Virginia Tech Defensive Tackle Recruiting Breakdown for 2018 and 2019

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Jul 18, 2017
After signing only one true defensive tackle in the 2017 class in J'Bril Glaze along with one versatile DL in Robert Porcher IV (who I think should be a DT and not a DE), the Hokies are looking to take a larger DT class with two DTs already committed in three-star recruits Cam Goode and Joe Kane while still pursuing at least a couple other DTs including four-star Alim McNeill and three-star Jalen Alexander. Meanwhile, VT's DT board is just forming for 2019, but the Hokies are already in great shape for one of their early DT offers in four-star 757 DT Ben Smiley.

VT Not Done Yet in 2018 at DT

Virginia Tech may have two defensive tackle commitments from Cam Goode and Joe Kane, but the Hokies still are in pursuit of at least a pair of DTs in Alim McNeill and Jalen Alexander. Goode was a big get for the Hokies as while the Washington D.C. is a little shorter than most DTs, that doesn't limit his production whatsoever as Goode is a run stuffing, gap-filler who reminds me some of both Luther Maddy and Derrick Hopkins along with guys like BJ Raji and Terrance Cody who both were more of nose tackles but were great as run stuffers along with being solid pass rushers. Goode is a productive player who should be able to come in and compete for a spot as a backup on the Hokies' two-deep as a freshman while definitely having the potential to be a very good defensive tackle down the road. Joe Kane is an intriguing prospect who has great size to play defensive tackle while being similar to Woody Baron in some ways as someone who will be shifting inside to play college football. While Kane can be a productive DT in college, he also has the size to play offensive guard at the next level at 6'3'' and around 275 pounds currently with the room to bulk up to around 300 pounds while VT also has a great history at moving defensive linemen to the offensive line including Wyatt Teller and Wade Hansen. Alim McNeill is the top DT target on the board for the Hokies as the four-star from Raleigh has been a high priority that blew up not long after the Hokies were his second power 5 offer with McNeill now having an impressive offer list full of big time programs like Clemson, Michigan, and Florida State. However, all signs point towards McNeill looking to stay closer to home with Virginia Tech, North Carolina, NC State, and Duke all being among the top contenders for McNeill. Virginia Tech is definitely one of the favorites for McNeill as the Hokies have made him a priority for most of 2017 while also having McNeill on campus this spring. VT seems very likely to receive an official visit from McNeill this fall with his official visits likely to play a larger factor in his decision-making. NC State is intriguing to watch as his teammate, three-star RB Trent Pennix, committed to the Wolfpack several weeks ago while McNeill is also from Raleigh. At this point, the Hokies are one of the top contenders but face a tough battle from in-state schools like NC State, UNC, and Duke. Meanwhile, the Hokies also have lots of interest in the top 2018 DT in the 757, three-star Jalen Alexander. Alexander recently released a top 5 that included Virginia Tech, Georgia, Maryland, NC State, and Georgia Tech; but announced yesterday that he is opening his recruitment back up to all of his offers along with postponing his August 5th commitment date. The Hokies are definitely a frontrunner for the talented 757 DT on-paper as the in-state school that has put a good amount of effort into recruiting Alexander. However, things are getting much more blurry with the Hokies already having two DT commits and numbers becoming tight though Alexander likely is still a take. Right now, VT is a top contender for Alexander, but the 757 DT has also been relatively quiet and with yesterday's news of him reopening his recruitment, things appear to be wide open around his recruitment. There hasn't been much talk lately around three-star DT Jordan Redmond but if the Hokies miss out on McNeill and Alexander, VT's pursuit of Redmond could pick up along with VT possibly looking around for a DT that has a breakthrough senior season. For now though, VT's top remaining DT targets are Alim McNeill and Jalen Alexander with the Hokies having a good chance at both.

Ben Smiley Headlines VT's 2019 DT Targets

Virginia Tech has only sent out a few defensive tackle offers in the 2019 class, but the Hokies are already in very good shape for one DT offer in particular, four-star 757 DT Ben Smiley. Ben Smiley appears to be the big fan of the Hokies with Smiley being a fairly pro-VT presence on Twitter even though he is not committed to the Hokies. Smiley was our first VT prediction of the 2019 class with the Hokies also currently being the biggest offer for Smiley who also has offers from Missouri, Maryland, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Temple, ODU, and Marshall. Smiley has also seen plenty of interest from Clemson but even if the Tigers do get involved, it's hard seeing Smiley not ending up at VT. Smiley doesn't have a public leader in his recruitment, but has shown tons of interest in VT on Twitter with sources telling us that his love of VT is legitimate. For now, the Hokies are the favorites to get Smiley and while that could change some as his offer list grows, it's currently hard to see Smiley not ending up in Blacksburg. Another name to watch is Tyler Davis out of Apopka, Florida which is in the Orlando area. The Hokies have plenty of momentum currently in Orlando with VT signing Robert Porcher IV in 2017 and having a commitment from Braxton Clark in 2018. This makes a VT sleeper even with Davis having a strong offer list that includes in-state powers like Florida State and Florida in addition to big out-of-state schools like Michigan and Oregon. Outside of those 2, the Hokies still are doing their homework on 2019 DT with only a couple other offers that are extremely unlikely for the Hokies to get at this point. Virginia Tech is building a large 2018 DT class with two commitments so far from Cam Goode and Joe Kane while looking to add Alim McNeill and Jalen Alexander. Meanwhile, VT may only have a few DT offers out in 2019, but VT is already in great shape for four-star Ben Smiley.

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