National Signing Day for the Class of 2018 is still about 7 months away yet teams across the nation are beginning to increase their recruiting of players in the Class of 2019 especially with their ability to contact those recruits increasing at the beginning of September. Despite the limited contact right now, teams are still able to make impressions through recruit-initiated contact and visits with Virginia Tech already making solid impressions for some top national 2019 recruits through these limited opportunities.
This includes talented four-star OT Darnell Wright.
Wright recently told us that the Hokies are among those recruiting him the hardest along with Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee, Florida, and West Virginia. Wright also told us that while he doesn't have a leader, he has "enjoyed" the visits that he has taken with hopes to visit Virginia Tech this fall among other schools along with a visit to Alabama coming sometime this month.
Wright has emerged as not only one of the top 2019 offensive tackles but also one of the best recruits in America as he is ranked as the third best OT and 45th best recruit nationally by 247 Sports while the 247 Sports Composite has him 16th among offensive tackles and 120th nationally. Wright also is battling fellow four-star OT Doug Nester to be the top West Virginia recruit in 2019 with 247 Sports giving Wright the edge and the 247 Sports Composite giving Nester the edge.
Wright also has an elite offer list that includes Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Michigan State, Nebraska, Louisville, North Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, and Marshall while the Crimson Tide also seem close to offering him.
One of the unique things about Wright's recruitment is the fact that while West Virginia is the in-state school, Ohio State is actually closer to him while Virginia Tech and West Virginia are about the same distance away and just a little farther away than OSU with Tennessee only being an hour farther away. While WVU does still have an in-state advantage, they don't have the proximity to home advantage that Hokie fans may be used to when going up against schools like UNC and Maryland for recruits in the 757.
Wright also is building great relationships with those 3 out-of-state schools telling us that the coaches he has the best relationships with (in no particular order) are Virginia Tech OL coach Vance Vice, Ohio State OL coach Greg Studawa, and Tennessee OL coach Walt Wells.
When we asked Wright about what has impressed him about Vice and Virginia Tech overall, this is what he had to say.
On Vance Vice: "My relationship with him is very good. I got to spend some time with him when I visited and I really enjoy his style of coaching.
On Virginia Tech: "Their facilities are really nice. Their academics are really good. I also want to play for championships which I can do at VT."
The fact that Wright considers Virginia Tech a program that can "play for championships" reflects well not only on the job that Frank Beamer did building VT into an ACC powerhouse, but also what Justin Fuente has done getting the Hokies back to the ACC Championship in his first season.
Meanwhile, Vance Vice is building a strong relationship with Wright already and in a time where relationships with recruits are more valuable than other, this is great news for VT while Wright knows that Vice has some job security with VT extending many assistants' contracts through the 2018 season including Vice.
While Wright's recruitment is definitely wide open, Virginia Tech has emerged as a top contender early on along with Tennessee and Ohio State while West Virginia still has their home state advantage even if they aren't the closest school for Wright. This fall should bring some clarity to his recruitment with Wright hoping to take visits to VT, Ohio State, West Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Louisville, and Alabama.
At this point, Virginia Tech is one of the top contenders for talented four-star OT Darnell Wright with Vance Vice already laying the foundation for VT to being a serious contender. While the Hokies will face a tough challenge going against WVU on their turf along with Ohio State and Tennessee, the Hokies are a serious threat that can't be discounted.
Stay up with The Tech Lunch Pail for the latest on the Hokies via Facebook and Twitter plus subscribe to our email updates.