Virginia Tech has officially locked in most of its recruiting class for 2019. The Hokies’ recruiting class was ranked 29th by 247sports. Of their 19 recruits signed, five are four-star players and 14 are three stars — three of those being transfers from junior college. After watching film on each of these players and reading their scouting reports, I concluded that this looks to be a promising class for Virginia Tech that could turn out some big-time players down the road.
Recruits with Star Potential:
Jaden Payoute, four-star WR, 6-foot-1, 189 pounds, Lloyd C. Bird HS, Chesterfield, Virginia
Tech’s top recruit this year, Payoute played quarterback his senior year of high school. A wide shouldered, physically imposing receiver, Payoute has all the athleticism and run after the catch ability to be successful in the ACC. I could definitely see him and Tre Turner being the one, two punch on the outside after Hazelton Jr. leaves next year.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">110% COMMITTED 🦃🔸<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HokieNation?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HokieNation</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Exitlight?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Exitlight</a> <a href="https://t.co/B7ESzt5DM4">pic.twitter.com/B7ESzt5DM4</a></p>— Jaden Payoute 1️⃣ (@JJPayoute_1) <a href="https://twitter.com/JJPayoute_1/status/1005866104248512513?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 10, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Bryan Hudson, four-star OG, 6-foot-4, 298 pounds, Scotts County HS, Georgetown, Kentucky
I see Hudson, a polished product, stepping right in next year and filling the hole left by the great Kyle Chung. A great two-sport athlete and a lineman with beautiful technique, Hudson is the real deal. He’s faster than most linebackers and he gets his hands inside for great push on every play.
Jacoby Pinckney, four-star WR, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Dorman HS, Spartansburg, South Carolina
Pinckney is a jump ball receiver with unquestionable talent and speed, but his route tree is pretty shallow. He could end up being a standout receiver, but needs to work on diversifying.
Keyshawn King, four-star RB, 5-foot-11, 177 pounds, Oakleaf HS, Orange Park, Florida
A small electric runner with exceptional jump cutting ability, King is definitely fun to watch. When he goes untouched he’s the one breaking away for the big play. That’s the only concern though; all his good tape came when he made people miss, and hopefully he’s not a non-factor through contact.
J.R. Walker, four-star FS, 6-foot, 199 pounds, Clayton HS, Clayton, North Carolina
J.R. Walker has one of the most diverse skill sets from the early signings. He can play either safety spot, slot corner, return punts or running back. With great ball skills and tackling technique, look for Walker to return punts next fall and play a key role for Tech all over the field for the next four years.
Amare Barno, three-star JUCO LB, 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, Butler Community College, Blythewood, South Carolina
With a highlight reel that is somewhat reminiscent to Tremaine Edmunds’, this guy’s arms are so long that he doesn’t look human on tape. I can definitely see Barno stepping into an outside linebacker role.
Recruits who should see meaningful snaps this year:
Jesse Hanson, three-star OG, 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, Lord Botetourt HS, Blue Ridge, Virginia
Hanson is a big, nasty finisher at the offensive guard spot. He can play both guard and tackle, and with an offensive line losing three of five starters, Hanson will have to step in and play this year. Look for Hudson and Hanson to be strong cornerstones at guard for the next few years.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The first one is in!!! Welcome to the family <a href="https://twitter.com/jessehanson72?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jessehanson72</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TeamFirst?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TeamFirst</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EnterNight19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EnterNight19</a> 🦃 <a href="https://t.co/o956Irq9fk">pic.twitter.com/o956Irq9fk</a></p>— Hokies Football 🦃 (@HokiesFB) <a href="https://twitter.com/HokiesFB/status/1075361666404151297?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 19, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Josh Fuga, three-star DT, 6-foot-2, 303 pounds, Freedom HS, Woodbridge, Virginia
Fuga just oozes 110 percent effort every play. He will take a while to become an impact player on the field, but based on what I can see from his reel, Fuga’s hard work will lead him to playing time. On a defensive line lacking depth and energy, he may be just what we need.
Dashawn Crawford, three-star JUCO DT, 6-foot, 274 pounds, Jones County Junior College, Bay Spring, Mississippi
Crawford is an undersized defensive tackle who seems to be just a leader on the field. He isn’t flashy, but the coaching staff seems to love him. Look for Crawford to play a pretty big role next season and then phase back into a rotational role as youngers guys develop over the next few years.
Recruits who are impact players in the making:
Nyquee Hawkins, three-star DB, 6-foot, 172 pounds, Orange HS, Orange, New Jersey
Hawkins is an athletic defensive back and a solid tackler. I think he would thrive as a safety at Tech. Look for the coaching staff to redshirt him next year, to get him in the weightroom and work on his coverage skills.
Norell Pollard, three-star DT, 6-foot-2, 246 pounds, Wekiva HS, Apopka, Florida
Pollard played defensive end in high school, but it looks to me like he will be moving to the inside while at Tech. On film it looks like needs to work on his moves as a pass rusher. Pollard will mostly likely take a redshirt year to gain some weight and refine his game.
Elijah Bowick, three-star WR, 6-foot-1, 212 pounds, Myers Park HS, Charlotte, North Carolina
Bowick isn’t in this category of his own accord. A big target, a very good route runner, and a guy who makes unbelievable catches regularly, he looks like a strong player. But with Hazelton, Grimsley, Kumah, Turner, Payoute and Pinckney all slated to play important roles next season, there just doesn’t seem to be room for Bowick to see the field.
Tahj Gary, three-star RB, 5-foot-8, 219 pounds, Woodward Academy, Atlanta, Georgia
Another good player, Gary suffered a brutal leg injury near the end of his senior season and there is no sure timetable for rehab. He is a power back who would do well to add some speed but looks good on film. Look for him to possibly be a Steven Peoples-type player later in his career.
Nick Gallo, three-star TE, 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Council Rock South HS, Newton, Pennsylvania
Gallo is almost a surefire redshirt next year as Tech returns Dalton Keene, Chris Cunningham and Drake Deiuliis. He is a very good blocker but looks slow on film as a receiver. Gallo looks be key in blocking for Tech.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">• COMMITTED • <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hokies?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Hokies</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThisIsHome?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThisIsHome</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ExitLightEnterNight?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ExitLightEnterNight</a> <a href="https://t.co/jmPGsHHUeM">pic.twitter.com/jmPGsHHUeM</a></p>— Nick Gallo (@nick_gallo15) <a href="https://twitter.com/nick_gallo15/status/1009213009095544834?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 19, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Tayvion Robinson, three-star WR, 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Frank Cox HS, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Robinson is a dynamic athlete who I think projects as a good slot receiver for the Hokies. Like Payoute, he played quarterback his senior year but I don’t think he has the strength to play immediately. I predict him to redshirt this year and become a key contributor in the future.
William Pritchard, three-star OG, 6-foot-2, 281 pounds, Manchester HS, Midlothian, Virginia
Pritchard is a mauler at guard. Throughout his high school tape you can see him destroying smaller defenders, but his technique is lacking. Pritchard should redshirt this year to work on his technique and possibly make a move to center.
Mario Kendricks, three-star DT, 6-foot-0, 275 pounds, Osceola HS, Seminole, Florida
A lot of people think Kendricks has a lot of potential. He should take a year to tone his body in order to be a strong next man up.
Dean Ferguson, three-star LB, 6-foot-2, 199 pounds, Potomac Falls HS, Sterling, Virginia
Despite having a bad habit of arm-tackling, Ferguson does have a key aspect going for him—Bud Foster seems to like him. Still, I think he will have to refine his tackling and possibly make a move to safety to make it into the rotation.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">C O M M I T T E D ! ! ! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThisIsHome?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThisIsHome</a> <a href="https://t.co/CErFxzJiW0">pic.twitter.com/CErFxzJiW0</a></p>— Dean (@deanferguson_) <a href="https://twitter.com/deanferguson_/status/1030590374383890432?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 17, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Brion Murray, three-star JUCO CB, 5-foot-10, 174 pounds, Coffeyville Community College, Coffeyville, Kansas
Murray is an undersized corner who, at first, seems to lack the size to play on the outside of Bud Foster’s defense. He plays hard on film though, and that will take him far. I see him as the possible top guy at slot corner in a few years.
The Wild Card:
Jahad Carter, three-star WR, 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Henrico HS, Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Tech has Carter’s verbal commit but he has yet to sign his letter of intent after receiving an offer from NC State. If Carter does decide to come to Blacksburg, the Hokies will be getting an elite physical route runner who sometimes struggles to high point balls and catch contested passes. With the separation he gets on his routes, though it should not matter if he is playing out of the slot. He has the potential to be a big-time player for the next few years.
This is only a preview and a first impression based on minimal high school film. My hope is that this next recruiting class can fill the shoes of their predecessors and move the Hokies up the AP Poll for next season!