Tech Signs 19 to Football Grants-in-Aid
Elite RB, two of state's top four players highlight class
February 4, 2004

BLACKSBURG - One of the nation's top running backs, as well as the state's top quarterback and receiver combo highlight a football recruiting class composed of 19 student-athletes, including 14 who signed grants-in-aid with Virginia Tech on Wednesday. The other five members of the class enrolled at Tech in January and are already taking part in classes and winter workouts.

"I think we really helped ourselves offensively, particularly at the skilled positions - receivers, running backs and quarterback," head coach Frank Beamer said. "We want to be a balanced offense, running and throwing, and we think we helped ourselves in both of those areas with this class.

"Defensively, we got more skilled people than anything else, but we feel great about the other defensive players we have been able to attract to Virginia Tech," he added. "I also like the fact that we got six out of the top 13 players in the state of Virginia, which is consistent with our trend of recruiting the best players in the state."

Fayetteville, N.C., running back George Bell (5-11, 225), who graduated high school early and enrolled at Tech in January, is ranked as the No. 4 tailback in the nation by Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report. Bell is one of six All-Americans as named by SuperPrep to sign with the Hokies.

Westfield High quarterback Sean Glennon (6-3, 185), who directed his team to the Virginia AAA Group 6 state title, is the highest-rated signal-caller in the state, according to The Roanoke Times and SuperPrep. He is joined by teammate Eddie Royal, who was on the other end of many of Glennon's passes. The wide receiver is ranked as the No. 1 player in Virginia by SuperPrep and the No. 2 player in the state by The Roanoke Times. The 5-10, 170-pounder is ranked the No. 13 wide receiver in the nation by rivals100.com and was the state player of the year as named by the Associated Press. This past year, he had 41 catches for 875 yards and 11 touchdowns, earning unanimous first-team all-state honors and Mid-Atlantic Offensive Player of the Year honors from SuperPrep.

Glennon, Royal and Bell, along with Glen Allen linebacker Andrew Bowman (6-1, 225), Chesapeake running back Branden Ore (6-0, 225), Cliffwood (N.J.) and defensive lineman Carl Howard (6-4, 290) are the six SuperPrep All-Americans to sign with Tech. Glennon, Bell, Bowman and Ore were also named All-Americans by PrepStar.

Glennon, ranked fourth in the state by The Roanoke Times, is also ranked the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in the nation by rivals100.com. He ranks seventh all-time in the VHSL with 67 touchdown passes and threw just 11 career interceptions. He was named first-team all-state by both the coaches and the Associated Press. Bowman, who is ranked the No. 24 linebacker in the nation by SuperPrep, was named second-team all-state by both organizations. Ore rushed for 1,280 yards and 18 touchdowns with more than 300 of those yards coming in the playoffs as he led his team to the state semifinals.

The Hokies signed a total of 11 players from the state of Virginia, seven of whom were ranked among the state's top 22 players by The Roanoke Times. Tech's other signees from Virginia are wide receiver Jeremy Gilchrist of Virginia Beach (#11); offensive lineman Brandon Holland of Roanoke (#29); athlete Maurice Reevey of Highland Springs, who prepped last year at Fork Union Military Academy; offensive lineman Ryan Shuman of Fork Union (#22); fullback Purnell Sturdivant of Norfolk (#13); and athlete Sam Wheeler of Blacksburg (#33). Defensive back D.J. Parker (6-0, 185) of Hampton originally signed with Tech in 2003, but went to Hargrave this past semester.

Gilchrist, who is ranked the No. 49 wide receiver in the nation by rivals100.com, ranks third all-time in VHSL single-season receptions (87), second in single-season receiving yards (1,399) and fifth in single-season touchdown catches (18). He finished second in VHSL career receptions (198), second in career receiving yards (3,230) and seventh in career touchdown receptions (33).

Holland was named first-team AA all-state on defense by both the coaches and the AP. Reevey is ranked the No. 9 JUCO/Prep linebacker in the nation by collegefootballnews.com. Shuman is a good-sized lineman who is ranked 24th in the state by SuperPrep. Sturdivant was named second-team all-state by the AP as a linebacker and is a two-time Eastern District Defensive Player of the Year. He picked up Eastern Region Player of the Year honors as a senior after rushing for 1,359 yards and 15 touchdowns and recording 97 tackles, three interceptions and four sacks on defense. Wheeler, a local product, was named an All-Atlantic Region selection as a defensive lineman by PrepStar. Parker was a first-team selection to the 2002 AAA Coaches all-state team as a senior in high school.

For the 16th time since 1988, the Hokies' class contains at least one player from the state of Florida. This year's class has defensive back Brandon Flowers (Delray Beach), who was ranked the No. 18 JUCO/Prep cornerback in the nation by collegefootballnews.com. He is currently prepping at Hargrave.

Tech also tapped into North Carolina's talent, signing three players from the Tar Heel State. In addition to Bell, Tech signed Catawba wide receiver Justin Harper (6-4, 205), who was ranked the No. 12 JUCO/Prep wide receiver in the nation by collegefootballnews.com. Quarterback Cory Holt (6-5, 210) of Lexington originally signed with Tech in 2003, but went to Hargrave this past semester. He is ranked the No. 9 JUCO/Prep quarterback prospect in the nation by collegefootballnews.com.

Bell is ranked the No. 28 player in the country by Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report despite missing the majority of two seasons with a knee injury. Harper is an athletic receiver with good size who originally signed a basketball NLI with Winthrop before enrolling at Hargrave. Holt, who tied a state record as a junior in high school by throwing for eight touchdown passes in a game, threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Harper in Hargrave's jayvee game against the Hokies.

Virginia Tech also picked up two players from Washington, D.C., both coming from H.D. Woodson High. Defensive back Theodore Miller (6-2, 181) is ranked No. 17 in Maryland/D.C. by rivals100.com. He joins wide receiver Josh Morgan, who prepped at Fork Union Military last semester.

The Hokies also inked two players from the Garden State as Howard and Westville (N.J.) fullback/linebacker Michael Green (6-0, 240) both signed with Tech Wednesday. Howard, the son of former NFL defensive back Carl Howard, was named an All-American by SuperPrep and is ranked the No. 29 defensive tackle in the country by rivals100.com. Green was named an All-East Region selection as a linebacker by PrepStar and was named the Gloucester County Times Defensive Player of the Year as a senior after recording 135 tackles.

The five players who are already enrolled at Virginia Tech are Bell, Harper, Holt, Morgan and Parker.

NamePositionHgt.Wgt.Last SchoolHometown
George BellRunning Back5-11225Jack Britt H.S. Fayetteville, N.C.
Justin HarperWide Receiver6-4205Hargrave Catawba, N.C.
Cory HoltQuarterback6-5210Hargrave Lexington, N.C.
Josh MorganWide Receiver6-2217Fork Union Washington, D.C.
D.J. ParkerCornerback6-0185Hargrave Hampton, Va.
Jeremy GilchristWide Receiver5-10180Landstown H.S. Virginia Beach, Va.
Michael GreenAthlete6-0240Deptford H.S. Westville, N.J.
Andrew BowmanLinebacker6-1225Hermitage H.S. Glen Allen, Va.
Carl HowardDefensive Tackle6-4290Matawan H.S. Cliffwood, N.J.
Sam WheelerAthlete6-3235Blacksburg H.S. Blacksburg, Va.
Ryan ShumanOffensive Line6-3262Fork Union Fork Union, Va.
Maurice ReeveyAthlete6-3225Fork Union Highland Springs, Va.
Brandon HollandOffensive Line6-4280Northside H.S. Roanoke, Va.
Brandon FlowersCornerback5-9175Hargrave Delray Beach, Fla.
Purnell SturdivantFullback5-10220Lake Taylor H.S. Norfolk, Va.
Branden OreRunning Back6-0205Indian River H.S. Chesapeake, Va.
Theodore MillerCornerback6-2181H.D. Woodson H.S. Washington, D.C.
Sean GlennonQuarterback6-3185Westfield H.S. Centreville, Va.
Eddie RoyalWide Receiver5-10170Westfield H.S. Herndon, Va.

Signees listed in the order in which their LOI were received.