football Edit

Virginia Tech Signing Day capsule 2021: Da'Shawn Elder

Even in 2020, there's such a thing as a Signing Day surprise. The Hokies got one in FUMA athlete Da'Shawn Elder today.

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Rankings

5.4 two-star. Unranked nationally, at his position, or in Virginia.

Other suitors

UT-Chattanooga, UMass, New Mexico State, TCU, Tennessee State, Towson

Recruitment story

Elder largely came out of the blue for those outside the coaches' meetings. He was lightly recruited out of Watkinsville (Ga.) Oconee High a year ago, and a post-grad year at Fork Union was deemed necessary to improve his options.

That certainly came to fruition. Out of FUMA, he picked Virginia Tech over TCU and a number of mid-major and FCS programs.

Game breakdown

Elder is a guy whose physical attributes stand out more than his film right now. He has plenty of pure speed, and it doesn't take him long to reach that when he plants his foot and get going. he also relishes laying a big hit, whether that's to stand up an attempted block or to take down a ball-carrier.

For the time being, though, he relies more on his physical attributes rather than refined technique to make plays. He's improved quite a bit with the experience he's picked up at Fork Union, but there's still a ways to go. He makes interceptions not because he reads route patterns and breaks on the ball perfectly, but rather because he has the burst to see the ball in the air and get to it before it arrives at the receiver. Similarly, he makes tackles not because he has sound tackling technique, but because he arrives with speed and force to knock opposing players off balance.

The potential long-term is obviously palpable for a guy like that as long as he's a quick study in the VT system. That holds true whether he ends up a corner or safety, and his talents could even translate to a number of other spots.

Film

Statistically speaking

Playing for Fork Union's postgrad team, Elder put up big defensive numbers: eight tackles, nine interceptions (three returned for touchdowns), and three PBUs. Four touchdown grabs on offense.

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