Tech Signs 24 to Football Grants-in-Aid
Seven All-Americans, four of state's top five players highlight class
February 2, 2005

BLACKSBURG - Four of the state's top five players, as well as seven 2005 prep All-Americans highlight a football recruiting class composed of 24 student-athletes who signed grants-in-aid with Virginia Tech on Wednesday.

"I am really excited about the athletic ability of this class, but I am just as impressed with the quality of people that we have in this class," head coach Frank Beamer said.

Tech picked up one of its strongest in-state classes in recent years. Highlighting the class is Virginia's consensus No. 1 player Victor "Macho" Harris from Highland Springs, who was named a PARADE All-American, is ranked the No. 2 corner in the nation by collegefootballnews.com and is the No. 3 athlete in the nation by rivals.com. Tech also picked up the Nos. 2, 4 and 5 players in the state, according to The Roanoke Times. Elan Lewis comes in at No. 2 and is ranked the No. 12 running back in the nation by rivals.com. The Phoebus High product rushed for 4,795 yards and 75 touchdowns his final two seasons. Hard-hitting linebacker Deveon Simmons from Virginia Beach checks in at No. 4. The two-time Beach District Defensive Player of the Year and all-state selection led his team to the Virginia AAA Group 6 state championship this year and is ranked the No. 8 outside linebacker in the country by rivals.com. Quarterback Greg Boone, from Chesapeake's Oscar Smith High, rounds out the state's top five. He is listed as the No. 15 quarterback in the nation after throwing for 1,285 yards and rushing for 949 yards his final season.

"Over the last few years, we have been able to get a lot of the top 10 players in the state, and this year we are especially pleased to get four of the top five," Beamer said. "I've always said if we get the best kids in the state of Virginia, we will always be able to compete at a high level."

Tech also got big commitments from several out-of-state players. Northwest High star Ike Whitaker (Germantown, Md., 6-4, 200) is ranked the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by rivals.com and the No. 4 player in the Mid-Atlantic region by SuperPrep. He was named The Washington Post's Offensive Player of the Year after completing 157-of-262 passes for a school-record 2,586 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also ran for 432 yards and 10 scores his senior year. Tech also signed a standout from the Palmetto State in defensive end Hivera Green (pronounced Javier). Green, from Conway High in Conway, is ranked the No. 32 defensive lineman in the country and the No. 5 player in South Carolina by SuperPrep.

Boone, Green, Harris, Lewis, Simmons and Whitaker are the six SuperPrep All-Americans to sign with Tech. Defensive end Steven Friday (6-4, 215), from Phoebus High, was also named an All-American by PrepStar. Friday is listed as the No. 9 weakside defensive end in the nation by rivals.com and the No. 11 player in the state by The Roanoke Times. Whitaker, Simmons and Harris were also named to PrepStar's postseason Dream Team - the top 100 players in the nation.

The Hokies signed a total of 13 players from the state of Virginia, 10 of whom are ranked among the state's top 20 players by The Roanoke Times. Tech's other signees from Virginia are tight end Ed Wang of Ashburn (#7); safety Cameron Martin of Danville (#13); offensive lineman Antonio North of Stafford (#15); defensive tackle Cordarrow Thompson of Stafford (#18); and linebacker Demetrius Taylor of Virginia Beach (#20). Additionally, Tech signed two big offensive tackles in Eric Davis (6-7, 305) from Springfield, who was named the Sleeper of the Year by The Roanoke Times, and 6-6 Richard Graham of Richmond (#66), who was named first-team all-state by VISCA. The Hokies also picked up the first-team all-state punter in Brent Bowden, from Westfield High.

Wang took home the Gatorade State Player of the Year award and is rated the No. 14 tight end in the nation by rivals.com. The Hokies also picked up three prep school players in defensive end William Wall from Washington, D.C., athlete Sam Wheeler from Blacksburg and offensive lineman Brandon Holland from Roanoke. Wall, who was a 2004 SuperPrep All-American before going to Hargrave this year, is ranked the No. 17 prep school player in the nation by rivals.com while Wheeler and Holland are ranked Nos. 24 and 25, respectively. Wheeler and Holland both signed with the Hokies in 2004 before going to Hargrave this year.

Martin (6-1, 180) attends George Washington High in Danville and is rated the No. 13 safety in the nation by collegefootballnews.com. North (6-4, 310) goes to North Stafford High and is ranked the No. 23 offensive guard in the nation by rivals.com. North's teammate, Thompson, was named the defensive player of the year by The Washington Post, as well as first-team all-state. Taylor (6-1, 220), from Kellam High, is ranked the No. 38 inside linebacker in the nation by rivals.com. All four were named to PrepStar's postseason All-Atlantic Region team.

"Before the season started, we put down a number that we planned to recruit at each position, and we came very close to matching numbers exactly," Beamer said. "So we feel like it was a great recruiting class from the standpoint of getting players at the positions we needed."

Virginia Tech also picked up three players from Maryland. In addition to Whitaker, Tech signed DeMatha Catholic teammates in fullback Kenneth Jefferson (5-10, 230) and offensive lineman Robert Norris (6-4, 300). Jefferson is rated the No. 6 fullback in the nation by collegefootballnews.com and the No. 12 player in Maryland by rivals.com. Norris was named to PrepStar's postseason All-Atlantic Region team and is ranked the No. 17 player in the Mid-Atlantic region by SuperPrep.

Tech also tapped into North Carolina's talent, signing Rocky Mount cornerback Stephan Virgil (5-11, 165), who is ranked the No. 45 safety in the nation by scout.com and the No. 25 player in the state by SuperPrep.

The Hokies also inked two players from the Peach State and one from the Garden State. Cornerback Dorian Porch (5-11, 180), from Gordon Central High in Calhoun, Ga., defensive tackle Sergio Render (6-4, 290) from Newnan High in Newnan, Ga., and athlete Jahre Cheeseman (5-9, 180) from Eastern High in Voorhees, N.J., all signed with the Hokies Wednesday. Porch is ranked the No. 46 cornerback in the nation and the No. 36 player in Georgia by rivals.com, totaling 48 tackles and six interceptions his senior year. Render is listed as the No. 7 center in the nation by rivals.com and the No. 22 player in the state of Georgia by scout.com. Both Porch and Render were named to PrepStar's postseason All-Southeast Region team. Cheeseman (first name is pronounced Jah-ree) is rated as the No. 9 all-purpose back in the nation and the No. 11 player in New Jersey by rivals.com. He was named to PrepStar's postseason All-East Region team.

"This is really the first year we have gone into North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. This is a good start, but it is an area we plan to work even harder in the future.," Beamer said.

For more information on each of Virginia Tech's signees, go to http://www.hokiesports.com/football/2005recruits/

2005 Virginia Tech Football Signing Class
NamePositionHgt.Wgt.Last SchoolHometown
Greg BooneQuarterback6-4240Oscar SmithChesapeake, Va.
Brent BowdenPunter6-2180WestfieldChantilly, Va.
Jahre CheesemanAthlete5-9180EasternVoorhees, N.J.
Eric DavisOffensive Tackle6-7315West SpringfieldLorton, Va.
Steven FridayDefensive End6-4215PhoebusHampton, Va.
Richard GrahamOffensive Tackle6-6255St. Christopher'sRichmond, Va.
Hivera GreenDefensive Tackle6-5258ConwayConway, S.C.
Victor HarrisDefensive Back6-0180Highland SpringsHighland Springs, Va.
Brandon HollandOffensive Line6-4285HargraveRoanoke, Va.
Kenneth JeffersonFullback5-10230DeMatha CatholicPort Tobacco, Md.
Elan LewisTailback5-8210PhoebusHampton, Va.
Cameron MartinSafety6-1180GW DanvilleMartinsville, Va.
Robert NorrisOffensive Line6-4300DeMatha CatholicCheltenham, Md.
Antonio NorthOffensive Line6-4310North StaffordStafford, Va.
Dorian PorchCornerback5-11180Gordon CentralCalhoun, Ga.
Sergio RenderDefensive Tackle6-4290NewnanNewnan, Ga.
Deveon SimmonsLinebacker6-0221LandstownVirginia Beach, Va.
Demetrius TaylorLinebacker6-1220KellamVirginia Beach, Va.
Cordarrow ThompsonDefensive Tackle6-2318North StaffordStafford, Va.
Stephan VirgilCornerback5-11165Rocky MountRocky Mount, N.C.
William WallDefensive End6-3255HargraveWashington, D.C.
Ed WangTight End6-5260Stone BridgeAshburn, Va.
Sam WheelerAthlete6-3240HargraveBlacksburg, Va.
Ike WhitakerQuarterback6-4200NorthwestGermantown, Md.