Virginia Tech recently added their first tight end commit of the 2019 class is three-star Pennsylvanian Nick Gallo. The Hokies made Gallo their #1 target at tight end and aren’t expected to take another tight end in their 2019 class.
In committing to VT, Nick Gallo is following his brother Eric’s footsteps to Blacksburg. Unlike his older brother, Nick is a tight end through and through and won’t be moving to the offensive line if things don’t work out at TE especially given his 6’4”, 225-pound frame.
During his time in high school, Gallo did play some defensive end but with his size and offensive skill set, his future is on the offensive side of the ball.
Gallo hasn’t spent too much time at camps so most of his athletic numbers are projections based on tape rather than tested statistics. However, Gallo does have good size for a tight end while he also has a good frame to add some more muscle to. In addition, Gallo appears to have solid speed for a tight end though he isn’t going to be a guy that blows by linebackers or safeties.
When watching Nick Gallo on tape, the first thing that stands our are his hands. Now this may seem like something that should look good given that most of our scouting has been of his highlight tape, but when you watch his highlights, you can tell that he has great hands.
Gallo’s pass-catching ability goes beyond simply having good hands. His hand-eye coordination is very good while his pass-catching technique is something that coaches could show to any youth player across the country. Mentally, Gallo does a great job on watching the ball all the way into his hands instead of thinking too far ahead about what he will do with the ball in his hands before it gets there.
Gallo was used often as more of a traditional receiver whether that was in the slot or as a solo outside receiver at times. That experience has helped Gallo develop a solid route tree foundation that will definitely help his development in Blacksburg. While Gallo has a good understanding of many routes, the crispness of route-running is not there yet on many of his routes and is one of the biggest things he will need to develop as a receiver.
In space, Gallo has the ability to make some guys miss, but he isn’t a guy that is going to gain lots of yards after the catch from his agility. However, Gallo isn’t afraid of contact and has shown some ability to gain some extra yards while opponents try to tackle him.
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Nick Gallo did spend some time lining up in the more traditional tight end spot on the offensive line and was effective both as a receiver and a passer. One role that Gallo looks very comfortable in is on play action plays where he’ll start out as a blocker before shifting out into space as a checkdown option.
Given how we’ve seen the h-back used as a checkdown receiver at times in Justin Fuente’s offense, Gallo has shown the ability to fit that role whether that’s in the aforementioned play action role or as a designed checkdown receiver.
As a blocker, Gallo has shown that he has the basic technical skill set to be an effective blocker both around the line of scrimmage and in space. However, Gallo does have some improvement to make on the technique side while also definitely having plenty of room to grow from a strength perspective though Ben Hilgart should be able to help with that.
Virginia Tech has brought in varying type of tight ends from more receiver-first guys like James Mitchell and Drake DeIuliis to more traditional tight ends like Dalton Keene. Gallo likely fits more as a well-rounded, traditional tight end who will more often than not be used around the line of scrimmage and as an h-back rather than working in the slot or on the outside though he has shown he can be effective in those roles.
Given the current tight end situation, Gallo should have the opportunity to redshirt and bulk up during his first year in Blacksburg though he should be able to gain some more good weight as a senior this fall. Beyond that, Gallo should be able to become a very good contributor at tight end who can be used in a more traditional tight end role behind Keene, DeIuliis, and Mitchell in what should be a strong tight end room.
Most recruiting rankings have Gallo in the high three-star range which seems about right though he’s closer to a four-star recruit than some of those services may suggest. Looking ahead, don’t be surprised if Gallo ends up a low four-star recruit as long as he puts together a strong senior season.
Nick Gallo may not be a center like his brother Eric was, but he does have the talent and potential to develop into a multi-year contributor and starter who can be a 30-40 catch TE in a few years for the Hokies.
The Hokies only had room to take one tight end this cycle and they found a very good one in Nick Gallo.