With expectations already high for the 2013 Virginia Tech defense, Bud Foster has a few shiny new toys to play with.
With a group of 15-plus returning rotation players on defense, the Hokies add several top-notch defensive recruits that may see playing time as freshmen.
Kendall Fuller and Wyatt Teller, two Army All-Americans and Rivals 100 members, standout from the rest.
“The class I think athletically is very good,” said Frank Beamer. “I usually talk about character this time of year; I think that’s important here.”
Rivals rated Fuller (Our Lady of Good Counsel, Baltimore, Md.), the fourth member of the family to play for the Hokies, the No. 9 player in the country and the No. 2 cornerback.
“The tough thing about Kendall Fuller is, he’s the last one,” Beamer said. “We’d like to have a couple more Fullers come through here because that whole family starts with mom and dad; they’ve been great kids. Just great to have them here.”
Foster has coached Kendall Fuller’s older brothers Vincent and current Hokie Kyle on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think it makes a statement about the family atmosphere that we do have here,” Foster said.
As far as early playing time, Fuller might be a candidate. The Hokies are not particularly deep at cornerback, especially with the recent injury to Antone Exum.
“Kendall, I think, is extremely athletic,” Beamer said. “I think he’ll have a chance to figure in in our secondary play. I think he needs to get his hands on the ball some.”
Teller (Liberty High School, Bealeton, Va.) is big (6-foot-5, 250 pounds), and is ranked the No. 6 strong side defensive end in the country by Rivals.
“I really like what he’s all about,” Foster said. “He’s a big, physical kid that has a tremendous motor. Great personality and he wants to be an outstanding football player. He’s a big kid that can not only disrupt but can run and plays from whistle to whistle.”
Playing both offensive tackle and defensive end in high school, Teller is projected to start out working on the defensive line for the Hokies this fall.
“You don’t always see guys play as hard as he plays,” Beamer said. “For a guy that’s his size and his ability, he plays hard. That’s kind of what you like to see on the video there. I think it gives him a chance to get in there and we’ll see what happens.”
The No. 10 safety in the country also signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the Hokies on signing day. Holland Fisher (Manchester High School, Richmond, Va.), chose the Hokies over offers from Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, and West Virginia. He participated in the Under Armour All-America Game as well.
Fisher’s primary recruiter was running backs coach Shane Beamer, who handles the recruiting in the Richmond area.
“He came to our junior day last year after signing day, and we anticipated Holland’s recruitment going until today,” Shane Beamer said. “He called me that day (last year), I was out to dinner with my wife and got a call from him and he said he knew this is where he wanted to go.”
The Hokies also signed several defensive backs in this recruiting class in addition to Fisher and Fuller.
Cequan Jefferson (Henrico High School, Richmond, Va.), Charles Clark (King’s Fork High School, Suffolk, Va.), Anthony Shegog (North Stafford High School, Stafford, Va.) and early enrollee Brandon Facyson (Northgate High School, Newnan, Ga.) all enter the fray for defensive backs coach Torrian Gray.
Frank Beamer said the Hokies did not actively search for the amount of defensive backs; it just worked out that way.
“It just kind of happened that we hit on some,” Beamer said. “Some of those guys I think have flexibility where they may end up playing. When they start out with good athletic ability, can run and redirect, that gives you some flexibility elsewhere.”
In total, the Hokies inked nine defensive players in their 18-man signing day class. If recent trends hold true, the Hokies are looking at a strong defense for years to come.