Recruiting Issues Present Stiff Challenge to Virginia Tech’s Growth

The NCAA’s decision to create an early signing period for football prospects drastically sped up the recruiting timeline. Instead of having to recruit kids through National Signing Day in February, coaches can somewhat rest easy if they lock in most of their class by Dec. 18.

Since the period was created, Virginia Tech has generally locked in 90-95 percent of their class during the early signing period while using the remaining month-plus to recruit one or two more prospects. This year, however, the Hokies might find themselves in a different situation — salvaging their class after most recruits have already made up their minds.

The recruiting services do not look favorably on Virginia Tech’s 2020 recruiting class. Because the Hokies have limited scholarships available, one must dig deeper and focus on the quality of Tech’s commitments, not the quantity and quality.

247Sports, which is increasingly becoming the industry leader in recruiting rankings, gives Virginia Tech’s recruits an average rating of 0.8469, which places Virginia Tech 12th in the ACC. 247Sports hasn’t rated any of the Hokies’ 10 commitments as a four-star prospect. Rivals, another recruiting network, also sees none of the Hokies’ commitments as a four-star recruit.

Virginia Tech’s ratings took a hit on Thursday night, as athlete Tyreem Powell flipped to Greg Schiano and Rutgers. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound prospect from New Jersey was the Hokies’ highest-rated recruit in this cycle. The Hokies’ situation doesn’t look any better when you examine in-state recruiting, since Tech doesn’t have a single Virginia commitment in the top-20 rankings.

The 2020 cycle hasn’t gone well from the start and it won’t get any better until the Hokies fill the remaining vacancies on their defensive staff. Tech announced on Friday that Jerry Kill disciple Tracey Claeys would be taking over the linebacker coaching position, and Tech legend Darryl Tapp would join the staff as a general defensive assistant. Still, the Hokies have two openings on the defensive staff — cornerbacks coach and defensive line coach.

There’s still time to turn this around, but the pool of talented recruits will shrink considerably once the early signing period arrives. Virginia Tech needs to hire their new assistants as soon as possible to try and salvage this recruiting cycle before things get even more dire. At this moment, this is the kind of recruiting class that sets up the program for failure down the road, barring some miraculous performances from overlooked prospects. A thin class with little firepower will create depth issues in the years to come, issues that can wreck a program from within.

Virginia Tech is on the verge of a breakthrough. The 2020 season is the first time in years where the Hokies seem to be experienced, talented and somewhat deep at most positions. The Hokies’ maturity, along with a challenging schedule, gives them the opportunity to elevate themselves into the top-25 and possibly even higher. But these recruiting issues will rear their head one day, and they could cause the Tech program to regress into mediocrity once again. It’s imperative that Tech get these issues resolved.

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