Offensive line recruiting has received plenty of interest and fervent discussion among fans with some of Virginia Tech’s lowest-rated coming on the offensive line over the past few years. However, that doesn’t mean that VT agrees with those ratings especially with offensive linemen being some of the hardest players to project years out.
Virginia Tech is still looking to add one or two more offensive linemen in what will be a smaller 2018 class while the 2019 class has the potential to be with a couple talented in-state OL along with VT faring well early for a pair of talented, four-star WV offensive tackles.
Still a Little More Room in 2018
Virginia Tech has two offensive line commits in three-star OT Jordan McFadden and three-star OG John Harris, two guys who were top targets for Vance Vice throughout this year, along with the high possibility that Christian Darrisaw will enroll in the spring after not enrolling yet at VT and not being included in the Hokies’ media guide of newcomers.
Harris and McFadden were both great gets for the Hokies as they were both top targets with a good amount of power 5 offers and schools that had lots of interest with VT beating Michigan State and others out for Harris; and Duke, MSU, and others for McFadden. While neither of these offensive linemen are likely to break the two-deep at true freshmen, both having the skills, size, and upside to develop into very good offensive linemen in two to three years.
With numbers getting tight, the Hokies are only likely to add one or two offensive linemen with the top target being elite four-star OT Rasheed Walker.
Penn State is seen as the frontrunner for Walker by many, but Walker has disputed that on the record mentioning how Virginia Tech, Ohio State, North Carolina, and Maryland are all also involved. From what we’ve heard, Penn State is the favorite, but the Hokies are a serious contender that definitely have a decent chance at getting him.
Currently, this recruitment seems on a pace to continue on throughout the fall with a chance that it could go all the way to National Signing Day. For now, VT is a contender but it will be important for the Hokies to get him on campus a couple of times including at least once for an official visit.
The other top VT OL target is three-star Charlotte OG Jovaughn Gwyn. Duke, South Carolina, and NC State are among the frontrunners, but Virginia Tech is working their way into being a contender after being a little later to offer him. For the Hokies to become a serious contender, they will need to get Gwyn on campus whether that’s for an official or unofficial visit.
VT does have the benefit of having the #NC2VT movement working well with five commitments from North Carolina so far with VT contending for other talented NC recruits like KJ Henry, Dax Hollifield, and Alim McNeill. The Hokies are lurking for Jovaughn Gwyn but won’t become a serious contender if they can’t get him on campus.
Outside of those 2, the offensive line board is quite small as the Hokies have cooled on Aidan Rafferty though that could always change. If VT misses out on both, VT could look at just taking three guys, trying to flip a committed guy like Colorado commit Walker Culver, or offering a senior who has a breakout fall.
2019 Could Be Really Good For VT
2019 has the potential to be a really good year for the Hokies with offensive linemen as Virginia has at least a couple of quality offensive linemen while VT also is off to good starts with several other heavily-offered linemen.
Four-star OT Doug Nester released a top 5 a few weeks ago that included Virginia Tech, Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, and West Virginia. Nester is definitely one of the top OTs for the Hokies and nationally with VT being a legitimate contender early on though Ohio State will be a big threat while West Virginia has the in-state advantage. While VT may be an underdog on-paper, the Hokies definitely are a contender at this point.
Nester isn’t the only elite 2019 offensive tackle in West Virginia as four-star Darnell Wright is poised to also be one of the top OTs in America in the 2019 class. We’ll have an article soon on Wright, but Virginia Tech has made a strong, early impression with the Hokies being among six schools that are recruiting him the hardest (Alabama, Ohio State, West Virginia, Florida, and Tennessee are the others) along with Vance Vice being one of the coaches he has the best relationships with telling us that he “enjoys his style of coaching.”
It is early, but the Hokies have positioned themselves as a contender with Wright planning to make a stop in Blacksburg this fall.
Quinn Carroll is another intriguing name as the four-star OT from Minnesota has an unique connection to Virginia Tech with his brother being former Virginia Tech long snapper Collin Carroll. Despite that, the Hokies will have a tough time getting Quinn Carroll who is being nationally recruited with VT being hurt by not having any sort of distance advantage given that he’s from Minnesota.
The Hokies have offered a pair of Virginia offensive tackles in Antoine Whitner from Richmond and Donavan Beaver from the Fredericksburg area. Beaver currently only has offers from the Hokies and Virginia while Whitner has offers from VT, UVA, and NC State. Both Beaver and Whitner appear to be high on the Hokies’ with VT being the favorite on-paper for these two talented linemen.
Virginia Tech also has offered a few linemen that profile as guards in four-star Caedan Wallace and Georgia OG Riley Simonds. Wallace and Simonds both have strong offer lists but the Hokies have been mentioned to us by both Wallace and Simonds among their top groups of schools. While both won’t be easy gets, both are from places that VT has made high priorities in New Jersey and Georgia respectively with the duo definitely the top guards on VT’s board though Donavan Beaver could also be a guard and not a tackle.
Virginia Tech still has some work left to do in 2018 on the offensive line while 2019 has the potential to be a big class for the Hokies with VT having lots of traction with some of the top offensive tackles and guards along with there being more in-state offensive line talent in the 2019 class.