For every college football coach in the country, they will always be looking to find any possible advantage they can use to give himself a better chance of convincing that recruit to come to that school. However, more of this has come to the coaches relying on their current players or commits to help bring in more players to the program.
For the Hokies, they have built a pipeline within Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas, Virginia.
Back in 2008, Ryan Williams made the decision to commit to the Hokies over plenty of other major programs. Williams became a part of an incredibly talented trio of running backs that also included Darren Evans and David Wilson. However, the Hokies were unable to convert on that connection in the immediate future.
On August 3rd, 2013; three-star athlete Greg Stroman committed to the Hokies out of Stonewall Jackson High School. Stroman was definitely one of the least-talked about players from the Hokies’ Class of 2014, but he fought and earned himself some playing time.
Stroman showed a lot of potential as the answer for the Hokies at punt returner while also getting some time at cornerback. Entering the 2015 season, Stroman will most likely be getting a fair amount of playing time as one of the top four cornerbacks as long as Chuck Clark moves to free safety, and if Donovan Riley stays at rover or possibly free safety.
It is unknown the effect that Stroman had off the field in his high school, but the Hokies have now built a pipeline into Stonewall Jackson High School.
The Hokies received big news at the Under Armour All-America Game in January when Tim Settle announced that he was going to commit to the Hokies. Settle was a game-changing recruit for a Virginia Tech recruiting class that finished very strong with Dwayne Lawson also committing in the final couple of months to the Hokies.
Both Bud Foster and Torrian Gray put a major emphasis on Stonewall Jackson to get Stroman and then Settle with Foster showing that he might just be a better recruiter than many of us realized with the credit he received from Settle. Settle was also somewhat of an unexpected get compared to the way his recruitment was entering the beginning of the fall.
Settle’s commitment has seemed to trigger the domino effect that has made a big impact on future recruiting for the Hokies already. The Hokies gained their next Stonewall Jackson player in March when Reggie Floyd committed to the Hokies to play safety even though most offered him to play running back.
Floyd could still end up playing running back in college for the Hokies depending on how Virginia Tech’s class forms, but the fact that Torrian Gray was still able to convince Floyd to commit to the Hokies has to be due to the work that Gray and the Hokies have put in building a pipeline from Manassas to Blacksburg.
The pipeline continued with a fourth straight class being represented with a Virginia Tech as 2017 safety Devante Smith committed to the Hokies a few days ago. This commitment now gives the Hokies a valuable commit in Smith who could help them in recruiting other top Virginia recruits in the Class of 2017.
With all these players committed, signed, or on the team already; these Stonewall Jackson have the potential to leave a large impact over the next six or seven years on Virginia Tech football, following the example of Ryan Williams. Stroman has already started doing that, and Settle definitely seems ready to do that as a future starting defensive tackle for the Hokies that could even start next season or the year after with Nigel Williams and/or Ricky Walker.
The Stonewall Jackson to Virginia Tech pipeline is alive and well, and is making a big impact on the Virginia Tech program with Greg Stroman leading the way; and Tim Settle, Reggie Floyd, and Devante Smith following the pipeline from Manassas to Blacksburg. Now, these four will look to follow the example of Ryan Williams and become legends in Blacksburg along with leading the Hokies back into another golden era.