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Defensive Back Transfers to Watch for Virginia Tech After Demetrius Hill Commits to Illinois

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Virginia Tech fans received some disappointing transfer recruiting news on Sunday when FIU Freshman All-American DB Demetrius Hill committed to Illinois. Hill had previously visited Virginia Tech and was one of, if not Tech's top DB target in this spring transfer window seeming like a strong fit with what the Hokies were looking for.

Instead, Hill is headed to Illinois while the Hokies are likely still looking for a more experienced player who can at worst be a quality #3 safety for Tech this fall. So who are some potential targets to keep an eye on for the Hokies? Here's a look at a few names to watch.

Oklahoma S Damond Harmon

If you follow recruiting and the transfer portal a lot, then this name likely is a familiar one in former Highland Springs standout Damond Harmon. The Richmond native is in the transfer portal after spending the past two seasons as a backup safety at Oklahoma, and definitely fits the profile of what the Hokies are looking for.

He has played in 18 games over his two seasons in Norman including 11 with 2 starts this past season putting up 18 tackles this past season.

While Harmon hasn't had the most success with the Sooners, he definitely brings some quality, Power 5 experience to the table with plenty of room to grow into a very good safety over the next couple seasons with his two years of eligibility remaining. This isn't like Antwaun Powell-Ryland where he would come in as a surefire starter, but Harmon would be a solid addition that fills Tech's need for a third safety well while he also has the upside still to develop into a quality 2024 starter for the Hokies.

There really hasn't been any talk or noise surrounding the transfer recruitment of Harmon which may seem odd but is fairly common in transfer portal recruiting with guys moving on from a Power 5 program. It's unclear if the Hokies are indeed pursuing Harmon or not but given his experience and Virginia roots, Harmon would make a lot of sense for the Hokies to pursue.

As the spring transfer portal cycle winds down, keep an eye on Damond Harmon who could come back home to VA with the Hokies.

Marshall/Tulane S Andre Sam

There are a couple of one-year grad transfer safeties who could take a starting job with the Hokies if they came to Blacksburg with Marshall/Tulane transfer Andre Sam being one of them.

Sam has an interesting path to this point as he started his career at McNeese State becoming a standout there before transferring to Marshall for the 2022 season. After a strong season in Huntington, he transferred this December to Tulane for his final year following his DC Lance Guidry. After that, Guidry left Tulane after being there for a very short time to become a DC at Miami with Sam choosing to enter the portal again after spring football as a grad transfer.

Now this clearly isn't due to Sam lacking talent as he has publicly reported an offer from LSU while Miami has been heavily linked with him since his entry late last week.

This type of high level interest shouldn't come as a surprise after his strong play at McNeese and then Marshall in 2022. During his one season with the Thundering Herd, Sam earned All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention honors after having 53 tackles including 5.5 for loss with 1 interception, 7 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery. He also had a Pro Football Focus overall grade of just over 71 this past season so there's no doubt that his game translated up from FCS to G5 and could definitely jump to Power 5.

Sam would be someone who could instantly come in and challenge Jalen Stroman for a starting safety job ensuring that Tech at least had three quality safeties. Of course, Sam may be looking for some starting assurances which Tech may not be able to guarantee given the upside of Stroman though you could make a strong argument that Sam would be the slight favorite given his quality starting experience.

The Hokies do have some ties to the Marshall program with key recruiting staffers Mike Villagrana and Alex Jones joining Brent Pry's staff after one season working under current Marshall head coach Charles Huff. Those connections could be valuable in providing some familiarity with the fast-paced nature of transfer portal recruiting.

Now with LSU and likely Miami involved, it will be an uphill climb for the Hokies, but Sam is a player worth keeping an eye on.

Louisiana S Kam Pedescleaux

Another guy who likely is looking for a starting job, and could likely push for one at Virginia Tech is Louisiana S Kam Pedescleaux.

Pedescleaux has tons of experience having played in 40 games including 21 starts during his time in Lafayette. He had a strong 2022 season with 74 tackles including 2.5 for loss plus 1 interception, 5 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery. Pro Football Focus was a big fan of his as he had one of the top DB grades in the country finishing with an overall grade of 89.7 while grading in the 80s in coverage and run defense.

Pedescleaux is undersized at 5'9'', but that hasn't stopped him from developing into a highly productive safety who has shown that he has what it takes to play at the Power 5 level. His size may limit the upside that he offers though as he makes the jump to the next level.

He would likely be more of a free safety given his size and coverage abilities though he definitely has shown he can be a productive run stopper to. His addition would certainly mean a battle with Jalen Stroman for the second starting safety. Like Sam, he would be a one-year stopgap that could provide a further bridge to the next generation of safeties for the Hokies beyond just the junior Stroman.

Now its unclear if Tech is interested as it is with the first two guys on this list though Twitter follows would suggest some level of interest along with the simple talent and experience that Pedescleaux and the other 2 bring to the table.

Kam Pedescleaux may be undersized, but he's proven himself again and again, and is worth monitoring as the Hokies look for a third safety.

East Central DB Donovan Callis

The one guy who has been fairly public about his offers is Division II DB Donovan Callis.

Callis has reported multiple Power 5 offers so far including Virginia Tech, Penn State, Arkansas, and Cincinnati back on May 1st. He's been quiet since then so it's unknown if he's received more offers or not.

Callis had a strong 2022 season for East Central with 32 tackles including 1.5 for loss, 2 interceptions, 7 pass breakups, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries earning All-GAC Second Team honors.

Obviously, a big part of Tech's interest in Callis has to be in the upside that he brings to the table especially given his size at 6'2''. It's unclear if he's more of a CB or a safety though he would likely be focusing on safety if he lands at VT.

Given the other names available, it seems like Callis is a farther down the board guy, but is worth monitoring given that Tech did offer him as Callis publicly reported.

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