2022 Virginia Tech Recruiting Class Scouting Reports: Defensive Backs

Mansoor Delane, Virginia Tech
Mansoor Delane is a talented defensive back who could play corner or safety for Virginia Tech. (saucysoor instagram)

It’s time for my annual stab at Virginia Tech’s latest round of signees. The class has already lost two guys in Rashaud Pernell and Reid Pulliam, but that still leaves plenty of new Hokies to speculate about. Figuring out how good recruits will turn out for the Hokies is the hardest thing I do for TSL, or at least it’s the hardest thing to get right.

I’m the first to admit I’m a keyboard-commentor who relies on highlight reels and a blurry full game or two to give you the best $0.02 I can muster. There’s a reason coaches invite kids to camps, after all. Just for starters, in person coaches can control the talent levels around a recruit, better see if a guy runs a 4.45 or a 4.65, and they can gauge from a recruit’s build how easy it’ll be for him to change his weight as needed.

Even the peripheral information about schools’ interest is incomplete and not always as clear as I’d like. Did a recruit undercut his rankings and interest with an early, firm commitment to Tech, or was no one else really interested? And who’s the more coveted recruit—one Alabama’s lukewarm on, or one Pitt is borderline stalking?

We’ll start with the guys currently slated to be part of D-block. Of them, Mansoor Delane and Cam Johnson might be the surest contributors the Hokies have signed, while Devin Alves is an intriguing late addition to the class.

Mansoor Delane
CB/S
6’1, 178
Silver Spring, MD
Archbishop Spalding High

Delane comes to the Hokies from Maryland powerhouse Archbishop Spalding, and the Terps, Michigan State, and Boston College were also looking at him. I’ve got his senior highlights linked here, where he’s a hard-hitting safety who aligns to the field and boundary, and plays nickel. He can find the ball. Go back a little bit, though, and Delane’s a lock-down cornerback who bullies receivers from the press, and when there’s a little air between him and the would-be receiver, he’s got the better routes. He had a Cover-2 highlight where he fell off the flat receiver and broke up a deep ball.

Wherever he is on the field, he’s fast and fluid—in a game tape against McDonogh, I found myself just admiring his backpedal. I couldn’t find this confirmed anywhere, but I’m guessing he moved to safety in part because it’s easier for him to impose himself on the offense from the middle of the field, and not because of some deficit in his play at corner. At 6’1, he’s got the size to play any spot in the secondary. Looking at his combination of skills, nickel looks like the spot that would take advantage of all his abilities, though with Pry and the defense seeming to prefer a Sam linebacker (albeit a smaller one than has been typical for Pry’s defenses), he’ll be at safety or corner if he lives up to his highlights.

Cam Johnson

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