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Anytime a school gets a handful of commitments in a single week, you should set aside some time to figure out who the newbies are.
Virginia Tech has added six separate commitments in the last seven days — running back Bryce Duke, offensive linemen Johnny Garrett and Jakson LaHue, tight end Matt Hoffman, defensive back Malcolm Jones and athlete Xavier Simmons.
Let’s take a moment to parse through each of these six commitments…
Running back Bryce Duke (5-foot-11, 196 pounds) — Leesburg, Va.
Duke - who played for Tuscarora here in Loudoun County - committed to Tech on Tuesday, giving the Hokies their first tailback in this cycle. He’s got average size and rates as a middle-of-the-road three-star prospect. 247Sports puts him 23rd in Virginia’s 2022 class.
Virginia Tech didn’t face stiff competition for Duke. Rutgers and Duke are his only other Power 5 offers, though the northern Virginia native also holds offers from App State, Cincinnati and Old Dominion.
Offensive lineman Johnny Garrett (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) – Scituate, Ma.
I wouldn’t expect Virginia Tech to heavily recruit a player from Beantown, but here we are. Tech had to have been somewhat high on Garrett to accept a commitment at this point in the recruiting cycle.
Garrett’s ratings won’t turn a lot of heads. The 247Sports Composite and 247Sports’ own ratings are both 84 and lower. His offer list is equally unimpressive — Garrett’s only other Power 5 offer is from Boston College.
Offensive line coach Vance Vice has experience developing lower-level recruits, so I trust his judgement more often than not. But as an observer, my trust in Vice is the only thing I can latch on to when it comes to Garrett.
Offensive lineman Jakson LaHue (6-foot-5, 285 pounds) — Azle, Tx.
That last name sounds pretty cool. It resembles an overrated sportswriter that may or may not write for this website.
LaHue is rated a little higher than Garrett, but his offer list is just as average from a football standpoint. With that said, LaHue holds offers from Columbia, Dartmouth and Harvard. LaHue may be a genius.
As with Garrett, I’m left holding onto Vice’s judgement. Seeing a lengthy offer list means more to me than star ratings, but LaHue has neither. On the flip side, LaHue is another example of Virginia Tech trying to make waves in Texas.
Tight end Matt Hoffman (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) — Wyncote, Pa.
Hoffman is unranked by Rivals and 247Sports has an 84 rating for Hoffman. Before his commitment to Virginia Tech, it looks like Hoffman was pretty unknown.
One would assume Hoffman has the ability to add to his 6-foot-4 frame. He better, because 215 is pretty light for tight end. Hoffman’s only other reported offer is Temple.
Defensive back Malcolm Jones (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) — Leesburg, Ga.
Jones is unranked by both 247Sports and Rivals. Hopefully they’ll be able to watch him play this fall and get an idea for what he can do.
In terms of offers, Jones holds one from Liberty, Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky.
Athlete Xavier Simmons (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) — Greensboro, N.C.
Simmons hails from Northwest Guilford High School, the same school as Tre Turner. Simmons is an .8891 on the 247Sports Composite and a 91 on 247Sports’ own rating system. By either metric, Simmons is the highest-rated recruit in Tech’s 2022 class.
Fortunately, Simmons’ offer list matches his ratings. Simmons has received offers from Duke, Maryland, NC State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia. Higher end three-star prospects usually end up with slightly better offer lists, but it is early.
At his size, Simmons is a bit limited on what position he can translate into. Linebacker or tight end would seem to make the most sense, though defensive end is a possibility.
Ideally, Simmons isn’t the headliner in the class. He’s a good prospect with great potential, but maybe not the kind you want to bank on becoming a big collegiate star.
Catching Up On The Class
Through June 22, Virginia Tech has 12 commitments. Their 2022 class ranks 27th in the country, fourth in the ACC and their average recruit rating of .8613 is a percentage point higher than last cycle.
Simmons and quarterback Alex Orji are the Hokies’ top prospects thus far, but it is early. Players could come and players could go. Tech fans know that firsthand.
Tech seems to have prioritized a couple positions, starting on the offensive line. Garrett, LaHue and Dickson give the Hokies three more bodies up front. On the opposite side of the line of scrimmage, Braelin Moore and Lemar Law both figure to play defensive tackle at the next level.
Quarterback is another point of emphasis. Tech’s quarterback numbers are low and at the moment, Justin Fuente plans to sign both Orji and Devin Farrell, a 6-foot quarterback from Alpharetta, Ga. It’s entirely possible that one or neither of these players sign with Tech, and if they do both sign, it’s likely that one of them ends up moving positions.
Virginia Tech will continue to recruit and this fall could be the most active they’ve ever been on the recruiting trail. Like every other program, the Hokies must try and make up for more than a year’s worth of lost time. There is no better time to do that than the present.