College Football Recruiting: Virginia Pries Mario Nixon Away from Hokies

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst IAugust 9, 2011

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 31:  Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Frank Beamer watches warmups on the field before the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against the Tennessee Volunteers at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Virginia Tech beat Tennessee 37-14.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

The fights on the gridiron between arch-rivals Virginia and Virginia Tech have been pretty lopsided lately.

The Cavaliers have not won against the Hokies in football since 2003.

However, the recruiting battle seems to be getting more and more intense with new coach Mike London in charge in Charlottesville.

Coach London made a splash last season by trying to reassert recruiting lines within the Commonwealth of Virginia, specifically the Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads area.

While London's predecessor Al Groh ignored this vital area that produced immense talents like Michael Vick, Allen Iverson and countless others, London has picked up another big talent from the "757" as it is called with wide receiver Mario Nixon.

What makes this pick up even sweeter, Nixon is a de-commit from Virginia Tech after he verbally committed in May.

Now, this is where things get complicated.  Some are arguing that the Hokies pulled their offer to Nixon, the 16th best recruit in Virginia according to Rivals.

Whether Nixon left first and Virginia Tech tried to save face or if he indeed was left out in the cold, it does little to change one thing: Virginia's blueprint to find success is working.

Last year, the Cavaliers were ranked as the 20th best recruiting class in the country according to ESPN.  The first time Virginia was ranked ahead of the Hokies in a long time.

As a result, the Hokies decided to bring in their big hammer, head coach Frank Beamer's son Shane.

This was supposed to tilt the scales back in favor of Virginia Tech and it may still do that in the long term.

For now though, Virginia continues to improve its overall talent level immensely.

As of last Thursday, ESPN had Virginia Tech ranked 20th in the country with their 2012 class and Virginia ranked 23rd.  However, the additions of quarterback Greyson Lambert who picked the Cavaliers over perennial powerhouse Alabama and Nixon may flip the tables once again.

Now, we all know that recruiting is only one part of success.  If Virginia continues to struggle on the football field, these dreams of grandeur will fade away.  There is always the potential that players de-commit from the Cavaliers as well.

However, Virginia cannot expect to compete without talent and the classes of 2011 and 2012 currently hold nine 4-star recruits, 31 3-star recruits.  These young men are ready to change the culture.

Nixon in particular, may have an axe to grind against the Hokies.  Something that could pay great dividends in a rivalry that has lacked some pop and sizzle lately.

Virginia may not be there yet, but everyone cannot help but notice that Mario Nixon is just one more sign that the Cavaliers are on the road to redemption.