NFL career
Erron Kinney: Florida, 7 year NFL career
Casey Crawford: UVA, 3 year NFL career
Darnell Alford: BC, 4 year NFL career
Eric Barton: Maryland, 12 year NFL career

There was some good talent in the state that year, but obviously Bly (and Eric Barton) turned out to be the cream of the crop.

Recruiting was not a subject that was covered closely back then, but behind the scenes Dre Bly was very close to signing with Virginia Tech.

“Everybody knew about him on the east coast,” Lew Johnston said. “He could have gone anywhere, but he wanted to stay close to home because he wanted his parents to be able to see him play.”