VT Top Targets and Positions
by Chris Horne, 8/2/04

Virginia Tech has had an excellent start to the recruiting year. Although much of the pub has gone to Virginia, Tech has quietly landed 8 quality recruits for their 2005 class. Top in-state offensive line recruits Ed Wang and Antonio North, linebacker recruits Deveon Simmons and Demetrius Taylor, and safety Cameron Martin have committed to the Hokies.

Out of state, outstanding DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD) duo Kenny Jefferson and Robert Norris, and former HD Woodson (DC) star defensive end William Wall (who will prep at Hargrave this year) have pledged to Tech. Position-wise, Tech has landed 3 offensive linemen, 2 linebackers, 1 fullback, 1 defensive end, and 1 safety.

Here’s a look at VT’s top five targets/positions. In some cases, we list a position, and in others, an individual target. The top five remaining targets/positions begin with defensive end and quarterback (1 and 1a respectively), and the remaining three on the list are individual prospects.

The positions of defensive end and QB are almost interchangeable in terms of need, with the slight nod going to defensive end.

#1: Defensive End

Defensive end is a must-get position this year. VT already has one quality prospect in the athletic 6-3, 255-pound William Wall. Melvin Alaeze, Everette Brown, Jeffrey Fitzgerald, and Steven Friday are the likely top remaining prospects for the position. These players are showing very serious interest in Tech and vice versa.

Rivals.com 5-star prospect Melvin Alaeze has received over 20 Division I-A scholarship offers. He has been quiet in terms of naming leaders at this point, but did have a good visit to Virginia Tech this month with teammate Jamari McCollough.

"It was a mainly positive experience," Alaeze said of his visit. "I liked the campus and the coaches. I met the players and talked to them about what campus life is like, what the coaching staff is like, and what they do after football season. Basically they were very positive about everything, including the coaches. It was a fun experience."

Official visits will be key here, and Tech looks to be in at least solid shape to land one.

Beddingfield (Wilson, NC) star Everette Brown has not yet visited Virginia Tech, but he likes what he knows so far.

“I haven’t seen the campus, but from the research I’ve done on it, it seems like a great place,” Brown said of Virginia Tech. Brown also likes Tech’s Business School. “I’ve watched their football team on TV a lot, and they have a great looking football program.”

Florida State, NC State, UNC, Penn State, Maryland and Tennessee are just some of the other programs who have offered. Brown does want to make at least a few official visits. Will his initial interest in Tech be enough to get him for an official visit? He has made unofficial visits to many other schools this summer, so we’ll see if Everette chooses to visit the schools he has already seen or if he likes Tech enough to visit.

Between Jeff Fitzgerald and Steven Friday, the Hokies right now have the better chance with Steven Friday. Most feel Tech is a strong leader for Friday, who is a 6-5, 220-pound prospect with a non-stop motor and great athleticism. Once Friday adds some weight, he could turn into a real menace on the next level.

Fitzgerald has yet to narrow his list and appears genuinely open. He likes Tech, but if I had to say which in-state program he likes between Tech and UVa, I would say UVa right now. That could just be because he has visited Charlottesville more times than Blacksburg. Jeff wants to narrow his list soon, and I’d expect Tech to make the top 5.

Another possible defensive end target is the versatile Greg Boone. The 6-4, 250 pound Oscar Smith star could play quarterback, defensive end, linebacker, or tight end on the next level. Tech has indicated to him that quarterback is where they are recruiting him, but don’t be surprised if defensive end is in the back of their minds as well. Boone seems to like Tech and Maryland right now but says he is wide open. He’ll narrow his list very soon.

Other prospects that Tech may not have as good of a chance with but are still on the radar include Barry Turner and Doug Worthington.

#1A: Quarterback

Landing a top dual-threat quarterback appears to be a priority for Tech. About four or five prospects top the list for this position. They are Antonio Bass, Cameron Sexton, Ike Whitaker, Derrick Williams, and the aforementioned Greg Boone.

Of the quarterback-only prospects (leaving Boone out of this because he is more of an athlete), it seems like Tech has the best chance with Bass, Sexton, and Whitaker, with Whitaker being the prospect Tech has the best chance of landing.

Ike Whitaker has good size at 6-4, 200-pounds. He also has excellent speed (4.5/4.6 in the 40) and a rocket for an arm. With a simple flick, Whitaker sends the ball sailing through the air. Tech, Maryland, and Florida are the likely top schools for Ike, who is thought to be close to making a decision. Sources say Tech is looking strong right now.

Sexton enjoyed his visit to Virginia Tech and named the Hokies in his top 4 along with Florida State, NC State, and Clemson. NC State has now officially offered the Scotland (NC) standout.

"It was very good," Sexton said of his unofficial visit to Tech. "I was very impressed. I like the set up of it. Everything is in a central area - the facilities, the dorms, the stadium - everything is right there. I liked it a lot. It is a college I would definitely play for."

Look for Cameron to make several official visits before announcing his decision. He has not yet set any visits.

Antonio Bass seems to like Virginia Tech a lot per his head coach, but has yet to visit Blacksburg. Tech has to hope Antonio doesn’t opt for Michigan, Michigan State, or Florida, which he would likely do if he decides before his season starts. If he makes his official visits, Tech stands a good chance to land one of those visits at this time. Of course things could change if the Hokies land one of their other top targets at quarterback.

The nation’s top player, Derrick Williams, narrowed his list recently to 14. Tech is in the 14 but is not certain to make the next cut, which should come some time in August. The fact that they are recruiting Derrick for QB appears to be a positive, but we’ll see if it’s enough to keep Tech in the race going into the fall.

#3: Victor “Macho” Harris

#3 on this list is a player…in fact, he’s the state of Virginia’s top rated player. Victor “Macho” Harris is a 6-0, 180-pound star for Highland Springs High School. He is likely the top player on the board (in terms of talent and mutual interest combined). According to Head Coach Scott Burton, Tech is recruiting Harris for “whatever position he wants to play.” Right now, cornerback is that position and the Hokies no doubt would love to have him there. Of course he’s not a bad running back either.

"There’s not much he cannot do [on the football field],” Burton said. “He can catch, he can throw, he can run, and he holds on kicks. You can’t teach elusiveness. He ran a 4.4 at Virginia Tech’s camp last summer. He’s a tremendous, tremendous athlete."

Harris recently narrowed his list to 12 schools. He may narrow his list again before the start of the season or he may wait, but when he does, I’d expect both Virginia Tech and Virginia to make the list. With the past history of landing Highland Springs players, Tech is likely in a good position right now to be around the top of the list once decision time comes.

Harris is a 5-star recruit who has received over 40 scholarship offers.

#4: Pat Sheil

Coming in at #4 on the list is another in-state standout. Centreville’s Pat Sheil is a major recruit for Tech in terms of need and in terms of landing the best in-state talent. Tech appears to love Sheil’s abilities as a left tackle.

Right now, the Hokies are included in the star tackle’s top 4 favorites list. Also included are Boston College, Georgia and Virginia. There have been many twists and turns in Sheil’s recruiting process. It’s really anyone’s guess as to where he will end up at this point, especially with location no longer playing a huge factor.

“No, it’s not,” Sheil said when asked if location was a factor in an update earlier this month. “My parents sat me down and told me they’d go see me play wherever I went, or they would just watch it on TV (laughs). They told me to go wherever I want to go. I was leaning towards staying close to home before because of my parents, but location doesn’t matter now. I'm relieved. It was definitely a chain cut from my neck.”

Sheil does not seem like he will definitely make official visits, but that seems to be a likely possibility right now. If he does, look for all four favorites to receive officials. Another school such as a Miami or an Oklahoma could easily jump in the mix as well.

Sheil has offers from all of the schools mentioned here. He has over 15 scholarships total and is considered a 4-star prospect. He is ranked the #5 prospect in the state by Techsideline.com.

#4a: Elan Lewis

Let’s focus on the state’s #2 overall prospect Elan Lewis. Lewis is a 5-8, 215 pound tailback who looks more impressive each time you view the film. He’s a natural runner with superb vision, strength, quick feet and good speed.

“He has great vision,” Phoebus Head Coach Bill Dee said. “He finds holes. Like all great runners, he finds the holes and knows when to zig and when to zag. He runs with power and speed. He’s so strong…he can squat over 700 pounds. Importantly to me, he really protects the ball well. He also catches the ball out of the backfield really well.”

No doubt Tech would love to land both Lewis and Harris. Unlike Harris, Lewis is strictly a tailback. Landing Lewis would not only add an outstanding talent to the backfield, but it would keep UVa from landing a top in-state target for a need position.

Recruiting-wise, Lewis is focusing on Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech for the time being. He may make an official visit to Tech on the weekend of September 11th, the weekend of the Western Michigan game, but nothing is definite right now. Tech looks to be in good shape here. If Lewis takes official visits to UVa and Maryland things could get interesting, but for right now Tech is looking good.


There are many more targets Tech is involved with along the offensive line. In addition to Sheil, the Hokies have offered and are in the mix for Curtis Crouch, Dennis Landolt, Garrett Reynolds and Jon Walko. Walko enjoyed his visit to Tech for a spring practice earlier this year. Walko will decide this Fall, likely after visiting Clemson, West Virginia and Virginia Tech for football games. Those are his 3 favorite schools and probably finalists.

Landolt recently visited Tech and enjoyed his visit as well. He is a newer name on the list, but he does seem very interested. Penn State, who has been at or near the top of the list for a long time, could be tough to beat.

Sources say Reynolds enjoyed his Tech camp experience this month and has the Hokies high on his list right now. Crouch listed Tech is his top 5 along with NC State, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia. NC State was the early favorite here, but it appears Crouch will make some visits before deciding.

Jonathan Hannah has very high interest in Virginia Tech. In fact, he named the Hokies as his leader earlier this month, albeit a “slight leader.” The 6-4, 250-pound tight end would give Tech an excellent all-around player at the tight end position. This recruiting process is far from over as Hannah wants to make all 5 official visits. He has 17 offers right now.

At wide receiver, Tech is in solid shape with 6-3, 175-pound Geron James and 6-3, 175-pound Todd Nolen. James lists Tech as one of his two leaders (Georgia Tech being the other) while Nolen doesn’t seem to have a favorite right now. Nolen has four offers including Tech, UVa, Syracuse and Nebraska. Another name on the wide receiver list is Lavar Lobdell, a 6-3, 195 pound target out of Syracuse, New York. All have offers from Tech.

Wide receiver isn’t a big area of need after last year’s outstanding haul, but landing at least one of the above tall, athletic receivers would be an excellent and welcome addition to the class.

At running back, Tech has offered Toney Baker, Jahre Cheeseman, James Davis, J.C. Neal and TJ Pitts in addition to Lewis. Of the group of Baker, Cheeseman, Davis, Neal and Pitts, Tech has the best chance with Cheeseman and Neal in my opinion. Jahre lists Tech, Tennessee and UVa as his three favorites and wants to make official visits to each school. He could also be considered an athlete. Neal likes Tech and NC State right now but wants to make all five official visits before deciding.

Defensively, some other top targets for 2005 include defensive backs Andre Pope, Antonio Wardlow. Pope and Wardlow both a likely safety prospects. Both appear to like Tech right now, although neither seems to have any clear cut favorites at this point.

Cornerback is another area Tech appears to be targeting. Top prospects at this position include Brandon Ghee, Jordan Hemby, Malcolm Jenkins, Jamari McCollough, Levin Neal and Danny Oquendo. Tech appears to have the best chance with Ghee, Jenkins, McCollough and Oquendo right now. Jenkins is down to three – Ohio State, Rutgers and Tech. Tech is one of Hemby’s four offers, however he is wide open. Florida (no offer), Florida State (no offer), North Carolina and NC State are the favorites according to Ashley Head Coach Dylan Dimock.

Linebackers Charles Gamble, Jerome Hayes, Josh Miller and Derek Nicholson have all been offered by Tech. Right now, Gamble appears to like Tech the most out of all of them. The Southern Durham (NC) star likes VT and South Carolina. Nicholson has Tech is his top 10, but most feel he will probably head to UNC or Florida State. Tech needs to land an official visit.

Marques Slocum and Joseph Johnson are the top targets at d-tackle. Slocum will narrow his list very soon. Johnson only has offers from Tech and UVa right now.

Some of the top remaining athlete targets include Montario Hardesty and Willie Harriott. Harriott enjoyed his visit to Tech earlier this month. He attended the senior camp. He likes the Florida schools a lot as well.

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