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June 5, 2014

VT Targets In Baltimore

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BALTIMORE-- Beginning tomorrow, over 100 of the top prospects in the country will descend on Baltimore for the third annual Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour. Rivals.com has invited the top recruits from both the 2015 and 2016 classes, who will compete at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, this weekend.

For Virginia Tech, this includes a number of Hokies targets.

HokieHaven.com publisher Jason Stamm is in Baltimore, to break down the targets with Virginia Tech interest. Check back over the next few days for extensive coverage of each of the Hokies' targets.

Listing is alphabetically

Pat Allen, OT, Franklin (Md.), No. 95 in Rivals100--
Virginia Tech is loosely hanging on. The Hokies have been in on Allen for well over a year, as he was one of the first to be recruited by assistant coach Aaron Moorehead when he arrived at Virginia Tech in January 2013. Since then, Allen has become a top target for offensive line coach Stacy Searels as well and Allen visited for the Hokies' junior day in February. But he's cooled on them a bit since. Allen is still picking up more offers and told Rivals.com recently that Michigan, Florida State, Ohio State and Georgia are all safe in his top five. No mention of Virginia Tech.

Miles Boykin, WR, Providence Catholic (Ill.), No. 116 in Rivals250
In a class where wide receiver isn't a huge need and the Hokies are taking only one, maybe two players, Boykin is one they'll make room for regardless. Moorehead has visited him numerous times, but Boykin has yet to see Blacksburg and it's becoming more and more doubtful he will. There is still the possibility of that happening. Even so, Virginia Tech still made his top 10, along with Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oregon. But for the Hokies to have a real chance here, they've got to get him to visit with his parents.

Devante Brooks, TE, St Johns College Prep (DC.) (2016)
Brooks has the makings of being a nationally recruited tight end and one of the best at his position. With great size and great hands, he really impressed in April at the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour. Moorehead and Virginia Tech were one of the first in the door and while it's still plenty early with him, that looks to be a big factor. He said then that the Hokies were one standing out to him in a big way, but since then, he's added offers from Iowa, Nebraska, NC State, Tennessee and Rutgers. It will be interesting to see how those have changed his thinking.

George Brown, OT, Winton Woods (OH), No. 118 in Rivals250
Brown has long ties to Virginia Tech as his brother, Aaron Brown, was a four-star signee for Virginia Tech in 2006, though injuries cut his football career short. Brown was also the very first recruit Searels saw after joining the Hokies' staff. Still, the odds have been long for a while, as he has 45 offers. LSU, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Auburn have been those jumping out to him, but the Hokies have until October 28 (his birthday and commitment date), to change his mind.

Cameron Chambers, WR, Timber Creek (NJ) (2016)
The Hokies gave Chambers' older teammate from Timber Creek, Adonis Jennings, a look early on in his recruitment, before Jennings eventually went to Pittsburgh, so there's some familiarity with Virginia Tech. Moorehead and assistant coach Cornell Brown have been working on Chambers a bit, but he's yet to visit Blacksburg. They're still trying to get him to visit later this month or possibly for camp next month, but we'll see where he stands.

Austin Clark, OT, Rockbridge County (Va.), No. 75 in Rivals100
Clark is winding down his recruitment and visited South Carolina Saturday, Virginia Tech Tuesday and Tennessee yesterday. He'll be releasing a top three or four tomorrow before he announces a week from today on WSLS-NBC, HokieHaven.com and Rivals.com. The feeling is those three schools are who he'll be choosing from and all three like their chances. The Hokies' need for offensive linemen is apparent and Searels has drilled him on that and early opportunity, but it's still up in the air who his choice will be.

Ben Cleveland, OT, Stephens County (Ga.)(2016)
Cleveland was one of Searels' top targets from when he was at Texas, so there's some familiarity that's been there for a while. Cleveland is a big guy who moves well, maybe a bit advanced for his age and that will certainly be tested this weekend. Still very early here, but Searels' prior recruitment here could be the biggest benefactor for the Hokies.

Deondre Francois, QB, IMG Academy (Fla.), No. 170 in Rivals200
After missing on a few quarterbacks in Brandon Wimbush, Kelly Bryant and Joe Burrow, Francois is one of the few remaining targets. Quarterback isn't a huge need for 2015, given the quarterbacks the Hokies already have. But Francois is one of the guys offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler seems to be impressed with. Francois moves well and has a good arm, but as is usually the case, is another who unless he visits Blacksburg, Virginia Tech probably doesn't have a great shot with.

Rashan Gary, DT, Scotch Plains-Fanwood (NJ)(2016)
Gary is looking more and more like a five-star player for next year, or at least a high four-star. He's a big kid, at 6'4" and 286 pounds who moves well and just has good instinct on how to get to the quarterback. He's been dominant at times in camp one-on-one settings. The Hokies offered this spring but he hasn't shown a lot of interest so far. He's mentioned visiting schools like Ohio State, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida, but hasn't had much to say about the Hokies. We'll see if that's changed any.

Austin Kendall, QB, Charlotte Christian (NC)(2016)
A virtual unknown to many entering the spring, Kendall has had a VT offer for a few months now. He had a big Rivals Camp in March in Charlotte and has picked up renewed interest since. The Hokies will go hard after this one for next season, when quarterback will be a priority for the 2016 class. He's kept up mostly with assistant coach Shane Beamer and we'll see if that relationship of the one he has with Loeffler, have progressed any.

Bryce Love, RB, Wake Forest-Rolesville (NC)---No. 98 in Rivals100
For a while, Virginia Tech looked to be in good shape with Love. He talked well about the Hokies and assistant coach Charley Wiles. During last month's open recruiting period, Wiles even visited him a few times. But Love appears to be losing interest in VT and recently said he'll visit Georgia, Florida, Clemson and South Carolina this summer. He just visited NC State Tuesday. Love hasn't ruled out the Hokies, but they appear to just be holding on.

Jahvoni Simmons, LB, Ocean Lakes (Va.)---No. 105 in Rivals250
This has been one that assistant coach Bryan Stinespring has been working on for a while. He was high on Virginia Tech at the Rivals Camp in April and has kept the Hokies in the mix for a while. But Simmons hasn't visited Blacksburg since last year, a sign that his interest might not be real serious. Oregon and others have recently offered but we'll see if he has any plans or even interest to make a return trip to Virginia Tech this summer.

Rahshaun Smith, DE, St Frances (Md.) (2016)
Better known as 'Shaq,' Smith recently transferred from Calvert Hall (Md.), where he played last season. He's long had Virginia Tech in good position, since he visited for one of the Hokies' camps last summer. At one point this spring, Smith said Virginia Tech and Oklahoma were two that stood out most. He's still been in steady contact with Moorehead, talking almost every week and we'll see if that relationship and his thoughts on the Hokies remain the same.

Levonta Taylor, CB, Ocean Lakes (Va.) (2016)
A bit undersized at 5'9" or 5'10" Taylor is an extremely agile and athletic player to make up for it. He had a big Rivals Camp in March in Charlotte, that really gave him some attention. He's also long held Virginia Tech in contention, but like his teammate, Simmons, it's been a while since he last visited. The odds appear to be greater with Taylor in part because he still has two high school seasons left, but unless he returns to Blacksburg soon, it'll be hard to label the Hokies much of a contender.

Kevin Toliver II, CB, Trinity Christian (Fla.)---No. 8 in Rivals100
Toliver has been committed to LSU since November of 2012, but he caused a stir with Virginia Tech fans when he said early this spring that he wanted to take all five of his official visits and one of them would be to Blacksburg. Toliver has been quiet since and made little to no more mention of the Hokies. But still, the connections are there. Wiles has long had a good relationship with Trinity Christian's coaching staff and Toliver committed well before his friend, Isaiah Ford, signed with the Hokies on signing day. We'll see if Toliver still has any plans to visit and where he is with Virginia Tech.

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