Virginia Tech 2018 Recruiting Preview Post-Early Signing Day

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Dec 21, 2017
The first Early Signing Day may still have some more time left, but Virginia Tech is done for their early signings. In the end, Virginia Tech had 24 players sign during this windows (23 on-scholarship) with 2 commits not signing and one now former commit exploring his options. However, the Hokies aren't done just yet on the recruiting trail as they look to keep a pair of commits and add a few more. Here's a look at the storylines to watch leading up to February 7th.

Dax Hollifield

This is the biggest name that Hokie fans have been hearing about for well over the past year, Dax Hollifield. Now, he's Virginia Tech top unsigned target as the four-star linebacker appears to be focusing in on the Hokies and Stanford with UNC lurking as a long-shot at this point. According to his 247 Sports page, Hollifield will take his last official visit to Stanford in mid-January. It seems likely that Hollifield will make his decision after that visit especially given how he will have no more official visits to take. For Stanford, that official visit will be their big shot as it'll only be Hollifield's second time visiting Stanford whereas he has visited the Hokies more times than can be easily counted. VT remains the favorites for Hollifield due in part to the proximity to home, and the relationship he's built with Bud Foster. Hollifield's relationship with Bud Foster has always been a big reason for confidence with him and is a main reason why I am sticking by my current prediction of Dax to VT. However, one thing to watch could be whether Florida State tries to make a run at him. Now this is pure speculation, but given the fact that Hollifield has visited FSU previously and how FSU has plenty of room with only one linebacker committed, Willie Taggart may take a run at Hollifield just to see if he can get any traction. While there are no signs of that at the moment, it would be naive to rule that out. VT is the favorite for Dax Hollifield, but Stanford remains a serious threat with UNC on the fringe.

Now What For Cam Goode, James Graham?

Justin Fuente previously stated that he expected all his commits to sign, and reinforced that on Signing Day by saying that he considers anyone that didn't sign to be uncommitted. However, he also said that he wasn't pulling offers for those guys as it's clear that VT will push to hold onto Cam Goode and James Graham. It's extremely hard imaging Goode not ending up in Blacksburg as he's been rock solid in his commitment to VT throughout the past several months. It was surprising to see him not sign today but at this point, there are no signs that Goode is really looking anywhere else, and the Hokies would be extremely happy to have him. James Graham is a different story as the four-star athlete took an official visit to Georgia Tech and now has decided to wait till February to make a final decision. The Yellow Jackets may be able to do something that the Hokies don't appear interested in doing, giving Graham the opportunity to play quarterback. Of course, playing QB in a triple option is completely different from playing QB elsewhere, but Graham has the athletic skills to be dangerous in that offense. However, those some athletic skills also give him plenty of upside as an athlete who could be a running back or wide receiver for the Hokies, which would give him a clear developmental path to make it to the next level. Hokie fans have no reason to be worried about Cam Goode, but James Graham is a different story.

Can Virginia Tech Flip Anthony Grant?

Anthony Grant was high on VT's RB board early on, but it seemed extremely unlikely he would flip once he committed to Tennessee. However, a lot has happened and changed at Tennessee since, and the Hokies now have a great chance at flipping the talented Georgia RB especially after hosting him on an official visit last weekend. There are also signs that Tennessee may be planning on losing Grant as they recently gained a commitment from in-state RB Jeremy Banks less than two weeks after offering him while also offering some JUCO players including a RB. While Banks and Grant are the only 2 RBs committed to Tennessee at the moment, it appears that the Vols and Grant could be headed for a separation. Even if they aren't on their own, the Hokies have ratcheted up the pressure on the Vols with an official visit last week that went well from all that we've heard. VT will keep pushing for Grant until he flips or solidifies with Tennessee and with the way things are trending, it appears the Hokies may be emerging as the favorites. Grant's recruitment may go all the way to February but at this point, it would be very surprising if he doesn't end up either in Blacksburg or Knoxville. The question is which one of those two will he choose?

Can Virginia Tech Add Javontae Jean-Baptiste?

Javontae Jean-Baptiste has emerged as a top target recently with the Hokies throwing the kitchen sink at trying to get him. The versatile athlete could end up at either linebacker or defensive end though defensive end seems more likely after VT unsurprisingly missed out on KJ Henry. Jean-Baptiste took an official visit to Blacksburg last week, and the Hokies have emerged as the favorites since then over Boston College. Nebraska recently offered Jean-Baptiste and are looking to make a run as Scott Frost has lots of scholarships to work with and appears to be offering anyone who has power 5 level talent. Jean-Baptiste's recruitment has a lot of unknown surrounding it and given his late year surge, he could be a guy that receives a lot more national interest and offers as teams evaluate who is still available. However, this is where VT will have the benefit of getting in early on Jean-Baptiste along with Boston College who hosted him on an official visit the week before VT did. The Hokies are emerging as the favorites for now for Jean-Baptiste in a three-team battle with Nebraska and Boston College. However, it wouldn't be surprising to see more schools get involved in Jean-Baptiste's recruitment.

Will there be any late offers?

In the past, we've seen Virginia Tech usually send out some late offers with a few of those players ending up in Blacksburg. Last year, we saw Zion DeBose receive a VT offer two days before Christmas before he ended up committing to the Hokies in late January. In 2016, VT sent out a few late offers due to the coaching change including a mid-January offer to LB Eron Carter and a late January offer to DB and ODU commit Tyree Rodgers. While most of these examples came during Justin Fuente's first two months as VT's head coach, it does still show that late offers and commits are possible. One name to watch is three-star RB Elijah Davis out of the Lynchburg area. The talented Heritage HS RB has received plenty of interest from the Hokies, but has not received an offer just yet. An offer doesn't seem likely right now, but that could change a lot if the Hokies don't end up gaining a commitment from Anthony Grant. Other than there, there's no name that sticks out in particular but if VT misses out on a few of these guys, they could look at some committed guys elsewhere like they did with Tyree Rodgers.

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