Virginia Tech target Isaiah Ford
Virginia Tech lost an important coach last week, just three weeks before national signing day, when offensive line coach Jeff Grimes departed for LSU. Grimes was primarily responsible for the Hokies' five verbal commitments from offensive linemen.
But the show must go on.
While the search for a new offensive line coach is ongoing, VT coaches have been on the road attempting to put the finishing touches on this year's recruiting class. Coaches are mainly trying to keep the offensive line class together and making sure there are no decommitments from a large class.
The Hokies currently stand at 22 verbal commitments (subscription required), and four players have already signed and begin classes this month.
It's not known how many more players the Hokies can, or will take, but there is a select group of players who could make or break Virginia Tech's class of 2014.
Virginia Tech offensive line recruit Tyrell Smith
Yes, it is a ridiculous and exaggerated nickname. However, Grimes nicknamed this group the "Fab Five" last summer after tackle Brady Taylor gave his verbal pledge to the Hokies in July because of this group's potential.
Now, with Grimes gone and Taylor visiting his hometown Ohio State this past weekend, can the Virginia Tech coaching staff hold this group together?
It's a safe assumption that the coaches, namely offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, have given these kids an idea on how the search for a new offensive line coach is going.
The Hokies need to finish strong with this group of linemen. These five recruits were identified by Grimes and Loeffler, in part, because of how they'd fit the Hokies' offensive scheme moving forward.
Colt Pettit reaffirmed his pledge to the Hokies with this tweet on Saturday:
Thanks to #hokienation I'm still 100% committed to Virginia Tech!!— Colt Pettit (@ctpettit72) January 19, 2014
Tyrell Smith did, too.
Thanks to #hokienation and a great visit w Coach Loeffler I'm still 100% committed to Virginia Tech!!— Tyrell Smith (@TyrellSmith76) January 19, 2014
The Hokies appear to be in pretty good shape with defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi. According to 247Sports' Crystal Ball, Nnadi, at 81 percent, is projected to the Hokies.
The 6'1", 305-pounder from Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach is the Hokies' top remaining target. Nnadi is extremely athletic and would be an ideal 3-technique tackle for the Hokies. He is adept at getting interior pressure, but he is also stout against the run.
Nnadi visited Ohio State last weekend. He will visit Blacksburg this weekend.
The Hokies need to close on Nnadi, as he has the potential to be outstanding starter early in his college career.
Isaiah Ford, a two-sport star for Trinity Christian in Jacksonville, is a priority for the Hokies. Ford backed out of his commitment to Louisville earlier this month when coach Charlie Strong left for Texas.
According to Ford, per Justin Barney of the Florida Times-Union, that put Virginia Tech in the driver's seat: “Coach Strong was a huge part of my commitment, a real big part of it,” said Ford. “They’re (Virginia Tech) probably my No. 1 right now.”
Ford could be a game changer early in his career at wide receiver for Tech. He is tall (6'2") and fast. He is also a dynamic returner and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.
Ford is an outstanding basketball player, too. He will look to play hoops at the next level, and with him being so high on the Hokies, that doesn't appear to be a problem for basketball coach James Johnson.
A 6'3", 210-pound linebacker from Richmond, Va., Raymon Minor is a high priority for the Hokies over the final two weeks.
With Jack Tyler and Tariq Edwards gone next season and the Vandyke brothers both coming off injuries, there's a bit of a depth problem at the linebacker position. Minor could find himself on the field early in his career.
A good athlete, Minor also possesses solid instincts for a high school linebacker. He diagnoses plays quickly and, with his speed, is good in pursuit. He played wide receiver for Benedictine Prep in addition to his defensive duties.
Minor could use a year in the weight room before hitting the field for the Hokies, but the future is bright for Minor if he decides to commit to Virginia Tech and play for Bud Foster.