2018 Virginia Tech Football National Signing Day Preview

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Feb 07, 2018
The 2018 recruiting cycle has almost come to an end as National Signing Day is 24 hours away. Virginia Tech has already put together a strong 2018 class, most of which signed back in December. However, the Hokies are now looking to put the final touches with only a few targets left on the board. VT has already made one addition since the December Signing Day via Jaevon Becton, but the Hokies are looking to add more than just Becton (and Cam Goode's NLI) on February 7th. There are five guys who will have Hokie hats on the table when they make their decision. The likelihood of receiving their commitments varies as there's a chance VT could go anywhere from 0-for-5 to 4-for-5. With that said, here's a look at those five recruits to keep an eye on as National Signing Day approaches.

Dax Hollifield

For well over the past year, Dax Hollifield has been one of Virginia Tech's top targets in the 2018 class. At this point last year, Hollifield seemed almost certain to end up a Hokie and relatively soon. One year later, Virginia Tech still is the favorite but his recruitment has taken plenty of twists and turns along the way to get up to this point where VT is the favorite ahead of three other contenders: UNC, Stanford, and Clemson. Stanford has appeared to fade recently though the Cardinal can never be ruled out. Meanwhile, Clemson has surged lately into becoming a contender after not really being in the hunt a month ago. Brent Venables deserves plenty of credit for getting the Tigers in the hunt quickly, but the Tigers' inconsistent pursuit has made this recruitment much trickier than it could have been for Clemson. Other than Virginia Tech, North Carolina has been the most constant school involved in his recruitment. The in-state Tar Heels have Hollifield right near the top of their board and have poured plenty of resources into their recruitment of the Shelby, NC star. The big thing with Hollifield is his relationship with Bud Foster. Throughout his recruitment, Hollifield's relationship with Foster has kept the Hokies right at the top of his recruitment even as other schools have come and gone. Foster has put lots of energy into Hollifield's recruitment over the past 18 months making him one of the biggest recruiting priorities of his coaching career. Our current prediction is Hollifield to Virginia Tech and I have no plans of changing that based on what I've heard. Hollifield's recruitment has been a roller coaster, but Virginia Tech has been the constant. Combine that with his relationship with Bud Foster and it's hard to go against the Hokies despite the late pushes from UNC, Clemson, and Stanford.

Prediction: Virginia Tech

Javontae Jean-Baptiste

While Dax Hollifield's recruitment has been quite hectic, there's no recruitment that feels more uncertain at this point than that of Javontae Jean-Baptiste. The New Jersey star has seen his recruitment take off over the past two months starting with Virginia Tech making a big push in December before Nebraska, Ohio State, and Texas A&M all got involved. 24 hours out from his decision, Ohio State appears to have faded out of contention while Texas A&M doesn't appear to be a serious contender at this point. Nebraska and Virginia Tech have been the two constants over the past four weeks that have made this recruitment an extremely cloudy picture 25 hours before he is slated to make his decision. Scott Frost has hit the ground running at Nebraska in an impressive way going all over the country to put together a respectable 2018 class. Frost has had the benefit of having offered many of his top targets early on while he was at UCF, giving him an advantage that he likely wouldn't have had if he was at Nebraska for a couple of years. One factor that could make a difference in the end is proximity to home. While no one is going to say that VT is "close" to New Jersey, it's a 7.5 hour drive to Blacksburg compared to a 19+ hour drive or a not so cheap flight to Lincoln, Nebraska. Proximity to home may not be a big factor, but it's something that can't hurt for the Hokies. This is the one I feel the most uncertain about as what I'm hearing is pretty mixed as well on the Bergen Catholic star's recruitment. This one is about as close to 50-50 as it could get between the Cornhuskers and Hokies and both fan bases shouldn't be surprised if he chooses the other. Right now, I'm going with the Hokies though that could change multiple times between now and his announcement tomorrow morning.

Tuesday Night Update

Virginia Tech has put a valiant effort in for Javontae Jean-Baptiste, but the Hokies' hopes appear to be fading for the four-star OLB/DE. While VT will pursue him all the way till he makes his decision, all signs points towards Nebraska at this point. However, the Hokies can't be ruled out or the Buckeyes especially as there has been a surge of OSU picks with his 247 Sports Crystal Ball.

Prediction: Nebraska

Jamarcus Chatman

Virginia Tech has made a late push for Jamarcus Chatman highlighted by an official visit to Blacksburg a few weeks ago. However, the Hokies haven't been the only ones making a significant late push with North Carolina, Florida State, and Miami all showing lots of interest in the Georgia defensive lineman. Right now, Miami appears to be the favorite after getting the last official visit. Chatman's 247 Sports Crystal Ball has trended significantly in favor of the Canes over the past few days and all signs are pointing towards Miami right now. For VT, FSU, and UNC fans; I wouldn't rule out Chatman yet but all signs are pointing towards at Miami at this point. From what I've been hearing, it appears very likely that Chatman will be running out through the smoke rather than coming out to Enter Sandman in college.

Prediction: Miami

Anthony Grant

Three-star RB and Tennessee commit Anthony Grant's recruitment took a major twist after Tennessee made their coaching change, opening the door for Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Florida State to all get involved. Tennessee has turned the heat up over the past month, setting the stage for an intense finish to Grant's recruitment early Wednesday morning. The Hokies may have been the only ones not to host Grant on an official visit in January, but VT has stayed right in the hunt despite that. Virginia Tech is looking to make Georgia powerhouse Buford HS a pipeline and they're hoping to start that with Grant, their last offensive skill position target in the 2018 class. 24 hours out from Signing Day, what we've heard pegs Virginia Tech as the favorite for Grant. Tennessee still appears to have a shot at keeping Grant, but the Hokies have kept the heat on and appear close to flipping him from being a Volunteer to being a Hokie despite the best efforts of Jeremy Pruitt and the Vols. If Grant doesn't end up in Blacksburg, he'll likely stick with Tennessee.

Prediction: Virginia Tech

Rasheed Walker

Virginia Tech was named one of three finalists for four-star OT Rasheed Walker along with Penn State and Ohio State. Justin Fuente did make an in-home visit last week as the Hokies have continued to show some interest in the Maryland offensive tackle. The Hokies put in a good effort here, but it would be a major surprise if Walker ended up being a Hokie at this point. All signs point towards Walker going to Penn State with the 247 Sports Crystal Ball also being in the Nittany Lions' favor.

Prediction: Penn State

Photo Credit: Harley Taylor

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