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VT Recruiting War Room #13: Defense
by Chris Horne, 1/22/04

With offense all but taken care of, Virginia Tech can focus the majority of their recruiting efforts on the defensive side of the ball. The next big weekend starts Friday, as Virginia Tech hosts top linebacker targets Hugh D’Imperio, Jerod Mayo, and Maurice Reevey. Top rover target Purnell Sturdivant and defensive tackle Carl Howard make their official visits, as do top offensive targets Eddie Royal and Derrick McPhearson (RB Commit Branden Ore is scheduled to make a visit as well).

Of the remaining defensive prospects, Tech has at least a solid chance with all except for Brian Toal, who has not yet decided if he will make a fifth official visit. Virginia Tech is hoping to cap off a terrific recruiting class with some outstanding prospects on defense, and they are in position to do just that.

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

  • Defensive Ends: Olu Hall, Clint Sintim
  • Defensive Tackles: Marque Hall, Carl Howard
  • Linebackers: Hugh D’Imperio, Jerod Mayo, Maurice Reevey, Brian Toal
  • Safety/Rover: Purnell Sturdivant

Official visits set for defensive prospects looks like this…

  • January 23rd: LB Hugh D’Imperio, DT Carl Howard, LB Jerod Mayo, LB Maurice Reevey, S/RB Purnell Sturdivant
  • January 31st: DT Marque Hall, Ath Hilton Pitts, CB Damian Sims, DE Clint Sintim

 

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. The athletic William Wall will attend prep school next Fall, and hopes to enroll at Virginia Tech in January 2005. 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 making an official visit to the University of Florida this weekend, something that is not good news for the Hokies. Sources say he has re-affirmed his commitment to Tech, however it’s tough to be comfortable with that news since he has not yet been to Florida. We’ll see after this weekend.

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.

Reportedly, William will have to attend prep school before enrolling at Virginia Tech. Hargrave Military Academy is the likely destination.

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, OV 01/31/04), VT (OFFER, OV 12/13/03) lead NCSU (OFFER, OV 01/24/04), OSU (OFFER, OV 01/10/04), PUR (OFFER, OV 01/17/04)

The Skinny: Hall admitted he flip-flops on a weekly basis on whether or not he will stay in-state or if he will go out-of-state. My gut feeling is that he stays in-state. If he does, both Virginia Tech and UVA have a great chance. He had an excellent visit to VT and is very familiar with the system. He has developed a great relationship with Al Golden of Virginia, and still has the Virginia visit to take. Right now, it’s too close to call.

Clint Sintim 6-3, 247, 4.8 Gar-Field (Woodbridge, VA)
Schools: UVA (OFFER, OV 12/13/03) leads VT (OFFER, OV 01/31/04)

The Skinny: It appears that Clint would like to make an official visit to Virginia Tech before making his decision…he has rescheduled the trip to Blacksburg for January 31st. His father prefers UVA right now, and I think that will be a big factor in his final decision.

 

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 or Carl Howard.

Targets: Marque Hall, Carl Howard

 

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 all five official visits, which is great news for Virginia Tech. Marque is not really letting on who his favorite school is, so it appears Tech has as good of a shot as any right now.

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

The Skinny: NC State set the standard for Virginia Tech to meet this weekend. Howard will decide between those two. Tech has been in on Howard since last spring (if not longer), and he would be an excellent addition to the D-line.

 

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)

Andrew Bowman

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. They are off to a great start with hard-hitting Hermitage star Andrew Bowman.

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

 

LB Commitments – 1

Andrew Bowman 6-1, 230, 4.6 Hermitage (Richmond, VA)

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), TN (OFFER, OV 01/17/04) lead ND (OFFER), PSU (OFFER, OV 01/24/04), VT (OFFER)

The Skinny: Virginia Tech is still hanging around here, but the Hokies could not land one of his first four official visits. Penn State is up next for one of the most talented players in the country. Toal is uncertain if he will take all five visits and will decide if he will or not following this weekend. If he does, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame are the likely possibilities. Right now, Virginia Tech is a long shot.

Jerod Mayo 6-2, 210, 4.68 Kecoughtan (Hampton, VA)
Schools: NCSU (OFFER, OV 12/06/03), TN (OFFER, OV 01/17/03), UVA (OFFER, OV 12/13/03), VT (OFFER, OV 01/24/04) lead PUR (OFFER, 12/20/03),

The Skinny: Though I feel Jerod will end up choosing UVA in the end, it’s going to be tough. Jerod makes an official visit to Virginia Tech this weekend, and I wouldn’t by any means consider the Hokies to be a long shot here. NC State and Tennessee are in the mix as well, although I do think Jerod stays in-state.

What may be hurting UVA right now is a good, but not great, official visit last month. But Jerod really liked the Cavaliers quite a bit heading into his visits, which is why I think the Cavaliers land him…but in a close one.

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

The Skinny: Hugh is down to just three schools. Virginia Tech is his final official visit, and it will take place this weekend. The main factor will be how comfortable he feels on his official visits, so we’ll see how he feels after this weekend.

Maurice Reevey 6-4, 225, 4.6 Fork Union Military Academy
Schools: CLEM (01/10/04), VT (OFFER, OV 01/24/04) lead PITT (OFFER, OV 12/13/03), WVU (OFFER, OV 12/06/03)

The Skinny: Reevey appears to be down to Clemson and Virginia Tech. Tech has a great shot heading into this weekend, and hopes to move ahead of the Tigers to land the super-athletic Reevey.

 

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
Damian Sims
Theodore Miller

Needs: D.J. Parker attended Hargrave and has joined 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 – Damian Sims, Theodore Miller, Brandon Flowers, and Rod Council.

Targets: none

CB Commitments – 4

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 wanted to enroll at VT in January but was unable to make it, probably due to qualifying issues (SAT score).

Damian Sims 5-10, 180, 4.5 John I Leonard (Greenacres, FL)

The Skinny: Damian chose Tech without ever making an official visit there. He has one scheduled for January 30th. Despite his commitment, he will make an official visit to Iowa this weekend. I think he will stick with his choice and go with Virginia Tech.

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: Purnell Sturdivant

Safety/Rover Commitments

None

Safety/Rover Targets

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 this weekend. There’s a great chance he will commit to Virginia Tech during his official visit.

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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