There is no doubt that there are many areas across Virginia and the East Coast that are big recruiting areas for the Virginia Tech Hokies but there is no area that is more important for the Hokies than the 757, especially with a 2017 class that is loaded even for 757 standards. As soon as Justin Fuente and his staff were hired, they made the 757 a huge priority as they’ve done Virginia Tech-hosted camps and coaching workshops down there.
With that said, let’s breakdown our power rankings of Virginia Tech’s top 10 targets from the 757 based on a combination of talent, Virginia Tech’s interest, and Virginia Tech’s recruiting standing with each of these players.
- 3* WR Hezekiah Grimsley: Three-star wide receiver Hezekiah Grimsley of Lafayette High School in Williamsburg, Virginia became the first recruit from the 757 in the Class of 2017 to commit to the Hokies. Lafayette’s offense is very run-heavy, but Grimsley has still been able to put up extremely impressive numbers in a run-heavy offense.
- 2017 4* DB Devon Hunter: For years, Virginia Tech has had Devon Hunter on their radar with their pursuit of him only intensifying to an even higher level after the change from Frank Beamer to Justin Fuente. Hunter has even been somewhat regularly tweeted at by former Virginia Tech star and Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl defensive back Kam Chancellor, another 757 native.
Right now, the Hokies are the favorites to land Hunter, who would be one of the top recruiting gets based on rankings over the past decade for Virginia Tech. Fuente and his staff are ready to continue their all out pursuit and make sure he signs with the Hokies on National Signing Day knowing that Clemson and Florida are also in hot pursuit.
- 2017 4* RB Khalan Laborn: After not signing a running back in the previous class, there is no doubt that four-star running back Khalan Laborn is a very high priority for the Hokies. Laborn has the talent to immediately jump in a running back rotation in Blacksburg and can be a very dangerous weapon in a Justin Fuente offense.
Laborn has had some off-the-field chaos but seems to have some things that are out of his control calm down as he will play in the fall for former Ocean Lakes head coach Chris Scott at Bishop Sullivan. Right now, Florida State seems to be the leader but the Hokies are right there and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him choose either the Seminoles or Hokies while both North Carolina and Auburn seem to also be lurking.
- 2017 4* DE Jordan Williams: Jordan Williams released a top 5 not too long ago and the Hokies were included. After Hunter, there’s an argument that Williams may be Virginia Tech’s top target even over Laborn with both showing tremendous potential to be early-impact players along with the athletic Hunter.
Virginia Tech, Clemson, Virginia, and Tennessee seem to be the main contenders while recent offer Ohio State also may have a chance as well. Virginia has one unique connection between Williams’s family and UVA assistant Ruffin McNeil that could make a big impact. Williams will decide no later than late September and both in-state schools seem to be in this battle all the way to the end with Williams maybe showing a preference towards staying in-state.
- 2017 4* WR Tahj Capehart: There is no wide receiver target that is a higher priority on Justin Fuente’s list than Tahj Capehart. Capehart is also following Chris Scott from Ocean Lakes to Bishop Sullivan this fall and is undoubtedly the top wide receiver prospect in the 757 and the state of Virginia.
Even with Alabama offering and showing a decent amount of interest, this recruiting battle seems likely to come down to Virginia Tech and Maryland. Former UVA assistant Chris Beatty has been the primary recruiter for Capehart for Maryland and is the main reason why the Terps have been in the hunt. This is undoubtedly and intriguing recruiting battle to watch pitting Beatty against another popular coach in the 757, Virginia Tech’s Zohn Burden.
- 2017 4* DT Breyon Gaddy: Breyon Gaddy recently released a top five that did not include the Hokies but his brother Brandon, a three-star DT, released a top 7 the next day that did include the Hokies and had the same ordered top 5 as his brother. Right now, the Gaddy brothers seem to be a package deal and the other Gaddy brother does make our power ranking list.
Right now, Tennessee is the favorite as they were at the top of the list for both Gaddy brothers. However, the Gaddy brothers were in attendance at Virginia Tech’s 757 camp and the Hokies seem prepared to keep pushing and seeing if they can make a breakthrough.
- 2018 5* ILB Teradja Mitchell: Teradja Mitchell is the first Class of 2018 player to make this list and along with four-star RB Ricky Slade, is one of the top two targets for the Hokies in the Class of 2018. Mitchell played at Bayside in Virginia Beach this past year, same school as Phil Patterson, but will be joining the Gaddy brothers, Khalan Laborn, Tahj Capehart, and many others at Bishop Sullivan this fall.
Mitchell already has 26 offers from across the country headlined by Florida State, LSU, Alabama, and Clemson; who all see to be in the hunt. However, Virginia Tech has definitely put themselves in contention to get Mitchell while Virginia also could be a threat though his previous primary recruiter Chip West, is no longer at Virginia.
- 2017 3* DT/OT Elijah Conliffe: Elijah Conliffe released a top 11 recently that included Virginia Tech and while the Hokies are not one of the favorites, the Hokies are in the hunt. Virginia Tech has given themselves some leverage in one area as they have offered Conliffe as an athlete at both defensive tackle and offensive line, something that many of his top contenders haven’t done.
Right now, schools like Oklahoma, Michigan State, and Penn State all seem to be among the leaders to get Conliffe but Virginia Tech is prepared to make a strong push to try and keep Conliffe in-state.
- 2017 3* DT Brandon Gaddy: As mentioned above, the Gaddy brothers seem to be a package deal with most schools offering both, in some cases at the same time. The Gaddy brothers were both at Justin Fuente’s 757 camp but right now, the Hokies do not have much momentum going with them. We’ll have to wait and see if that changes or not.
- 2017 4* DT/OG Darnell Ewell: Darnell Ewell is a top 5 2017 player in the 757 yet Ewell is only at number nine on this list because the Hokies do not seem to really have much of a chance to get Ewell. Ewell has 32 offers from across the country and is definitely someone the Hokies would love to get but he seems very likely to go out-of-state with Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Michigan among the frontrunners.
- 2018 4* LB Keshon Artis: Oscar Smith linebacker Keshon Artis rounds out our top 10 but will likely be in the top three or four on this list next year as one of the top recruits in the 757. Artis is already one of the Hokies’ top linebacker targets in the Class of 2018 alongside 5* VA LB Teradja Mitchell, 4* NC LB Dax Hollifield, and Trinity Christian (school Isaiah Ford attended) LB Eriq Gilyard.
Artis currently has offers from Virginia Tech, Virginia, Maryland, Rutgers, and Old Dominion though that list could grow a lot this fall and next spring. Artis is going to be likely be targeted by many schools but the Hokies and Wahoos seem already be positioning themselves fairly well for next fall.
Who Just Missed Out
- 2017 4* DT Eric Crosby (Tennessee commit): Eric Crosby committed to Tennessee over Virginia Tech this past spring and right now, there just doesn’t seem to be a big push towards trying to get Crosby to flip. That could change in the fall while some off-the-field issues for Butch Jones could also affect Crosby and others listed above.
- 2017 3* LB/S Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah would most likely be in the top 10 if he had an offer but Owusu did participate in the Hokies’ 757 camp and an offer could be imminent. Owusu definitely looks like someone who could be a very good whip linebacker for the Hokies and if he does get a Virginia Tech offer, the Hokies will likely be heavy favorites to get him.
- 2018 3* WR Armani Chatman: The Hokies were the first to offer Chatman and have since been joined by N.C. State and Rutgers. Chatman was teammates with Teradja Mitchell and Phil Patterson at Bayside this past season and Chatman likely will be a fairly high priority not just because of his talent but also because of the fact that he may be able to also help convince Mitchell to come to Blacksburg.
- 2017 3* WR Dazz Newsome: Dazz Newsome has the potential to play on either side of the ball but if he receives a VT offer after camping yesterday, it will likely be at WR. Dazz is the brother of Deon Newsome and son of Myron Newsome, both Hokies. Dazz Newsome has6 offers including a power 5 offer from Iowa State but getting one from Virginia Tech would most likely make VT the favorite.
- 2017 3* CB Chris Hunt: Chris Hunt was another one of the top unoffered recruits that camped for the Hokies yesterday and it is to be seen whether he will receive an offer. Hunt also played at Bayside this past year and could be valuable in trying to get Mitchell if he receives a VT offer and chooses to come to Blacksburg. Right now, Hunt has offers from East Carolina and Charlotte.
- 2019 LB Ah’Shawn Moore: Leading the charge for Class of 2019 recruits right now is linebacker Ah’Shawn Moore out of Indian River. Moore currently has offers from Auburn, Marshall, and the Hokies and already seems poised to be a top Virginia Tech target in the Class of 2019 along with VA RB Devyn Ford.