The Virginia Tech Hokies are seen as college football’s “DBU” by many over the last 15 years with Kendall Fuller leading the latest group of talented defensive backs. Virginia Tech’s DBU has produced many NFL players including DeAngelo Hall, Kam Chancellor, and Brandon Flowers.
The Hokies have had this success despite the fact that they have only brought in a few elite defensive back recruits unlike the other DBUs at LSU and Florida that have done it with many elite defensive back recruits. However, the Hokies still get a fair amount of four-star defensive back recruits and are in the top 3 for one defensive back recruit from SEC country.
There was some surprise to see the Hokies on Marlon Character’s top 5, but the four-star safety from Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia has included the Hokies in his top 3 along with South Carolina and Ohio State. It’s also a surprise that the in-state Georgia Bulldogs missed the cut for Character’s top 3 with only one SEC program making the top 3.
Character is ranked as the 34th best safety by ESPN, 14th best by the 247 Sports Composite, and 13th best by Rivals. Character is also seen as one of the better recruits in Georgia and nationally with the 247 Sports Composite ranking him 21st in Georgia and 270th nationally while Rivals has him 195th nationally and 18th within Georgia. While Rivals and the 247 Sports Composite have him as a four-star safety, 247 Sports’ traditional rankings and ESPN have him as a three-star DB.
The Buckeyes have been tremendously good under Urban Meyer with Ohio State winning the national title this past season, and being the favorite to win it again in 2015. Ohio State also is set to produce a lot of NFL players after bringing back most players on a young roster. The Buckeyes have also had very little staff turnover among the assistants over the last few seasons.
Meyer knows how to recruit in SEC country and Marlon Character is clearly one of his top targets from the Southeast. The Buckeyes already have 15 commits, but only one is a defensive back in former Virginia Tech commit Kareem Felder. The Buckeyes have room for more defensive backs and Character is definitely one of their top targets.
Meanwhile, the South Carolina Gamecocks have the proximity to home advantage over Virginia Tech and Ohio State. The Gamecocks seem like the clear favorite for Character now that Georgia is out with defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward leading the charge to get the four-star safety.
The Gamecocks’ defense was disappointing in 2014, which could mean that they are able to offer Character a chance to come in and play early. South Carolina also has produced their fair share of NFL defensive backs in the past while having some very good defenses.
However, the recent defensive struggles along with questions about how much longer Steve Spurrier will coach due to comments he has made makes the Gamecocks vulnerable.
The Hokies have had plenty of talented safeties headlined by Kam Chancellor with Kyshoen Jarrett being the most recent Virginia Tech safety to be drafted. Torrian Gray has done a great job of developing defensive backs into very good NFL players, and it only helps that Gray is the primary recruiter for Character.
Right now, the Hokies do have a couple players that are seen as safeties in Reggie Floyd and Jovonn Quillen, but both Hokie commits could end up at different positions with Floyd showing tons of potential at running back and Quillen being a high school quarterback. However, this fact will likely hurt the Hokies some in recruiting Character, especially since Floyd and Quillen seem to be very solid commits.
The Hokies have a good chance at getting Marlon Character though they are definitely the underdogs behind the Gamecocks and Buckeyes. However, Virginia Tech will definitely make a strong push to get the four-star safety.