Virginia Tech Targeting Major High School Powers For Recruits

Virginia Tech, Durell Robinson
St. Frances running back Durell Robinson was a recent visitor to Virginia Tech. (@RellOfficial)

Virginia Tech picked up a commitment from Highland Springs wide receiver Takye Heath on Sunday afternoon, and judging from the success level of recent Highland Springs players who signed with Power 5 programs, Heath will most likely go on to have a good career for the Hokies.

I’m an advocate of recruiting certain high schools heavily…high schools that traditionally win and are known for discipline and player development. If there’s a tie between two players for one scholarship spot, and one of those players comes from one of those particular high schools, then that’s the player you take.

Highland Springs head coach Loren Johnson is doing a fantastic job. His players are always college-ready, and doing my research back to the 2015 recruiting class, not one single Springer who has signed with a Power 5 school has been a bust. Let’s give it a quick run through. Note that all rankings are 247 specific rankings, not 247 composite rankings.

  • 2020 CB Malcolm Greene, Clemson, No. 7 in VA: Greene played as a true freshman, and has played 378 defensive snaps in his first two seasons, starting three games.
  • 2019 WR Ali Jennings, West Virginia, No. 24 in VA: Jennings was a part-time starter at WVU as a true freshman, then he transferred to ODU where he caught 62 passes for over 1,000 yards in 2021.
  • 2018 WR Billy Kemp, UVA, No. 33 in VA: Kemp has caught 176 passes for over 1,600 yards during his career in Charlottesville.
  • 2017 OT Mekhi Becton, Louisville, No. 15 in VA: Becton was a first round NFL Draft pick
  • 2016 S K’Von Wallace, Clemson, No. 62 in VA: Wallace was a fourth round NFL Draft pick.
  • 2016 WR Greg Dortch, Wake Forest, No. 69 in VA: Dortch plays for the Arizona Cardinals.
  • 2015 WR Felton Davis III, Michigan State, No. 10 in VA. Davis caught 100 passes for Michigan State, and it would have been more had he not missed half of his senior season due to injury.

That’s pretty much a 100% success rate. I guess you could say that since Jennings transferred to ODU that he was a “bust” at the P5 level, but he did start some for WVU as a true freshman, and I’m certain that he could contribute at Virginia Tech in 2022. To me, he’s not a bust…he would just rather be a starter at the G5 level than a two-deep guy at the P5 level.

Not only is that a 100% success rate, but five of those seven players (Dortch and Kemp the exceptions) actually played as true freshmen. Not only are Loren Johnson’s players very good in college, but a large number of them are college-ready from the day they set foot on campus. More than anything, that shows they are mentally prepared for the rigors of high-level football and college classes. That’s very impressive. It also means that we shouldn’t count out Rashaud Pernell carving out a role for himself as quickly as the 2022 season.

What’s also impressive is that out of those seven players, only two were top 10 players in the state. A couple of them were even ranked outside the top 60, and both of those guys now play in the NFL. The job he’s done at Highland Springs is as good a job as anybody has done, anywhere. I know many of you guys want to hire him, but I don’t…I want him to continue to develop high school players, and then I want Virginia Tech to sign a large number of those players. Assuming Virginia Tech’s new coaches are good at player development, recent history suggests that Takye Heath will be a good football player for the Hokies. (I hope I didn’t just jinx him.)

I know lots