Caleb Farley Can Be a Star at Wide Receiver

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Apr 24, 2017
When Justin Fuente arrived with Virginia Tech, Fuente wasn't necessarily seen as an elite recruiter but he was seen as a great talent evaluator but in his short time in Blacksburg, he has proven that he is an above-average recruiter as well. However, Fuente's ability to evaluate talent has already shown with some of the recruits that Fuente has been able to bring in making big climbs in recruiting rankings and showing lots of promise and Justin Fuente's first QB that he recruited being a star in Jerod Evans. However, there's one early enrollee in the Class of 2017 that is showing how Fuente and his staff are some of America's best talent evaluators. Caleb Farley flew under the radar before his senior season, but Justin Fuente and his staff did his homework and a day after Wake Forest offered Farley, Virginia Tech offered him on February 27th, 2016. After that, the Hokies made Farley a priority and on April 15th, Farley committed to Virginia Tech though at the time, he was a low to mid three-star recruit that didn't have a lot of publicity surrounding him. However, the excitement and hype only grew with Farley gaining an offer from South Carolina as well but what became clear was that Farley wasn't going anywhere other than Virginia Tech leading to most schools not even doing much evaluating of him and only three total Power 5 programs offering Farley including the Hokies. As a senior, Caleb Farley shined for Maiden High School putting up incredible numbers at quarterback and showing off incredible athleticism, speed, and agility to go with great size along with impressive tape where he looked like a human cheat code. Farley's impressive season and tape didn't go unnoticed and it didn't take long for Farley to jump up in the rankings across the nation with Farley becoming a borderline four-star recruit and 247 Sports having him as one of the top 200 recruits in the nation. It became clear quickly that the Hokies had found a tremendous athlete in the 6'3'' Farley who had the athleticism and speed to become a star in college football. For most of the spring, Farley worked at cornerback but over the final few practices, Farley worked at wide receiver likely due in part to the fact that injuries were beginning to pile up at wide receiver including with Eric Kumah and Henri Murphy who both were not able to play in the Spring Game. Despite working at cornerback throughout the spring, Farley played exclusively wide receiver on Saturday and what became clear is that the Hokies should absolutely keep Farley at wide receiver where he could be a star and a Freshman All-American. Farley was the star of Saturday's Spring Game with 2 catches for 61 receiving yards and a 17-yard jet sweep along with drawing three pass interference calls with veteran cornerback Brandon Facyson covering him. Throughout Saturday's game, Farley drew much of the attention from fans and showed that he will be able to live up to the hype that has been surrounding him this spring. Caleb Farley showed in the Spring Game that his speed is as good as his high school tape suggests with Farley's speed and agility giving Facyson some problems and drawing multiple pass interferences with Facyson simply trying to prevent a vertical route from being a touchdown by drawing the pass interference. Farley also showed that he could go up and get some jump balls including on a long pass over walk-on Elisha Boyd with this matchup being a huge mismatch that Farley took advantage of outrunning Boyd and then when the ball was slightly underthrown, Farley went up over Boyd and made the catch shedding the walk-on CB before being brought down deep in the red zone. Farley looked quite impressive for a guy who had only been a wide receiver for a few practices making lots of plays thanks to great his athleticism but also showing that he is a quick learner with some solid route-running including an effective slant route that also draw a pass interference from Brandon Facyson. Justin Fuente did mention that Holmon Wiggins had to follow Farley around some with Farley having just played offense for about the past week and Wiggins wanting to make sure he was properly positioned on the field. After the game, Justin Fuente wouldn't tip his hand as to whether Farley will stay at wide receiver or move back to cornerback.
"I will say that he has been fantastic in terms of his willingness to learn and try new things. We will settle down and get things solidified as we go through our evaluations here in the next couple of days."
While we haven't gotten to see Farley at cornerback, his performance on Saturday at wide receiver showed that the sky is the limit for him there and it would be crazy for the Hokies not to put him there. Farley has a unique blend of size (6'3''), speed, athleticism, and agility that is unlike any wide receiver Virginia Tech has had while Farley also seems to be a fairly quick learner that could run some solid routes on Saturday. Farley also is not only a gifted speedster but he also has a great vertical and showed that he can make some plays on 50-50 balls that the Hokies will be looking for at WR with Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges both gone while also giving an experienced Brandon Facyson problems in this game. It seems clear that Holmon Wiggins thinks very highly of Farley and knows that he has elite potential because Farley seemed to be ahead of Phil Patterson on the WR depth chart with Farley only receiving first-team reps and Patterson not receiving first-team reps until the Hokies' went with 4+ WRs or after Cam Phillips was shut down after playing a couple of early series with the first-team offense. The fact that Farley was playing with the first-team offense over a very talented player in Phil Patterson after only about three practices at wide receiver is ridiculous and should be a sign to the whole staff that the Hokies have something special in Farley because Patterson also showed that he will be able to be a productive ACC WR next season. Yes, Caleb Farley definitely has the athleticism, speed, and size to be a very good cornerback as well and we haven't gotten to publicly see how good Farley could be at cornerback but after Farley's performance in the Spring Game after about only three practices working at wide receiver after being a quarterback in high school. Caleb Farley is definitely one of the biggest steals from the recruiting trail in the Class of 2017 but Farley could end up being the biggest recruiting steal from that class if the Hokies keep him at wide receiver.

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