Uncommitted defensive tackle and Virginia Tech target Derrick Nnadi
National signing day is just 23 days away, and the Virginia Tech Hokies will use these last three weeks to try to convince several uncommitted high school seniors to spend the next four—or three, or five—years in Blacksburg.
With 27 players currently verbally committed to Tech, the Hokies have only a few slots open. It is a large class, and the Hokies could free up more spots with kids going to prep school or basic attrition.
The next two weeks in particular are big for the Hokies with a couple of prospects. They will host current commit Javon Harrison as well as defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi on official visits. Nnadi is the team's top remaining target.
Not only does VT need to finish strong with uncommitted prospects, but they must also close hard with players who've already agreed to come to Blacksburg. Every year, once the season is done, higher-profile teams have a chance to see film of players they didn't want to offer a year before and attempt to poach them from schools they've pledged to. That is the case this year for the Hokies.
With most of the heavy lifting already completed, here is a look at Virginia Tech's remaining wish list for the class of 2014.
Harrison gave his pledge to the Hokies in July 2012. Since that time, in-state schools such as Florida and national champion Florida State have begun to recruit Harrison harder.
In watching his film, Harrison has all of the attributes you want in a wide receiver. He can take a bubble screen to the house, while also showing the ability to high-point a football deep down the field. That is a rare attribute for a high school receiver.
It's tough to judge his route-running, as most high school receivers aren't strong at it because there is usually no route tree in high school.
The Hokies will host Harrison on an official visit January 24, one week after his official visit to FSU. Tech is his last official visit, and according to Evan G. Watkins of VT Scoop, Harrison has maintained all along (subscription required) he was staying true to the Hokies.
Another factor helping the Hokies with Harrison is that Torrian Gray—his primary recruiter—is also from Kathleen High School, where Harrison plays.
Keep an eye on the Seminoles, though.
We all know about Nnadi, a 6'1", 305-pound defensive tackle from Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach. Nnadi, a 4-star prospect, is the Hokies' top remaining target, but another defensive linemen, Kevin Bronson, from Delray Beach, Fla., is a player to keep an eye on.
Delray Beach has been good to the Hokies over the years. David Clowney, Brandon Flowers, Jayron Hosley, Luther Maddy and Dadi Nicolas all hail from Delray Beach. There has been a pipeline from Delray Beach to Blacksburg, and that puts the Hokies in good position with Bronson.
Bronson is a late-bloomer in the recruiting process. At 6'4", 233 pounds, he has prototypical size to play college defensive end. He is built a lot like James Gayle was entering college, but isn't quite as explosive.
The Hokies are in good position with Nnadi. He has an official visit scheduled on January 24. Bronson, on the other hand, named VT his leader, but has three official visits scheduled—one to Virginia Tech—to wrap up this month.
If the Hokies land both, the defensive line will continue to be in good shape for years to come.
Brady Taylor, a 6'5", 276-pound offensive tackle from Columbus, Ohio, verbally committed to the Hokies this summer, just before his senior season.
Taylor is one of five offensive linemen the Hokies have taken pledges from, but is viewed as a potential starting left tackle early in his college career.
Since Taylor committed to Tech over the summer, he's become close with the other four linemen, whom offensive line coach Jeff Grimes dubbed the "Fab 5."
Things changed last week, though, when Taylor's dream school, Ohio State, officially offered him a scholarship. Taylor's pledge to Virginia Tech appears strong, but that could change with an official offer from his hometown school.
Something to keep an eye on here is if Grimes remains with the Hokies. Taylor has grown tight with Grimes. Grimes will interview with LSU as the Tigers attempt to fill their vacancy at offensive line coach.
Defensive coordinator Bud Foster and linebacker prospect Raymon Minor
The Hokies will have two new starters at linebacker in 2014. Jack Tyler and Tariq Edwards both recently completed outstanding college careers. There was little depth at the position in 2013.
That's why the Hokies need outside linebacker Raymon Minor. At 6'3", 210 pounds, Minor has excellent size and is a terrific athlete. Physically, he looks a lot like Edwards.
Minor has been to Blackburg several times on unofficial visits. While it isn't known for sure yet, he is expected to take an official visit before the month concludes.
Miami and Nebraska are expected to be VT's primary opposition for Minor; however, the Hokies are the leader in the clubhouse, according to the folks at 247Sports.
Texas' decision to hire Charlie Strong this month may have been a blessing for the Hokies.
Jacksonville, Fla., wide receiver Isaiah Ford, who pledged to Louisville last year, backed out of his commitment last week and officially reopened things with Virginia Tech sitting in a good position.
Ford is an outstanding prospect who would likely be rated even higher than he is, but some may wonder if his true passion in college will be basketball. He intends to sign with a school that will allow him to do both. He can at Virginia Tech.
Ford is terrific in the open field and can take the ball to the house every time he touches it. He's versatile on offense and could help the Hokies as a true freshman in 2014 both at wide receiver and as a return man.
The Hokies, along with Florida, South Carolina and Louisville, all remain in competition for Ford's services.