Mike Young has had to start from nothing with Virginia Tech’s 2019 class yet has quickly been able to add a pair of players to it in four-star PG Jalen Cone and former Wofford signee Hunter Cattoor. While Cone and Cattoor are both solid additions to the Hokies’ backcourt, Virginia Tech is still looking to add some more pieces from the 2019 class on the wing and in the frontcourt. With that said, here’s a look at some of the top names to watch over the coming weeks.
C John Ojiako
John Ojiako has seen his recruitment take off over the past few weeks with Virginia Tech being the first major conference program to offer him back in the end of April. Since then, Ojiako has also added major offers from Kansas State, LSU, Pittsburgh, and Rhode Island; but the Hokies remain being the first major program to offer him.
Other than that, Ojiako’s recruitment has been rather quiet with any visit he takes likely to give us insight into where his recruitment may be headed.
For the Hokies, there is a clear need to add some size with it not being a guarantee that Keve Aluma can receive a waiver to play immediately while the Hokies appear to likely be underdogs to bring Kerry Blackshear should he decide to withdraw from the NBA Draft and consider his options for one final season of college basketball. While the Hokies could use a grad transfer big ideally if Aluma can’t play and Blackshear does leave, they also need depth in general and Ojiako would absolutely provide that.
Going forward, it will be critical for the Hokies to get Ojiako on campus as it will for any other school involved given the way his recruitment has just taken off over the past few weeks.
SG Samari Curtis
Samari Curtis immediately popped up on the radar for Virginia Tech after Curtis announced that he was decommitting from Cincinnati before announcing minutes later that he had received an offer from Virginia Tech. Since then, Curtis’ recruitment has been extremely quiet outside of receiving an offer from Nebraska last week.
Virginia Tech does have one strong connection to Curtis via former Cincinnati assistant Antwon Jackson who helped recruit Curtis to the Bearcats. In a sport where relationships are extremely critical for recruits making decisions, that connection should significantly help the Hokies even as other teams like Xavier and Nebraska push hard for Curtis as well.
Of course, the Hokies will likely need to get Curtis on campus at some point in the near future to build on the foundation that they have via his connection with Antwon Jackson, but the potential is there for the Hokies to make a major push and land Curtis.
For now though, the Hokies have made Curtis one of their top 2019 priorities and rightfully so after the Mr. Basketball of Ohio averaged over 33 points per game this past season and clearly fits the profile of being a high school recruit who could make an immediate impact.
5/15 Update: Curtis announced today that he has committed to Nebraska.
SG Nahiem Alleyne
After evaluating him well at multiple camps, Virginia tech recently decided to offer talented SG Nahiem Alleyne who told us that he has the option to be a part of the 2019 or 2020 class.
Blessed to receive an offer from Virginia tech pic.twitter.com/hCuyZ3A0ve
— Nahiem The Dream🏀 (@Nahiem10) May 13, 2019
Mike Young extended the offer via a phone call with Alleyne and made it clear in that conversation that while he wants Alleyne to be a Hokie in general, his higher priority would be to add Alleyne to his 2019 class.
“It was a good conversation, he was just telling me I played good this past weekend and he really wants me to go for 2019,” Alleyne said about his conversation with Young.
Right now, Virginia Tech appears to be in great shape with Alleyne planning to take a visit to Blacksburg in June. Alleyne is also planning to visit Hofstra but doesn’t have a set date along with not mentioning any plans at the moment to visit his other offers from places like Nebraska, VCU, and St. John’s though it wouldn’t be surprising if that changed.
We’ll have a more in-depth story on Alleyne’s recruitment post-VT offer soon but in the meantime, Virginia Tech looks like the current frontrunner on paper with the Hokies making him a top priority to add to their 2019 class.
SF Jacob Toppin
Jacob Toppin was a name that no one really had heard about until the Hokies made the final 5 for Toppin along with Oklahoma State, Dayton, Rhode Island, and St. John’s.
Dayton, Virginia Tech, URI, St. John’s, Oklahoma State are Jacob Toppin’s final five schools according to Obi’s Instagram. pic.twitter.com/1QBzsXQYs0
— Grant Kelly (@GrantKelly07) May 12, 2019
Toppin has been a largely off-the-radar recruit in part because he doesn’t appear to be on social media, which may be a cultural indictment that a quality player not on social media doesn’t get the publicity he deserves for being a rising recruit.
Dayton would appear to be the favorite since his brother Obi Toppin plays for the Flyers and appears to be an influential figure in his recruitment. Of course, having an older brother at one school isn’t a guarantee that the younger brother will follow, but Dayton has clearly been pushing hard for the younger Toppin for a while and appears to be in the driver’s seat at this point.