NCF On The Trail: Jaylen Bradshaw

Virginia Tech has not put up as many wins as it has wanted over the last several seasons as coach Frank Beamer has come under increasing scrutiny, raising the level of negative recruiting the Hokies have encountered along the trail.

Yet Virginia Tech still finished with a class ranked in the Top 25 in the ESPN RecruitingNation rankings, holding on to No. 25 despite missing on some of the top prospects in its state. While that was a disappointment, Virginia Tech has to be pleased with the group it signed given the circumstances.

“People concentrate on the moment Virginia Tech was 5-6,” said recruiting coordinator Bryan Stinespring, referring to this past season. “We’re more conscious of the fact that we won our final game and our bowl game and finished 7-6, and we’re excited about the way we finished the season and what the future holds, and that 80 percent of our points were scored by freshmen. The future is bright and our track record, our consistency, how we do things does mean a lot to these particular young men and that means a lot to us.”

There is little doubt that the pressure is on Beamer and his staff to get back into contention for the Coastal Division title 2015. There already is reason for optimism given the strong performance of the 2014 freshman class. Stinespring sees many similarities with the 2015 class just signed, which should also provide hope if last year is used as a blueprint.

“It’s very similar because the strength of this class is the entirety of the group,” Stinespring said. “We played a bunch of guys last year, but we were still able to redshirt guys like Vinny Mihota who can step in and play this year or Jaylen Bradshaw, there’s a group still waiting and anxious to get on the field, and I feel the same way about this class. There’s going to be guys to step on field and play right away, and there’s going to be guys we can redshirt and get bigger, get a little stronger.”

Last year, Virginia Tech had an influx of freshmen make plays at the skill positions. But this year, the Hokies are going to have to rely on offensive and defensive linemen to come in and play. Stinespring anticipates at least two defensive ends who can play right away. That does not count their top recruit, Tim Settle, a defensive tackle who will be given an opportunity.

Offensive line has the more immediate need, considering this has been a weak spot for three seasons. Last year, Virginia Tech got hit with a rash of injuries, depleting a group that already was lacking quality depth. Already, top offensive linemen Austin Clark and Tyrell Smith are enrolled and available to participate in spring practice.

Stinespring said guard Kyle Chung will not be available for spring, though they hope Jonathan McLaughlin and Braxton Pfaff can contribute.

“We need to get the guys we have back healthy, we need to get a couple of these redshirts that didn’t play, get them out there and we need to get Austin Clark, Tyrell Smith, Mike Arnold, and we’ve got to go,” Stinespring said. “It’s a combination of not just who’s coming, but who’s here also to get them healthy.”

Virginia Tech must use that combination not only on the offensive line but across its team. The Hokies took injury hits everywhere, losing three running backs, its top defensive tackle, one of its best cornerbacks and several others as well.

If they can stay healthy and mature the way they think they can, Virginia Tech has a chance to get back to its winning ways.

“I think our kids are hungry,” Stinespring said. “It was important to win that bowl game and get that momentum. We finished up with a good recruiting class and now getting into spring practice, I like the feeling that we have.”

The Early Offer: Florida’s best meet 

September, 4, 2013
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Plenty of elite talent will be on hand for Saturday’s Florida-Miami game, but Will Muschamp knows it’ll take more than one Saturday to make a difference; Virginia, Virginia Tech and Ohio State recruits showcased on national broadcast, and 2016 running back target Robert Washington taking a national tour this fall.

Sunshine State showdown
Everybody who is anybody in the Florida recruiting world will be at Saturday’s Florida-Miami game. Miami is going to have a large group of visitors, including ESPN 300 prospects Dalvin Cook, Joe Yearby, Travis Rudolph, KC McDermott and Anthony Moten. The Canes will also be hosting four-star receiver Braxton Berrios on an official visit. Berrios was at Oregon this past weekend, and UM is right in the thick of things with him. Miami will also host Torrance Gibson, Jordan Scarlett, Devante Peete, Devonarie Clarington and CeCe Jefferson, who all rank in the top 10 of Florida for the 2015 class. While the game and atmosphere certainly will make an impression, Florida coach Will Muschamp knows it will take more than that to reel in the elite players. “I would hope that a recruit isn’t making a decision about where they go to school on who wins a specific game,” Muschamp said. “While a recruit might have an emotional swing, based on the outcome of any game, they should consider what the best fit is for them academically, athletically, socially and for their future. We feel strongly that what we have to offer there is bigger than just one Saturday.”

Jaylen Bradshaw accepts offer from VT

June, 6, 2013
Wide receiver Jaylen Bradshaw (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith) committed Wednesday to play for his longtime favorite, the Virginia Tech Hokies, according to the Roanoke Times. He earned a scholarship offer Sunday following his performance at VT's camp.

"I was telling my mom, I refuse to leave this camp without an offer," he said. "So I mean, I went there with a purpose and did what I had to do and it paid off."

Campbell, Charlotte, Massachusetts and Towson were his other scholarship offers. James Madison and Virginia, among others, also recruited the 6-foot-1, 166-pound receiver.

Bradshaw, the cousin of former University of Washington and Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Reggie Williams, caught 35 passes for 720 yards (20.6 average) and 3 touchdowns during his junior campaign.

He registered an electronically timed 4.81 40-yard dash, 4.31 20-yard shuttle, 38.8-inch vertical, 29.5-foot power throw and 81.72 SPARQ this offseason on the Nike combine circuit.

Virginia Tech now has 10 pledges, including seven from in-state prospects.