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VT Recruiting War Room #11: Defense
by Chris Horne, 1/9/04

Editor's Note: Be sure to check out Chris' new Top 30 Prospects for the State of Virginia, released yesterday, and updated links on our Recruiting Page, where we have added links to the new Top 30 and the Roanoke Times Top 40/50 lists, as well.

Tech has done a great job of filling a big need at cornerback, with commitments from Rod Council, Brandon Flowers, and Theodore Miller. DJ Parker, who got an extra season of experience at Hargrave, will enroll in January 2004. They remain involved with potential corner prospect Damian Sims, however he is being recruited as an athlete who can play on either side of the ball. At safety, they are the clear favorite for Purnell Sturdivant (who could play RB or LB as well), and he would be an awesome addition to the defensive backfield.

With the defensive backfield looking good, Virginia Tech can now concentrate on landing several key linebacker targets and a few more defensive linemen. The Hokies have a great shot (meaning likely final two) with defensive ends Olu Hall and Clint Sintim, and defensive tackle Carl Howard. They are in solid position with Brandon Fanney and Brandon Setzer, and are scheduled to receive an official visit from Marque Hall as well.

At linebacker, Tech is in great shape right now with Hugh D’Imperio, Maurice Reevey, and Andrew Bowman. They will likely be a finalist for Jerod Mayo, however many expect him to go to UVA in the end. Though you never know…VT is Mayo’s fifth and final visit, so it wouldn’t be shocking for Tech to land him. Tech is holding out hope for an official visit from Brian Toal, one of the country’s top two-way players. If they can land an official visit, anything can happen.

With the remaining scholarships, Virginia Tech could land two or three defensive linemen, probably two or three linebackers, and one more defensive back (Sturdivant, with Sims being counted as an athlete). Virginia Tech has built a great foundation for this class already, and are in a good position to wait on these remaining top guys.

The top remaining VT defensive targets – with written offers – look like this…

  • Defensive Ends: Olu Hall, Clint Sintim
  • Defensive Tackles: Emmanuel Dunbar, Brandon Fanney, Marque Hall, Carl Howard, Brandon Setzer
  • Linebackers: Andrew Bowman, Hugh D’Imperio, Jerod Mayo, Maurice Reevey, Brian Toal
  • Safety/Rover: Jamar Adams (soft Michigan commit), Purnell Sturdivant
  • Athletes: John Dunlap, Damian Sims

Official visits set for defensive prospects looks like this…

  • January 23rd: DT Emmanuel Dunbar, LB Jerod Mayo, S/RB Purnell Sturdivant
  • January 31st: LB Hugh D’Imperio, LB Maurice Reevey, DT Marque Hall, DT Brandon Fanney

 

DEFENSIVE ENDS

2004 Losses to Eligibility

2004 Roster

2004 Commitments

Nathaniel Adibi
Cols Colas

Sr. Jim Davis
Sr. Bob Ruff
Jr. Darryl Tapp
So. Noland Burchette
R-Fr. Chris Ellis.

Mike Mangold
William Wall
Brandon Holland

Needs: The Hokies will likely add at least two defensive ends to the mix for 2004. Look for them to sign two, maybe three defensive ends. The commitment of Brandon Holland will not change much in terms of who the Hokies are targeting…I expect Holland to move to offense at Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech added tough and talented Merritt Island HS (FL) DE Mike Mangold. Tech is looking great at the DE position in this year’s class, and they are in great position to land either Olu Hall or Clint Sintim.

Targets: Olu Hall, Clint Sintim

 

DE Commitments – 3

Mike Mangold 6-3, 240, 4.65 Merritt Island (Merritt Island, FL)

The Skinny: Mangold is a big commitment for the Hokies. He is not only athletic, but very energetic and plays with a non-stop motor.

William Wall 6-3, 243, 4.6 HD Woodson (Washington, DC)

The Skinny: Wall was the first player to commit to Virginia Tech on the defensive side of the ball. He possesses the quickness, size, and athleticism similar to great defensive ends of the past. Wall showed his athleticism this year by lining up at wide receiver on many occasions.

Off the field, he scored over 1,000 on his SAT’s and should qualify academically. He needs to complete two English courses before qualifying, and has transferred to Indian River High School (Chesapeake, VA) to complete those courses.

Brandon Holland 6-5, 265, 4.8 Northside (Roanoke, VA)

The Skinny: Holland plays defensive end and tight end for Northside. Though he was recruited as a defensive end by Virginia Tech, it would be no surprise at all to seem him end up somewhere along the offensive line…Brandon has very long arms and can carry much more weight on his frame.

 

DE Top Targets

Olu Hall 6-4, 220, 4.7 Robinson (Fairfax, VA)
Schools: UVA (OFFER), VT (OFFER, OV) lead OSU (OFFER, OV), SYR (OFFER), TN (OFFER), BC (OFFER), CLEM (OFFER), WAKE (OFFER), PUR (OFFER)

The Skinny: Olu appears to have come down from his Virginia Tech official visit high, though the fact that they impressed him so much is a big factor. Every other school will have to at least live up to his experience at Virginia Tech. In the end, I think it comes down to Virginia Tech and UVa, and I think it will be very close to call.

Clint Sintim 6-3, 247, 4.8 Gar-Field (Woodbridge, VA)
Schools: UVA (OFFER, OV 12/13/03), VT (OFFER, OV 01/24/04), MD (OFFER, OV 01/10/04)

The Skinny: This one will very likely come down to UVA and Virginia Tech. UVA has been after him hard from the very beginning, while Virginia Tech was his childhood favorite. UVA likes him as an outside linebacker while Virginia Tech likes him as a defensive end. He currently lists UVA as his leader because of his relationship with the coaches, however also said it may be because they are his only official visit. Fans will have to wait until his visit to Virginia Tech for a clearer picture as to where Clint will go.

 

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

2004 Losses to Eligibility

2004 Roster

2004 Commitments

None

Sr. Kevin Lewis
Sr. Isaac Montgomery
Sr. Jason Lallis
Jr. Tim Sandidge
Jr. Jonathan Lewis
R-Fr. Barry Booker
R-Fr. Kory Robertson
R-Fr. Carlton Powell.

None

Needs: Look for the Hokies to try and land a top defensive tackle prospect in this year’s class, taking one or two in total. Because of last year’s recruits, they will be able to hold out for a top target such as Marque Hall.

Targets: Marque Hall, Emmanuel Dunbar, Brandon Fanney, Carl Howard, Brandon Setzer

 

DT Commitments

None

DT Targets

Marque Hall 6-5, 305 Forest Hills (Marshville, NC)
Schools: NCSU (OFFER, OV), SC (OFFER, OV 01/10/04), TN (OFFER, OV 01/24/04), UNC (OFFER, OV 01/17/04), VT (OFFER, OV 01/31/04)

The Skinny: Marque will make his gauntlet of official visits this month. Virginia Tech will get a visit, however I think in the end he stays in-state. Just my feeling right now.

Emmanuel Dunbar 6-4, 270 Deerfield Beach (FL)
Schools: VT (OFFER, OV 01/24/04), OK (OFFER, OV 01/17/04), MIA (OFFER), FSU (OFFER, OV 01/31/04), NCSU (OFFER, OV 12/06/03)

The Skinny: I haven’t been able to reach Emmanuel since his NC State visit, but reportedly he had a great time. I still believe Emmanuel will end up choosing Florida State. Virginia Tech is in better shape with some other D-Line prospects.

Brandon Fanney 6-5, 261 Morristown (Morristown-Hamblen West)
Schools: BAMA (OFFER, OV 01/10/04), MTSU (OFFER, OV 01/17/04), VT (OFFER, OV 01/31/04), UVA (OFFER, OV 01/24/03)

The Skinny: Brandon indicated he is wide open and will wait to make all of his official visits before announcing his decision. He has some work to do in the classroom, so there are some academic concerns, however he is a very talented prospect who really blossomed as a senior. He accounted for 124 tackles and 17 sacks his senior year.

Carl Howard 6-6, 290 Matawan (Matawan, NJ)
Schools: VT (OFFER, OV 01/24/04), NCSU (OFFER, OV 01/17/04), MD (OFFER, OV 12/20/03), RUT (OFFER, OV 12/06/03)

The Skinny: Howard is one of Virginia Tech’s top targets, as they were one of the first to offer him. He would be an excellent addition to the Hokies' defensive tackle position. Tech is in good shape here, and will receive an official visit on January 23-25.

Brandon Setzer 6-4, 280 Hargrave Military Academy
Schools: NCSU (OFFER), UNC (OFFER), TN (OFFER, OV 12/13/03), VT (OFFER, OV 12/06/03)

The Skinny: Not sure where Brandon is leaning right now. He will not enroll anywhere in January of 2004 because he has some work to do to qualify, so he may schedule more visits to take in January.

 

LINEBACKERS

2004 Losses to Eligibility

2004 Roster

2004 Commitments

Vegas Robinson

Sr. Mikal Baaqee
Sr. Brandon Manning
Sr. Chad Cooper
Jr. Jordan Trott
Jr. Blake Warren
Jr. James Anderson
So. Aaron Rouse
R-Fr. Mike Brown
R-Fr. Xavier Adibi
R-Fr. Vince Hall
T-Fr. Brett Warren (Jan. '04)

None

Needs: Virginia Tech’s linebacker haul last year was one of the better ones in the country, as Adibi and Hall were two of the top five players in the state, and Brown’s stock soared towards the end of the recruiting process. Like with the defensive tackles, the Hokies will be able to wait on the better prospects until the end because of last year’s class, and they are in with some good ones.

Targets: Brian Toal, Jerod Mayo, Andrew Bowman, Hugh D’Imperio, Maurice Reevey,

Former target Antonio Reynolds verbaled to Tennessee.

LB Commitments

None

LB Top Targets

Brian Toal 6-2, 227, 4.5 Don Bosco Prep (Wykoff, NJ)
Schools: BC (OFFER, OV 12/13/03), MIA (OFFER. OV 12/20/03) lead IOWA (OFFER), MICH (OFFER), ND (OFFER), PSU (OFFER), TN (OFFER), VT (OFFER)

The Skinny: Brian is considering which, if any, visits he will make in the month of January. He has three allotted visits remaining. He said there is a "strong" possibility Virginia Tech and Tennessee will get visits, but wasn’t 100 percent sure. Right now, I think he likes BC over Miami but is still wondering if there are any other schools that could impress him.

Jerod Mayo 6-2, 210, 4.68 Kecoughtan (Hampton, VA)
UVA (OFFER, OV 12/12/03), VT (OFFER, OV 01/24/04), NCSU (OFFER, OV 12/05/03), TN (OFFER, OV 01/17/04) lead PUR (OFFER, OV 12/20/04)

The Skinny: Jerod will make all five official visits before announcing his decision. Right now, however, I think Virginia is the team to beat.

Andrew Bowman 6-1, 230, 4.6 Hermitage (Richmond, VA)
Schools: TN (OFFER, OV 11/22/03), UVA (OFFER, OV 11/29/03), VT (OFFER, OV 12/13/03) lead PUR (OFFER, OV 12/06/03)

The Skinny: Andrew will not make his scheduled trip to UNC this weekend. He will decide among UVA, Virginia Tech, and Tennessee, although I feel one of the two in-state programs will get him. It’s too close to call right now.

Hugh D’Imperio 6-5, 230, 4.6 Washington Township (Sewell, NJ)
Schools: MSU (OFFER, OV 12/13/03), VT (OFFER, OV, 01/31/03) lead MIN (OFFER, OV 01/24/04), TN (OFFER, OV 01/17/04), UNC (OFFER, OV 01/10/04)

The Skinny: Hugh had a great time on his visit to Michigan State, despite the students not being on campus. He says Virginia Tech is his other "main" visit and seems like he’s really looking forward to it. Of course Tennessee, Minnesota, and/or UNC could all jump into the mix with Michigan State and Virginia Tech, however right now it looks like a two-team race. An obvious statement, but a lot will depend on how Hugh feels on his official visit to Virginia Tech. All else appears equal between MSU and VT.

Maurice Reevey 6-4, 225, 4.6 Fork Union Military Academy
Schools: CLEM (01/10/04), PITT (OFFER, OV 12/13/03), VT (OFFER, OV 01/31/04), WVU (OFFER, OV 12/06/03)

The Skinny: Reevey has set four official visits, with Virginia Tech receiving one on January 31st. The Hokies are at or near the top of his list, however it may be close as to whether he will qualify. Maurice is repeating his senior year this year.

 

CORNERBACKS

2004 Losses to Eligibility

2004 Roster

2004 Commitments

Garnell Wilds
(Possibly DeAngelo Hall)

Sr. DeAngelo Hall
Sr. Vincent Fuller
Sr. Eric Green
So. Brian McPherson
(R-Fr. Michael Hinton)
R-Fr. Roland Minor

Rod Council
Brandon Flowers
Theodore Miller

Needs: DJ Parker is attending Hargrave and will join Tech in January of 2004. Recently, it seems cornerback has become a major need for Tech, and they now have four cornerback commitments for the 2004 class – Parker, Theodore Miller, Brandon Flowers, and Rod Council.

Targets: none

CB Commitments – 3

Rod Council 5-11, 175, 4.5 West Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)

The Skinny: Council is one of the top cornerbacks in North Carolina and is a great student, as well. He excels in coverage ability and can change directions quickly. He chose the Hokies over Notre Dame, Michigan, and Virginia, all of whom received official visits, and he had offers from Syracuse, Maryland, and Clemson, as well.

Brandon Flowers 6-1, 195, 4.5 Hargrave Military Academy

The Skinny: Brandon chose Virginia Tech over Tennessee, Minnesota, and Maryland. He will bring versatility to the defensive backfield, as he can play either cornerback or safety if needed. He would like to enroll in January, however is awaiting his most recent SAT score.

Theodore Miller 6-2, 170, 4.5 HD Woodson (Washington, DC)

The Skinny: Miller is the bigger cornerback prospect the Hokies may be moving towards. He is a tremendous athlete, as Woodson defensive coordinator Wayne Johnson calls him "probably the most athletic corner I've ever coached." Miller has a 38" vertical leap. Off the field, he scored over 1,000 on his SAT’s and should easily qualify academically.

CB Top Targets

None.

SAFETIES/ROVERS

2004 Losses to Eligibility

2004 Roster

2004 Commitments

ROV Michael Crawford

Free Safety:
Sr. Mike Daniels
Jr. Jimmy Williams
R-Fr. Corey Gordon.
Rover:
Sr. James Griffin
Jr. Cary Wade.

None

Needs: Tech needs to add at least one top prospect at rover/safety, and Lake Taylor’s Purnell Sturdivant would be a perfect fit. Sturdivant plays linebacker in high school, but has the speed (4.4) to play in the defensive backfield. The Hokies will likely sign at least one rover/strong safety and one free safety prospect.

Targets: Jamar Adams, Purnell Sturdivant

Safety/Rover Commitments

None

Safety/Rover Targets

Jamar Adams 6-3, 200, 4.4 Butler (Charlotte, NC)
Schools: MICH (OFFER, OV 09/05/03, Verbal) leads FSU (OFFER, OV 01/24/04), UCLA (OFFER), UNC (OFFER, OV 01/10/04), VT (OFFER)

The Skinny: Adams has not set up an official visit with Tech just yet. He is going to take more official visits but remains committed to Michigan. In my opinion, Florida State or even UNC would be the choice if he de-commits from Michigan. VT is a long shot right now.

Purnell Sturdivant 5-11, 225, 4.4 Lake Taylor (Norfolk, VA)
Schools: VT (OFFER, OV 01/24/04) leads NCSU (OFFER, OV)

The Skinny: Purnell set his official visit to VT for January 9-11th. The Hokies are the clear favorite, and Sturdivant would be an excellent addition to the class. NC State will be the only other school he makes an official visit to, but Purnell seems set on signing with Virginia Tech right now.

Athletes

John Dunlap 6-3, 215, 4.55 Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Hollywood, FL)
Schools: MIA (OFFER, OV 01/17/04) leads FL (OFFER, OV), FSU (OFFER), NCSU (OFFER, OV 12/06/03), VT (OFFER)

The Skinny: I would be very surprised if Dunlap goes anywhere outside of Florida, with Miami as the heavy favorite. He has not rescheduled his official visit to Virginia Tech, who is a long shot right now.

Damian Sims 5-10, 180, 4.5 John I Leonard (Greenacres, FL)
Schools: KSU (OFFER, OV 12/20/03), VT (OFFER, OV 01/31/04) lead FSU (no offer), MISS (OFFER, OV 01/10/04), S FL (OFFER),

The Skinny: Damian is considering both Virginia Tech and Kansas State heavily right now, so those are the current leaders. He is looking forward to his visit to Virginia Tech very much. He enjoyed his trip to Kansas State, but Virginia Tech might be hard to beat.

 

Jumbo Athletes

JATH Commitments - 1

Sam Wheeler 6-4, 235, 4.7 Blacksburg (Blacksburg, VA)

The Skinny: Wheeler plays fullback and inside linebacker for Coach David Crist. He may attend Hargrave or Fork Union next year to further develop his football skills before getting to Virginia Tech. He could contribute at a number of different positions on the next level because of his size, strength, and athleticism. A good basketball player as well.


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