Tech signs 23 to football letters-of-intent
Seven All-Americans highlight 2007 class
February 7, 2007

BLACKSBURG - Seven 2007 prep All-Americans, including the top player in the state of Virginia and the national player of the year by one publication, highlight a football recruiting class composed of 23 student-athletes who signed letters-of-intent with Virginia Tech on Wednesday to go along with two athletes who graduated high school early and enrolled at Tech in January to bring Tech's class up to 25.

"Not only do I think that this is a very talented incoming class, I think it's potentially one of the best classes we've ever signed," head coach Frank Beamer said. "I think that this group has very good character and takes care of their academics. All of those things go a long way in winning championships."

A year after receiving just six NLIs from Virginia products - the fewest amount under Beamer - Tech bounced back strong this year in signing 13 players from the Commonwealth. Highlighting that group is Hampton quarterback Tyrod Taylor (6-2, 185), an All-American who is ranked as the No. 1 player in the state of Virginia by The Roanoke Times and is listed as the No. 1 dual threat quarterback in the country by Rivals. In all, Tech signed three of the top five players in the state, five of the top 10 and 10 of the top 21, according the The Roanoke Times. Also signing with Tech from the top five are two Richmond products: cornerback Cris Hill (#3) and safety Davon Morgan (#5). Hill is also ranked the No. 17 cornerback in the country by Rivals, while Morgan is rated as the No. 21 safety in the country by Scout.

Ten players from out-of-state signed with Tech, highlighted by running back Darren Evans from Indianapolis, Ind. Evans rushed for 2,806 yards and a state record 61 touchdowns his final year at Warren Central High, earning EA SPORTS National Player of the Year honors.

Taylor, Hill, Morgan and Bradenton (Fla.) linebacker Hunter Ovens are the four SuperPrep All-Americans to sign with Tech. Hill, Morgan and Taylor also were named All-Americans by PrepStar, along with Evans and Wadesboro (N.C.) linebacker Barquell Rivers. Ovens is ranked the No. 14 strongside linebacker in the country by Scout and the No. 18 player in the state of Florida by SuperPrep. Rivers had 170 tackles and five interceptions (three returned for scores) as a senior to help him earn the No. 14 player in the state of North Carolina ranking by SuperPrep.

Both Taylor and Evans were named PARADE All-Americans, marking the first time since 2001 (Kevin Jones and Bryan Randall) Tech has had two PARADE A-As in the same class. Evans was named Mr. Indiana by The Indianapolis Star while Taylor was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year in Virginia. Taylor was also named to PrepStar's postseason Dream Team - the top 100 players in the nation, the Rivals100 team and the SuperPrep Elite 50 squad.

Seven other players from the state of Virginia are ranked in the top 21 in the state by The Roanoke Times with six playing on the offensive side of the ball. They are Midlothian offensive lineman Blake DeChristopher (#6), Chesterfield offensive lineman Khalil Latif (#10), Newport News offensive lineman Jaymes Brooks (#12), Woodbridge offensive lineman Will Alvarez (#15), Virginia Beach tight end Greg Nosal (#16), Manassas linebacker Quillie Odom (#19) and Lexington wide receiver Danny Coale (#21). Also signing with Tech from Virginia were South Boston wide receiver Patrick Terry (#31), Richmond linebacker Alonzo Tweedy (#33) and Ashland running back D.J. Thomas. Thomas was an all-region selection by both SuperPrep and PrepStar after rushing for 1,595 yards and scored 18 scores.

The Tech staff put heavy emphasis on the offensive line and tight end positions, picking up nine players. DeChristopher (6-6, 310) is a member of the Rivals250 team (along with Taylor and Hill) while Latif (6-3, 280), Brooks (6-3, 290) and Alvarez (6-5, 315) are members of SuperPrep's Mid-Atlantic Team. Tech's other offensive line prospect is Hopkins (Minn.) product Collin Carroll (6-4, 260), who is also a highly rated long snapper. Tech also picked up four tight ends to go with the five linemen in Chris Drager (Jefferson Hills, Pa.; 6-4, 235), Andrew Lanier (Moore, S.C.; 6-5, 250), Nosal (6-5, 255) and Brandon Barden (Lincolnton, Ga.; 6-5, 211). Barden is ranked the No. 26 tight end in the country by Rivals while Drager, Lanier and Nosal were all members of their respective all-region squads by PrepStar.

"I think we got some quality offensive linemen and that was very much a priority in this recruiting class," Beamer said. "We also got some excellent receivers coming in to replace the quality receivers we'll lose next year. I think your football team starts with the quarterback position and we feel very good about Tyrod Taylor and what he'll bring to this program. The tight end position was another area of concern and we feel like we've helped ourself with the group we're bringing in. Also, we've had some great backs at Virginia Tech and I think we've added some more in this recruiting class."

Tech also tapped into North Carolina's talent with three players: Rivers, Spring Hope defensive tackle Kwamaine Battle and Garner running back Josh Oglesby. Battle was an All-Atlantic Region selection by PrepStar after totaling 90 tackles, including 8.5 sacks, as a senior and is rated the No. 28 player in the state of North Carolina by Rivals. Oglesby is listed as the No. 34 running back in the country and the No. 18 player in the state of North Carolina by Rivals after rushing for over 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns his senior year.

Virginia Tech also picked up two defensive players from Maryland in Germantown end Justin Young and Mitchellville tackle Courtney Prince. Young is rated the No. 33 strongside defensive end in the country and the No. 9 player in the state of Maryland by Rivals, earning all-region honors from both PrepStar and SuperPrep. Prince is ranked the No. 15 overall player on the Mid-Atlantic 36 by SuperPrep.

The Hokies used commitments from athletes in nine states to complete their class, grabbing one player from Pennsylvania (Drager), two from South Carolina (Lanier and Sumter athlete Kendrick Pressley), one from Georgia (Barden), one from Indiana (Evans), one from Florida (Ovens) and one from Minnesota (Carroll). With the signing of Ovens, it marks the 17th year since 1988 - but the first since Brandon Flowers in 2004 - Tech has signed a player from Florida, while with the signing of Carroll, it marks the first time under Beamer a player from Minnesota has signed with the Hokies. Pressley was selected to the NC/SC Shrine Bowl and is ranked the No. 33 prospect on the SC High School Sports Report's South Carolina Top 100.

Two of the 25 players in this year's recruiting class - Barden and Oglesby - enrolled at Tech in January, thus did not sign NLIs on Wednesday and are already participating in offseason workouts. Twenty-three players signed with Tech on Signing Day.

2007 Virginia Tech Football Signing Class
NamePositionHgt.Wgt.Last SchoolHometown
Brandon BardenTight End6-5211Lincoln CountyLincolnton, Ga.
Josh OglesbyRunning Back6-0205GarnerGarner, N.C.
Quillie OdomLinebacker6-2205Osbourn ParkManassas, Va.
Andrew LanierTight End6-5250DormanMoore, S.C.
Cris HillCornerback5-11190Highland SpringsRichmond, Va.
Justin YoungDefensive End6-5255NorthwestGermantown, Md.
Kwamaine BattleDefensive Tackle6-1260Southern NashSpring Hope, N.C.
Hunter OvensLinebacker6-2220Cardinal MooneyBradenton, Fla.
Alonzo TweedyLinebacker6-2185HermitageRichmond, Va.
Darren EvansRunning Back6-1217Warren CentralIndianapolis, Ind.
Khalil LatifOffensive Line6-3280ManchesterChesterfield, Va.
Greg NosalTight End6-5255KellamVirginia Beach, Va.
D.J. ThomasRunning Back5-9175Patrick HenryAshland, Va.
Collin CarrollLong Snapper/Center6-4260EdinaHopkins, Minn.
Davon MorganSafety6-2190VarinaRichmond, Va.
Courtney PrinceDefensive Tackle6-2252Gwynn ParkMitchellville, Md.
Blake DeChristopherOffensive Line6-6310Clover HillMidlothian, Va.
Kendrick PressleyAthlete6-0170SumterSumter, S.C.
Tyrod TaylorQuarterback6-2185HamptonHampton, Va.
Jaymes BrooksOffensive Line6-3290DenbighNewport News, Va.
Barquell RiversLinebacker6-0220Anson CountyWadesboro, N.C.
Chris DragerTight End6-4235Thomas JeffersonJefferson Hills, Pa.
Patrick TerryWide Receiver5-11180Halifax CountySouth Boston, Va.
Will AlvarezOffensive Line6-5315C.D. HyltonWoodbridge, Va.
Danny CoaleWide Receiver6-0200EpiscopalLexington, Va.