The Virginia Tech Friday Q&A: In-State Offensive And Defensive Talent, Softball, And More

Virginia Tech
Kamren Robinson is a top in-state target for Virginia Tech. (@Kamrenrobinsonn)

1) Which side of the ball does Tech have the better path to recruiting success in the state of Virginia? Both in the immediate (’23/’24) and longer-term future? – SBP94

Chris Coleman: Probably defense in the short-term. Just looking at the top 15 prospects in the state of Virginia according to 247, I don’t really see many offensive players who seem to be giving Virginia Tech a hard look. No. 2 Cameron Seldon is slightly considering the Hokies, and No. 11 Krystian Williams has Tech high on his list, but the other offensive players in the top 15 either don’t seem to be considering Tech, or they are already committed elsewhere.

However, I would say the Hokies have anywhere from a puncher’s chance to a good chance with the following top 15 defensive recruits…

No. 7 Kamren Robinson
No. 9 Kaveion Keys
No. 10 Jordan Bass
No. 13 Antonio Cotman Jr.
No. 15 Cameren Fleming

That makes sense I suppose, considering that Brent Pry’s defense is a proven commodity. Tyler Bowen’s offense is not.

That being said, you guys know how I feel about early rankings. Ranking recruits this far ahead is a disservice to them. It puts undue expectations on some of them. For example, Gunner Givens. He was originally a top five recruit in Virginia, but after some big schools cooled on him and his senior season wasn’t dominant, he dropped outside of the top 10. However, because he was originally a top five guy, that’s how he’s viewed by a lot of fans.

I suppose you can say the same for Naquan Brown. Remember, Brown started off committed to LSU, so he was considered a major 4-star prospect, and a top 100-type player. Then LSU decided they didn’t want him anymore, so he signed with Pitt. After one semester there, he has transferred to Norfolk State. Yet as it became more and more obvious that he wasn’t big enough to be a 4-star prospect, people still sometimes called him “4-star defensive end Naquan Brown” because that was his original ranking. It doesn’t matter that he was actually a 197-pound FCS level player.

For all I know, some of those guys I listed above will drop in the rankings between now and Signing Day, and perhaps some offensive guys will move up, such as Maury’s Perry Jones. Outside of the 5-star guys, I don’t know how wise it is to look at it from a rankings perspective. I know you didn’t mention rankings in your question, but I know some people define recruiting success by rankings, so I wanted to address it.

Looking at it from a long-term perspective, I think my answer is defense as well. Generally speaking, I think Virginia produces a slightly higher quality of defensive player these days. Part of that is due to the fact that the 757 has dried up in terms of producing quarterbacks like Ronald Curry, Michael Vick, Aaron Brooks, Marcus Vick, Bryan Randall and Tyrod Taylor. If that pipeline still existed, then perhaps my answer would be different. But it doesn’t.

Let’s take a further look at it by throwing some numbers at you…

In 2017, nine of 247’s top 10 players in the state were defensive players. The one offensive player was Khalan Laborn, who was a bust.

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