Thursday, February 14, 2008

Team Recruiting Countdown: No. 22 Virginia Tech Hokies

No. 22 Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC No. 4)

2008 Haul: 31 signees, 1 Athlon Consensus 100
Scouting Report:

Wide receiver was most likely the top priority for the Hokies in 2008 as Frank Beamer saw his top two targets – Eddie Royal and Josh Morgan – depart. Whether the person throwing the football is Sean Glennon or Tyrod Taylor, he should have a deep group of possible targets. The Hokies landed six wide receivers in this class as well as a few athletes that could develop into offensive weapons. D.J. Coles (Goochland, Va.), Austin Fuller (Richlands, Va.) and Derrick McCoy (Amherst, Va.) add needed depth. Two athletes, however, might end up as the best wideout prospects – Dyrell Roberts (Smithfield, Va.) and Marcus Davis (Virginia Beach, Va.) are going to be two very big, physical targets for the Hokies.

Offensive line was also an area of concern. The Hokies added three promising youngsters to their O-line corp. Nick Benton (Wilmington, N.C.) and Vinston Painter (Norfolk, Va.) have massive frames and are likely the future bookend tackles for Frank Beamer and Co.

With the departure of Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi, depth in the linebacking corps was a must. Longtime Hokie defensive coordinator Bud Foster certainly has some options after signing five linebackers in this class. The group is headlined by Bruce Taylor (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) and Quillie Odom (Chatham, Va.). Taylor is very raw but has the size and potential to be a solid inside linebacker. Odom is more prepared to play today, however, and has more physical ability.

The state of Virginia has always been a very talented football state and 2008 was no exception. The Hokies took advantage and landed 24 prospects from home. That is the definition of protecting your borders.

The top prep program in the nation is Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va.. Beamer and staff did a nice job of scouring the prep ranks for three prospects. Linebacker Quillie Odom, athlete Kendrick Pressley and defensive end Leon Mackey all are headed to Blacksburg from the Chatham institution.

Top Prospect: Ryan Williams – RB – Manassas, Va. (5-10, 195) AC100 No. 38

This Steve Slaton clone has a well-rounded game. This comparison comes from Williams’ surprising power for a 195-pound runner. He is not afraid to initiate contact and runs behind his pads. He also has, like Slaton, home run-threat ability. He can make defenders look silly in the open field. His quick, short-space bursts and acceleration are top flight. He uses a short, choppy running style to get to the corner and go the distance.

Williams will also be a major threat in the passing game. He is very confident in a pass-catching role and will really put pressure on linebackers assigned to cover him man-to-man. He has the ability to get vertical and stretch defenses even from out of the backfield.

His burst was on display in San Antonio at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where Williams showed nice open-field quickness. He outran some top-level prospects.

Best of the Rest:

Vinston Painter – OT – Norfolk, Va. (6-5, 300)
D.J. Coles – WR – Goochland, Va. (6-4, 200)
Bruce Taylor – LB – Myrtle Beach, S.C. (6-3, 230)
Nick Becton – OT – Wilmington, N.C. (6-6, 290)
Lorenzo Williams – CB – Fayetteville, N.C. (6-2, 195)

Sleeper: Marcus Davis – ATH – Virginia Beach, Va. (6-4, 220)

Davis may end up at safety or the Bud Foster coined ‘rover’ position but he clearly has the size to be a dominant presence with the ball in his hands. He has great feet and open field moves for a kid of his size. He is surprisingly fluid and could be a dynamic threat in the passing attack for years to come in Blacksburg.

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