National Signing Day was much quieter for the Virginia Tech Hokies in 2013 in comparison with one year ago. Last year, the Hokies went down to the line with four recruits, securing commitments from three.
In 2013, the Hokies signed 19 players. Five enrolled in January. Four-star running back Drew Harris did not sign his letter of intent today, as he is still dealing with NCAA Clearinghouse issues.
Clearly, the focuses of this class were quarterback, defensive back and offensive line. The Hokies did well, securing multiple commitments for all three positions.
It will be interesting to see how the Hokies proceed in recruiting in the next few years with the three new offensive coaches; offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes and wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead.
Each comes from a different part of the country and could open more areas for the Hokies to recruit high school talent.
Here is a look at how Virginia Tech’s class of 2013 fared.
Players signed: Bucky Hodges (6’5”, 225), Carlis Parker (6’4”, 187)
Hodges is considered the premier prospect of the two, but that isn’t to say Parker won’t be a quarterback in Blacksburg. He is the better overall athlete but isn’t as advanced as Hodges as a passer.
Hodges possesses similar size to current quarterback Logan Thomas. He wasn’t as fluid of an athlete as Thomas coming out of high school, although he is extremely athletic. He has a very strong arm but doesn’t have a lot of experience throwing deep.
Parker enrolled in January, but it would be a surprise if either quarterback doesn’t redshirt in 2013. Hodges projects to be the Hokies’ quarterback of the future, but Parker will be on the field somewhere in the next few years. He is too good of an athlete.
Players signed: Jerome Wright (5’11”, 223), Daniel (D.J.) Reid (6’0”, 202)
Drew Harris would have been the top recruit of the bunch. He is a consensus 4-star recruit out of Pennsylvania who committed to the Hokies in 2012 but was forced to spend a year at Fork Union to qualify academically.
His situation is now up in the air, as the Hokies cannot comment because he is an unsigned player.
Wright enrolled in January, and like Harris, he spent 2011 at Fork Union. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he redshirted in 2013. Enrolling early could benefit him, as it would give coaches a chance to see him in live action this spring.
Reid is a tremendous athlete who was a standout running back in high school. He could end up being a defensive back, as he is fast and well-built. He could make an impact on either side of the ball. He will get his first chance on offense.
Grade: C (With Harris, grade would have been a B+)
Player signed: David Prince (6’0”, 180)
Prince, a former high school quarterback, projects as a slot receiver for the Hokies. He is fast and has slick moves in the open field.
Prince could also be a factor in the return game. He is the type of player who could play any number of positions on offense. He could take snaps at quarterback on gimmick plays, running back and of course, receiver.
The Hokies signed just one wide receiver or tight end; look for them to focus heavily on these positions in 2014. Keep in mind that last year’s top recruit, Joel Caleb, will be on the field this season.
Players signed: Parker Osterloh (6’8”, 300), Braxton Pfaff (6’6”, 290), Jonathan McLaughlin (6’4”, 289), Kyle Chung (6’4”, 256)
The Hokies focused on the offensive line in this class and appear to have done quite well. Osterloh and McLaughlin both enrolled in January, and that appears to bode well for them. The offensive line has struggled in recent seasons, and both starting tackles from last year graduated.
Osterloh, Pfaff and McLaughlin should all start their careers at tackle. McLaughlin is very athletic and has long arms, which allows him to engulf pass rushers. He could surprise and be in the mix at tackle in 2013.
Osterloh and Pfaff were physically dominant in high school. Pfaff looks like the player more likely to avoid a redshirt season among these two.
Kyle Chung, son of former Hokie legend Eugene Chung, is projected as an interior lineman but will need to redshirt. He is not physically ready to play, as he needs to put on significant weight. He was a tight end in high school.
Player signed: Wyatt Teller (6’5”, 265)
The Hokies signed only one defensive lineman, but he happens to be a pretty good one. Teller, a 4-star recruit, surprisingly chose the Hokies over Virginia just before his senior season began.
Teller was a physical mismatch for high school players. Not only was he bigger and stronger than everyone he played against, he also showed surprising quickness. He sometimes was so dominant that his technique got sloppy.
He will get good coaching at Virginia Tech and looks the part of a future starter, perhaps as soon as 2014.
Players signed: Andrew Motuapuaka (6’0”, 213), Jamieon Moss (6’3”, 210)
The Hokies have signed several linebackers in recent years and added two more this season, even though it wasn’t the most pressing need.
Motuapuaka was a good player in high school who will need to bulk up. He is a high-energy player who played inside linebacker in high school. He has terrific instincts.
Moss is an intriguing player. He needs to add weight, but with his height, that shouldn’t be a problem. He is an explosive athlete and could be one of the real sleepers in this class. He can rush the passer, too. He projects to the ‘backer position for the Hokies.
Charley Wiles said Michigan, Florida State came in late in the recruitment of LB Jamieon Moss. He stuck with the #Hokies.— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) February 6, 2013
Florida State and Michigan came at Moss hard late in the process, and he stuck with the Hokies.
Players signed: Kendall Fuller (5’11”, 190), Holland Fisher (6’1”, 205), Charles Clark (5’11”, 181), Brandon Facyson (6’2”, 183), Cequan Jefferson (5’11”, 167), Anthony Shegog (6’2”, 195), Deon Newsome (5’11”, 170)
Fuller, of course, is the headliner in this class. A consensus 5-star recruit and top-10 player nationally, Fuller is an excellent cornerback prospect. He has outstanding physical ability and a strong grasp on how to play man coverage.
The one knock on his game is run support, and that will improve. Being physical is a requirement to play defensive back at Virginia Tech.
This class isn’t just about Fuller, though. Fisher is arguably as important to this class as Fuller. A big safety prospect, Fisher has terrific speed and is physical. He had a good senior season followed up by a strong showing in a postseason all-star game.
Cequan Jefferson is another sleeper in this class. The fastest player the Hokies signed, Jefferson had a good senior season and shows a knack for being around the football. He is a playmaker and should play early in his career.
Clark is another underrated recruit. He has good size and played both cornerback and free safety in high school. That versatility will serve him well.
Facyson enrolled in January and has terrific size. He will play cornerback, although he could play receiver. Facyson was heavily recruited at both positions. Shegog is a safety and will likely redshirt. He has impressive size and is a smart player.
Newsome is another player to watch. He was recruited as an athlete and could play a number of positions. He is a very good athlete and also the son of a former Hokie.
Overall Grade: B+
This was one of the better recruiting classes in school history. Now, we know what happens on signing day doesn’t determine the next four or five years, but this is an impressive class. The Hokies made it a point to focus on three positions where they were thin, and they came out quite well.
There has never been a group of defensive backs this impressive come to Blacksburg at the same time. It is mixed with both talented cornerback and safety prospects. Kendall Fuller’s presence really puts this group and class over the top, but he isn’t the only good player.
Fuller, Teller, Fisher and Hodges are the top signees, and each grades out well. Hodges has a chance to be a very good quarterback, and being around Logan Thomas for a year will help him. Loeffler can work with both quarterbacks at the same time.
This is an excellent job by head coach Frank Beamer and his staff. Now the time begins to look ahead to 2014, when the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect happens to be from Virginia and has the Hokies in his top five.