Monday, June 9, 2014
Notebook: Virginia Tech camp
By Gerry Hamilton
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- On Sunday, Frank Beamer hosted the first of two key one-day camps.
While the July camp is considered the marquee event for the Hokies, several targets were on hand Sunday with a pair of key verbal offers going out.
Here's a recap.
No. 118 Ricky DeBerry made a surprise stop at Virginia Tech on Sunday following an unofficial visit to Tennessee the day before. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound end and outside linebacker prospect made the trip with friend, 2017 quarterback Alex Faniel and Faniel’s father. DeBerry, who was an observer only, said he will be at Alabama with his entire family next weekend and plans to visit Texas A&M (Aug. 1 target date) and hopes to make it out to Nebraska and Arizona State among others this summer. Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Alabama remain the biggest threats to both Virginia Tech and Virginia for the talented in-state defender. He plans to announce his decision in mid to late January. DeBerry continues to rehab a shoulder injury that required postseason surgery.
Virginia Tech DB commits DuWayne Johnson (left) and Mook Reynolds worked the crowd at the Hokies' weekend camp.
Johnathon Sutton was another ESPN 300 prospect on hand for the camp, but like DeBerry, he was an observer only as he continues to rehab an early season ACL and MCL injury that required surgery. A number of schools have stuck with the athletic and explosive linebacker prospect ranked No. 276 through his injury and rehab, and that includes the Hokies. North Carolina is considered the favorite over Virginia Tech, with Duke and NC State working to pull the upset.
Arguably the top prospect on hand Sunday was class of 2016 offensive guard Tyler Gerald. The 6-5, 315-pound naturally strong lineman with excellent flexibility is a top target of offensive line coach Stacy Searels, and the Hokies were the first BCS conference program to offer. They since have been joined by Ohio State, with Michigan State expected to offer in the coming days. Gerald will camp at Ohio State June 18, and his recruitment is considered a two-horse race between childhood favorite Ohio State and Virginia Tech.
Fast-rising defensive end and outside linebacker prospect Damien Dozier was one of the top targets on hand Sunday who took part in the camp. The 6-3, 214-pound defensive end left Blacksburg following the camp and headed to Clemson for a three-day camp starting Monday. The Hokies and Tigers are the top two with a decision expected shortly following the camp at Clemson. The Tigers have yet to offer. Dozier has offers from UCLA, Cincinnati, Connecticut and Marshall, among others. He will be a December graduate.
Class of 2015 defensive end Marques Ford was another prospect who was on hand Sunday as an observer. The 6-2, 223-pounder from the Tampa, Florida, area has a top group of Rutgers, Duke, UCF, Miami (Fla.), Clemson, Tennessee and Nebraska. He made an unofficial visit to Duke on Saturday.
Class of 2016 running back Reggie Floyd picked up an offer from the Hokies following the camp. The 6-foot, 180-pound Floyd is a teammate of 2015 five-star defensive tackle Tim Settle at Stonewall Jackson High in Manassas, Virginia.
Class of 2017 quarterback Alex Faniel was offered by the Hokies following Sunday’s camp after throwing for offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler. The verbal offer was Faniel’s first.
Four-star offensive line prospect Austin Clark will announce his decision on Thursday. Virginia Tech is one of three considered to be seriously in contention, along with Tennessee and South Carolina. The Volunteers were trending for weeks, with the Hokies and Gamecocks making May runs. Clark was on campus at South Carolina May 31, Virginia Tech June 3 and Tennessee June 4.
The Hokies continue to pursue Michigan commit and Under Armour All-America Game cornerback Garrett Taylor, and the communication between the parties has remained consistent throughout Taylor’s recruitment and despite his pledge to the Wolverines.