BLACKSBURG - Five prep All-Americans highlight a football recruiting class composed of 20 student-athletes, as announced by Virginia Tech on Wednesday.
With such a small senior class from this past season, Tech announced just 20 players total Wednesday, including 13 players from Virginia. In all, Tech signed seven of the top 13 players in the state and 10 of the top 25 according to The Roanoke Times. Highlighting this year’s in-state group are five talented players - Brookville High defensive end Zack McCray (#5 by Roanoke Times), Fork Union Military Academy offensive lineman Mark Shuman (#7 by Roanoke Times), First Colonial High outside linebacker Nick Dew (#8 by Roanoke Times), Fork Union Military Academy offensive lineman Nick Acree (#9 by Roanoke Times) and Loudoun County High linebacker Chase Williams (#11 by Roanoke Times) - who all earned SuperPrep All-America honors. Acree and McCray were also named All-Americans by PrepStar.
“I think it is another really good recruiting class,” said head coach Frank Beamer. “I think it falls along the lines of our recent years of being very athletic, very solid academically and very strong from a character standpoint. I think we have really done well.”
Seven players from six different states and one from the District of Columbia joined the Hokies. Offensive lineman Laurence Gibson, from Sierra Vista, Ariz., via Hargrave, is listed as the No. 2 prep school player in the country by Rivals. The Hokies got a rare signing from a New York product in Rochester tight end Jerome Lewis, who is ranked as the No. 21 tight end in the country and the No. 3 player in the state by Rivals. Defensive back Kyle Fuller, from Baltimore, Md., is rated the No. 42 cornerback in the country by ESPN/Scouts Inc., while cornerback Detrick Bonner, from McDonough, Ga., is ranked the No. 88 cornerback in the country by Scout.com. Defensive end Justin Taylor, who is from Norwood, N.C., is ranked the No. 30 defensive end in the country and the No. 16 player in the state by Rivals, while quarterback Ricardo Young (Washington, D.C.) is rated the No. 21 dual-threat quarterback in the country by Rivals and was the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year for D.C. Quarterback Mark Leal (Greenacres, Fla.) is the fourth player from Atlantic High to sign with Tech in the past decade. He is ranked the No. 28 dual-threat quarterback in the country by Rivals and threw 25 touchdown passes as a senior. With his signing, it marks the 20th year since 1988 that Tech has signed a player from Florida.
Seven other players from the state of Virginia are ranked in the top 25 in the state by The Roanoke Times. They are: Highland Springs High defensive end Derrick Hopkins (#12), Robinson High linebacker Brian Laiti (#13), Midlothian High offensive lineman Matt Arkema (#18), King’s Fork High free safety Dominique Patterson (#21) and Brooke Pointe High wide receiver E.L. Smiling (#25). Hopkins, who is listed as a defensive end by the Tech staff, is ranked as the No. 53 defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com and Laiti is rated the No. 34 outside linebacker in the country by Rivals. Arkema is listed as the No. 28 offensive guard in the country by Rivals, Patterson (listed as a free safety by the Tech staff) is ranked the No. 40 outside linebacker in the country by ESPN/Scouts, Inc., and Smiling is rated as the No. 115 wide receiver in the country by the same service.
The in-state class also features two others ranked in the top 40 by The Roanoke Times: Pulaski County High linebacker Tahrick Peak (#30) and Rockbridge County High offensive lineman Caleb Farris (#39). Both Peak and Farris missed portions of their senior seasons, but Rivals still ranks Peak as the No. 32 outside linebacker in the country, while also ranking Farris as the No. 25 offensive guard in the nation.
Also included in the class is defensive tackle DeAntre Rhodes, who signed with Tech last February but went to Hargrave, where he is still attending school. He is listed as the No. 11 prep school player in the country by Rivals and was ranked the No. 8 player in the state of Virginia by The Roanoke Times coming out of Varina High in 2009.
“In all, 17 members of our class [including January enrollees] played in the state of Virginia,” Beamer said. “We like to make sure we take care of our home state first, and I believe these are certainly some of the better players in the state. And then, the ones we got from out of state are really quality players, which you always want to be the case, too.”
Of the 20 players in the class, 12 are projected to play on the defensive side of the ball (five on the line, four linebackers, three defensive backs). Of the eight players slated for offense, five are coming in as offensive linemen.
“We went in with the idea that we would take so many at certain positions and in the end we hit the number for the most part,” Beamer said. “We have some guys that can play two or three different positions, and I think the more you can get versatility in there, the better your class is.”
Some familiar last names abound as four brothers - and one cousin - of current or former Hokie football players signed Wednesday. Fuller is the brother of former Hokie Vincent Fuller, who now plays for the Tennessee Titans, and Shuman is the brother of former Hokie offensive lineman Ryan Shuman. Hopkins (Antoine Hopkins) and Peak (Nubian Peak) both have brothers on Tech’s team and McCray is the first cousin of Logan Thomas.
“When we get brothers coming, like Tahrick Peak, Mark Shuman, Kyle Fuller and Derrick Hopkins, and a cousin, like Zack McCray, you like the statement that it makes about your program and how you treat people,” Beamer said.
Three of the 20 players in this year’s recruiting class - Gibson, Williams and Young - enrolled at Tech in January, thus did not sign NLIs on Wednesday and are already participating in offseason workouts. Three other Virginians who were part of last year’s signing class - Liberty High offensive lineman Kory Gough, Hermitage High safety Theron Norman and Hermitage High defensive end Duan Perez-Means - also enrolled in January. Seventeen players signed with Tech on Signing Day.
For the entire roster of the 2010 Virginia Tech Recruiting Class, click here.
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