Since Justin Fuente has taken over as the Virginia Tech Hokies’ head coach, Fuente and his staff have focused heavily on recruiting in the state of Virginia while also expanding some of their recruiting territory to the Deep South. However, the Hokies are also targeting a player from one state that Virginia Tech has definitely not traditionally recruited in.
Three-star athlete Dalton Keene of Chatfield High School in Littleton, Colorado has four offers so far from Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Iowa State, and Colorado State though that list is likely to grow more over the next few months. Keene is a rising name that may end up being a four-star recruit overall by the time the process is done and not just being a four-star recruit by 247 Sports’ traditional rankings.
Keene is ranked as the 457th best recruit by the 247 Sports Composite while 247 Sports’ traditional rankings has him in their Top 247 at 156th. Keene is also ranked as the fourth best Colorado recruit by the 247 Composite and the third-best recruit in Colorado by 247 Sports’ traditional rankings.
Keene is seen as a jumbo athlete at 6’5” and around 225 pounds that could end up at a multitude of positions with tight end being the most likely and linebacker also being a possibility. Keene is a very intriguing athlete and a rising name that has the potential to become a nationally-recognized four-star recruit after the many camps this spring.
At this point, Virginia Tech seems to be the early frontrunner to get Keene despite the distance due to one significant connection: DL Coach Charley Wiles’s college roommate and teammate is the father of Dalton Keene. Wiles is the primary recruiter for Keene and the connection between him and Keene’s father could have a huge impact on his recruitment as their likely is a lot of trust from Keene’s family in Wiles compared to any other program.
The proximity to home still has the potential to be a big problem for Keene as Nebraska and Iowa State will play games closer to Keene’s home along with the Cornhuskers having a lot more recognition in Colorado from the old rivalry between Nebraska and Colorado. Iowa State has been casting a large net on the recruiting trail and can’t be written off as not a serious threat, but this seems likely to be a Hokies vs. Cornhuskers recruiting battle.
Another advantage for the Hokies may be the fact that Ryan Malleck is at the NFL Combine and that Bucky Hodges has the potential to be a first or second round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Both the Cornhuskers and Hokies have head coaches that have proven themselves at smaller programs while also early in their tenures at new programs.
Right now, it seems to be Hokies vs. Cornhuskers for Dalton Keene, but the family connection helps make the Hokies the early favorites to reach out west and pull in a highly-rated athlete from the Rocky Mountains.