The Virginia Tech Hokies had a major surge on the recruiting trail at the end of July and first day of August with five 2016 commits and one 2017 commit. Four of the 2016 commits came within an eight day period beginning with two three-star recruits; LB Tavante Beckett and OT Patrick Kearns, at the Beamer BBQ, and followed by four-star WR Divine Deablo the following Monday and three-star WR Phillip Patterson a week later.
The Hokies had a slow week this past week, but have started off the second full week of August with their first 2016 commitment at one position of need still for that class.
Three-star recruit Jimmie Taylor of Southwest High School in Jacksonville, North Carolina became the first defensive end to commit to the Hokies in the Class of 2016. Taylor has received ten offers so far and chose the Hokies over other major programs including Michigan, Tennessee, Duke, N.C. State, Florida, and North Carolina.
Taylor is a middle-of-the-road three-star defensive end that is ranked as the 47th best weak-side defensive end by the 247 Sports Composite, 27th best weak-side defensive end by Rivals, and 71st best overall defensive end by ESPN. Taylor is also ranked as the 35th best recruit in North Carolina by ESPN, 33rd best by the 247 Sports Composite, and 23rd best by Rivals.
Taylor is only 6’3” and 220 pounds so he will need to bulk up some, but he does show a good frame to add that size and muscle. Taylor is a good athlete, with above-average speed for the position that seems to last over a long range, making him someone that can contain or chase down a scrambling quarterback.
Overall, Taylor is still a raw talent as a defensive end, but he does show some good upside as someone that seems to have a good understanding of going low against opposing blockers to get leverage. Taylor also shows some good instincts including a good ability at getting his hands up to try and deflect a pass when he knows he isn’t going to be able to get to the quarterback.
Taylor does not have great tackling technique, but that is something that projects to improve with collegiate coaching. Taylor seems to have a never-quit attitude on every play as he seems to find a way to make a play in a few cases when it seems like he is a position that can no longer make an impact on that play. Taylor plays with a high motor, which is critical if you are going to earn some playing time in Blacksburg.
Taylor became the second player to commit from North Carolina in 2016 along with being the second to commit to the Hokies with Charley Wiles as his primary recruiter, joining Divine Deablo in both cases. Wiles and the Hokies are gaining momentum in North Carolina with the push now being to get Landon Dickerson, Nick Coe, and Zack Gilbert to join Taylor and Deablo from North Carolina.
Jimmie Taylor is a solid addition to a Virginia Tech class that has gotten a lot stronger over the past few weeks. However, the Hokies still have some other big targets to get, but they have time with National Signing Day still six months away.