VT Football 2004 Recruiting Roundup
by Chris Horne, 2/6/04

Virginia Tech did an excellent job of filling needs on the offensive side of the ball in the 2004 class. Running back and wide receiver were considered positions of need heading into to the season, and they shored-up both of those positions with dynamic prospects.

At tailback, Virginia Tech landed blue-chip All-American George Bell out of North Carolina as well as the state�s top running back, Branden Ore. Bell is a big, tough back while Ore is extremely versatile as a runner and as a receiver out of the backfield. These two players should provide the Hokies with excellent talent at the running back position and will help ease the loss of Kevin Jones.

Not only did Virginia Tech fill the need at tailback with Bell and Ore, but they filled the need at fullback as well. Purnell Sturdivant, who may play the Rover position on defense, could play fullback or tailback if necessary. Mike Green is a big fullback who is similar in size (6-1, 240) but maybe a little faster than departing senior Doug Easlick.

Virginia Tech needed to upgrade the wide receiver position, and they did just that with athletic and talented players. Sitting atop the list is the state�s number two prospect, Eddie Royal. Royal is fast, elusive, and very explosive. He has the ability to score any time he touches the ball, either as a receiver or as a return man.

Josh Morgan may turn out to be one of the top players in this class. Morgan, who has already enrolled at VT, combines a 6-1, 217 pound frame with 4.3 40 speed and a 39-inch vertical leap. He has the toughness to make those catches in traffic and the speed to break the big play. Tall wide receiver Justin Harper has great leaping ability and good speed, and Landstown High School star Jeremy Gilchrist is a hard working and extremely productive receiver who shows deceptive speed. These four prospects, combined with David Clowney and Josh Hyman, will provide the Hokies with an exciting and talented receiving corps in the coming years.

In addition, Tech added one of the top signal callers in the East in Sean Glennon. Glennon has good size along with the poise, accuracy, pocket-sense, and arm strength to succeed on the next level. Ryan Shuman and Brandon Holland offer good size and athleticism as offensive line prospects.

On defense, Tech was hoping to land a few defensive ends but could not. William Wall remains committed to Tech but must head to prep school before enrolling. Wall is a very good athlete with a lot of potential. Sam Wheeler, who will also likely head to prep school (not for academic purposes), could end up at defensive end as well. Mike Mangold�s decision to de-commit hurt Virginia Tech here, as he would have been a good pickup at a need position. Instead, he opted for the home-state Florida Gators. Defensive end will be a need next season, as Tech was unable to fill the need in this year�s class.

While they did not sign anyone at defensive end, they did sign a coveted target at defensive tackle in Carl Howard. The Matawan star is 6-5, 295 pounds, and runs a 4.8 in the 40. He chose Tech over offers from Maryland and NC State among others, and becomes a very nice addition to the defensive line.

Hermitage star linebacker Andrew Bowman is a big pick-up for Tech, as is the versatile Maurice Reevey of Fork Union Military Academy. Bowman provides more depth, talent, and athleticism to a linebacker corps featuring Vince Hall, Xavier Adibi, Mike Brown, and Aaron Rouse. Reevey, who is super-athletic, could play linebacker as well, though it appears he may begin as an H-Back on Offense.

Defensive back was another key area in this year�s class. Tech did a nice job in landing cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Theodore Miller. Both are fast, athletic players. The wild card is Rod Council. Council, who could be a big addition to this class or a key loss depending on how his legal situation plays out, still has a scholarship from Virginia Tech on the table until his situation is resolved one way or the other. It appears Virginia Tech is taking a wait-and-see approach with Rod right now.

In-state, I believe Tech and UVa were pretty much even this year�I would say it�s a draw between the two. UVa received two out of the top five to VT�s one, however both schools received nine commitments from the Top 30. Each team landed players that suited their needs nicely. Overall, Tech had a very good class, finishing strong with the additions of Maurice Reevey and Eddie Royal. They did an excellent job filling needs at the two key positions, running back and wide receiver. They missed out on signing any defensive ends, which would be the one miss, however received a good defensive tackle, a good linebacker, and several solid cornerback prospects on D.

The Ones that got away�

OL John Bradshaw � West Virginia
LB Hugh D�Imperio � Michigan State
DL Brandon Daniel � Florida
DL Emmanuel Dunbar � Florida State
DT Marque Hall � South Carolina
DE Olu Hall � Virginia
DE Jon Kirchner - Virginia
DE Mike Mangold - Florida
LB Jerod Mayo � Tennessee
WR Derrick McPhearson - Florida
LB Antonio Reynolds � Tennessee
DL Brandon Setzer � NC State
DE Clint Sintim - Virginia
QB Jordan Steffy � Maryland

The Players (in alphabetical order by last name)

George Bell

  • Running Back
  • Jack Britt High School (Fayetteville, NC)
  • 5-11, 225 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.45 seconds
  • Senior Line: 279 yards rushing in three games
  • Four-star prospect by Insiders.com and Rivals.com
  • Committed to VT � October 22, 2003
  • Primary Recruiter: Danny Pearman

With the possibility and later the actuality of Kevin Jones foregoing his senior year for the NFL, running back was going to be a key area of need for Virginia Tech this year. The Tech coaches succeeded in filling that need, signing two of their top targets at the position.

The first was George Bell, who is a big, bruising, tough back with the speed to break big plays. Tech surprised many when they were able to land him away from NC State. To top off that news, Bell decided to enroll early at Virginia Tech, which will help him in a number of different ways. He can now further strengthen his knee, he can learn the offensive system during spring football, and he can practice with the team. All of this adds up to the ever-growing possibility that Bell will be able to play, and play a lot, in 2004.

As for the knee, Bell says he is not yet 100 percent. He says he is close to returning to the form he exhibited as a junior before the knee injury, however admits he is not quite there yet. Before enrolling at Tech, he was excited about the opportunity before him.

"There is a great opportunity at Virginia Tech," Bell said. "Going early gets me a head start on a lot of things, including getting back to the way I was. I remember what I was as a junior before I got hurt, and I feel like I'm about 90 percent of that. My injury really takes two years to get back to normal, so I should be good by the Fall [of 2004]."

If Bell can return to form, Virginia Tech may have one of the top young tailbacks in the country. Not a bad person to fill the shoes left by Kevin Jones.

Andrew Bowman

  • Linebacker
  • Hermitage High School (Richmond, VA)
  • 6-1, 230 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds
  • Senior Line: 99 tackles, 11 tackles-for-loss, two sacks, three forced-fumbles
  • Four-star prospect by Insiders.com and three-star by Rivals.com
  • Committed to VT � January 14, 2004
  • Primary Recruiter: Jim Cavanaugh

Virginia and Virginia Tech didn�t go head-to-head for too many prospects, but Andrew Bowman was one of them. The addition of the Hermitage linebacker gave Tech yet another top in-state linebacker target in the past two years, joining Xavier Adibi and Vince Hall.

Bowman, who is a 6-1, 230 pound prospect known for his crushing hits, believes he could contribute as a true freshman next season.

"Basically, if I know what�s going on, then I might be able to play early," Bowman said. "It all depends on how quickly I can pick up the system. Coach Foster is going to give me a playbook after I sign."

Regardless, Bowman is a major addition to the young linebacker crew of Adibi and Hall, as well as Mike Brown. These four players make for an excellent linebackers group for years to come.

Brandon Flowers

  • Cornerback
  • Atlantic High School/Hargrave Military Academy (Delray Beach, FL)
  • 5-11, 180 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds
  • Three-star prospect by Rivals.com and two-star by Insiders.com
  • Committed to VT � December 11, 2003
  • Primary Recruiter: Kevin Rogers

Flowers is a tough cornerback. He played safety on several occasions for Hargrave Military Academy and wasn�t afraid to mix it up with bigger and stronger players. Displaying toughness and athleticism, Flowers has a lot of potential as a cornerback on the next level.

Flowers came to Hargrave via Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Florida, the same high school as current freshman wide receiver David Clowney. His Hargrave experience has been a positive one he feels will help him at Virginia Tech.

"It�s helped me a lot," said Flowers of Hargrave. "It�s really prepared me for college both academically and athletically. I�ve learned discipline and how to work hard. My people skills are better too�I�ve been able to meet so many guys from all parts of the country."

Flowers has the talent to play early if necessary, however the Tech coaches may want to red-shirt him to add more strength. He is a solid addition to the defensive backfield.

Jeremy Gilchrist

  • Wide Receiver
  • Landstown High School (Virginia Beach, VA)
  • 5-10, 175 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.55 seconds
  • Senior Line: 87 catches, 1,399 yards, 18 touchdowns
  • Three-star prospect by Rivals.com and two-star by Insiders.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on December 17, 2003
  • Primary Recruiter: Bryan Stinespring

Gilchrist is probably the most productive yet least heralded recruit in the state of Virginia. As a senior, he used his polished route running ability along with deceptive speed to catch 87 passes for 1,399 yards, scoring 18 touchdowns.

Landstown Head Coach Chris Beatty believes Tech landed a steal in Gilchrist, who he believes has the potential to contribute early with his relentless work ethic.

"I think he's got a chance to play early," Beatty said. "He's well ahead of most high school receivers right now in terms of knowing the details of the wide receiver position. Jeremy's also the hardest worker on our team. He never misses a workout, and he uses his free time to make himself a better player. He's usually in early to practice, watching film with the coaches. That's just Jeremy. He's not a guy that's going to let himself not be a great player."

Gilchrist helped lead Landstown to the Division 6 state championship game. It was in the playoffs when Coach Beatty believes Virginia Tech was really sold on his top receiver.

"I think at first Virginia Tech had questions about his speed, but once they saw him in the playoffs running away from guys with speed, they had their questions answered," Landstown Head Coach Chris Beatty said.

In addition to being a talented receiver, he is also an accomplished return man as well.

Sean Glennon

  • Quarterback
  • Westfield High School (Chantilly, VA)
  • 6-4, 195 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds
  • Senior Line: 1,840 yards passing, 26 touchdowns, four interceptions
  • Four-star prospect by Rivals.com and three-star by Insiders.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on August 15, 2003
  • Primary Recruiter: Lorenzo Ward

Sean Glennon was the first commitment for Virginia Tech. Landing a player of Glennon�s caliber at any time is great, but it�s certainly a nice way to start off the recruiting class.

Glennon has all the tools needed to become a successful quarterback on the next level.

"[Virginia Tech] said they looked at all of the quarterbacks in the Virginia and North Carolina area, and I was the top one," Glennon said. "They like my poise in the pocket, the way I step up and throw it, and my mobility. The comment on my mobility surprised me a little bit - I was like, 'What?', but they said I moved around well. They said I fit in well there and I have as strong an arm as anyone else they have."

As a senior, he helped lead Westfield to a Division 6 State Championship. His four interceptions this year bumped his career total to an amazing 11 over his the last three seasons, with 66 touchdowns.

Michael Green

  • Athlete (fullback and linebacker)
  • Deptford High School (Westville, NJ)
  • 6-1, 240 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.8 seconds
  • Senior Line: 135 tackles; 870 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns
  • Two-star prospect by Insiders.com and Rivals.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on January 12, 2004
  • Primary Recruiter: Jim Cavanaugh

Green is one of the top two-way players in the state of New Jersey. He led his team in tackles and anchored a fierce rushing attach as a senior. He played a huge role in Deptford�s undefeated season. The team won the South Jersey Group 3 State Championship.

"As a team, we rushed for 3,800 yards," Deptford Head Coach Al Orio said. "Mike was a big part of that. We switched him from tailback to fullback this season, and he showed great ability as a blocker. He averaged 7.4 yards per carry, which really opened up our rushing offense for us. On defense, he led the team with 125 tackles."

Though he could play either fullback or linebacker, Green feels he will get a shot at fullback as a true freshman. He�s looking forward to the opportunity.

"They are talking to me about fullback, because that is the quickest spot for me to get on the field," Green said. "I think there is a great chance for me to play in my first year."

Green was one of two signees from the state of New Jersey.

Justin Harper

  • Wide Receiver
  • Bandys High School/Hargrave Military Academy (Catawba, NC)
  • 6-4, 190 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds
  • Three-star prospect by Rivals.com and two-star by Insiders.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on December 10, 2003
  • Primary Recruiter: Kevin Rogers

Virginia Tech loses one big receiver with great athleticism in Ernest Wilford and brings in a prospect very similar to his predecessor. Like Wilford, Harper is big, jumps high (40-inch vertical), and has good speed. He may need some time to develop, but the physical skills are evident.

Out of high school, he signed a basketball scholarship with Winthrop. After he failed to qualify, Harper decided to head to prep school to continue his football career. Several teams took notice of his size and athleticism combination, and by the end of the season Harper boasted offers from Virginia Tech, UNC, NC State, and Wake Forest.

Harper is looking forward to playing with Hargrave quarterback and 2003 Hokies signee Cory Holt. The two connected on several long touchdown passes this season, including a 47-yard score versus the Virginia Tech JV squad.

"It's a great situation with Ernest Wilford graduating, and me and Cory have really connected this year," Harper said immediately following his commitment.

Brandon Holland

  • Offensive Line
  • Northside High School (Roanoke, VA)
  • 6-6, 275 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.8 seconds
  • Senior Line: Earned first-team AA all-state by VHSCA and AP
  • Two-star prospect by Insiders.com and Rivals.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on October 29, 2003
  • Primary Recruiter: Kevin Rogers

Virginia Tech has always been Brandon Holland�s favorite. The Northside standout was very excited when he finally committed to Tech last October.

"I've always favored Virginia Tech," said Holland. "The coaches are so nice. They called every week to talk to me and my parents. They made me feel like they really wanted me. They stressed how much they wanted me to come there. Plus, I've been a Hokies fan forever. It's basically been my dream to go there. The other schools recruiting me were great, but they weren't at the level of Virginia Tech."

Holland was originally recruited as a defensive end, but it�s very likely he�ll play somewhere on the offensive line. He was listed as an offensive lineman in the official release of the 2004 class. Holland, who played tight end and defensive end in high school, does not care where he plays in college.

"They tell me defensive end, but actually I think I could play anything," said Holland. "Maybe I'll play running back (laughs). Who knows really."

Holland may make a pretty good offensive tackle, as he has good feet, long arms, and the frame to add a lot of weight and strength.

Carl Howard

  • Defensive Tackle
  • Matawan Regional High School (Matawan, NJ)
  • 6-5, 295 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.8 seconds
  • Senior Line: 10 sacks
  • Three-star prospect by Insiders.com and Rivals.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on January 30, 2004
  • Primary Recruiter: Kevin Rogers

Joining Mike Green, Carl Howard was the other major signee from the state of New Jersey. Howard is huge at 6-5, 295 pounds. According to Matawan Head Coach Joe Martucci, Howard has the athleticism of a skill position player.

"Carl is a phenomenal athlete," Martucci said. "He runs like a gazelle, and he's got great potential. He is the best athlete on our team."

Landing Howard was a huge get for the Hokies, who needed a top defensive tackle prospect. Howard chose Tech over offers from Maryland, NC State, and Rutgers among others. If needed, the New Jersey star will be ready to play as a true freshman. If not, he has a positive outlook on that situation as well.

"I�m just going to go with the flow," Howard said. "If I play well in August, then I could challenge for early playing time. If I need to red-shirt, that�s not a bad thing either. Either way presents good opportunities for me."

Howard has earned a qualifying SAT score and appears on track to qualify.

Theodore Miller

  • Cornerback
  • HD Woodson High School (Washington, DC)
  • 6-2, 181 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds
  • Two-star prospect by Insiders.com and Rivals.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on August 16, 2003
  • Primary Recruiter: Tony Ball

According to HD Woodson Defensive Coordinator, Theodore Miller combines speed and athleticism with the size needed to match-up well against the taller receivers.

"Theodore has the size and speed combination you need at corner," said Johnson, who is also the recruiting coordinator for HD Woodson. "He is 6-2, 170 pounds, runs around 4.4 to 4.5 in the 40 yard dash, and has a 38" vertical leap. You don�t find too many corners with that kind of athleticism. He is probably the most athletic cornerback I�ve ever coached."

Miller will rejoin former HD Woodson cornerback Roland Minor, who has impressed the Virginia Tech coaches as well. He adds size and versatility to the defensive backfield, and provides Tech with another very good cornerback prospect in this year�s class.

Besides having great potential, Miller is also an impressive person as well.

"First and foremost Theodore is a quality young man first, a student second, and a football player third," Johnson said. "He has already qualified on the SAT�s with a 1,060 score. He has a 2.5 core GPA as well."

Josh Morgan

  • Wide Receiver
  • HD Woodson/Fork Union Military Academy (Washington, DC)
  • 6-2, 217 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.31 seconds
  • Prep Line (FUMA): 33 receptions, eight touchdowns
  • Three-star prospect by Insiders.com and Rivals.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on December 22, 2003
  • Primary Recruiter: Tony Ball

The HD Woodson pipeline continued with the addition of Josh Morgan, a super-athletic wide receiver prospect. Morgan had a great season at Fork Union, but his recruitment really exploded during the FUMA combine event in December.

"At the workout recently, he was clocked at 4.30 in the 40 yard dash," HD Woodson coach/recruiting coordinator Wayne Johnson said of Morgan. Morgan attended HD Woodson before going to FUMA. "I think that was both electronically and hand-timed. He ran a consistent 4.3 in the 40, with his worst time being 4.41. He did a 340 pound bench press, and he also showed a 41 inch vertical leap. He played some basketball during the combine, and he turned a lot of heads when he was putting on his dunking clinic. He's a legit player."

Following the combine, schools such as Iowa and Maryland quickly jumped in with scholarship offers. In the end, he decided to stay with Virginia Tech, who had recruited him while he was at HD Woodson.

"It was a real, real hard decision for Josh," Johnson said. "He loved every school he visited. I saw where some schools thought he committed to them, but after each visit he said he really liked it but he didn't commit. Josh thought the coaches at Maryland and at Iowa were great and really down to earth. But he remembered Virginia Tech was the first school to contact him in the tenth grade, and that helped them a lot. He wanted to go where he fit in the best, and he fit in the best at Virginia Tech."

Coach John Shuman likens Morgan to David Boston in terms of physical build, athleticism, and toughness. Morgan is not afraid to run routes in the middle of the field, often dishing out more punishment than he takes. He has the ability to out-jump any defender for the ball and has excellent breakaway speed.

Morgan could turn out to be the star of the class. If he can pick up the offense, don�t be surprised to see him making some plays next season.

Branden Ore

  • Running Back
  • Indian River High School (Chesapeake, VA)
  • 6-1, 197 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds
  • Senior Line: 1,280 yards rushing (300 in playoffs), 18 touchdowns; 70 tackles, three interceptions
  • Three-star prospect by Insiders.com and two-star by Rivals.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on December 15, 2003
  • Primary Recruiter: Bryan Stinespring

Branden Ore is the second top running back in this year�s class. Ore, who has good size, is a different back from George Bell in that he is an accomplished receiver out of the backfield and more of a fluid runner.

Indian River Head Coach Elisha Harris expects great things out of his star prospect, who he believes is a star in the making.

"I expect him to do great things at Virginia Tech," Harris said. "He's going to help carry on the Tech tradition of winning football, and the tradition of great tailbacks. I think he could take it to a higher level. I really believe he has Marshall Faulk-type ability to create havoc out there. He's going to make some fans spill their popcorn with the plays he makes."

With Bell and Ore in the backfield, Virginia Tech has two excellent players to compete with Cedric Humes and Mike Imoh for the starting tailback position. They also have nice versatility between the two, with one being a power-type back while the other shows more versatility.

Maurice Reevey

  • Athlete
  • Highland Springs/Fork Union Military Academy (Richmond, VA)
  • 6-3, 225 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds
  • Four-star prospect by Insiders.com and three-star by Rivals.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on February 2, 2004
  • Primary Recruiter: Jim Cavanaugh

Reevey is a truly interesting prospect. He has phenomenal athleticism for his size, as he runs a 4.5 in the 40 and has a 40-inch vertical leap. His potential is untapped, and Coach Burton feels the sky is the limit for his former player.

"Maurice really wasn�t sure what to do out there last year," said Burton, referring to Reevey�s senior year at Highland Springs. "I mean, he only became a part of our team the night before our first game, so we basically just put him out there at a spot and told him to play. On the second series of the game, he intercepted a pass and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown. That was all on athletic ability alone. Maurice is probably at 25 or 30 percent of what he could become."

Reevey played in only one game at Fork Union because of a stress fracture in one of his legs. The injury is now fully healed, and Reevey is looking forward to showing his ability to Hokie fans. It appears his first shot may be on offense, although he certainly could play a number of positions on offense or defense.

"I'm going in there as an offensive player, probably an H-back position, or in the slot," Reevey said.

Though he may need some time, Reevey has the potential to be an awesome player for Tech in the next four years. Currently, he is repeating his senior year at Fork Union but is expected to qualify.

Eddie Royal

  • Wide Receiver
  • Westfield High School (Chantilly, VA)
  • 5-10, 173 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds
  • Senior Line: 41 receptions, 875 yards, 11 touchdowns
  • Four-star prospect by Rivals.com and three-star by Insiders.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on February 4, 2004
  • Primary Recruiter: Lorenzo Ward

One of Tech�s biggest pick-ups happened on Signing Day, when explosive wide receiver prospect Eddie Royal selected Virginia Tech over Marshall and UVa. Explosive is the key word, as Royal has a chance to break any play where he touches the football.

"Eddie is a small but strong and physical player," said Westfield head coach Tom Verbanic of his 5-10, 170 pound receiver. "He�s the fastest kid I�ve ever coached. He�s one of the fastest kids in Northern Virginia. He is a deep threat, but it is his run-after-the-catch ability that makes him special."

During the summer, Royal earned MVP honors at the Nike Camp in Blacksburg. He carried his momentum into the season, where he helped Westfield capture the Division 6 State Title. He earned Washington Post All-Metro Offensive Player of the Year as well as AP AAA Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Royal has the ability to play early once he gets to Virginia Tech, however he is taking a wait-and-see approach right now.

"I want to play early, but I'm not going to force it," Royal said. "If I don't feel like I know the playbook very well, then I might need to sit out."

Tech fans can expect many electrifying plays from Royal throughout his career. He still needs to qualify academically, and will re-take the SATs in March.

Ryan Shuman

  • Offensive Line
  • Fork Union Military Academy (Fork Union, VA)
  • 6-3, 263 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 5.0 seconds
  • Two-star prospect by Insiders.com and Rivals.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on December 15, 2003
  • Primary Recruiter: Jim Cavanaugh

During the summer of 2003, Ryan Shuman showed his talent on many stages, with the biggest being the Nike Camp in Blacksburg. Shuman impressed to Virginia Tech coaches there, and received a scholarship offer.

"His footwork is what has impressed college scouts," FUMA Post Grad Head Coach John Shuman said. He is the father of Ryan Shuman. "And his size is catching up with him. He has the ability to be a big player. I think he will end up playing at around 280 or 285 pounds. He is still growing and has tremendous upside."

Shuman felt he had a successful senior season despite the struggles of his team. He played center and defensive end as a senior, and he is projected as an offensive lineman for Virginia Tech.

"I think I played pretty well this year," Shuman said. "I played all right. The big improvement this year was that I was bigger. I was only 215 my junior year, but I got up to 250 or so this year. I got bigger and got in a lot better shape."

Shuman has tremendous work ethic and has the frame to add at least 25-30 more pounds. He is a very good pickup for the Hokies.

Purnell Sturdivant

  • Fullback
  • Lake Taylor High School (Norfolk, VA)
  • 5-10, 205 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds
  • Senior Line: 1,359 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns; 97 tackles, four sacks, three interceptions
  • Three-star prospect by Insiders.com and two-star by Rivals.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on January 24, 2004
  • Primary Recruiter: Bryan Stinespring

Purnell Sturdivant knew for a long time that he wanted to go to Virginia Tech, but the day he "officially" committed was still a big day for the Hokies. Sturdivant is an excellent athlete who has the ability to play running back, fullback, linebacker, or safety. Rover is a popular position that Tech has talked to him abut, however he is listed as a fullback on the official release.

Regardless of where he ends up, Sturdivant is likely to succeed. He was a star on both sides of the ball for Lake Taylor last year.

"Rover is the main position they talk to me about, but Coach Stinespring says they could play me all over the field," Sturdivant said. "I could possibly be the next DeAngelo Hall."

At 5-10, 220 pounds, Sturdivant runs a 4.4 in the 40. He also possesses close to a 40-inch vertical leap. On defense, Lake Taylor Head Coach Hank Sawyer calls Sturdivant "a vicious hitter."

A good student, Sturdivant carries over a 3.0 GPA. He hopes to major in Physical Therapy.

Sam Wheeler

  • Athlete
  • Blacksburg High School (Blacksburg, VA)
  • 6-3, 235 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.68 seconds
  • Two-star prospect by Insiders.com and Rivals.com
  • Committed to Virginia Tech on September 1, 2004
  • Primary Recruiter: Billy Hite

Wheeler is a versatile player who can play a number of different positions including fullback, linebacker, and defensive end. He may head to prep school, but not for academic reasons.

"It�s not an academic situation or anything�just football related," Wheeler said. "I want to be mentally ready and physically matured enough when I go to college."

Wheeler played fullback and inside linebacker for Blacksburg High School. In addition to football, he is a star basketball player as well. The athletic ability he shows on the basketball court is what makes him a versatile player on the football field.

The local product does not mind playing any position for Virginia Tech, although he admits outside linebacker is his favorite position. He is just happy to by a Hokie.

"I would prefer outside linebacker, but I�ll play any position the coaches tell me to play," Wheeler said. "If special teams is my position, then I�ll play special teams. Wherever they put me is where I want to be."

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