Virginia Tech Safety Recruiting Breakdown for 2018 and 2019

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Jul 22, 2017
After adding a pair of safeties in their 2017 class via elite 757 DB Devon Hunter and three-star Northern Virginia DB Devante Smith, the Hokies have added a pair of new safety commits in the 2018 class with three-star recruits Chamarri Conner and Nasir Peoples. At this point, VT appears done at safety with their focus shifting to 2019 safeties like four-star recruits Khalid Martin and Litchfield Ajavon, and MD safety Nick Cross.

VT Set at Safety in 2018

Virginia Tech already has a pair of safety commits in 2018 from three-star recruits Chamarri Conner and Nasir Peoples with VT being unlikely to add another at this point. Conner was one of the Hokies' first commits as he committed in the fall and has been rock solid with his commitment since with no signs that he won't end up signing with the Hokies. Conner's commitment was a surprise at the time as there hadn't been much talk about him, but Conner was a big get for the Hokies out of Jacksonville power Trinity Christian where the Hokies have gotten a few talented players including Isaiah Ford. Conner is a very talented safety that definitely should be a very good player in Blacksburg along with being underrated at this point. Conner is a tough, physical football player that is effective playing in the box and is a powerful tackler that makes it extremely hard for any player to gain yards once he puts a hit on him. Conner is also solid in man coverage, but he is best in zone coverage with a great feel for where opposing receivers are around him along with doing a great job keeping his eyes on the QB, and having good reactions and ball skills to be a defensive playmaker that can get plenty of interceptions. Conner has the skills to play either free safety or rover as he is a well-rounded DB that could end up at either spot though free safety likely would be the better fit. Virginia Tech was the first to offer Nasir Peoples and while a few other power 5 schools did offer, VT stayed out front and gained Peoples as one of their first commitments this spring. Peoples gained an offer from Notre Dame after committing to the Hokies and while Peoples did take a visit to South Bend, Peoples has stayed solid in his commitment to the Hokies. Peoples is the free safety for his high school team but is effective coming up and making plays in the running game, making him a possibility to play either free safety or rover in Blacksburg. Peoples is solid in coverage and in that field general role but with him being better as a run defender, Peoples seems more likely to play rover for VT. Former Miami commit and three-star safety Randy Russell recently released a top 5 that included Virginia Tech, but Russell is very unlikely to end up in Blacksburg with numbers being tight for VT along with Florida appearing to be the overwhelming favorite. Braxton Clark likely will come in as a cornerback, but he is a raw athlete that could end up being a safety as well for the Hokies.

VT Has a Trio of Top 2019 Safety Targets

With Virginia Tech bringing in a pair of safeties each of the past two seasons, it seems likely that the Hokies will bring in another pair of safeties in 2018 with NC four-star Khalid Martin, Northern Virginia four-star Litchfield Ajavon, and talented MD safety Nick Cross being among the Hokies' top targets. Khalid Martin is the latest talented recruit from the Greensboro area where the Hokies have been quite impressive in the 2018 cycle gaining commitments from Tre Turner, Alan Tisdale, and DJ Crossen. Martin has a solid offer list that includes Virginia Tech, Penn State, Wisconsin, Louisville, West Virginia, Kentucky, Duke, Maryland, Wake Forest, Illinois, Virginia, and Southern Miss. Martin did visit Blacksburg this spring along with a few other schools including Penn State and Maryland, but Martin is still early in his recruitment with no one emerging yet from what he has told us. However, VT definitely should be a contender for Martin due in part to how Martin is coming out of the Greensboro area where Virginia Tech has done quite well along with VT only being just over 2 hours away from his home. Litchfield Ajavon is one of the top Northern Virginia recruits in the 2019 class and an intriguing safety target with a strong offer list that includes Clemson, Michigan, Notre Dame, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Louisville, North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse, Indiana, Wake Forest, and Virginia. Ajavon took visits to Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame this spring while he isn't sure yet about where he will be visiting this fall. Michigan could be a tough team to beat here as the Wolverines have had some success at Episcopal lately including signing four-star DE Luiji Vilain in the 2017 class. VT definitely has Ajavon as one of their top safety targets and should be seen as a contender though the Wolverines definitely appear likely to be a major contender for Ajavon. Nick Cross was one of four recruits offered at Virginia Tech's Washington D.C. satellite camp as the DeMatha Catholic defensive back has a solid offer list that includes Mississippi State, Maryland, Kentucky, Syracuse, Purdue, Rutgers, and Temple in addition to the Hokies. Cross also told us that Maryland is recruiting him the hardest which isn't too surprising given how coaches can only have limited contact with 2019 recruits and it's much easier for Cross to make a stop at College Park than anywhere else or for Maryland's coaches to stop by DeMatha Catholic. Cross is hoping to visit Virginia Tech and Temple this fall along with Penn State, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh, all of whom have not offered Cross. The Hokies have had some recruiting success at DeMatha in the past with Cam Phillips being a DeMatha alum while the Hokies are also targeting four-star WR DeMarcco Hellams out of DeMatha in the 2019 class. Cross is still early in his recruitment, but the Hokies definitely should be a contender for him with the Terps set to be a big player as well as they look to keep Cross home. Virginia Tech is set at safety in 2018 with underrated Jacksonville safety Chamarri Conner and talented Pennsylvania safety Nasir Peoples while VT has a trio of top 2019 safety targets from all across the Mid-Atlantic.

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