Michael Barnett, an early 2015 Tech commit, headlines the beginnings of the Hokies' new class.
The 2014 recruiting cycle might have just ended, but the Virginia Tech football team’s coaching staff is already getting to work on assembling the 2015 class.
Even though the next national signing day is a full year away, recruiting never ceases in big-time college football, and the Hokies are already getting in on the action.
Virginia Tech just held its earliest junior day ever on Feb. 8, welcoming a variety of 2015 prospects who are considering the Hokies.
The staff has scored a handful of commitments so far, ranking No. 20 in the nation by 247Sports’ standards, and they have several big targets that they’re pursuing hard.
Read on to learn more about how the Hokies’ 2015 class stands now and the players they’ll be targeting by the regions they reside in.
Note: Star rankings and recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.
Ashton White is another highly rated 2015 commit.
So far, the Hokies have earned four commits for the 2015 class, with all coming on defense.
The star of the early group is 3-star strong side defensive end Michael Barnett of South Carolina.
Defensive line coach and recruiting ace Charley Wiles landed Barnett’s commitment back in late November 2013, and he seems like the type of player Wiles is most comfortable with.
At 6’4” and 248 pounds, he has room to grow into his frame, and his 4.80 40-yard dash time indicates he has plenty of speed. Wiles fended off big schools like Florida, Florida State and Clemson to get Barnett, and it seems like a big early win for the program.
Wiles also earned the commitment of cornerback Mook Reynolds after junior day. He's a 3-star cornerback from North Carolina.
Scouts like his recovery speed and change of direction, and the Hokies beat out North Carolina and Duke for his services.
The other two recruits come courtesy of the combined efforts of wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead and defensive backs coach Torrian Gray.
Both prospects are from the Washington, D.C. area—where Moorehead has started to make major inroads in—and are athletic cornerbacks.
DuWayne Johnson, a 3-star recruit who was pursued by Georgia and Colorado, has nice height at 6’1” and committed on Feb. 8.
Ashton White, another 3-star player, committed in December 2013, but he seems like the considerably more valuable prospect. He received offers from Maryland and Florida State, with Ohio State and Georgia also pursuing him, and his 4.48 40 time is probably a big reason why.
White is technically listed as an athlete on recruiting sites, and the dual involvement of Moorehead and Gray obscures his position potential at Tech, but his experience at cornerback in high school can’t be discounted.
The 2015 class might not be huge just yet, but it’s developing well. Once new offensive line coach Stacy Searels gets a chance to get comfortable in his new position, this class has the potential to grow.
DE Josh Sweat is a big target for the Hokies in Virginia Beach.
Moving into 2015, the Hokies are preparing to reach new recruiting regions, but their early efforts seem to show a desire to re-establish areas that are considered right in Tech’s target market.
Whether it's the concerted efforts to expand recruiting efforts in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas, to the focus on locking down the traditionally strong areas of Northern Virginia and Virginia Beach, the coaches have their eyes on some important players for 2015.
Re-establishing Tech’s dominance in Virginia Beach has to be tops on the list of priorities. The program hasn’t recruited very well in the region recently, as shown by the inability to sign players like Derrick Nnadi, Andrew Brown and Quin Blanding in 2014.
Accordingly, the Hokies are already targeting some of the region’s best recruits.
The recruiting duo of tight ends coach Bryan Stinespring and Cornell Brown has been hitting the area hard, with a special eye toward a pair of 4-star defensive ends in the area.
They hail from a pair of high schools—Phoebus and Oscar Smith, respectively—that the Hokies have recruited good players from in the past, and each player offers an elite combination of size and speed.
Lewis is being pursued by Duke and Penn State as well as Tech, and 247Sports’ crystal ball puts his commitment as a dead heat between the Hokies and Blue Devils.
Sweat seems like a safer bet for the Hokies, with the crystal ball giving him a 100 percent shot of ending up at Tech. However, he’s also being pursued by Florida State and Georgia, a pair of formidable contenders if he decides to stray from home.
Stinespring and Brown are also pursuing Sweat’s teammate, 4-star running back Deshawn McClease. The crystal ball also pegs the Hokies as 100 percent favorites to sign him, and with North Carolina being the only real competition for his services, it looks like the Hokies will add to the impressive running back haul they managed in 2014.
CB/WR Marcus Lewis is a big D.C target for Tech.
Turning to the northern part of the state, Moorehead and Gray have several key players on their wish lists.
In the Northern Virginia suburbs, the pair are hot on the trail of 4-star wide receiver Brandon Polk of Ashburn. He’s also being pursued by Stanford, but the crystal ball gives the Hokies an early leg up, which is a positive sign for Tech, given Polk’s insane 4.36 40 time.
The team also hosted 5-star defensive tackle Tim Settle of Manassas and 4-star offensive guard Matthew Burrell of Woodbridge at junior day, but Ohio State and Florida, respectively, seem to be in the lead for the duo.
Up in Maryland, the team seems to be going after 4-star athlete Jalen Christian aggressively. He also seems interested in South Carolina, but Moorehead’s efforts have convinced the crystal ball that he’s set on Tech.
Tech is also after 3-star cornerback Dionte Austin, an athlete will blazing speed thanks to a recorded 40 time of 4.30 seconds. Indiana is pursuing him as well, but the crystal ball is confident he’s a lock for Tech.
The Hokies are also trying to entice 4-star dual-threat quarterback Kai Locksley to head to Blacksburg. He visited on junior day and tweeted the Hokies would be contenders for his services, but the crowded quarterback depth chart at Tech and the interest of Maryland, Auburn, Florida State and Alabama will likely push him elsewhere.
Finally, in the district, the Hokies are after 4-star cornerback Marcus Lewis. He is also very interested in Clemson, but the Hokies have to hope they can land the second-ranked CB in the city.
The Hokies are trying to land the final Edmunds brother, Tremaine.
Not all of the Hokies’ targets are in these few areas.
Tech is also chasing 4-star offensive tackle Austin Clark of Lexington, Va., hosting him at junior day. The Crystal Ball gives the Hokies a 100 percent chance of landing him, but Duke, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee and Virginia are also in pursuit.
The Hokies are also trying to keep the final member of the Edmunds family part of the Virginia Tech family.
Tremaine Edmunds, a 3-star outside linebacker and the younger brother of current Hokies Trey and Terrell, is a big target for Tech. The crystal ball gives the Hokies an excellent chance to sign the final Edmunds.
He has played all over the field in high school, and if he’s as athletic as his older brothers to go with his 6’3” frame, the Hokies will be lucky to have him.