Virginia Tech Football 2023 & 2024 Recruiting Breakdown: Defensive End

Virginia Tech Football 2023 & 2024 Recruiting Breakdown: Defensive End
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Jun 12, 2022

Our Virginia Tech football recruiting breakdown of the 2023 and 2024 classes resumes today as we shift to the defensive side of the ball starting at defensive end. Check out the latest on Tech's search for talented edge linemen along with the rest of our coverage to date as well below.

Still Room in 2023

Virginia Tech brought in a pair of defensive ends last cycle in Kyree Moyston and Keyshawn Burgos, and seem likely to bring in at least a pair more this cycle with returning starter TyJuan Garbutt and Nebraska transfer Pheldarius Payne entering their final year of eligibility.

Tech already has one commitment on board from three-star Jason Abbey out of the Richmond area with the Hokies landing him not long after the Spring Game. Abbey is an intriguing recruit with varying views from the recruiting services though his upside seems big in part given his HS production as he had 89 tackles as a junior including 18 for loss with 7 sacks among those. He also continues upon the high success rate Tech has had with in-state DL recruits over the past two cycles.

The Hokies hosted three-star DE Isaiah Shirley out of Boone, NC on an official visit last weekend with Shirley taking an official to Duke this past weekend plus one scheduled to N.C. State the following weekend per On3.

Virginia Tech made the top 8 for four-star DE Monteque Rhames out of Sumter, SC but it's unclear if Tech is a serious contender or not. Rhames has also visited in-state South Carolina a ton with the Gamecocks appearing to be in a strong position for their in-state standout.

Hampton, VA DE David Anderson's recruitment has been quiet in general but the Hokies are the biggest offer for Anderson on paper with Wake Forest, Duke, and Syracuse among his other offers.

Three-star DL Armel Mukam out of Woodberry Forest HS could go either way though defensive end is definitely in play. He has visited Virginia Tech previously though UVA is set to host him on a midweek official visit and appears to be the trending team.

Three-star DL Elijah Hughes from Northern Virginia will be brought up tomorrow on the defensive tackle front which seems more likely to be his collegiate position but DE can't be ruled out 100%.

There may be some other surprise names on the board that Tech has greater traction with than known, but outside of Shirley, it's hard to tell who else at the defensive end spot that has been currently offered is a guy that Tech has serious traction with. It doesn't help that Tech has seen some of their previous top targets go elsewhere in recent weeks including four-star DE Mason Robinson to Northwestern and three-star DE Jordan Mayer to Wisconsin.

Of course, if Tech lands Shirley, it may not matter but Tech may be looking at a senior breakout guy or a camp guy or a flip to round out the DE class this cycle.

DMV Talent Headlines 2024

Virginia Tech hasn't sent out a lot of defensive end offers for the 2024 cycle, yet it looks like another cycle that will be full of intriguing DE recruits in Virginia and throughout the DMV region.

Makai Byerson out of Richmond's Manchester HS is an intriguing prospect with varying views with the average being a three-star while On3 currently has him as a four-star and VA's #1 2024 recruit. Tech also appears to have early momentum having hosted Byerson twice during this spring per On3.

The 757 has a pair of intriguing three-star recruits in Anthony Riddick out of Hampton's Phoebus HS and Gerard Johnson out of Frank W Cox HS in Virginia Beach. Riddick and Johnson both seem poise to be solid targets with Tech having success in those parts of the 757 in recent years.

Three-star DE Dominic Nichols out of Maryland appears to be a Virginia Tech-Penn State recruiting battle on with the Hokies hosting Nichols back in late January for a Junior Day visit that went well as he shared with us then.

Tech recently offered 6'7'' DE Darien Mayo out of Olney, MD with Mayo visiting Blacksburg since the Hokies have offered him. Four-star Jaylen Harvey out of Potomac, MD visited the Hokies for the Spring Game back in mid-April.

Other DMV DEs that Tech has offered include Washington D.C. four-star DE Dylan Stewart and Baltimore four-star DE Ernest Willor who visited Virginia Tech last fall while the previous staff was still fully in place.

2025 shouldn't be overlooked either with Virginia Beach's Salem HS standout Ari Watford currently looking poise to be one of the top recruits in the country as a whole. Get ready to hear Watford's name plenty over the coming years far before his senior season as potentially the highest-rated defensive line recruit out of the 757 since Josh Sweat.