February 14, 2012

2013 Recruiting Needs & Numbers: Offense

Virginia Tech is having a junior day this coming weekend with numerous top prospects from the 2013 class expected to be in attendance. The trip is the first major event for the Hokies for this recruiting cycle. With offers tight, let us take a look at the offense and expected numbers for 2012.

Standing heading into this fall, 2012 excluding 2012 seniors since they aren't expected to be a factor in the depth chart.

Quarterbacks

Junior: Logan Thomas
Sophomore: Mark Leal
True Freshmen: Brenden Motley

Logan Thomas is already a junior and with his star rising, it's not unthinkable to believe he could be off to the NFL after a strong junior campaign. Mark Leal has taken control of the No. 2 job, but he likely won't be challenged significantly this spring or fall battling walk-ons and then true freshman Brenden Motley. Motley is a bit of a project at quarterback that will likely need some significant time coming from a Wing T offense. More important, Tech failed to land a second quarterback despite numerous attempts. With the risk of being back down to just two scholarships quarterbacks in a year from now if Thomas leaves early and with no experience behind him, Virginia Tech has to take two prospects in 2013. Tech's already a bit behind the curve in that regard as conceivably they could have two true freshmen battling Motley and Leal for a starting position in a year. On top of that, it takes at least two years to really get a quarterback adjusted to the speed, offense, etc. of the college game, so if Thomas comes back they'll have at least some time to work with prospects in the 2013 class.

Early focus:

Virginia Tech has three offers out to date and it's not likely they'll be putting significantly more out there. The Hokies have ties to all three offerees in Carlis Parker, Anthony Jennings and Bucky Hodges and seem to be in good position for all three. Still, it's always tricky convincing two to come in the same year, but Tech is in a solid position early and there are other options in the region if they must.

Running Backs

Junior: Tony Gregory
Sophomore: Dominique Patterson
Redshirt Freshmen: Michael Holmes
True Freshmen: J.C. Coleman, Drew Harris, Chris Mangus, Jerome Wright

Virginia Tech took a hit with the loss of David Wilson this offseason. What remains are three scholarship running backs in Tony Gregory, Dominique Patterson and Michael Holmes. The furthest along and likely starter from here is Holmes. Tech stacked their depth significantly in 2012 with four running backs in Coleman, Harris, Mangus and Wright and perhaps a fifth in Trey Edmunds. Virginia Tech more than filled the need in 2012, but will need to add a bit more for the future. Although not critical like it was a year ago, Virginia Tech will likely try to land one or two prospects to provide further depth and stability at the position in the future especially since Tech has had a history of tailbacks jumping early to the NFL. Also, injuries have hit this group a bit already with Tony Gregory and Dominique Patterson, not to mention true freshman Drew Harris coming in with injury as well as the fact that Tech could move a player or two potentially to other spots, so depth is important in this class.

Early focus:

Virginia Tech has a handful of offers out to date including to the likes of in-state targets, Derrick Green and Taquan Mizzell. Both seem like somewhat long shots for the Hokies. However, Tech is in a slightly better position out of state with Marquez Grayson, Keyante Green and Jabo Lee. Lee seemingly to be the best shot with his obvious Hokie ties. It's possible that an athlete like Deon Newsome or D.J. Reid, two players Tech is in very good position for early could be a potential options at tailback too and may be athletes on the recruiting board for the Hokies.

Wide Receivers

Sophomore: E.L. Smiling
Redshirt Freshmen: Kevin Asante, Demetri Knowles, Christian Reeves
True Freshmen: Joel Caleb, Mark Irick, Joshua Stanford

The Hokies backlog of wide receivers will be gone after this season with three seniors on the roster this fall. Virginia Tech has a few options on the depth chart in E.L. Smiling, Kevin Asante, Demetri Knowles and Christian Reeves, though none have proven anything to date. It would seem likely that at least one or two would earn significant time this fall and provide depth and some much needed experience for the future. On top of that, Tech has some further depth with Joel Caleb, Joshua Stanford and Mark Irick as well as a greyshirting Thomas Smith in the wings. That doesn't include Der'Woun Green, a true freshman who could get a shot at wideout as well. It's possible one or more of the freshmen could join the mix this year to gain experience for 2013. Even still, the depth chart isn't favorable, especially if the Hokies want to go four wide like they have in recent years. With that fact, Virginia Tech will likely try to take one to two prospects at wide receiver in 2013, with the push to likely two just to provide some sort of depth as they only go about seven deep at the moment.

Early focus:

Tech is definitely making a push for receivers, especially with many of the top prospects in the region. The Hokies have offers out to in-state recruits, Kwamane Bowens and DaeSean Hamilton, both of whom seem high on the Hokies. D.J. Reid could potentially be a wide receiver as well and Tech is in good stead there, as could Deon Newsome or David Prince. Uriah LeMay and Marquez North in North Carolina are some of the best receivers in the country. Both seem interested, but will be tough pulls with the attention they are receiving, though both seem inclined to visit and that's a start at this stage. Tyler Boyd from Pennsylvania and Tramel Terry seem like longer shots. It would appear unlikely Virginia Tech extends too many more offers at the position with so many potential targets on the board at this time.

Tight Ends

Junior: Eric Martin
Redshirt Freshmen: Ryan Malleck, Darius Redman
True Freshmen: Dakota Jackson

Chris Drager is gone and Randall Dunn will graduate after this year. Just when it looked like Virginia Tech's depth at tight end was shored up, it's starting to thin out again. Virginia Tech got two big commits a year ago in Ryan Malleck and Darius Redman. They'll need to find a significant contributor this year in them or Dakota Jackson, a true freshmen that is a good blocker. With Chris Hall not coming in, the need for a tight end has increased a bit particularly considering Virginia Tech tends to run two tight end sets quite often. I expect Virginia Tech will try to take one prospect at tight end in 2013. It's not a desperate need by any means, but the Hokies need some depth for the future and potentially a versatile player who could be a receiver and a blocker as Jackson is good at both, but an especially good blocker.

Early focus:

Virginia Tech has yet to extend an offer to a tight end in the 2013 class. There are options out there and probably one of the highest on the board will be Chris Burton in Danville. Burton is quite high on the Hokies at this stage and has ties, he would fit the bill with his size and athleticism. Outside of that, there are a few other options including Kyle Chung if he decides to stay at tight end or perhaps they would consider Winston-Salem's Lucas Wilson, but outside of that it's pretty limited to date.

Offensive Line

Junior: Andrew Miller, David Wang
Sophomore: Nic Acree, Brent Benedict, Matt Arkema, Laurence Gibson, Mark Shuman
Redshirt Freshmen; Caleb Farris, Jake Goins
True Freshmen: Augie Conte, Jack Willenbrock

In the offseason, Virginia Tech lost a lot of talent in four starters, Jaymes Brooks, Blake DeChristopher, Greg Nosal and Andrew Lanier. Further depth will be gone after this coming season with Nick Becton, Vinston Painter and Michael Via. That leaves a huge hole for the Hokies to fill. Tech will still have at least a pair of starters back in Andrew Miller in the middle and likely Brent Benedict at guard, but will need to find three other starters, particularly at the tackle positions where the best options are basically down to Mark Shuman, Jake Goins and Augie Conte for fall 2013 at this point. Virginia Tech has one further consideration at tackle down the line in Adam Taraschke who is expected to greyshirt. Adding all those up, that puts the Hokies just 12 scholarship linemen deep with only five tackles including Nic Acree, that is certainly not enough. To provide further depth, Virginia Tech really needs to stock up on the tackle position first and foremost this year, but also on the line as a whole. I expect Virginia Tech to take four prospects on the offensive line including three tackles and one guard or center. The Hokies have enough tackles for this season, but after this year it's very much up in the air. Considering you really need two years to develop a lineman, Virginia Tech is behind the curve, so finding a tackle or two who could enroll early would be an even bigger accomplishment than just stocking up the position as a whole.

Early focus:

Virginia Tech has a number of offers out and seemingly is in good position for a few of them. Parker Osterloh seems high on the Hokies early, while out of state offers to Dorian Johnson, Justin Evans and Bryce King seem more likely long shots. Osterloh could fill a couple critical items, not only being a tackle, but a potential early enrollee, something Tech desperately needs. Fortunate for them he seems like a bit of a lean at this stage. Patrick Kugler seems intrigued, but is one of the top line recruits in the country, and that will be a significant battle. Delando Crooks is an interesting recruit who seems high on the Hokies at this stage, but once again it's very early. Virginia Tech will certainly need to offer more recruits and there are significant options across the region. Tech has good opportunities with the likes of Braxton Pfaff and Kris Wilson, both seem heavy on Tech, though Wilson may be a guard. It's still uncertain where else Tech will go for linemen, but there are other options to consider including Joey Bloomfield from Kentucky and Cameron Dillard from Michigan to name a couple. There is little doubt this is an area that will see many more prospects emerge over the course of the year.


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