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Sunday, October 6, 2013
Hokies continue to build defense

By Jared Shanker

Virginia Tech has the best defense in the ACC, and it is in the conversation for the nation's best unit in 2013.

With recruiting pickups like Ricky Walker, the Hokies are positioned to remain at the top for the foreseeable future, too.

Walker, a four-star defensive tackle from Hampton (Va.) Bethel, committed to Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech on Sunday while on an official visit. He announced his commitment on Twitter, and it was confirmed by the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press.

I am officially committed to VIRGINIA TECH ! #Hokies

— Ricky Lake ! (@RickGoGetEmWalk) October 6, 2013

I want take this time to appreciate all of the coaches that took their time recruiting me . This was truly a blessing ! Humble experience

— Ricky Lake ! (@RickGoGetEmWalk) October 6, 2013

It is a much-needed addition on a few fronts for Virginia Tech. First and foremost, Walker is the highest-rated defensive high school commitment for the Hokies. The 6-foot-2, 270-pound defensive tackle is ranked No. 25 at his position, and while he stands to add some weight once he gets into a college strength program, he is still a strong run defender at his current weight. Walker is also a disruptive interior rusher on passing downs, which will bring an added dimension to the Hokies' third-down defense.

Additionally, the Hokies needed to make a splash in the state of Virginia. The rival Cavaliers and outside programs have beat the Hokies for the state's elite prospects, including Cavs commits Quin Blanding and Andrew Brown -- two five-star prospects. Five-star Da'Shawn Hand was also considered a Virginia Tech lean before eliminating the Hokies a few months ago. Walker, No. 10 in Virginia, is the team's highest-rated in-state verbal pledge.

As the favorites for defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes), the Hokies could end up finishing well with Virginia recruits in 2014. And with Walker in the fold as commit No. 21, Beamer can put more of a focus on securing Nnadi and closing out a class that is looking to break into the Top 25 of the rankings.