Athlete, Class of 2023
Churchland, Churchland, VA
Less than two months ago, Churchland (Va.) three-star athlete Brandyn Hillman had two scholarship offers, from Norfolk State and Howard. Then one offer opened the floodgates.
On Sept. 27, Virginia Tech became Hillman’s first FBS offer. In the weeks since, it’s been joined by schools like Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Tennessee. And after the flurry of interest, Hillman has a top eight of Virginia Tech, Virginia, Kentucky, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Tennessee. He also has a decision date of Dec. 7 and some thinking over to do until then.
“Really, it’s the communication and really, how my heart feels about the university,” Hillman said. “How my mother feels. I feel like the more I’ve went through the process, the longer time I’ve taken to see what’s going on. I’m starting to feel it in my gut.”
Hillman was back in Blacksburg last Saturday for the Hokies’ game against Georgia Tech. It was his first gameday experience, but gave him a more in-depth look at Virginia Tech on and off the field.
“It was a great experience,” Hillman said. “That’s my first gameday at Virginia Tech, so seeing ‘Enter Sandman’ in-person was definitely an experience. Being around the commits, the coaches, Coach (Brent) Pry, talking with him, it felt good being on campus.”
Assistant coach Fontel Mines has been the Hokies’ primary recruiter for Hillman, and to this point, their relationship has grown.
“He’s a great guy, a great coach and a great father,” Hillman said. “He’s really stayed true to what he said from the beginning of my recruitment. He’s just a special person, where me and Coach Mines stand, he’s a great guy.”
Hillman alphabetically broke down his other seven finalists:
Kentucky: “It’s honestly on there because I love how Coach (Rich) Scangarello coaches. I know he’s first year, but the way the staff is involved with my family, that means a lot. The program itself, the way they built it up from the ground, that stood out.”
North Carolina: “I like the family atmosphere there, how all the fans come together. Some people say the school is a basketball school, but based on the fans I interacted with, every sport, you know someone has your back. That really stood out to me there.”
Notre Dame: “That’s a great school, high academics, powerhouse football. There’s nothing bad to say there. The thing Coach Freeman is doing is amazing. I witnessed it in-person. I definitely trust what’s going on at Notre Dame and what he’s doing with the program.”
Oklahoma: “That’s a great school, competitive in everything they do. The way the coaches, Coach (Brent) Venables and everyone holds themselves accountable, that means a lot. They treat my mom well, check up on her. It was the little things that stood out to me and my mom.”
Tennessee: “I love what they have going on with that program. The way the coaches coach, bond as a family, the way the coaches interact with my family, making sure everything is good, that means a lot. Also, the fans. I believe almost every home game Tennessee has had has been...
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