Virginia Tech's Top Three Remaining 2018 Defensive Recruiting Targets

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Aug 23, 2017
Yesterday, we took a look at Virginia Tech's top remaining 2018 offensive targets headlined by a pair of Southwest Virginia stars and an elite offensive tackle. Today, we continue on with a look at the Hokies' top remaining defensive targets in the Class of 2018.

Honorable Mentions: 4* LB Keshon Artis, 4* DT Alim McNeill

Virginia Tech doesn't have a long list of targets left, but the ones that are left are quite talented. It's quite incredible that a pair of four-star recruits didn't even make the list, but that shows how talented the three guys who did are. In what is a down year in the state of Virginia, Keshon Artis is one of the few overall four-star recruits. The Oscar Smith star is high on the Hokies' board at linebacker with VT continuing to be the favorite for the 757 linebacker. However, tight numbers could make things interesting in figuring out a way to get Artis if he chooses Virginia Tech and open the door for schools like NC State and Maryland. Meanwhile, Alim McNeill has been the Hokies' top DT target for months now especially after the Hokies gained one of their other top DT targets in Cam Goode. At times, VT has appeared to be the favorite but now, the Hokies are the underdogs with hometown NC State being the favorite. However, Virginia Tech can't be ruled out yet unless they fail to get him back on campus soon.

3. 4* CB Kalon Gervin

Virginia Tech has been in hot pursuit of Kalon Gervin for months now since Gervin visited the Hokies in the spring. After that visit, Gervin made the decision to decommit from Notre Dame and though Gervin didn't say that his VT visit was his reason, he has said that his visit to Blacksburg did at least have some influence on it. Gervin has been Virginia Tech's top cornerback target for months with the Detroit native having a great chance for early playing time. The Hokies' desire for Gervin also comes out of short-term need due to Brandon Facyson and Greg Stroman both graduating, and Adonis Alexander being an early entrant candidate for the 2018 NFL Draft. Kalon Gervin released a top 5 months ago but since then, Virginia Tech and Oregon have emerged as the top contenders. An Alabama offer had the potential to shake things up with Gervin but to this point, that hasn't been the case with the Crimson Tide not pushing hard for Gervin. Gervin took visits to Blacksburg and Eugene over the summer with his visit to Virginia Tech for the Blacksburg Bash going "great" and that his time with the coaches stood out the most. This is an encouraging sign for the Hokies that they are building a strong relationship with the Hokies and not just wooing Gervin with great facilities or promises of early playing time (both of which are true). Gervin will likely use all five of his official visits with the Hokies and Ducks being the only two schools that are guaranteed to receive visits. Right now, Virginia Tech is the favorite for Gervin with Oregon being the top challenger and a close second. However, the Hokies still have a lot of work ahead to sign one of America's best cornerbacks. [amazon_link asins='B01FZT3MQO,B0198KBYBQ,B07123PLDS' template='ProductCarousel' store='techlunchpail-20' marketplace='US' link_id='13319072-883c-11e7-87a8-6ff908dd6661']

2. 4* LB Dax Hollifield

Dax Hollifield has been a top 2018 target for Virginia Tech since last fall. Early in 2017, it appeared that the Hokies were quite close to gaining a commitment from Hollifield, but other schools have emerged since then. Now, the Hokies appear to be a frontrunner among Hollifield's top 5 which also includes in-state North Carolina, Florida State, South Carolina, and Stanford. Hollifield is an elite linebacker and has the potential to be a signature piece not only in Virginia Tech's 2018 recruiting class but also in the #NC2VT movement. While the Hokies do have one elite North Carolina talent committed in Tre Turner, gaining Hollifield would be another boost for the Hokies in North Carolina. UNC has gained a lot of traction over the past few months with his 247 Sports' Crystal Ball gaining multiple predictions in the Tar Heels' favor. Florida State and South Carolina also continue to be contenders for Hollifield while Stanford remains the sleeper due to their recent success and impressive academics. Looking ahead, Virginia Tech will have a great opportunity to impress Hollifield when he takes an official visit for the Hokies' huge showdown with Clemson in late September. While Hollifield has visited Virginia Tech numerous times, this visit has the potential to be a game changer due largely to what should be an insane environment. One x-factor with Hollifield could be his relationship with Bud Foster, the coach who he has consistently said he has the best relationship with. In a time where a recruit's relationship with a coach is more valuable than ever, this relationship is an advantage for the Hokies in their pursuit of Hollifield. For now, Virginia Tech is in the thick of an all-out brawl between some of the biggest football programs' on the East Coast for Dax Hollifield. However, the Hokies have a great chance especially with Bud Foster being the one leading the charge.

1. 5* DE KJ Henry

No one should be surprised that the player who tops our list is five-star DE KJ Henry. While the Hokies' chances for Henry aren't great, a top 25 recruit like Henry will almost always be the top target even on a board full of four-star recruits that the Hokies have great chances with like Dax Hollifield and Kalon Gervin. Henry recently released a top 5 that included Alabama, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia, and South Carolina. Alabama and Clemson are currently the favorites for Henry, but he has been consistent in saying that the Hokies' chances are better than you would think they are. Henry has the potential to be another game-changing recruit for the Hokies even larger than the impact Devon Hunter had last cycle. Unlike Hunter, Henry is ranked as a top 25 recruit nationally by all the major recruiting services and is considering the last two national champions. To beat the last two national champions for an out-of-state recruit would be an impressive feat that would be another statement that Virginia Tech is back as a serious threat nationally. Despite this, it's still hard to see Henry ending up in Blacksburg but if they are to have a realistic chance, they will need to make sure he takes an official visit. While that appears likely given how the Hokies are in his top 5, actually getting a recruit to do so can sometimes be more difficult than you think. Alabama and Clemson may be the favorites for KJ Henry, but Virginia Tech lurks as the sleeper that even Henry says can't be overlooked. [amazon_link asins='B01M9DXGCZ,B01FSYG8SU,B01A0G3MJY' template='ProductCarousel' store='techlunchpail-20' marketplace='US' link_id='']

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