After signing three defensive ends in 2017, defensive end isn't a high priority for the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Class of 2018 especially with only one DE set to graduate after this season in Vinny Mihota. However, the Hokies seem likely to try to bring 1 and possibly 2 defensive ends in with this class depending on how things go this season and if any attrition strikes the position.
One of the Hokies' top defensive end targets is three-star DE John Morgan from Hyattsville, MD who also plays at powerhouse DeMatha Catholic. We had the chance to recently catch up with Morgan on his recruitment who told us that seven schools are currently standing out in his recruitment.
Virginia Tech, Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Temple are the seven schools that currently stand out to him and what he would consider his top group though he did tell us that he is still open to any schools whether they are among these seven or not.
Morgan also said he will look to cut down his list sometime in June before making a decision before he starts training camp before his senior season. Morgan has scheduled a visit for April 14th to Blacksburg while he has also taken a few visits already this spring including ones to Maryland, Penn State, North Carolina, and NC State.
Morgan told us that the biggest factors in making his decision will be the college atmosphere, his connection with coaches and players, whether that program is a winning football program, whether a school has his choice of major (which all 7 do), and about how a school sets him up for life after football.
Here's what Morgan had to say about what stood out about each of those seven schools.
Virginia Tech: "The HC and playing for Coach Foster. The different ways they use there DE's. My dad's coach played at Tech. The history of winning. The food. The work they are doing on concussions. The alumni connections."
Penn State: "I know a lot of the coaches through my dad. I like the HC and DL coach a lot. The Penn State history. My uncle played for Penn state. Winning program. The alumni connections."
Maryland: "My recruiting coach along with the HC. Internship opportunities with professional teams. Playing with my former and current teammates. The love they show me."
Pittsburgh: "I like the HC along with the DL coach. I like the things they do on defense and with the DE's along with the opportunities to do internships in my major with professional teams. The love they show me. The history of Pitt football. Winning program."
Syracuse: "The HC and TE coach. Only school to recruit me as a TE. I might have the opportunity to play both sides of the ball."
Rutgers: "All the coaches show me love. I like the HC & DL coach. The vision they have to change the program. The opportunities for internships based on the school's location."
Temple: "The HC along with the DL coach. The opportunities to work with Pro teams for internships. Winning program. They show me a lot of love."
We asked Morgan for a little more detail on what he meant when talking about "alumni connections" in regards to Virginia Tech and he told us that meant that he feels Virginia Tech and Penn State have large alumni groups that are involved along with "taking care of their own."
Morgan told us that Maryland, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Temple are the four programs that contact him the most with his closest relationships with coaches coming from 6 coaches at those four programs including 2 coaches at Rutgers and Temple with Rutgers's Chris Ash being the only head coach on that list.
Morgan told us that staying home is "not very important" to him with it seeming that the #DMV2UMD movement that helped Maryland have some really good recruiting classes isn't really impacting him whatsoever.
At this point, it seems like Pittsburgh is in great shape while Maryland is a player due to being the home state school, but Virginia Tech and Penn State both definitely are interested in Morgan and loom large here especially if one or both of them turns up the heat in Morgan's recruitment. Syracuse could be intriguing given the opportunity for Morgan to play on both sides while Rutgers and Temple seem like long shots for Morgan though they have built good relationships with him.
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