The Year of the Project
Hokie Nation had several prospects that they really coveted this year. QB Marquise Williams and LB's Curtis Grant and Stephone Anthony. Those are the high profile type of elite athletes and players that you want in a program and there aren't a ton of them out there every year. The Hokies missed on all three players and that's the reason that the talking heads in college football dropped them way down the recruiting rankings.
There are a few players who were highly rated that DID sign with Tech. Corey Marshall and Kris Harley to name two. But the vast majority of this class would optimistically be considered diamonds in the rough who may not have been highly rated but are elite athletes that the recruiting services didn't pick up on. The main reason they didn't get a lot of "stars" is because a) the "big" names of college football might not have been in on many of them and b) they really have played very little football, for a variety of reasons as we'll see.
There is a lot more risk/reward for signing the type of players the Hokies signed in this class. With such little previous football experience, they aren't as big and strong yet or as sound in their fundamentals. But what the coaches did was look for players that the game seemed to be instinctive for them. And of course the athletic potential for many of these young men is off the charts. In a sense, all new recruits into a program are projects, but this class is particularly full of kids who have very high ceilings, but based on how little football and physical development they've experienced thus far, we have to rely on what we see in their footage and more importantly what the coaches see and think they can develop in these young men.
Some of these guys may emerge into 5-star college players, while the "elite" recruits the Hokies missed on could just as easily fizzle out for a variety of reasons. And of course the flip side is that these "project" players don't develop or fulfill their potential. At stake is the direction of the program. Will the Hokies stay among the top of the ACC and even possibly take another step up the food chain? Or will they take a step back? Time will tell on this class, so for now let's just take a look at the Year of the Project. Again if you want the stats they are here from our friends at Rivals.
Kevin Asante (WR) - recruited by Kevin Sherman
We really wanted to be down on Kevin Asante. We all know that the main reason he was recruited to be a receiver at Virginia Tech after only playing one season of football was because he went to high school with, and was a good friend of, QB recruiting target Marquise Williams. Williams went to UNC in the end (which is crazy considering all the storm clouds over that program right now) but the Hokies had already offered Asante and they stuck to their commitment. Against that backdrop, imagine my shock when I saw Asante's footage. Certainly there were some plays that the QB (Williams) gets the credit for some beautiful throws, but there were many plays that left me dumbfounded. Asante took a slant route, broke the tackle and beat two players with the angle on him to the end zone. He had several underthrown balls where he came back and just outworked the defensive back for the ball. His routes leave a lot to be desired but in true "project" fashion, he's only played the game for one full season at the varsity level. In fact, it was Williams who pushed him to try out for JV football in the first place his sophomore year. Asante runs extremely well and had solid body control and decent hands. With the background outlined above, we understand why he gets two stars, but Kevin Asante, if he takes to coaching, could really become a contributor for Tech down the line and was worthy of an offer even without Marquise Williams coming on board.
Caleb Farris (OL) - recruited by Billy Hite
We liked the potential we saw in Caleb Farris' footage as part of the 2010 class, but we noted he was the lineman who needed the most physical development. Well he took "enormous" strides in that department over the past 12 months and now he checks in at 6'5", 305 lbs and really looks the part as he joined this team for the Spring semester. If he hasn't lost a step and has maintained his aggressiveness this is a "big" addition to the team. As projects go, Caleb Farris really looks like he's well on his way to becoming a "large" factor on the offensive line in 2012. Ok, ok we got the puns out of our system. For a while. The only bad thing about this signing is that the Hokies don't have more of them in this year's class.
Jake Goins (OT) - recruited by Jim Cavanaugh
I am a heterosexual man, but I love Jake Goins. And if you love football, you need to watch some of his footage. He plays like a guy who's had a lot of repressed emotion from childhood and lets it all out on the football field. When he gets to the second level he doesn't "block" the linebacker or safety, he acts like they stole his lunch money and then he disintegrates them. He plays through the echo of the whistle and finishes every block. He needs to get lower in his pad level and his footwork isn't the most nimble but those can be coached. What can't be coached is the on-the-field-Jake-Grove-kill-em-all attitude. The Hokies have done a good job landing one or two of these guys the past few classes (Matt Arkema jumps out from last year's class). Goins has a big frame at 6'5", long arms, he's mean and he was recruited by Jim Cavanaugh. That's all we need to know to say this was a win for VT in landing Jake Goins over Clemson and a hard push from Virginia. It's even bigger considering this was a year the Hokies only signed one new offensive lineman.
Chris Hall (TE) - recruited by Jim Cavanaugh
Hmmm, a 6'5", 233 lb TE prospect who also plays QB. Where have we seen that before? Ok, so Logan Thomas is an incredibly rare talent and we are not comparing Chris Hall to him in terms of QB ability. However, Hall is an athletic and physical young man who has shades of TE Andre Smith in him. Great frame, great mindset. And after what the Hokies got a taste of in this year's Orange Bowl with effective two and three TE sets run by Stanford, it's not surprising the Hokies chose this class to load up on TE prospects like Chris Hall.Since he played so much QB in high school though, the two questions are - does he have the hands to play the position, and can he add the weight and blocking skills needed to be a complete TE? Andre Smith did it and now he's off to the NFL where he will play on Sundays for somebody. Hall has that same kind of potential and he looks even better with the ball in his hands then Smith did coming out of high school. In fact, out of all the TE prospects the Hokies landed this year, Hall is probably the least ready to play TE right now, but has the highest ceiling at the position of any of them - the very definition of a project.
Michael Holmes (RB) - recruited by Curt Newsome
We'll admit it - we have been spoiled. Landing backs like Darren Evans, Ryan Williams, Josh Oglesby and David Wilson has raised the bar for being a running back at Virginia Tech. And considering the Hokies' sparkling history at that position, that's saying something. Unfortunately, Michael Holmes doesn't meet that standard. He is a decent back to be sure, with good vision and decent balance. But he lacks explosiveness and burst through the hole. His ceiling is a Ryan Houston/Javon Ringer type bruiser. A bowling-ball type of back that the Hokies haven't had in a while. Evans is a power back, but he's a big tall guy, who didn't have the lowest center of gravity. Holmes could develop into a short-yardage specialist, sort of like what Elan Lewis could have been if he'd stayed in shape. We saw nothing about Holmes' blocking ability or what his hands are like, aside from a few screen passes. He is a long strider so he has ok top end speed, but we didn't see a lot of tough runs or broken tackles. He could be a diamond in the rough, but there's a lot of rough there. Coach Hite has a big "project" if Holmes is going to go from being an average back to a bigtime running back. We hope we're wrong here about Holmes, but the Hokies have earned the right to land better backs than this and hopefully the 2012 class will have that gamebreaker in it because Holmes was the only running back in the 2011 class.
Demetri Knowles (WR) - recruited by Bryan Stinespring
The Hokies didn't add a lot of speed on offense with this recruiting class, but the one player they did add who is fast, can REALLY fly. He has fantastic foot speed for a 6'2" player and the bottom line is he is going to stretch the field. He looks to be the fastest player the Hokies have recruited at WR since Eddie Royal and again he gets little credit from recruiting ranking services because, being from the Bahamas, he only really played football for one season. Kevin Sherman has done a good job developing the WR talent in Blacksburg and he has a lot of raw material to work with in Knowles. If Coach Sherman can mold this "project" into a well-rounded receiver and teach him the fundamentals of route-running and blocking, Knowles could be a special player for Tech in the future. Think of the way that WVU was able to use Noel Devine or LSU used Trindon Holliday. Knowles is almost that fast and a creative offensive mind could……….ok nevermind.
Robert Lockhart (WR) - recruited by Torrian Gray
Lockhart missed his class by three years. Robert, the Year of the Playmaker was in 2008. Here it is plain and simple, so that you will remember that you read it here first (and I wrote this nearly two weeks ago when I watched this film) - Lockhart will be viewed as one of the biggest stars of this entire recruiting class. Unlike most of his fellow recruits, Lockhart is not a project. He comes to Tech as a total package at WR. Astonishing ball skills, tremendous moves in the open field, extremely physical and aggressive blocking, great burst and good top-end speed. Lockhart is a weapon. He can score in the return game, he can score off a handoff, he can score on a short screen, he can score on a post route, he can score on a leaping grab into the end zone. In short, he is an absolute playmaker. You need to watch this footage. And unlike Kevin Asante who played on a team with strong QB play, Lockhart did all of his receiving work with, let's just say, subpar throws from his QB (and that's putting it kindly). I seriously have NO IDEA what was going on here with the recruiting services giving him three stars. It's ridiculous. If Alabama was recruiting him, he would have been rated one of the top 50 players in the national 2011 class and certainly a top 5 WR. Robert Lockhart is the winner of the most underrated recruit in the 2011 class. If he stays healthy and handles his business in the classroom, he is going to be torching ACC defenses for years to come.
Ryan Malleck (TE) - recruited by Bryan Stinespring
Can you imagine playing offense in a New Jersey high school and going up against a 6'5", 240 lb SAFETY?! That's what happened this past season for opponents of Point Pleasant as Malleck lined up at safety. He had 3 interceptions and sent two kids off the field with concussions. I would have been scared to death going across the middle with him in the game. As a tight end, he really does look strange on film. He is so big and tall and yet he runs just like a normal size person. By that we mean that normally, guys that big are a bit gangly in their running style, it's not very fluid. But Malleck moves so well and looks so smooth as he motors away from all pursuers. It reminds us of Vernon Davis (and apparently his high school coach as well). Consider that at his size, he is as fast as Christian Reeves, who you'll read about below. Malleck also exhibits bigtime hands and an appreciation for contact. He looks like he could become a complete TE for the Hokie offense and again credit goes to Stiney for his recruiting prowess in helping Malleck escape the clutches of Miami and Maryland (who he was originally committed to before that ridiculous coaching change). TE depth will not be a problem for this program going forward.
Darius Redman (TE) - recruited by Kevin Sherman
Out of the many TE prospects in this class, the one who's most ready to contribute right away is Darius Redman (or as Recruitnik Dom calls him "Mr. Maroonandorangeman"). He has the size and mentality to be a blocker, but he also has excellent hands and is fast enough to get away from a linebacker at the Division I-A level. The Hokies really had no legitimate options behind Andre Smith this past season, and they have done a lot to correct that in 2010, including fellow Rochesterian (is that a word Dom?) Jerome Lewis and in this class as well. Players like Maroonandorangeman and Chris Hall give us optimism that there will be great TE threats to be poorly utilized by Coach Stinespring in years to come. The sweet bonus on Maroonandorangeman is that the Hokies converted him from his previous UVa verbal commitment, so he obviously likes upside-down hamburgers better than brie and Zima!
Christian Reeves (TE/WR) - recruited by Torrian Gray
Early on in the recruiting process, the Hokies knew they needed a lot of help at TE so they offered Christian Reeves. Since his verbal commitment on 6/15/10, they have landed 3 other bigtime TE prospects who really fit the bill. Reeves is too small to be a TE right now, so I'm sure Coach Gray - who admittedly has a great eye for talent - was thinking maybe he could get faster and be a wide receiver. But frankly the only way he sees the field is on special teams, or if he can add 20-30 lbs and keep his speed, he could possibly be a receiving threat at TE. Again, Reeves is a project which fits the theme, but the ceiling just isn't very high for him in the program. We don't like the signing, and once the Hokies landed the stud TE recruits they were getting, they should have advised him to go elsewhere (like Central Florida, Western Michigan or Buffalo where he also had offers) to play if he wants a chance to have a decent football career.
Dewayne Alford (DE) - recruited by Curt Newsome
There are projects and then there are PROJECTS. Many of the players at defensive end in this class may not look like world-beaters yet, but they already have one factor in their footage that's amazing (speed, instincts, strength, or motor) that makes you think they can become a star. Unfortunately, Alford doesn't appear to be one of those. The one good thing we can say about Alford is he does have a decent motor. He stays after it pretty well on every play, but he's no Matt Roth in that regard. Alford's footage is average and we believe this spot would have been better reserved for a more talented prospect. Even in a Year of the Project, the Hokies are of a caliber that they don't need players like this who look pretty average now, and whose ceiling is probably just being pretty decent in the future. This year, when schollies were tight, especially early on when Alford verballed, we would have preferred this spot to be filled by an OL, RB or LB prospect.
Adeboye Aromire (DB) - recruited by Kevin Sherman
The coaches are talking about Aromire getting a shot at cornerback because that's what he wanted (and who wouldn't want that coming to DB U?) But after watching the footage, this kid is MADE for free safety in the Hokie defense. He really reminds us of Antone Exum in terms of being a very physical athlete, great hitter and he brings solid top-end speed. But he doesn't have a lot of shiftiness or hip wiggle, which you really need to be a cornerback, especially at a place like VT. If he has the mental ability to make the calls on defense, he could be dynamite in the free safety role in two to three seasons. He's a 3-star cornerback according to scouting services, but he's a 4-star prospect at safety. He gets the early shot at corner he wanted though, as he has enrolled already this Spring. At his size, we wouldn't even be surprised if he gets a look at whip at some point in his career.
Michael Cole (LB/S) - recruited by Bryan Stinespring
Our insane amount of dissatisfaction with Stinespring as an offensive coordinator is well-documented, but we have to admit the guy can recruit. Michael Cole is just one of those players that has the "it" factor when you watch him play. Yes, he's fast and physical and all those good things, but what jumps off the screen is that he's just so fluid. He glides around and then makes a play, either with the ball in his hands or making a big hit. He loves contact and he has that innate game sense that you need to be a star. Cole could figure in at a lot of positions, but at 6'1, 200 lbs, if he can add 15-20 lbs of weight while maintaining his speed, he really could be a special player at whip. Like Cody Grimm-special. He's got the size that Cody never had and while we're certainly not ready to say he has the game-sense of the Grimm-Reaper, he could develop into that kind of player. Stiney did a great, great job landing Michael Cole who chose Tech over offers from Maryland, Penn State and the hated Hoos and we would have loved to see Tech land more LB prospects like him.
Wedley Estime (DE/LB) - recruited by Charley Wiles
Whoa. Wedley who? Where did he come from? This kid's film is ridiculous. He reminds me of pass rushing specialist Jason Pierre-Paul from South Florida last year who ended up getting drafted after only playing college football for one season. Estime is so light that you just can't believe what he can do to bigger tackles. How he avoids get swallowed up by them is amazing. He has very violent hands and plays with great leverage and body lean and he just has long enough arms to keep his body free to let his speed make plays. And oh my, the speed. There is one play where his responsibility is the sweep so he plays it and the handoff goes up the middle. Starting 10 yards behind the play, Estime gets on his horse and runs the back down, PASSING HIS OWN DEFENSIVE SECONDARY to make the tackle 60 yards downfield. When I say that, consider this is at Atlantic High School in Florida and they don't exactly have slouches in the defensive backfield. Estime also has great vision for where the ball is and was forcing fumbles and recovering fumbles all over the place. The Hokies are just going to let this one play out. We are concerned about his ability to put on enough good weight to stay at end (think Steven Friday) and maintain this incredible burst off the line. If he can't put on the weight, the Hokies will try him out at linebacker, which, given the lack of ANY LB recruits signed in the class, may have been the plan as soon as Tech knew they were out of the running for Stephone Anthony. Estime is definitely a project, and since he's only played football for one year, he was unrated by most recruiting services (although Rivals gave him a 3 star at the last minute when the Hokies got in on him). Estime is the 2nd most underrated recruit in this year's class of the project because there is almost no ceiling for what he could become.
James Farrow (DB) - recruited by Torrian Gray
THIS is where Coach Gray shines - he can carry the Hokie brand as "DB U" nationwide and land a stud like Farrow. James Farrow is blindingly quick who still brings top-end speed to the table. He has good ball skills, loose hips, he's tall. Just wow. Farrow is deadly with the ball in his hands, meaning he could also fit in as a dynamite return man. He isn't as physical as we would like at corner yet, but wait until he gets on the practice field with Coach Gray. Farrow was rated a 3 star recruit by most of the scouts out there because the competition in Minnesota is viewed as much worse than many other parts of the country. But he had offers from Arkansas, Michigan State, Miami, West Virginia and Louisville. That last offer is particularly interesting to me, because Charlie Strong and that staff know talent. He was recruited to be a corner by Torrian Gray and TG knows corners. All of that adds up to Farrow qualifying as our third most underrated recruit in the 2011 class. He will be a 5-star player at VT.
Kris Harley (DT) - recruited by Charley Wiles
Bring on the big uglies because Kris Harley is the real deal. He may not be quite the physical specimen that Nick Acree was last year at the position, but Harley seems so much more ready to play early because his game feels more complete. He gets great leverage and has much more active hands. He is so dismissive of the player in front of him, not just bullrushing through them every time because he's bigger and stronger, but beating them a variety of ways - swim moves, a quick first step and yes, sometimes bullrushing them. He had to develop those skills because of all the double teams he faced his senior year and since he was recruited by the defensive line coach, you know Coach Wiles sees material he can take to the next level. Once Harley adds about 15-20 lbs and gets stronger, he really has the chance to be that rare breed of player - a bigtime playmaker from the defensive tackle position.
Kyshoen Jarrett (DB) - recruited by Torrian Gray
It always makes a difference to me when a position coach is the recruiter for a prospect who plays that position. Coach Gray saw everything he was looking for in Jarrett and when the Pitt coaching staff imploded (which is insane in my view considering what Dave Wannstedt had done for that program) the relationship Jarrett had with Coach Gray locked him up for Virginia Tech despite Jarrett having offers from 13 OTHER BCS SCHOOLS. Jarrett doesn't have blinding speed, but he has that burst you need as a defensive back to break on the ball and/or close the gap when the ball hangs in the air on a deep route. He really brings the whole package at defensive back to the table from physical tackling, good vision, great hands, and he's dangerous with the ball in his hands (he was a returner and running back for his team). Just another studly addition to the secondary at what recruits are quickly coming to recognize as DB U. Jarrett reminds us of Kyle Fuller and while he hopefully won't have to be called on to play his freshman season, he looks the most ready.
Luther Maddy (DT) - recruited by Charley Wiles
Earlier we discussed the recruitment of WR Kevin Asante as an attempt to land stud QB Marquise Williams from Charlotte. Williams didn't come to Tech but in that case it worked out because Asante's ability looks like it stands on its own merits. In the case of Luther Maddy, a defensive lineman compatriot of superstud Wedley Estime, the story is sadder. The Hokies wanted Estime, they had room in the lineup when Stephone Anthony decided on Clemson and so they offered his good friend Maddy to help close the deal. It worked out well because Estime committed to the Hokies today. The issue is that Maddy doesn't appear to have the level of ability needed to compete in the two-deep on defensive line at Tech. He had nine other offers to play Division I-A football, but not a single one at another BCS conference school. He looks slow and many of his own highlights are because Estime has blown the play up and Maddy just gets in on the finish. We'll let Coach Wiles' comments about Maddy (after the predictable platitudes about high football IQ and body bend) sum it up here:
"We need to bring in some guys for the interior of our defense and we think he fits the bill."
Ok then. Please, please let us be wrong on this, and have Maddy explode into an All-ACC performer at tackle. Late offers like this often have a stigma attached, so time will tell if it was warranted in this case. On to the next prospect.
Corey Marshall (DE) - recruited by Jim Cavanaugh
Jim Cavanaugh earns his reputation as one of the top recruiters in the country because he can pick these prospects before they become household names. But unlike most players in this class, Corey Marshall is not a project. He is already a flat-out beast. Few players show up at Tech physically ready to step onto the field with the type of athletes already here. Nick Acree was one, but he didn't have the mental part of the game down enough. Corey Marshall at 6'2", 250 lbs is ready. He is an 18 year old kid in a grown man's body. But because he's so big and strong already, the most astonishing aspect of his footage isn't him blowing other 16-18 year old kids off the line of scrimmage with one arm. Those kids just aren't anywhere near his size or strength at that level of high school. What makes Marshall special is his athleticism at that size and his football instincts. He reads a RB going out into the flat, drops back from his rush and makes a leaping interception falling backward. He slices down underneath the tackle and blasts the QB, not falling for the fake handoff. Marshall moves well, he gets off the ball quickly and as we said earlier, unlike some of the other defensive end prospects the Hokies have signed in 2011, Marshall is a defensive end, right now. With great Charley Wiles coaching and additional size and strength, he could immediately figure in the two-deep and then become a force in the ACC in as soon as two seasons.
Matt Roth (DE) - recruited by Charley Wiles
Matt Roth is another one of those "projects" at defensive end. He is extremely physical and has one setting on his motor - full speed. Roth also plays low and is very instinctive which makes him hard to block. He may not be the eye-popping elite athlete, but with a helmet and pads on, he just plays like he belongs out there. He is what's known as a "gamer". He is going to bring his lunch pail to work every single day so don't be surprised if Matt Roth outworks a lot of people and gets in the mix at defensive end later in his career, especially since he has the frame to get quite a bit bigger in Gentry-land.
Justin Taylor (DE) - recruited by Kevin Sherman
We covered Taylor in the 2010 class, and he took a prep year which was greatly needed. We loved his speed and football smarts last year but he needed weight and strength and he's added a little bit of both. But he started so light for a defensive end (he's still only 225 lbs), that now he needs some Gentry-fication to fill the role, which he's gotten a headstart on due to his Spring enrollment. The staff will surely try to redshirt him next season, especially with the talent at DE already in line for playing time in 2011. In the spirit of the class, Taylor's still a project, but considering the steps he took from last year to this one, we feel optimistic about him being in the two deep as early as 2012 and he could be a great speed rusher for the Hokies before it's all said and done.
Ronny VanDyke (DB) - recruited by Bud Foster
VanDyke follows in a long line of assassin-type big hitters in the secondary, beginning with Willie Pile, and carrying through Aaron Rouse and Kam Chancellor. Davon Morgan was a good athlete but he never seemed to bring the type of football sense needed at the position. He had some big hits last season, but was out of position too much. VanDyke looks like a much more natural fit at the rover position. He's tall, rangy and very physical and he can play at the line of scrimmage as well as out in space. VanDyke always seems to be around the ball (the famous "nose for the ball" that you hear about all the time) and that's exactly what Coach Foster is looking for in his rovers, so it should come as no surprise that Coach Foster was the guy who recruited him. The Hokies offered him early when he was coming off an injury-plagued junior year and he accepted back then. But everyone and their brother pushed for him after the season he had this year and VanDyke stayed true to his commitment. Hokie Nation is going to be glad he did.
This will be a longer wrap-up than most, because much of Hokie Nation is disappointed in this recruiting class and we want to address that a bit. There were definitely some misses, in terms of landing bigger names and there were also a couple of additions to the class that we don't think are at the level of talent the Hokies need to take the next step for the program.
But let's address recruiting more broadly. First of all, very few, if ANY coaches look at the "stars" in determining who they want. It works the other way around - recruiting services assign stars often based on who's looking at a player. So Beamer and Co. wanted most of these players based on their own talent evaluation and how good a fit these kids would be in the program.
That said, there are some 4 and 5 star players that you can tell will be ready to contribute early in their career. Based on their ability they could be an asset to just about any football program. And after watching the entire day's coverage of recruiting classes on ESPNU, several themes became obvious. Certainly you have your "name" programs, like USC, LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Texas and these programs are going to sign a ton of those elite athletes every year because of the brand.
But there are many schools like Georgia, Florida State and Clemson, who the past 5 years haven't done anything more than the Hokies. In fact, we would put Virginia Tech on equal or better footing with all of those programs. And yet, those schools landed many very impressive, very ready-to-play players and the Hokies didn't. In fact, Florida State had the consensus #1 class in the country this year. The Hokies instead landed a ton of project players who have a lot of potential (in some cases as much potential as those super 5 star recruits) and only a very few of those ready-to-contribute type of players.
So why is that? Well, let's break it down a little further. Offensively, it's pretty simple. Not to beat a dead, buried, and gone-to-horse-heaven horse, if you were an offensive player, would you honestly want to come play in this offense? "Here you go, young man, you can still succeed in your path to the NFL if you can overcome the obstacles put in front of you by an inept staff." What a selling point.
However, and this is the part that makes no sense on the surface, how on earth did the Hokies miss on Travis Hughes, Curtis Grant and Stephone Anthony, who were all squarely in Hokie recruiting territory and among the top 5-10 LB's in the entire country? If you are a defensive player, particularly a linebacker, wouldn't you want to play for someone who is acknowledged among coaches throughout college and the NFL as one of the best defensive coordinators in the country and certainly the best linebacker coach? On top of that, wouldn't you want to be part of taking the Hokies to that next level in competing for a national title? It's unrealistic to think Tech would sign all three, but to land none of them?
Well, my Calm and Beloved Reader, consider that overall, recruiting is a very dirty, underhanded business. If you think the Cam Newton sell-to-the-highest-bidder deal was an isolated incident, I've got some oceanfront property in Arizona I'd like to offer you at a great discount. We have no insider info as to how dirty the Hokies get their hands year-in and year-out, but based on results like this signing class compared to that of equal or lesser football programs, it seems that Coach Beamer is running a tighter ship than most. Who knows what the deciding factors are in the college decisions of 17-18 year old kids? I certainly didn't make the most well-thought out decisions at that time in my life and that was WITHOUT having women, a full ride to college, and the promise of future fame and glory laid at my feet.
We take solace in the fact that this class does have talent and the program could take a significant step forward if enough of these players live up their sky-high potential. The risk, of course, is that not enough of them do and the program takes a step backward, and so that's why we're calling it the Year of the Project.