Kendall Fuller was the crown jewel of the Virginia Tech recruiting class in 2013. The 5-star prospect, according to 247Sports (subscription required), was one of the nation's best high school players and it showed on the field last season.
Fuller was a freshman All-American and the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The Hokies' top recruit, 4-star safety Holland Fisher, has the potential to be an impact player right away for defensive coordinator Bud Foster.
Fisher originally committed to Virginia Tech in February 2012, however, he didn't qualify academically in 2013 and spent a year at Fork Union Military Academy.
The year of prep experience for Fisher should almost guarantee he sees the field as a true freshman in 2014. Fisher brings several impressive traits, and there are a few reasons to believe he can contribute immediately.
All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.
Fisher is expected to play rover for Virginia Tech. However, rising senior Kyshoen Jarrett has started there for two seasons, so Fisher will have to wait his turn.
That doesn't mean he can't make an impact this fall.
Fisher played linebacker in high school and it shows in how he plays the game. He attacks the line of scrimmage, diagnoses plays quickly and is a sure tackler.
His biggest asset, though, is his physicality. He will throw his body around recklessly.
Defensive backs coach Torrian Gray, one of the best in the country, must work with Fisher on maintaining his aggressive nature while still playing smart.
Fisher's biggest assets are his size (6'1", 208 pounds) and speed. That combination means Fisher can play multiple positions as he did in high school.
At Virginia Tech, whip linebacker is an important position. When the Hokies have solid play from the whip, the defense is much better. The whip is a hybrid position between a defensive back and linebacker.
Sounds perfect for Fisher, doesn't it?
Last year's whip linebackers—Josh Trimble and Ronny Vandyke—are coming back, but neither has a stranglehold on the position.
Vandyke is a promising player, but was injured last season. Fisher could conceivably see significant time here next season.
Expect Foster and Gray to work Fisher in at rover, too, where he can be a change of pace from Jarrett.
The defensive backfield is in good hands with rising sophomores Fuller, Brandon Facyson, and seniors Detrick Bonner and Jarrett. However, there is a dearth of experience behind them.
If Jarrett goes down, do you want a lesser player with experience, like Desmond Frye, to step in for him, or do you want a talent like Fisher to play?
Fuller and Facyson proved last year that true freshmen can make a significant impact in the place of experienced stars.
The Hokies didn't miss a beat when both Antone Exum and Kyle Fuller were out with injuries because of the two talented freshmen.
There are several young players in the program, but at defensive back—in particular at safety—there is very little depth. Fisher, along with fellow freshmen C.J. Reavis, can change that.
Fisher is in a great situation for 2014. He isn't going to start with Jarrett in front of him, but the Hokies will want him on the field next season. Gray and Foster can ease him into the rotation at a multitude of positions.
In Beamer's continued quest to rebuild the struggling special teams units, a player like Fisher—with his athleticism, aggressiveness and desire to make an impact early—could thrive on special teams early in his career.
Fall practice will be crucial for Fisher. The Hokies have been playing more true freshmen in recent seasons, and there is no reason to think Fisher will redshirt next season.
If Fisher plays, even in a limited role, look for several game-changing plays; he has that type of ability.