After signing four linebackers in their 2017 class, Virginia Tech is planning to take a smaller 2018 class with a commitment from high three-star Alan Tisdale. Meanwhile, the Hokies have sent out a limited number of offers with four-star LBs Dax Hollifield and Keshon Artis being VT’s top remaining linebacker targets.
Virginia Tech’s 2019 linebacker board is just coming together, but next cycle’s top linebacker targets align geographically with the top guys left on the Hokies’ 2018 board in four-star 757 LB Ah’Shawn Moore and North Carolina LBs Drake Thomas and Traveon Freshwater.
VT Still Has Work Left At LB
Virginia Tech gained a big commitment from high three-star OLB Alan Tisdale to start the month of July, but Bud Foster still has a pair of top targets left on the board in four-star recruits Dax Hollifield and Keshon Artis who both project as mike linebackers though each could also shift to backer.
Tisdale was a great and important get for the Hokies as a talented, smart linebacker that makes intelligent plays and is effective in coverage and as a run defender, making him someone who could play either whip or backer for VT. Tisdale was also the Hokies’ top target for the backer and whip spots with VT putting all their focus at those spots into Tisdale with his commitment completing the trifecta of Greensboro commitments (along with Tre Turner and DJ Crossen) while ensuring the Hokies got their top non-mike LB target.
Dax Hollifield has been one of Virginia Tech’s top overall targets throughout this cycle as the Hokies were the early favorite for the four-star linebacker and still remain one of the top frontrunners. Hollifield recently told us that he had a current top 5 of Virginia Tech, Florida State, South Carolina, UNC, and Stanford with Hollifield telling us that he will visit Florida State when they play Miami while telling @FuenteFootball on Twitter that he will visit Blacksburg for the Hokies’ game against Clemson.
Hollifield told us that the coach who he has the best relationship with is Bud Foster. When we asked Hollifiekd why he’s been impressed by Foster, this is what he had to say.
“He’s just an amazing guy and he explain things so well when he coaches.” – Dax Hollifield on Bud Foster
Right now, the Hokies are a frontrunner for Hollifield, but have a chance to emerge as the favorite again this weekend if his visit goes well. Hollifield’s great relationship with Foster is also encouraging for VT’s hopes of getting one of their top targets. Right now, the Hokies are definitely a frontrunner along with FSU due to how the Seminoles are only one of 2 already scheduled fall visits, though it seems likely that he will try to take official visits to all of his top 5 schools.
Four-star 757 LB Keshon Artis recently released a top 8 that included Virginia Tech, Tennessee, West Virginia, Missouri, NC State, Maryland, Duke, and Syracuse. While Artis has been fairly quiet, the Hokies are seen as the consensus favorite due in part to being the in-state school along with VT having had good visits with Artis in the past. On top of that, VT has Zohn Burden leading the charge with Burden being one of the best recruiters of the 757 in America.
Right now, VT is the favorite, but Maryland continues to lurk heavily as the Terps have made the 757 a high priority under DJ Durkin with Chris Beatty leading the charge for Maryland there. Tennessee and West Virginia also loom here as contenders for Artis with the Vols definitely showing lots of interest in the four-star Oscar Smith LB.
The Hokies continue to be the favorites for Artis while we continue to stand by our prediction of the talented linebacker being the latest to choose the Hokies from Oscar Smith though VT still has plenty of work to do to get his commitment.
2019’s LB Board Looks Geographically Similar to 2018
Virginia Tech’s top 2 2019 linebacker targets currently are quite similar to the Hokies’ top 3 remaining 2018 linebacker targets and commit: one is from the 757 and the other 2 are from North Carolina.
Borderline five-star LB Ah’Shawn Moore out of the 757 is set to be one of the Hokies’ top defensive targets in the 2019 class. While the talented linebacker from Indian River currently only has offers from VT, Auburn, and Marshall; that list is almost certain to explode soon, but the Hokies have put themselves in a good position early on.
Virginia Tech has a lot of momentum at Indian River currently with the Hokies most recently getting Devon Hunter from there while also being in great shape early on for Moore’s current teammate and 2019 four-star DT Ben Smiley. Right now, the Hokies are the early favorite for Moore, but there is still lots of time to go with Moore being certain to have his offer list grow immensely in the coming months.
Meanwhile, the Hokies are also in heavy pursuit of Wake Forest, NC LB Drake Thomas who has a strong offer list that includes Michigan, VT, West Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, NC State, Maryland, Houston, East Carolina, Appalachian State, Charlotte, and Marshall. Michigan is one of the top contenders for Thomas as the Wolverines offered him back in November last year while the in-state schools like UNC, NC State, and Duke all are likely to be players in his recruitment.
However, the Hokies shouldn’t be taken lightly here as VT has a commitment from his teammate Joe Kane, something that definitely should help the Hokies’ chances here in some sort of way. VT also has lots of momentum in North Carolina currently and will have a chance to make a strong impression on Thomas who will visit VT on Saturday for their big BBQ recruiting event after visiting NC State Friday.
Another name to watch is OLB Traveon Freshwater out of Elizabeth City, NC. The eastern North Carolina linebacker already has a solid offer list that includes Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Michigan State, North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, Duke, East Carolina, and Old Dominion. Freshwater is one of two big time recruits out of his high school in the 2019 class with four-star ATH JR Walker also being a highly-recruited player with VT being among his offers as well.
Two of the Hokies’ top remaining 2018 targets are at LB, but VT has a great shot to get both four-star NC LB Dax Hollifield and four-star 757 LB Keshon Artis while also laying the groundwork for a pair of NC linebackers and a 757 linebacker in 2019.