Cornerback, Class of 2020
Dr. Henry Wise High School, Upper Marlboro, MD
The courtship with Virginia Tech began in early June. Wise (Md.) cornerback Dorian Strong’s performance at Tech’s satellite camp at Bowie State caught the attention of the Hokies’ staff to say the least.
Strong committed to Virginia Tech on Saturday while he attended the Blacksburg Bash barbecue, but the courtship had already been ongoing, under the radar, since that camp.
“I guess I did enough to get attention from them,” Strong said. “The cornerbacks coach said he’d go back and watch film. On Sunday, the next day, my coach called me and said Virginia Tech wanted to offer. He said, ‘But they want you to come down after the dead period to make it official.’ I guess you could say the offer came when I was there, but they already had the interest in me.”
Strong also had an offer from FCS Delaware State and had heard steadily from Maryland, Temple and UMASS. However, going into this past weekend he said he already knew what he wanted to do.
“Going into the visit, I knew I was going to commit,” Strong said. “I did my research on my major and stuff. It’s just like, man, it’s the only Power Five school to offer. I already knew. I had no stars, a Delaware State offer, but they wanted me.”
Initially, it was assistant coach Brian Mitchell who saw Strong at that camp and who took a shine to him. Then, over the phone, Strong developed a relationship with assistant coach Jafar Williams. But it was a Hokies staffer who made the final push, though Strong isn’t sure who the staffer was.
“When I got there, I met coach Williams and I was talking to him,” Strong said. “Then, Coach Mitchell came and we talked. I was just talking to those two. Then a guy pulled me aside and said, come on. We went into Coach Fuente’s office. He was like, ‘We want you, we want to offer you.’ I told him, I know I’m going to commit. He said, ‘Just take it all in. You’re going to go on a tour of campus.’ He wasn’t a coach, but he helps around there. My mom and sister came with me and he was telling me, after that camp, my name was going around their building.”
Strong’s name had certainly been a topic between Mitchell and Williams, but until this weekend, he hadn’t met Williams.
“I was keeping in touch with Coach Williams the whole summer, before going down there,” Strong said. “Like the week before, Coach Mitchell started talking more to me. It was a great vibe, great relationship from the jump. I walked in and it was just big smiles on everybody’s faces. I was happy, smiling and cheesing.”
Despite their numerous conversations, however, Strong said he’s not fully sure how he’ll fit on Virginia Tech’s defense. But he’s confident he can plug into whatever role is needed.
“Coach Mitchell, from the camp, he told me, ‘we need a corner spot,’” Strong said. “He said it’s open and I could possibly fill that spot. They didn’t really talk a ton about (my role), to be honest. I see myself, when I go there, I’m most likely going to be second-string, because of the defense they play. I see myself being second-string when I get there.”
Even if more offers come in, Strong said he has no plans to look around. Instead, he plans to use his senior year to be ready to go in Blacksburg.
“First, I’ve got to retake my SATs, because the first score wasn’t the best,” Strong said. “It was good enough. Then, I have to put size on and have a great senior year on film. I need to stay low and work on coming in and out of my breaks. I’ve been told I’m kind of high. I’m a tall, long corner, so it’s staying low, keeping my hips down.”
High or not, the Hokies saw something no other FBS school saw, and they didn’t wait to show how much they liked him, a big reason why Strong made his decision.
“When I performed at the (Bowie State) camp and they showed interest, I was like, ‘wow,’” Strong said. “The people down there, it’s a great vibe. They’re very welcoming. The coaches, the players, it’s just amazing. It’s a great vibe, a great, welcoming family. I feel like they can make me way better. They can turn my game into something better than it is now. They were different. They took a chance on me.”
Strong plans to sign his letter of intent with Virginia Tech in December and will graduate from high school next spring.
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