The Virginia Tech Hokies haven't been afraid to bring in players late in the recruiting cycle or via the transfer market during the Buzz Williams era with Seth Allen and Zach LeDay transferring in while Seth LeDay was a very late pickup from the JUCO level before last season. Now, Virginia Tech is looking to add at least one more player this offseason with the Hokies having gained an open scholarship recently from the departure of Seth LeDay
Virginia Tech has a lot of interest in a trio of players headlined by five-star guard MJ Walker, the only player on this list currently that will be eligible to play immediately with the other two players both being transfers that would have to sit out a year before having three years of eligibility remaining. With that said, let's take a look at the Hokies' pursuit of these targets.
UCONN PF Juwan Durham
UCONN transfer and former four-star forward Juwan Durham didn't have a lot of success in his one year at UCONN averaging only 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game. While those numbers aren't great, Durham definitely showed plenty of promise in his freshman year at UCONN and the Hokies definitely are showing plenty of interest in him.
Notre Dame and Virginia Tech appear to be the two main players for Durham at this point with Durham having taken a visit to Notre Dame already and visiting the Hokies at the end of this month
. Notre Dame would appear to be the favorite in part because of the fact that while the Hokies do have an available scholarship, MJ Walker is the higher priority and the Hokies may not be able to make room for Durham while Notre Dame, having already hosted him on a visit, likely has room for him. However, Virginia Tech is definitely quite interested in Durham and if they have the opportunity to get both of these players, the Hokies will definitely try to find a way to do so.
Durham would give the Hokies' another big man who would also be a year behind Khadim Sy and Kerry Blackshear, something that would be good for the Hokies in terms of long-term roster management especially with VT's Class of 2017's tallest player being PJ Horne who is at best 6'7''. At this point, Notre Dame seems to be the slight favorite over the Hokies, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him end up at either program with Durham's visit to the Hokies likely to be decisive in this transfer battle between the Hokies and Fighting Irish.
As previously reported, UCONN transfer Juwan Durham will visit the Hokies this weekend
while ESPN's Jeff Goodman is also reporting that Durham may take a visit to Villanova. Virginia Tech is definitely a serious contender for Durham with this visit set to be critical especially with Villanova appearing to show interest in Durham and Notre Dame already being a significant player as well with Durham having taken a visit to South Bend earlier this month.
Mount St. Mary's SG Miles Wilson
Both Virginia Tech and Virginia offered Mount St. Mary's SG Miles Wilson yesterday in what was a little bit of a surprise though it shows how the Hokies are interested in adding a wing before next season whether that be MJ Walker or Wilson. Wilson does seem like somewhat of a backup plan to Walker given the lateness of this offer, but he is definitely a talented player in his own right who averaged 11.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game including 22 points in Mount St. Mary's first round loss to Villanova and if the Hokies were to get him, he would at worst be a solid addition to their rotation.
Auburn and Miami are definitely the two frontrunners while Virginia is also quite intriguing with the Cavaliers having some open scholarships after seeing three players decide to leave the program this offseason with Tony Bennett having only added Rutgers transfer Nigel Johnson so far. Wilson is a Maryland native so the chance to play in the ACC should help VT, UVA, and Miami while being close to Maryland should also help UVA and the Hokies in their pursuit of him.
Right now, it's too early to tell how much of a player Virginia Tech will be for Wilson given their pursuit of MJ Walker but if the Hokies don't get Walker, expect VT to turn up the intensity quickly in trying to get Wilson as long as he's still available.
After being offered by VT and UVA recently, Miles Wilson tweeted out that he is opening up his recruitment again after previously being down to Miami and Auburn. This news makes it clear that the Hokies and Cavaliers have traction here for the Maryland native and are already players in the pursuit of the talented transfer from Northeast Conference champions Mount St. Mary's.
The interest in Miles Wilson has continued to grow with Gonzaga, West Virginia, and Ohio State jumping into this battle along with Miami, VT, Auburn, and UVA. With the Hokies missing out on MJ Walker, Virginia Tech's pursuit of Wiles has intensified as the Hokies are looking to add another guard with VT, UVA, and WVU all being helped by those schools being close to his home state of Maryland.
Five-Star SG MJ Walker
There is no doubt that MJ Walker is the Hokies' top target with Virginia Tech having the potential to have its best recruiting class in program history if they can add Walker to a class that includes borderline five-star guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, four-star PG Wabissa Bede, and three-star forward PJ Horne while this class would also be a top 7 to 10 class nationally if they can land Walker.
Virginia Tech had a strong official visit with MJ Walker that made them the favorites in his recruitment with that not seeming to change despite the fact that Walker has taken official visits to Ohio State and UCLA since then. At this point, it is down to five schools for Walker in Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Ohio State, and UCLA with the Seminoles having received an official visit earlier this cycle and Georgia Tech being the local team for the Atlanta native.
The Hokies continue to be confident in their hopes of getting Walker with a scholarship now being available to bring him in after Seth LeDay's departure while Jason Stamm of TechSideline.com
telling ESPN Blacksburg that he believes that Walker is down to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech despite recent visits to Ohio State and UCLA. Virginia Tech will have to deal with the challenge of trying to pull Walker away from Atlanta and Georgia Tech, but the Hokies definitely seem to be the favorites especially with an elite program like UCLA not seeming to gain much traction and another close-by school, Florida State, seeming to fade.
For now, Virginia Tech continues to be the favorite for MJ Walker but with Walker having visited a couple more schools since visiting Virginia Tech and still not seeming ready to make a decision, Walker's recruitment is definitely a little cloudy.
ESPN's Paul Biancardi is reporting that MJ Walker will announce his college decision tomorrow at his high school with Walker later tweeting out that he will announce at 11am. The Hokies had been seen as the favorites for Walker but that has shifted today with UCLA seeming to be the favorites over Virginia Tech as shown by the 247 Sports' Crystal Ball
trending towards the Bruins. However, Virginia Tech definitely has a shot with it appearing that Walker will choose either UCLA or VT.
MJ Walker surprised just about everyone committing to Florida State over Virginia Tech, UCLA, Ohio State, and Georgia Tech. The decision is a big surprise and definitely disappointing for VT after they seemed to be the favorites till the past 24 hours or so but VT still has put together an impressive recruiting class headlined by borderline five-star guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
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