Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Our scouting report series on Virginia Tech's 2020 recruiting class continues with three-star TE Wilfried Pene. Below are the players that we have already covered in this series of scouting reports.
Wilfried Pene was a late addition to Virginia Tech's 2020 class relative to this cycle's Early Signing Day. Pene really wasn't on the radar until late November, but the Hokies had been quietly evaluating Pene and considering whether to offer him or not.
Virginia Tech became the lone Power 5 offer for Pene in December and though he could've potentially received more Power 5 interest if he took his recruitment into January, he felt great about Virginia Tech after an official visit to Blacksburg and signed with Tech on Early Signing Day.
Pene showed plenty of potential at prep school St. Thomas More with 4 receiving touchdowns this past season, but is considered more of a low floor, high ceiling type prospect.
Here's a look at the tape from Pene's past season that includes time at tight end and defensive end.
The first thing that you see with Wilfried Pene is that he will put everything he has into every play until the whistle play. From continuing to try to find space on secondary routes after primary routes must be broken off to finishing blocks multiple times, Pene brings the type of mentality that you want from any player.
You can see he has above-average athleticism and great acceleration for a tight end. Those type of athletic traits combined with the great energy he brings to the field are a couple things that definitely give you some confidence that Pene can absolutely develop into a very good tight end over time.
As a receiver, Pene has good hand-eye coordinator and is the type of guy that you can trust to be able to high point the ball fairly well while also having fairly reliable hands. Pene doesn't have a very advanced route tree, but he does appear to have a fairly good football IQ while also showing plenty of comfort working off underneath and checkdown routes that Virginia Tech has liked to use with Dalton Keene in the past.
However, Pene still has plenty of work to do as a receiver with a limited route tree at this point. The good news is that the areas that are the weaknesses of Pene's game as a receiver are the areas that can be coached and developed the most.
As a blocker, Pene brings the right type of mentality, but he definitely has plenty of room to grow in terms of his blocking technique. Overall though, Pene looks more like an h-back style of tight end similar to Dalton Keene though he definitely has the receiving potential to be a versatile receiver as James Mitchell has become.
The best thing for Wilfried Pene is the fact that even with the departure of Dalton Keene, Pene will have no pressure to play for a couple of seasons due to the presence of James Mitchell and Nick Gallo, who the Hokies are excited about. Even Dalton Keene told us at the Belk Bowl that he was excited for the potential that Gallo had.
Overall, Wilfried Pene is a low floor high ceiling type player who could end up being passed over by younger players and transferring out in 2-3 years, or could become a difference maker with the athletic traits to potentially develop into an NFL-caliber player.
Pene definitely shows the on-field mentality and intensity to suggest he can develop into a major contributor, but it remains to be seen whether he can go from a raw athlete with some instincts and football IQ to a complete tight end that can shine as a receiver and blocker at Virginia Tech.