A dominant defensive lineman can transform an entire defense, which makes TyJuan Garbutt's commitment to Virginia Tech a huge win in the 2017 recruiting class.
Garbutt announced his decision to play for the Hokies on Twitter:
Speaking to Adam Friedman of Rivals, Garbutt explained in detail why Virginia Tech stood out above the rest of the pack.
"I chose the Hokies about a year ago because I saw a bright future with coach (Justin) Fuente after what he did at Memphis and at TCU," Garbutt said. "Coach (Bud) Foster is still going to be there, and he's one of the best defensive coordinators in the country. Coach (Charley) Wiles will be my position coach, and he's been there for so long and coached so many great players. They're on the rise in the ACC."
Garbutt is a prototype high-ceiling defensive lineman who will only get better with college coaching and seasoning.
Per Scout, Garbutt is the second-ranked defensive end from Virginia, the 18th-ranked defensive end in the nation and the 212th-ranked overall player in the 2017 class. He's also listed at 6'3" and 220 pounds, so there is room for him to add muscle on his sturdy frame.
On the field, Garbutt isn't entering college football with many deficiencies. There are areas where he can stand to improve, but Scout.com's evaluation paints a positive outlook for him at the next level:
Garbutt shows good quickness off the edge and is very athletic. He is very disruptive and plays fast, but under control. Garbutt moves well laterally and takes good angles when pursuing the football. He needs to continue to get bigger and stronger and improve his technique, but his best football is definitely ahead of him.
Even if Garbutt doesn't bulk up a huge deal in college, he can still be an impact edge-rusher who drops back into coverage.
Fuente, who had great success turning Memphis into a legitimate football program, is still trying to establish his own identity in Blacksburg after taking over for Frank Beamer.
The ACC is a deep conference with Florida State, Clemson and Louisville leading the charge, and things will only get more competitive with Mark Richt leading Miami.
Fuente wants to bring Virginia Tech back to the level of those three premier ACC programs. One simple way to do it is convincing the best talent in the state, like Garbutt, to stay close to home.
The Hokies were hovering around seven to eight wins for four years prior to a breakout 10-win campaign in Fuente's first season, so they need dynamic talent to build around and to lure in other prime recruits.
Virginia Tech is having a great recruiting season, jumping up to No. 13 in Scout's rankings after bringing Garbutt into the fold.
He gives Fuente that necessary piece to help Virginia Tech challenge Clemson and Florida State for the top spot in the ACC.
Garbutt has the potential to be a three-down lineman with the speed to get after the quarterback and enough power to hold his own against the run.
Because of his current weight, Garbutt may have to redshirt next season before making his presence felt in 2018. The wait will be worth having a smart, dynamic athlete coming off the edge and wreaking havoc.