After a 7-6 year that ended a streak of eight consecutive 10-win seasons, it wouldn't come as a surprise if Virginia Tech's recruiting class took a hit.
But that's far from the result.
Coach Frank Beamer and recruiting coordinator Bryan Stinespring announced the 2013 recruiting class this afternoon, as 18 student-athletes signed their letters of intent to play for the Hokies, headlined by seven all-America caliber players.
"I think this will go down as an outstanding recruiting class," Beamer said. "Time will tell, but I really like the athletic ability in this class and the size in our linemen. As always, we researched the character of our recruits, and overall, I believe it is very high."
Ranked as the No. 22 recruiting class in the country by Rivals, the group is headlined by one five-star and three four-star recruits. The five-star signee, Good Counsel (Md.) cornerback Kendall Fuller, is No. 9 in the Rivals100 and the No. 2 cornerback. The youngest Fuller brother (Vincent, Corey, Kyle, and Kendall) will follow in his brothers' footsteps in Blacksburg, and signs indicate that he may be the best one of the bunch.
"Well, the tough thing about Kendall Fuller is he's the last one," Beamer said. "We'd like to have another couple come through. He's extremely athletic, and he'll have a chance to figure in to our secondary play. I think we need to get his hands on the ball some, too."
Other recruits that have a chance to be a part of the Hokies' plans early in their careers on include four-stars defensive end Wyatt Teller (No. 59 in the Rivals 100), safety Holland Fisher (No. 83 in the Rivals 100), and quarterback Bucky Hodges (No. 171 in the Rivals 250). Fisher drew comparisons to former Virginia Tech defensive back Kam Chancellor by defensive coordinator Bud Foster during a signing day show this morning.
Hodges also drew big comparisons, from Stinespring, who likened him to junior quarterback Logan Thomas.
"It's hard not to compare those two because when they both walk into the room, the physical comparisons just stick right out," Stinespring said. "You say OK, the comparisons begin immediately. They're both able to keep plays alive with their feet, they can fend off defenders, and can pull the ball down to be effective and make big plays. They both also have legitimate arm strength, so there's certainly a comparison between the two individuals."
Stinespring also said that it always helps to have an early commit do some recruiting. Such was the case with Teller, who committed Aug. 17.
"Wyatt Teller was a guy that helped, because he was at all of the different combines where a lot of the best players were at," Stinespring said. "That helps in the process, Wyatt is a very communicative kid. He not only got involved with kids that already were committed, but for kids that still may be out there (for 2014)."
While the remainder of the recruiting class may not be as decorated in the rankings, there is definitely an assumption that a few of the players will make big impacts in their careers at Virginia Tech. Stinespring said that all three offensive line recruits (Kyle Chung, Parker Osterloh, and Braxton Pfaff) will start out at tackle because of impressive athletic ability, but could move inside if adjustments need to be made.
Stinespring also added that linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka "has a GPS on the football", and could be a big factor in a few years. But another recruit that received serious praise was three-star quarterback Carlis Parker, whom Beamer compared to Michael Vick.
"There's been a bunch of [Michael Vick] comparisons over the years, but this is one that's legit in my opinion," Beamer said. "I don't want to put too much pressure on him, but he does do some things like Michael did."
While the Virginia Tech 2013 class is mightily impressive, recruiting could get even better for the Hokies with the addition of new coaches Scot Loeffler, Jeff Grimes, and Aaron Moorehead. During the press conference, Beamer and Stinespring outlined each coach's responsibilities for the future.
Shane Beamer will stay in the Richmond area as well as Charlotte. Cornell Brown will be responsible for the Peninsula side in the 757 area up to Williamsburg and through Lynchburg, while also recruiting in New Jersey. Bud Foster stays concentrated in Northern Virginia as well as Torrian Gray (also Georgia and Florida). Stinespring is staying in Virginia, while mainly concentrating on the tidewater area. Charley Wiles will be in southwest Virginia and parts of North Carolina and Florida. Moorehead will be responsible for Maryland, Washington D.C., and some spot scouting around Chicago. Grimes will be responsible for all prep schools, the 81-corridor (Lexington to Winchester), and eastern Pennsylvania. Loeffler will control the New River Valley, western Pennsylvania, and spot scout quarterbacks all over the country.
With plenty of recruits primed to make an impact in fall camp (some in spring practice), Virginia Tech fans can be assured the talent pool is not dry in Blacksburg. Sometimes it's not all bad when you go 7-6.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY'S FULL PRESS CONFERENCE WITH BEAMER AND STINESPRING: FRANK BEAMER/ BRYAN STINESPRING ON VT'S 2013 CLASS