The first ever Early Signing Day for football is one week away as coaches and programs all across the country prepare for it. For Justin Fuente and Virginia Tech, the expectation is that any player currently committed to the Hokies will sign during this three-day window.
However, there are a few recruits set to make their decisions in the run-up to the first Early Signing Day who we also expect to sign early as well. There are a few top targets who will be waiting to sign in February including four-star ILB Dax Hollifield and four-star OLB Javontae Jean-Baptiste.
Outside of that duo, Virginia Tech’s recruiting class will likely be mostly set by this time next week so with that said, here’s our predictions for four top targets.
3* TE James Mitchell
James Mitchell will his decision Friday, and is down to three schools (Virginia Tech, Duke, Georgia). From what we’ve been hearing, Georgia isn’t really a contender which isn’t a surprise given that they have one TE commit already and are the favorite for elite four-star TE Luke Ford.
The Hokies are the favorites but from what we’ve been told, Duke is a bigger player in Mitchell’s recruitment than most would expect. Academics are a factor and that is a big reason why the Blue Devils have a serious chance in it while we’ve heard some rumblings about Mitchell to Duke from the Tri Cities area including from our writer Dwight Lester.
Large contingents areound here think it will be Duke
— Dwight Lester (@HokieHiVPI07) December 4, 2017
Both schools have made Mitchell a priority and were two of the first to get involved in his recruitment. The Hokies have the home turf advantage here and have had Mitchell among their top offensive targets for over a year. Virginia Tech currently doesn’t have a tight end committed and won’t pursue another one if Mitchell chooses Duke, showing how much of a priority he is.
Right now, I stand by my prediction of Mitchell to Virginia Tech. The Hokies have made Mitchell a priority throughout his recruitment and have the home turf advantage. VT’s status as a program on the rise also helps along with how Mitchell should fit well in VT’s offense as more of a hybrid TE/WR similar to Bucky Hodges or Drake Deiuliis.
Duke shouldn’t be taken lightly, but the Hokies remain the favorites for the best Southwest Virginia/Tri-Cities recruit in years.
Prediction: Virginia Tech
4* JUCO CB Jeremy Webb
Jeremy Webb has been a priority target for the Hokies and after an official visit to West Virginia, the Hokies are still the favorites for the talented four-star JUCO CB. However, Webb has received a pair of new offers from Nebraska and Tennessee that have made things more interesting.
Webb will take an official visit to Tennessee this weekend with the Volunteers having the best shot at beating out the Hokies. West Virginia shouldn’t be ruled out while Nebraska has a shot since Scott Frost also recruited Webb while at UCF. However, not getting an official visit hurts Nebraska’s chances a lot, and gives Tennessee a shot.
One thing that is beneficial for non-Vol fans is the fact that Tennessee is still assembling their staff and with Jeremy Pruitt still fulfilling his responsibilities as Alabama’s defensive coordinator, this visit could be difficult to pull off well.
Despite all the noise and new offers, I would be very surprised if Jeremy Webb doesn’t end up in Blacksburg. There may not be a recruit I am more confident in ending up a Hokie than Webb based on what I know right now. VT has made him a priority and their DBU reputation, his relationship with Brian Mitchell, and the opportunity to start next fall are all likely going to be too much to pass up.
You can never say never in recruiting, but Virginia Tech is the clear favorite, and I have a hard time imagining Webb choosing a school not located in Blacksburg.
Prediction: Virginia Tech
3* OT Walker Culver
Walker Culver has been a top target throughout 2017 for Virginia Tech even while he was still committed to Colorado. His recruitment has played out similarly to Bryce Watts last year as VT heavily pursued Watts while he was a Rutgers commit before he eventually decommitted from Rutgers to commit to VT.
Unfortunately, the similarities end there with Ohio State and Auburn both offering Culver recently. With Culver likely to sign next week, Culver’s recruitment is a three-team battle between VT, Ohio State, and Auburn.
The fact that the Hokies have been recruiting Culver for so long is a huge advantage that may be difficult to overcome even for schools like Ohio State and Auburn. There have been some questions about how much interest Ohio State really has in Culver with the Buckeyes also targeting Rasheed Walker and others, but it appears that the Buckeyes and Tigers are both ready to make a big push for Culver.
Of the four guys on this list, Culver’s recruitment feels the most wide open. Before Auburn offered, Virginia Tech appeared to be the favorite, but Auburn has made this recruitment much more interesting in addition to Ohio State still lurking.
If Walker Culver takes an official visit this weekend, the location of it could give us a big insight into where Culver is most interested. However, nothing really seems certain at this point in Culver’s recruitment.
Trying to make a prediction on Culver is like shooting fish in a barrel, it’s almost impossible. Right now, I’m going with Virginia Tech based on what I heard before the Auburn offer, but this recruitment is all up in the air.
Prediction: Virginia Tech
5* DE KJ Henry
KJ Henry is VT’s top overall target as the five-star DE will announce his commitment on December 20th and likely sign after announcing. Henry’s final cut included Virginia Tech, Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. While those five schools will have hats on the table, two schools appear to be the frontrunners.
Clemson and Virginia Tech appear to be the top two contenders as Henry has shown lots of interest in Clemson while the Hokies have built a great relationship with Henry. Georgia has faded a lot recently in Henry’s recruitment with the Bulldogs shifting their focus more onto Brenton Cox, a five-star DE from Stockbridge, GA.
The Tigers are the favorites as the defending national champs have made him a priority from day one and have been shown plenty of love on Twitter from Henry. Clemson’s pedigree and recent success likely will help the Tigers a lot with Henry along with their growing reputation for developing NFL defensive linemen.
While the Tigers are the favorite, the Hokies have a realistic shot at getting Henry. From what I’ve heard, there is growing confidence that VT can beat out Clemson for Henry. Virginia Tech has done a great job building a strong relationship with Henry. VT also has the benefit of having multiple commits from nearby Henry including Tre Turner, Alan Tisdale, and DJ Crossen; who are all pushing for him.
Right now, I’m predicting that Henry will end up at Clemson but if he isn’t a Tiger, he’ll be a Hokie. The Hokies have some momentum right now and might be able to pull off one of the biggest recruiting surprises of the year.