Things are heating up on the recruiting trail for Virginia Tech as they look to put the finishing touches on the high school portion of their 2023 class. Here's a look at 4 uncommitted HS recruits to watch for VT.
3* DL Elijah Hughes
Elijah Hughes has been the lead uncommitted target for Virginia Tech for a little bit now with Stanford and Miami among the other numerous notable offers involved in his recruitment. Hughes has gone very quiet of late so it's hard to get a great feel on where he may be leaning at the moment.
There's no doubt that Tech has a need at the defensive tackle spot within this class currently with a true DE Jason Abbey and a hybrid in Ishmael Findlayter currently committed. Hughes projects primarily at defensive tackle at the collegiate level and has been Tech's top target at that position for a while now with the Hokies hosting him on an official visit over the summer.
If I had to say which way I was leaning, I would favor the Hokies for now given the amount of times he's been on campus and the benefit of proximity to Blacksburg even with the appeal academically that Stanford can bring. However, the longer he stays uncommitted, the more doors that could open for someone else to beat out the Hokies.
3* ATH Jonathan Pennix
Jonathan Pennix is one of the two notable in-state offers recently with Pennix receiving his offer during a visit to Blacksburg for Virginia Tech's win against Wofford. He always was an intriguing talent with other things seeming to hold him back from getting an offer till recently with Tech inserting themselves right into the hunt now.
He had this to say about receiving that offer from head coach Brent Pry plus WRs coach Fontel Mines and CBs coach Derek Jones in Pry's office.
"Me and coach Mines been talking for a couple weeks. He saw my first game film and what I did offensively. He told me he didn’t know I was like that on offense. So I told him yeah I’ve been all-state offensively since my sophomore year. So then from that point they checked my transcripts and I’ve really improved. When I got there, they took me to coach Pry's office and he told me he loves guys that can play both sides. He said I’m a natural playmaker with the ball in my hands. Coach Mines and coach Jones were in there too, and coach Pry pointed at coach Mines and said we want you here to be coached by him, we need playmakers," Pennix said.
Pennix has been considered a cornerback primarily for much of his recruitment nationally but he's a talented two-way playmaker with the Hokies offering him in large part due to his offensive ability.
Pennix has plans to make his commitment in mid-October which would seem like a concern to some, but Tech has been heavily pursuing him for a while even though they hadn't offer so they don't have to start from the ground up. They also have a commitment from a teammate of his in three-star LB Tavorian Copeland which helps as well.
If I had to put in a prediction today, I would probably lean the Hokies here but there's still plenty of time between now and when Pennix plans to make his decision.
ATH Brandyn Hillman
757 athlete Brandyn Hillman has seen his recruitment take off more than any other in-state recruit so far this season with the Hokies becoming his first Power 5 offer on Tuesday. His recruitment exploded further on Wednesday with new offers from Notre Dame, UVA, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, and East Carolina plus Tennessee and Kentucky on Thursday.
His recruitment is one of the most sudden rises from a recruit in a while with it being almost impossible to gauge who the top contenders are given how recent all these offers.
However, if there's one school that probably has an advantage at the moment, it's Virginia Tech primarily because the Hokies have hosted him this year among his Power 5 offers. Additionally, Tech has put in some sweat equity earlier this year staying in touch with him well before they decided to offer.
Tech currently doesn't have a single commit from the 757 and if they fail to sign a high school player from that region, it'll be the first time that has happened in over 30 years. However, Tech definitely has an opportunity here with the fast-rising Hillman with the work they've done prioritizing VA and getting in-state recruits of all levels on campus potentially paying off here.
4* DT William Spencer Jr
William Spencer Jr out of the northern Kentucky/southern Indiana region was a surprise visitor for Tech's Thursday night game against West Virginia and a big coup to get on campus for a 2023 class that is still looking for 1-2 true defensive tackles.
Spencer is just that at 6'5'' and 315 pounds with some considering him a potential interior offensive line prospect. However, the focus here seems to be him at defensive tackle with Tech getting him on campus being a big win for opening up an opportunity to be a contender here.
Kentucky seems like the favorite at the moment given proximity along with the fact that the Wildcats have gotten him on campus multiple times including this past summer. However, Tech has clearly opened a door here to make a run at Spencer but definitely need to try to get him back on campus for an official visit to build any further momentum in his recruitment.