NCF On The Trail: Virginia Tech Hokies

UA jersey tour: Josh Sweat

October, 22, 2014
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ESPN 300 defensive end Josh Sweat received his Under Armour All-America jersey on Wednesday. The No. 5 ranked prospect received the honor in front of his classmates, teammates and family and spoke about his accomplishments on and off the field.

A short video played on a projector before the ceremony, giving everyone in attendance a better look at who Sweat really is as a person.

Sweat took some time to answer a few questions to help expand on who he is, where he has been and what makes him tick.

What one player are you looking forward to competing against?: Yeah, probably the biggest person I was looking for was Martez Ivey. Great guy, I played against him at a camp and I believe that's the person I would have been going against anyway. That would be a good matchup.

If you could start a team with any other player in your class who would it be?: Give me the best corners, defensive backs and linebackers. Everybody who can cover the best so I can get to the quarterback. That's a defensive end's best friend is the secondary.

What was your earliest football memory?: Probably knocking off Oscar Smith middle school in the city championship. The middle school I went to never won a game two years before and then I came out there and we won everything in every other sport for this one year. We beat them in the city championship and now I'm at Oscar Smith high school. So I played against a lot of the guys that are my teammates now. That’s a good thing to brag about. When they bring it up, I had to brag.

Which football player did you idolize or want to be like when you were a kid?: Honestly, no one. Other than my two older brothers. I watch it more now that I'm heavy into football.

If you could take on any pro player in their sport who would it be?: I would like to race Usain Bolt. I would challenge LeBron James to try to dunk on me. I would challenge him to try to. I would also swim against Michael Phelps.

Why do you wear your number?: I wear No. 9. The person that previously wore it was a real good guy, a tight end and linebacker. But, my favorite number is 2. I always wanted to wear that number.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?: I used to video game heavily. I mostly played "Call of Duty." I play a little bit now, but not as much as I used to. I used to sit in the house and play before I was heavy on football.
Michigan commit Garrett Taylor will visit Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech, but keep a close eye on the Buckeyes. Plus, LSU’s elite running back class is starting to fall apart.

UA jersey tour: Garrett Taylor

October, 15, 2014
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RICHMOND, Va. -- Garrett Taylor looked out at the crowd in the chapel at St. Christopher’s High School before his Under Armour All-America Game jersey presentation ceremony. At first he let out a sigh of frustration and shook his head slightly, but eventually he started to smile.

For Taylor, Wednesday’s ceremony created some bittersweet emotions. Taylor, the nation’s No. 111 player and 10th-best cornerback prospect, suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice earlier this season. The follow up surgery is keeping him off the football field for another four or five months. And while the honor of being recognized as one of the best high school football players in America makes him “thank God every day,” he also admits he’s frustrated because the injury won’t allow him to play in the prestigious all-star game.

“It's been pretty tough,” said Taylor, a longtime Michigan commitment who continues to look at Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech. “All you do over the summer is lifting, running and doing all that, being with the team and getting ready for the season. Then it's gone in a second. I've had my family there keep me in good spirits.

“But I'm looking at it in a good way now. I'm taking this as an opportunity to challenge myself. I have to do everything I can to overcome it. My goal is to come back even stronger and once I do step on the field I want to prove to people I haven't lost anything. It's a chance to prove myself again.”

Unfortunately Taylor knows that chance won’t come at the UA Game, though. He will travel to the event and get to spend some time at the practices leading up to the game, but he’s disappointed he won’t get the opportunity to work with high-level coaches and against the best receivers in the country.


“That’s something I’m going to really miss,” he said. “I knew in the past they had Deion Sanders coaching and some other great coaches. I’m still going to try to learn from those guys, but I’ll just have to do it off the field. I was also hoping to challenge myself and see how I can do against some good receivers. Guess, that’ll have to wait until I get to college.”

What uniform he’ll be wearing when he does that is something that is still up in the air.

Taylor still calls himself a Michigan commitment, but he admits Brady Hoke’s uncertain future in Ann Arbor has him looking at Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech. He’ll take official visits to Blacksburg on Oct. 23, Columbus on Nov. 22, and Happy Valley on Nov. 29.

“It's a little shaky up in Ann Arbor,” said Taylor, who committed to the Wolverines in March. “The program isn't where Coach Hoke wants it to be. It's definitely not where the fans want it to be. There's definitely some pressure on him. For me and my family, I want to make sure we have other options, just in case Coach Hoke gets fired, in case something goes terribly wrong this season. We want to make sure we have other options, and that's why I'm taking my officials.”
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Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas and Texas A&M are trying, but it’s going to take a lot to get Penn State defensive tackle commit Adam McLean to change his mind. Plus, James Franklin's ability to spread the Penn State brand in Washington, D.C., was on full display Monday afternoon.

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Help is on the way: ACC 

October, 8, 2014
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Each year on the recruiting trail, schools are met with needs that need to be addressed to shore up depth issues both immediately and down the line. With four months until national signing day for the class of 2015, many teams have addressed and met needs.


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Early Offer: Tough times ahead for UF? 

September, 21, 2014
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Recruiting in the SEC is already difficult, but the difficulty in Gainesville is about to be ratcheted up even more as rival recruiters are already pressuring Florida recruits to reconsider. Plus, it was clear Saturday night that Oregon needs help on the offensive line, but the good news is that help is on the way.

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Video: No. 1 heads to Blacksburg

September, 19, 2014
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National recruiting reporter Gerry Hamilton lists several ESPN 300 recruits who plan to visit Blacksburg for Virginia Tech’s game against Georgia Tech, a group that includes No. 1 overall prospect Josh Sweat.

Best of the visits: ACC

September, 14, 2014
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From Boston College’s upset over No. 9 USC to Virginia’s win over Top 25 Louisville to Virginia Tech picking up a 2016 ESPN Junior 300 quarterback commitment despite the upset loss against East Carolina, prospects took to social media to show just how much fun they had on their trips.

Here is a look at some of the best posts, pictures and reaction from the weekend.

Boston College vs. USC

The scene on Alumni Field Saturday night following Boston College’s 37-31 upset win over No. 9-ranked USC was the talk of recruits in attendance.

ESPN 300 No. 288 Wyatt Knopfke summed up the experience on twitter.



Knopfke also snapped a picture of the Boston College fans storming the field after the win.



For the Eagles, this win is big for helping close out the 2015 class and any hopes Boston College has of pulling the upset for ESPN 300 No. 83 Christian Wilkins (officially visited Stanford over the weekend), but it was bigger when looking ahead to the classes of 2016 and 2017. This is a signature win that Steve Addazio and staff can build upon with future classes on the trail.

Virginia vs. Louisville

The top prospect to make the trip to Charlottesville for the Virginia Cavaliers' upset win over the Louisville Cardinals was ESPN 300 No. 15 and five-star defensive tackle Tim Settle.



“It was exciting,” Settle said. “I was happy to watch them beat Louisville!”

When diving deeper into Settle’s recruitment, he has been on the campuses of Virginia and Virginia Tech this season. The Hokies are in his top five along with Alabama, Florida State, Penn State and Tennessee. This win can only help the Cavaliers stay in the fight for the uber-talented interior prospect.

Virginia Tech vs. East Carolina

While the Hokies would have liked to continue to build momentum on the field after last week’s win over Ohio State, Frank Beamer and staff used the momentum created last week to reel in one of 2016’s top quarterback prospects. ESPN Junior 300 No. 258 Logan Byrd was in Blacksburg Saturday and ended the unofficial visit with a commitment.



Byrd’s visit to Virginia Tech was a big hit for Hokies fans, as #HokieNation showed love to the 6-foot-3, 230-pound quarterback from Georgia throughout the day.



Byrd’s commitment is a big one in 2016 but is also another shot in the arm for the Hokies with next weekend’s official visitor list being headlined by ESPN 300 No. 1 overall Josh Sweat.

Early Commit: QB Byrd to Hokies 

September, 14, 2014
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Saturday's loss in Blacksburg to East Carolina halted Virginia Tech's momentum on the field following its huge road win at Ohio State last week. However, Frank Beamer and staff still capitalized on the recruiting trail, picking up their first 2016 commitment from ESPN Junior 300 signal-caller Logan Byrd.


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ACC's top recruiting visits 

September, 5, 2014
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The second weekend of the season in the ACC will feature a number of unofficial visits featuring two of the Tar Heel states top uncommitted prospects in Shy Tuttle and Emanuel McGirt. The marquee official visit involving an ACC program will take place at Ohio State with the nation's top-ranked prospect set to make a second trip to see the Buckeyes.

1. Shy Tuttle
ESPN 300: No. 31

[+] EnlargeShy Tuttle
Miller Safrit/ESPNShy Tuttle's visit to North Carolina is important as the offensive tackle is set to make a decision on September 26.
The nation's No. 5 defensive tackle will be in Chapel Hill Saturday night for the Tar Heels game against San Diego State. Simply put, this is a huge unofficial visit for Larry Fedora and staff with Tuttle scheduled to announce a decision September 26. Headed into the season, Tennessee was considered the favorite over North Carolina with N.C. State fighting to stay in the mix. Tuttle was on campus again in Knoxville last weekend for the Volunteers' season opener --making Saturday's visit to Chapel Hill that much more important for the Tar Heels. Tuttle will follow up his trip this weekend to North Carolina with a Sept. 20 unofficial visit to N.C. State's game against Presbyterian. There are two factors working in Tennessee's favor in the Tuttle recruitment headed into this weekend. One, the talk of Tuttle and No. 90 Jalen Dalton going to the same college is just that -- talk. Tuttle will make his decision independent of Dalton, so the package deal is more myth than reality at this point. Two, Tuttle has said his mom prefers North Carolina. While that may be the case, Tuttle's circle is more than just his mother, and there is some Tennessee pull within the group. This recruitment is seemingly close between the Volunteers and Tar Heels with all the pressure on Fedora to keep the best of the best at home.


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#SceneAndHeard Lunch Break: Sept. 3 

September, 3, 2014
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ESPN 300 Hines to cut list today

ESPN 300 No. 149 Nyheim Hines will announce his Top 7 at 7 ET tonight. While he's not technically cutting schools from consideration, programs that don't make the Top 7 are essentially out of contention at this point. Among those that are near locks to make the seven are NC State and Duke with North Carolina, West Virginia and Ohio State also good bets. Also in serious contention are Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, Virginia Tech and Virginia. The major factor in the speedster's recruitment is his twin sister, Nyah. Nyah has been offered by NC State as a hurdler. Duke was considered the favorite last spring, but things are certainly pointing to the Wolfpack as the current team to beat with the track offer resting with Nyah.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: Despite losing to Florida State, Oklahoma State could end up being a winner on the recruiting trail because of its effort. Plus, Oregon brought in two key official visitors for its first game of the season and was rewarded with an ESPN 300 commitment, and we continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting news across the country. Today’s offerings: ESPN 300 defensive lineman Darian Roseboro will announce his decision live on ESPN.com Friday, and if things go as expected, it will be a banner day for NC State. Plus, Virginia Tech hosts a cupcake this week, but more importantly it also hosts several elite prospects. And we continue our tour of the top recruiting happenings on social media.


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ACC recruits who fill biggest needs 

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
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RecruitingNation takes a look at the 2015 recruits who most fill the needs of each of the ACC schools.


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video Josh Sweat, the nation’s No. 1 prospect, has lined up all five of his official visits. Sweat said he turned down more than 50 scholarship offers to focus on Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon and Virginia Tech. He also said Texas A&M and Auburn are also still under consideration.


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