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Virginia Tech Football 2023 & 2024 Recruiting Breakdown: Offensive Line

Kamen Smith VT Visit May 17th 2022

Our position-by-position recruiting breakdown for Virginia Tech football wraps up on the offensive side today with a look at the offensive line where the Hokies have been busy in the 2023 cycle with lots of 2024 intrigue. Check out our breakdown of offensive line recruiting below along with links to the rest of the stories we've done to date.

2023 Filling Up But Still More Room For Tackles

The offensive recruiting this cycle was always going to be defined by the tackle position primarily given how thin that spot has gotten compared to the rest of the offensive line. Joe Rudolph has gotten busy building up a solid offensive line class already while positioning himself well for a couple top of the board targets.

Before getting to the tackle spot, it all starts with the interior where Tech's first 2023 commit came from three-star Lance Williams out of Alcoa, TN. Williams was a solid pickup on the interior for the Hokies with Tech seemingly content though if they wanted to add another interior guy, one person of potential interest could be three-star in-state recruit Cole Surber who is currently committed to UVA, but visited Tech twice before that with things potentially being able to change if the Hokies choose to offer.

Looking to offensive tackle, the Hokies already have a pair of commitments starting with three-star Germany native Hannes Hammer who attends North Cross School at Roanoke. Hammer was receiving lots of major interest with a Power 5 offer surge seeming likely, but Rudolph was aggressive and able to do well at getting Hammer locked in early.

Joe Rudolph was patient in evaluating Gabriel Arena, the three-star OT from PA, but once Rudolph was in for Arena, the Hokies were able to wrap up his recruitment quickly. Arena has since become a major champion for the Hokies on the recruiting trail at least on social media with Arena potentially able to make a small impact on some other top Tech targets including teammate and four-star RB Marquese Williams.

One of Tech's top offensive targets is three-star OT Layth Ghannam out of Charleston, WV who Joe Rudolph has made as big of a priority as about anyone this cycle. Ghannam has taken multiple visits to Virginia Tech plus officials to West Virginia and North Carolina with an official to VT planned soon. However, Tech is the trending team from what we've heard and the Hokies may be able to close this out before his VT official. Check out more on Ghannam and the Hokies here.

Tech likely will take another high school tackle along with potentially 1-2 OL total with a JUCO or transfer target being in play as well.

Three-star OT Kamen Smith out of Wilkesboro, NC is a recent offer who has seen his recruitment take off. This is also setting up to be a regional ACC battle with the Hokies reportedly hosting Smith on an official this weekend per On3 followed by officials to N.C. State next weekend and North Carolina the weekend after.

Virginia Tech extended an offer to four-star OT Oluwatosin Babalade out of Maryland powerhouse DeMatha Catholic earlier this spring though the Hokies may be facing an uphill battle with North Carolina having hosted Babalde on an official, South Carolina hosting him this weekend, and Rutgers hosting him later this month per On3.

Three-star Saint Charles, IL OT Austin Barrett's older brother was coached by Joe Rudolph at Wisconsin (and is currently there). That has led the younger Barrett to having interest in the Hokies previously telling us in late May that he was looking to take visits soon to Virginia Tech plus Wisconsin, Iowa, Cincinnati, and Indiana. He currently has an official scheduled to Indiana next weekend per On3.

Virginia Tech jumped in early for JUCO OT Elijah Philippe out of Lackawanna where Brent Pry has plenty of connections recruiting that JUCO from his time at Penn State. Philippe also has offers from South Carolina and Florida State so this should be an interesting battle to watch for the Hokies.

Tech's offensive line class is largely together with 3 commits on board and Layth Ghannam looking likely to join that group soon with 1-2 more spots likely this cycle.

2024 Headlined By Solid In-State Talent

The 2024 class is already headlined by a solid group of offensive line talent in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Three-star Northern Virginia OT Fletcher Westphal has already visited Blacksburg twice in 2022 and has plans to take a third visit to Virginia Tech later this month. Both in January and in March, the Hokies left strong impressions on Westphal with the mutual interest being strong both ways with Westphal high on Tech's board and VT in strong contention for Westphal.

Lord Botetourt HS in Daleville, VA has become a pipeline of sorts for Virginia Tech in recent years with Jesse Hanson, Gunner Givens, and Hunter McLain. That cycle may continue in 2024 with three-star OT DJ Toliver who looks like the next great offensive linemen out of Botetourt. His offer list isn't long early on, but is currently a Virginia Tech vs UVA battle with Louisville also among his offers though don't be surprised if his offer list grows even more given his upside and how Botetourt has become known for the talent they've been producing in terms of the western half of VA specifically on the offensive line.

Another in-state offer has gone to three-star OT Mason Wade out of Purcellville, VA with the Hokies being the first Power 5 offer for him. Wade has visited Virginia Tech three times since the beginning of 2022 per On3 so there's clearly a lot of interest on Wade's end in the Hokies.

Hiram, GA OT Jameson Riggs received an offer from Virginia Tech in early May and visited Blacksburg this week. Four-star OT Kam Pringle out of South Carolina took a visit to Virginia Tech previously though that was in the fall with the previous staff. A couple other in-region offers including four-star OL Jordan Seaton out of Washington D.C.'s St John's and Charlotte, NC OT D'Nas White.

As with most things in the 2024 cycle, the target board is still coming together, but this will be a cycle on the offensive line headlined in part by the strong in-state talent.

Looking ahead briefly to 2025, Virginia Tech has extended a couple offensive line offers including one to 757 standout Jaylen Gilchrist out of Salem HS (Virginia Beach) who already looks poised to be one of the top VA recruits in the 2025 class.

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