Tech Signs 21 to Football Grants-In-Aid
Nation's top player one of 13 signees who have earned All-America honors
February 7, 2001

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Parade All-Americans Kevin Jones and Bryan Randall headline a Virginia Tech football recruiting class that includes 13 players who have earned prep All-America honors from at least one major recruiting publication. The Hokies' latest class is composed of 21 student-athletes who signed grants-in-aid with Tech on Wednesday.

"Our recruiting continues to get better and better," said Tech head coach Frank Beamer, whose Hokies have posted back-to-back 11-1 seasons and played for the national championship in 1999. "I think this class bears that out. When we look back at this group in five years, I believe it will have proven to be a highly-successful class."

Jones, a 6-1, 205-pound running back from Cardinal O'Hara High School in Philadelphia, Pa., is ranked the No. 1 prep player in the nation by SuperPrep and a number of other recruiting services. Jones finished his career as the No. 2 career rusher in Philadelphia history with 5,878 yards. The consensus prep All-America pick played in the inaugural National High School All-Star game in December and won the first-ever High School Heisman Award for the Northeast region.

Randall, a standout quarterback from Bruton High School in Williamsburg, Va., is listed as the No. 2 athlete and No. 15 player overall in the nation by SuperPrep. During his junior year, the 6-2, 205-pound signal-caller became the first football player in state history to both rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 1,000 yards in the same season. Randall repeated the feat as a senior on the way to being named the Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year and earning state Group AA Player of the Year honors. An accomplished point guard in basketball, Randall was the state Group AA Basketball Player of the Year as a junior and plans to play both sports at Tech.

Joining Jones and Randall on the SuperPrep All-America squad are defensive back DeAngelo Hall of Chesapeake, Va., running back Justin Hamilton of Clintwood, Va., running back Cedric Humes of Virginia Beach, Va., wide receiver Fred Lee of Harrisburg, Pa., and defensive back D.J. Walton of Woodbridge, Va. Hall and Walton are ranked the No. 9 and 19 defensive backs in the nation, respectively, while Hamilton and Humes are listed as the No. 24 and 28 running backs. SuperPrep rates Lee as the No. 28 wide receiver.

Jones, Randall and Lee were named to the PrepStar Dream Team, along with fellow signee Curtis Bradley, a 6-3, 285-pound offensive lineman from Summerville, S.C., who was rated the No. 7 lineman in the nation. Tech's other PrepStar All-Americans are Hall, Hamilton, Humes, Walton, linebacker James Anderson of Chesapeake, Va., defensive lineman Kevin Hilton of Silver Spring, Md., tight end/defensive lineman Jeff King of Pulaski, Va., offensive lineman Danny McGrath of Herndon, Va., and defensive lineman Chris Pannell of Staunton, Va.

The Hokies signed a total of 13 Virginians, 12 of whom were ranked among the state's top 26 players by The Roanoke Times. The in-state signees include three of the top four and five of the top 10 players off the Times' list of senior prospects - Randall (1), Hall (2), Hamilton (4), Humes (9) and Walton (10). Another in-state signee, highly-regarded linebacker Blake Warren, was named the Group AAA Defensive Player of the Year by the state high school coaches after helping Centreville High to the state AAA Division 6 championship. Warren's father, Don, spent 14 years in the National Football League with the Washington Redskins.

"If we can continue to recruit Virginia like this, we will remain a strong contender for the BIG EAST title," Beamer said. "And if we win the BIG EAST, that means we will compete for the national championship."

For the first time since 1988, the Hokies' incoming class does not include at least one player from Florida. Tech's out-of-state recruiting produced eight signees, two each from South Carolina, Maryland and Pennsylvania and one each from Arkansas and Oklahoma. Included in the group are four all-state defensive linemen led by Baltimore Sun Defensive Player of the Year Jason Murphy, a 6-3, 255-pound end who is rated the No. 46 defensive player in the country by G&W Recruiting after posting 47 quarterback sacks during his final two seasons. The others are Hilton, 6-4, 240-pound Andrew Fleck from Edmond, Okla., and 6-4, 225-pound Brandon Frye of Myrtle Beach, S.C.

"We are very pleased with the quality of the out-of-state players we have in this class," Beamer said. "The success we have enjoyed has opened some new doors."

With the early departure of sensational quarterback Michael Vick for the NFL, Tech signed three quarterbacks. Randall, who was ranked the No. 4 quarterback in the nation by PrepStar and the No. 46 offensive player in the country by G&W, is joined at the position by Will Hunt of Springdale, Ark., and Chris Clifton of Chesapeake, Va. Hunt led Springdale High to the Arkansas Class 5A finals as a junior and to the state semifinals as a senior. He is listed as the top quarterback in Arkansas by SuperPrep. Clifton, at 6-4, 200, is listed among the top athletes in the Atlantic Region by PrepStar and Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report. He was 23-2 as Deep Creek's starting quarterback and led the Hornets to the state AAA Division 5 championship game in 2000.

"It's no secret that we felt we had to bring in some quality quarterbacks this year," Beamer said. "We wanted athletic quarterbacks who can throw the football, and each of our three signees fit that mold."

Seventeen of the Hokies' 21 signees are 6-2 or taller and nine weigh 240 pounds or more. The biggest catch, size-wise, is Reggie Butler of Keswick, Va. Butler, an All-Central Virginia offensive lineman, is 6-foot-6 and weighs 310 pounds.

One member of the class - defensive lineman Tim Sandidge of Madison Heights, Va. - is a virtual newcomer to the sport. Sandidge posted over 70 tackles and earned second-team All-State honors last fall in just his second season of football.

"This class has everything - size, speed, quickness, good academics and versatility," Beamer said. "There are a lot of players in this group who have the ability to contribute at more than one position."

For more information on Virginia Tech's 2001 recruiting class go to http://www.hokiesports.com/football/2001recruits/. Following is a list of Virginia Tech's football signees for 2001:
James Anderson, 6-2, 210, LB, Chesapeake, Va., Deep Creek H.S.; 
Curtis Bradley, 6-3, 285, OL, Summerville, S.C., Summerville H.S.; 
Reggie Butler, 6-6, 310, OL, Keswick, Va., Monticello H.S.; 
Chris Clifton, 6-4, 200, QB, Chesapeake, Va., Deep Creek H.S.; 
Andrew Fleck, 6-4, 240, DL/TE, Edmond, Okla., Santa Fe H.S.; 
Brandon Frye, 6-4, 225, DL, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Myrtle Beach H.S.; 
DeAngelo Hall 6-0, 190, DB, Chesapeake, Va., Deep Creek H.S.; 
Justin Hamilton, 6-3, 210, RB, Clintwood, Va., Clintwood H.S.; 
Kevin Hilton, 6-2, 255, DL, Silver Spring, Md., Good Counsel H.S.; 
Cedric Humes, 6-2, 200, RB, Virginia Beach, Va., Princess Anne H.S.; 
Will Hunt, 6-1, 205, Springdale, Ark., Springdale H.S.; 
Kevin Jones, 6-1, 205, RB, Chester, Pa., Cardinal O'Hara H.S.; 
Jeff King, 6-5, 245, TE/DL, Pulaski, Va., Pulaski County H.S.; 
Fred Lee, 5-10, 175, WR, Harrisburg, Pa., Bishop McDevitt H.S.; 
Danny McGrath, 6-2, 270, OL, Herndon, Va., Herndon H.S.; 
Jason Murphy, 6-3, 255, DL, Baltimore, Md., Edmondson Westside H.S.; 
Chris Pannell, 6-5, 240, DL, Staunton, Va., Robert E. Lee H.S.; 
Bryan Randall, 6-2, 205, QB, Williamsburg, Va., Bruton H.S.; 
Tim Sandidge, 6-2, 275, DL, Madison Heights, Va., Amherst County H.S.; 
D.J. Walton, 5-10, 195, DB, Woodbridge, Va., C.D. Hylton H.S.; 
Blake Warren, 6-2, 205, Clifton, Va., Centreville H.S.