It sure is a good thing that Virginia Tech’s Class of 2022 *seems* to be heading in the right direction.
Because the Class of 2020 continues to be doing the exact opposite.
Alec Bryant and Robert Wooten (right), the two highest-rated signees from the Hokies’ 2020 class, both announced their decisions to transfer from Virginia Tech on Monday. While neither Bryant nor Wooten were expected to see the field a lot this season, they had the potential to slot in the two-deep the following year and served as necessary depth for Tech in 2021.
Alas, that is no longer the case.
We knew after National Signing Day that Tech’s Class of 2020 didn’t have a lot of promise, but things have gotten significantly worse for that group of players.
Bryant, the class’ top-rated prospect, is now leaving the program. Wooten, No. 2 in the class, is in the same boat.
Tyree Saunders, an athletic receiver from Jacksonville, Fl. that many expected to fight for snaps immediately, is already enrolled at East Carolina. The class’ No. 4 prospect, Justin Beadles, is transferring to Houston.
So in less than two years, Virginia Tech’s top four prospects from that one class are gone. No matter your opinion of the Hokies’ recruiting efforts, this is an issue.
It neuters the program from a depth and development perspective, meaning the Hokies will have even greener defensive ends behind their starters. When Amare Barno and Emmanuel Belmar move on, which they will after this season, there will be few experienced options behind them.
As I noted earlier, things *seem* to be getting better. The Hokies Class of 2021 was slightly better on paper than the ever-unraveling Class of 2020 and at the moment, Virginia Tech’s Class of 2022 has a chance to be the highest-rated class Justin Fuente has ever signed.
Bryant and Wooten aren’t guaranteed to become impact players at their new programs — transfers often fail to hit their expectations at their new program. But it’s another pair of scholarships the Hokies handed out that didn’t bring any value to the program. And if those misses mount like they have under Fuente and his staff over the last few seasons, it’ll take years to recreate the depth Virginia Tech was supposed to have built.
This class is shaping up to be far better than the recruiting results Fuente has produced since 2018.
It needs to be, because with these departures, there’s a lot of lost time to make up for.