With only two running backs signed in the past two classes, Virginia Tech is looking to bring in at least a pair of running backs in this recruiting cycle with the Hokies needing to build some more depth at the running back spot along with bring in guys who could play early in Blacksburg especially with Justin Fuente liking to use multiple backs.
One of the Hokies’ 2018 running back targets is McCormick, SC RB Mataeo Durant who has a double-digit number of offers and three schools in particular standing out in his recruitment.
Durant told us that Virginia Tech, Duke, and Wake Forest are standing out to him along with being the three schools that are recruiting him the hardest. Durant has visited all three schools this spring with more visits scheduled for the summer including West Virginia with being an opportunity for the Mountaineers to get involved in Durant’s recruitment. Durant told us that he “wants to make a verbal by the beginning of August” with Duke, VT, and Wake Forest all likely to push to receive visits from Durant before he makes a decision.
Durant has lots of general praise for the three schools that are at the top of his recruitment praising the “family-like environment” at all three programs along with having “successful business programs” and being within “close proximity” of home to allow for his family to be in-attendance for his games.
Academics was one of the first things Durant mentioned when we asked about the key factors for him in making his decision mentioning how he wants to go a school where he can “get the best possible education that can project success within my 40-year plan.” Durant is definitely a recruit with a plan and focus on not only his football career but also on his future after football and while those type of things do usually affect the decision for most recruits, this will likely have a bigger impact on Durant.
Early playing time is something that Durant also said will be an important factor in his recruitment which should definitely help the Hokies especially with the multitude of running backs that received carries last season along with the opportunity someone like Jalen Holston has to play as a true freshman even if he doesn’t earn the starting RB job.
While Mataeo Durant has very good relationships with position coaches at all three schools, he also seems to have good relationships with David Cutcliffe and Justin Fuente mention how he has a “good relationship” with Cutcliffe and has been able to be in contact with Fuente. However, his relationships with coaches at Duke, VT, and Wake Forest across the board are a main reason why those three schools stand out in his recruitment.
There is no doubt that Virginia Tech is a serious contender in Mataeo Durant’s recruitment with Virginia Tech being a great football program along with being a good academic school with a strong business program. However, one thing that Durant’s decision will show is how high of a priority academics are with Duke being one of the top academic schools in the power 5 just below the level of Stanford. While Virginia Tech can make their appeal as being a football school that has strong academics, Duke will likely have to heavily emphasize their academics though their success under David Cutcliffe will help even with Duke still undoubtedly being a basketball school.
At this point, it’s hard to tell where Mataeo Durant is leaning but Duke and Virginia Tech appear to be the favorites with Wake Forest lurking. However, there could be more schools that come in to play for Durant over the summer with Durant having plans to camp at “several other places” this summer as he looks to add more offers to his offer list that includes VT, Duke, West Virginia, Mississippi State, and Wake Forest.
In theory, South Carolina could be a threat if they offer as an in-state school that has a strong business program though unlike VT and Duke, their football program has struggled over the past three seasons with no more than 7 wins in any of those seasons along with having two freshmen get over 100 carries this past season, something that would make playing early difficult and could hurt their chances if they decide to pursue Durant.
For now, Mataeo Durant still seems like a recruit that is at least a couple of months away from committing but as of now, Virginia Tech has positioned themselves well in their pursuit of Durant.