Our position-by-position breakdown of Virginia Tech recruiting for the 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes continues today at the running back spot where the Hokies just recently gained their first commit of the 2018 class via three-star RB Caleb Steward while having their eyes set on some of the top running backs in the 2019 class.
VT Most Likely Done at RB for 2018
The Hokies gained their first RB commit on the Fourth of July from three-star RB Caleb Steward out of Jacksonville and are likely done unless something dramatically changes over the next several months. Obviously, if someone like Ricky Slade or Jamal Elliott decommits, the Hokies will take a look but that seems very unlikely with both Slade (Penn State) and Elliott (Oregon) both seeming very solid in their commitments.
Steward flew under the radar among just about everybody except the Virginia Tech football staff until the past few weeks as Steward jumped to the top of VT's board not long after they offered him, something that wasn't publicly realized by analysts until the past couple of weeks. VT's offer led to Steward's recruitment blowing up and while other power 5 and in-state schools tried to get involved, VT seemed to never lose their position as the favorite, locking up his recruitment on an exciting Fourth of July in which VT also gained a commitment from three-star OT Jordan McFadden.
Steward is an intriguing talent as a between-the-tackles runner that has good speed and agility to make some guys miss while not being afraid of contact. Steward doesn't do a lot in the passing game in his high school's offense but he does show some promise of being a RB that can be effective in the passing game as a check-down option. Steward became the second commit from the Jacksonville area this cycle as Virginia Tech continues to do well in Florida's northern metro.
2019 could be big for VT at RB
Looking ahead to the Class of 2019, Virginia Tech seems more likely to take 2 running backs especially after taking only 1 running back this past cycle. The Hokies have sent out a limited number of running back offers so far, but they've sent them out to a few elite running back prospect who Virginia Tech could be a contender for including one RB that every Hokie should already get to know.
That man is Devyn Ford.
Devyn Ford is the 2019 class's version of Devon Hunter or Ricky Slade as that big-time, in-state recruit that the Hokies really want to get to make a big statement and build their 2019 class around. Ford has been an elite recruit for years now blowing up after a big freshman season at North Stafford High School in the Fredericksburg area where Virginia Tech has had a good amount of success in the past.
Ford's offer list is truly incredible as in addition to the Hokies, Ford has offers from Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Texas, USC, Tennessee, Michigan State, Georgia, Nebraska, Auburn, South Carolina, West Virginia, North Carolina, and plenty of more power 5 schools; all of whom will take him at any moment if he wanted to commit to them from right now to National Signing Day even if that team already had multiple RB commits.
Ford is a special talent and may be the best RB out of Virginia over the past few years, a group that includes high four-star 2018 RB Ricky Slade, and Florida State RB Khalan Laborn who was right there with Devon Hunter as one of Virginia's top 2 recruits in the 2017 class.
Early on, the 247 Sports Crystal Ball is split for Ford with Clemson, but the Fredericksburg region has been friendly territory for Virginia Tech including Anthony Shegog and Joey Slye (both of whom went to the same high school as Ford), Vinny Mihota, and Tyjuan Garbutt. Ford does have a talented teammate in four-star lineman Nana Asiedu who is committed to Penn State, making the Nittany Lions a team to watch while Clemson also has him as a very high priority in the 2019 class.
While many schools have him near the top of their boards, Virginia Tech is the one team that definitely has Ford at the top of their board for the 2019 and will do everything they can to get a guy they have pursued for years now, just like they did to get Devon Hunter.
However, Ford isn't the only elite running back Virginia Tech is after as the Hokies have also offered two top North Carolina RBs, Quavaris Crouch and Khafre Brown.
Crouch, like Ford, has an elite offer list that includes Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Florida State, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Georgia, Stanford, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, NC State, and Wake Forest in addition to the Hokies. Right now, it's hard seeing the Hokies being a serious threat for Crouch especially with VT's huge push for Ford along with the impressive list of offers for Crouch, many of which likely have him as their top RB priority including Clemson possibly.
Khafre Brown may only have six offers but they are 6 impressive ones from Ohio State, Florida State, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, and NC State. Brown's recruitment has the potential to be quite interesting with the Tar Heels possibly being the early favorite here not only as the best in-state school but also because Khafre's brother is UNC 2018 WR commit Dyami Brown.
The Hokies have also sent out a couple other RB offers to Derrian Brown out of Georgia powerhouse Buford High School and Joachim Bangda out of Washington D.C.. Brown's recruitment definitely doesn't have a real favorite with a strong offer list that includes Florida, Oregon, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Michigan State, and South Carolina though Georgia likely would become the favorite if they chose to offer as the in-state power.
Meanwhile, Bangda's offer list includes Alabama but VT could be a serious player especially with Bangda being teammates with Cam Goode at St John's College along with VT making this D.C. school a priority for the next few years having already sent out a couple offers also to a pair of 2020 recruits.
One name to watch that doesn't have an offer yet is Jamious Griffin, brother of VT linebacker Jaylen Griffin. Jamious Griffin has a solid offer list that currently includes Ole Miss, South Carolina, NC State, and Wake Forest; and if he has a big junior season, Virginia Tech's interest could heat up some with the Hokies having a connection that should make them a serious contender if they decide to offer.
Virginia Tech is set at running back with Caleb Steward in 2018 while they have their top RB targets for 2019 including the man who will be number 1 on their board across all positions, Devyn Ford.
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