NCF On The Trail: Virginia Tech Hokies

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.

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
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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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In every class there are must-get recruits for schools. They can be a top uncommitted prospect or even a pledge who is essential to keep in the fold.

Here are the picks for the teams in the ACC, with the prospect's overall ranking.


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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: The word freak purposely doesn't get thrown around a lot in recruiting circles, because it can quickly become cliché. But after dominating during the SPARQ testing Tuesday, there should be no problem giving that label to five-star defensive end Josh Sweat. Plus, an Alabama commitment made the play of the day with a one-handed catch.


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The Opening presented by Nike Football will take place July 7-10 at Nike World Headquarters in Oregon, with 162 of the nation's top high school football prospects set to compete. With four days of dynamic training, coaching and competition among the best of the best, The Opening is the perfect chance for recruits in the Class of 2015 to make big jumps and shine on the national stage.

Here are five prospects with the most to gain at the prestigious event:


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Ducks renew hunt for future QB 

June, 20, 2014
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Signing a top quarterback remains at the top of the list for the Oregon Ducks.

After first losing out to Texas A&M on five-star Kyler Murray, the top quarterback on the board, the Ducks went after former Notre Dame commit Blake Barnett. While it appeared as if Oregon had a very good chance to land the Under Armour All-America selection, Barnett committed to Alabama on Wednesday in what was another hit at the position for the Ducks.

The Ducks, however, wasted little time moving on to the next quarterback on the board.


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College coaches and recruits are always quick to proclaim their school as the best at developing certain positions. Whether it’s DBU or Linebacker U, recruits have a definite perception of which school stands out at their position.

Prospects from across the country were polled on which school has been the best at developing each position over the past 10 years. Did your school make the list?


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Virginia Tech associate head coach Shane Beamer is widely recognized as one of the top assistant coaches in college football. With stops at Mississippi State and South Carolina before returning to his alma mater in 2011, Beamer has a decade of recruiting experience in the most talented region in the country.

Beamer recently chatted with RecruitingNation on all things Hokies and the future of recruiting.

[+] EnlargeShane Beamer
Lee Coleman/Icon SMIVirginia Tech assistant Shane Beamer has several good points about an early signing period and early official visits for college football recruiting.
Virginia Tech is about to break ground on a new, $21 million indoor practice facility. How big will the addition be for the Hokies football program in what has become an “arms race”?

Shane Beamer: You know, it will be huge. It’s already paying dividends and we haven’t even got far in the process (building it) yet. When the pictures first got out of what the indoor facility was going to look like, I was a little bit surprised by all the positive reactions from the recruits. I mean, I knew it would be big, but it was an even bigger and better reaction from high school prospects than I imagined. It will be huge. It will be a beautiful building, a credit to our administration and Hokie nation to come up with the resources to build it. It will also help other sports as well. One thing that is a positive about Virginia Tech is how easy it is to get around, and how everything from an athletic standpoint is close together. The football stadium, the academic center, the locker room, the dorm the guys live in and now the indoor facility -- guys don’t have to be driving all over campus. This is another key piece to the puzzle for us.

Michael Vick is one of the rare players who has stood the test of time with the youth of America. Despite leaving Virginia Tech in 2000, he remains a topic for top prospects. What is it about Vick that has kept him in the minds of prospects?

SB: He’s definitely one that has stood the test of time. I think there are a few reasons. One, the national championship game. A lot of teams talk about the goal being to play for a national championship. Well, we did it. Mike was the one that had a big hand in taking us there. He really kind of changed the quarterback position, in my mind, in both college and the NFL. What he did in the national championship game against Florida State, coaches are still taking about -- college coaches, high school coaches and prospects. There are a lot of guys in the NFL with Virginia Tech ties such as Brandon Flowers, Kam Chancellor, DeAngelo Hall, Eddie Royal and I could go on and on, but Mike is one that even though he left in 2000 still carries a big name.

If one begins naming the top programs in terms of player development, Virginia Tech is near the top. What do you guys do as a staff that has led to the success in this area?

SB: Number one, I think we do a really good job evaluating. You are going to have misses like any other school, but we are very thorough in our evaluation process. I know some other schools, the position coach walks into a high school, offers a kid a scholarship and that’s it. We do it a little different. If we offer a kid a scholarship, our entire staff has watched the kid on video, including our head coach, and the entire staff has signed off on a prospect. When we get them here, I like to think that we do a good job coaching and developing the players. We have a staff with a system that has been in place, and we have a lot of continuity on the staff. We also have a great strength and conditioning program, too. Our coach, Mike Gentry, has been here since 1987 and is nationally known and nationally respected as one of the best, if not the best strength coach in the country. You put all those combinations together and I think it equals success in developing players on and off the field.

What are the most pressing needs in the 2015 class for the Hokies?

SB: I think the biggest need for us is on the defensive line. We need some playmakers at the end position that can rush the passer. We have had a lot of those guys here at Virginia Tech, such as Cornell Brown to Corey Moore to Jason Worilds to Darryl Tapp and James Gayle just graduated. There have been a lot of them that has kind of made our defense go, and there are some great ones out there this year. We need that next round of guys as pass rushers. Then the offensive line, I believe we have four or five seniors graduating this year. We signed a good group last fall, but we need to put another class on top of that as well.

The sentiment is growing for an early signing period in college football. Has the staff sat down and talked about the possibility? What are your thoughts on the subject?

SB: We have talked about it a little bit as a staff. Not too much in depth because there is only so much you can do, but we have talked about it just to be sure we get our thoughts about it as a group. For me, I would be for it. For one, if a guy knows where he wants to go to school -- you hear guys all the time that commit say they know where they want to go to school and concentrate on their senior year academically and athletically -- then that would be an opportunity for them to sign and do that. I think from a recruiting standpoint, it would clear up some things. If you have a guy that is committed to you but he doesn’t want to sign early, then he is probably not committed to you. As coaches it would allow us to know which of these commits is really solid and which ones are not -- which positions do we need to recruit at because some guys may not be as solid as we think. I think from a financial standpoint, it would alleviate some costs of having to go see committed guys every single week that are committed to you. Even though guys are committed, you still have to go see guys every week because you know other people are still recruiting the player.

People say that if you have an early period, then you have to change the recruiting calendar around because of official visits earlier and such, but I don’t think so. I don’t think you need to change the recruiting calendar at all, maybe just change and allow for an official visit during their junior year. If we had the same calendar we had last year and had an early signing period in August or September, we would have had 20 guys sign early. The process is sped up so much with kids taking visits to campuses early -- some kids have been on campuses seven or eight times by their senior year. I would be for it. Are there negatives? Sure there are, but there is going to be in anything.

If not an early signing period, what are your thoughts on the NCAA allowing prospects to make official visits during the spring of junior year?

SB: To be able to get the family members on campus I think would be big. To be able to get mom and dad or whoever on campus for an official visit -- to come and see your campus would be big. We have had prospects come on campus, but maybe with their teammate or friend or what have you, but not with their parents. ... I think it would be great to have families on campus, spend more time on your campus and see everything they can’t see on an unofficial visit.

Notebook: Virginia Tech camp 

June, 9, 2014
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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.


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Clemson is up to No. 4 in the latest ESPN Recruiting Nation class rankings, and a big reason why is the way the Tigers have emphasized getting athletes out of Tampa and the entire West Coast of Florida.

So far for the 2015 class, Clemson has commitments from two players in Tampa, and both are highly rated at their positions -- ESPN 300 athlete Deon Cain and ESPN 300 offensive tackle Jake Fruhmorgen. That should not come as a surprise considering the inroads the Tigers have made in this area of the state. Clemson has signed more players from the West Coast of Florida under Dabo Swinney than it has from South Florida, often regarded as one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the entire nation.

The biggest name, of course, is Sammy Watkins out of Fort Myers, about two hours south of Tampa. Watkins signed in 2011, and that decision helped bolster the Tigers' efforts in that area of the state. In his first two recruiting classes, Swinney signed zero players from the West Coast of Florida. Since then, he has signed five -- with two more commitments for next year. Another player in Tampa, Ray-Ray McCloud III, is scheduled to visit Clemson this month, though he is reportedly a Florida lean.

Clemson is not the only program doing well in the Tampa area. Miami, at No. 10 in the latest rankings, has picked up four commitments from there, including ESPN 300 players Bowman Archibald and Dwayne Lawson. The significance of this should not be understated. While Miami was under the dark NCAA investigation cloud, it was difficult for the coaching staff to convince players from the West Coast to come down to campus for a visit. Given all the uncertainty, many recruits felt it was not worth the drive.

As proof, Miami signed zero players from the West Coast of Florida in 2013 and 2014. This has traditionally been an area where Miami has been able to sign talent, so to get back into the Tampa mix has to be encouraging for Al Golden and his staff.

Two other ACC schools have commitments from the West Coast area, too: Boston College and Virginia Tech.

Top five recruiting jobs: ACC 

May, 21, 2014
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In the ACC, three programs -- Florida State, Miami and Clemson -- are far and away superior from a recruiting standpoint. Florida State and Miami are on another level from even Clemson due to the fact that they sit in the most talented state in the country, and with a national appeal that is match by only a few.

After the top three, there are a number of programs that could be argued to round out the top five, but a pair of programs from neighboring states get the nod in the current landscape.

[+] EnlargeJimbo Fisher
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY SportsJimbo Fisher led Florida State to the BCS title.
1. Florida State Seminoles
Proximity to out-of-state talent: FSU is the closest major university to parts of talent-rich South Georgia, and is 245 miles from Mobile, Alabama, 270 miles from Atlanta, 385 miles from New Orleans, 710 miles from Houston and 865 miles from Washington.


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ACC recruiting scorecard

May, 21, 2014
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Clemson has had a big week on the recruiting trail, as the Tigers picked up the nation's No. 2 tight end, Garrett Williams on Monday. With that, we figured now is as good of a time as any to compile an ACC recruiting scorecard.

Below you will find each ACC team, its number of commitments and its most recent recruiting news. There's obviously a ways to go between now and national signing day on Feb. 4, 2015, but here's a look at where everyone in the league currently stands.

(Note: ESPN has only ranked the top 15 recruiting classes for 2015.)

Boston College
Current commitments: 9
Spotlight: The highlight of the Eagles' class is No. 7 tight end-H Jakeb Burt, a 6-foot-5, 238-pound three-star prospect. BC’s other big commits include three-star, No. 35 cornerback Lukas Denis and three-star, No. 52 offensive tackle Anthony Palazzolo.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Clemson
Current commitments: 16
Spotlight: The Tigers' best recruit is five-star tackle Mitch Hyatt, the nation's No. 7 overall player and the highest-ranked offensive lineman to commit to the program in the 10 years ESPN has ranked players. Clemson has nine four-star commitments as well, with Williams and three other offensive linemen among them.
ESPN 300 commitments: 7
ESPN rank: 5

Duke
Current commitments: 3
Spotlight: The Blue Devils have just three commitments, but two of them are three-star players who are nationally ranked at their positions: No. 39 defensive tackle Brandon Boyce and No. 37 defensive end Zach Morris.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Florida State
Current commitments: 11
Spotlight: The Seminoles have hauled in No. 25 overall player Derwin James Jr., the nation's top safety. They also scored a major win by beating out in-state rivals Florida and Miami to get No. 5 cornerback Tyrek Cole. Florida State has six four-star players among its 11 commitments.
ESPN 300 commitments: 4
ESPN rank: 7

Georgia Tech
Current commitments: 3
Spotlight: No. 25 athlete Jaylend Ratliffe highlights this haul for the Yellow Jackets. The 6-1, 200-pound four-star is ranked as the No. 278 overall player in the nation, flashing tremendous athleticism as a left-handed quarterback at the prep level.
ESPN 300 commitments: 1

Louisville
Current commitments: 1
Spotlight: Bobby Petrino's only commit in his first class with the Cardinals is 6-foot, 205-pound safety T.J. Jallow.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Miami
Current commitments: 11
Spotlight: No. 5 running back Dexter Williams has been the biggest get for the Hurricanes, as they stole him out of Gator Country. Miami also boasts No. 5 tight end-Y Bowman Archibald and No. 4 dual-threat quarterback Dwayne Lawson, two of seven four-star commitments for the program so far.
ESPN 300 commitments: 5
ESPN rank: 11

North Carolina
Current commitments: 9
Spotlight: The Tar Heels have landed the nation’s No. 3 tight end-H in ESPN 300 prospect Carl Tucker, a four-star recruit and the nation's No. 260 overall player. They have landed two other four-star prospects: No. 31 offensive tackle Mason Veal and No. 22 safety Ronnie Harrison.
ESPN 300 commitments: 1

NC State
Current commitments: 4
Spotlight: Three of the Wolfpack's four commitments have come from within the state, with the lone exception being wide receiver Freddie Phillips.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Pitt
Current commitments: 3
Spotlight: The Panthers have just three commitments for this class, but two of them are three-star players who are nationally ranked at their positions: No. 27 outside linebacker Kevin Givens and No. 42 offensive guard Alex Paulina.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Syracuse
Current commitments: 7
Spotlight: The Orange's run game should look pretty good down the road: Five of their seven current commitments are either offensive linemen or running backs, with the top three prospects coming on the offensive line, and two of them currently prep teammates: tackle Colin Byrne and guard Samuel Clausman.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Virginia
Current commitments: 3
Spotlight: The Cavaliers' 2015 recruiting class doesn't quite stack up to its 2014 haul as of now, but among their three prospects are nationally ranked, three-star players: No. 22 pocket-passing quarterback Nick Johns and No. 28 safety Juan Thornhill.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Virginia Tech
Current commitments: 4
Spotlight: The Hokies' class is also short on numbers but features three nationally ranked, three-star prospects: No. 39 athlete Mook Reynolds, No. 29 cornerback DuWayne Johnson and No. 37 defensive tackle Harry Lewis.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0

Wake Forest
Current commitments: 2
Spotlight: Dave Clawson's first full class currently has two players: defensive end Paris Black and offensive tackle T.J. Haney.
ESPN 300 commitments: 0
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The 2014 NFL draft showed just how important defensive linemen could be to any team. The Houstan Texans chose defensive end Jadeveon Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and 21 other defensive linemen were selected in the first four rounds.

That position group is also highly sought after at the college level, which is why coaches from around the country will be spending plenty of time in the state of Virginia.

With five ESPN 300 defensive linemen and a few others of note, Virginia is the home to some potential game-changers at the next level.


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