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Thursday, February 4, 2010
Recruiting rewind: Virginia Tech

By Heather Dinich

Virginia Tech fell out of the top 25 on signing day, but considering the Hokies are likely to enter the 2010 season as a top-10 team, the staff clearly has a knack for finding and developing talent.

This class shouldn’t be much different.

"Our recruiting classes weren't ranked very high, but in the NFL draft we had the second-most players drafted after Southern Cal," coach Frank Beamer said. "We saw a lot of these guys at our one-day camp, these were all the guys who were committed to us. We really wanted them, they were our first choices. ... I feel good about this group. I don't know where they're rated; I don't pay a lot of attention to that. They're guys Virginia Tech liked and we feel good that they're going to be at Virginia Tech."

Virginia Tech only brought in one member of the ESPNU 150 -- four-star safety Nick Dew -- but it made strides in improving the offensive line. Of the 20 players in the class, 12 are projected to play defense (five on the line, four linebackers, and three defensive backs). Of the eight offensive players, five are coming in as offensive linemen.

“We continue to work on our offensive line,” Beamer said in a Wednesday teleconference. “I think we’re getting better all the time. I really like the guys we got there.

“Being athletic is important in the offensive line. Sometimes you say we’ll get big guys, but that doesn’t always work. ... They’ve got to be able to redirect and move their feet and have some toughness about them. I think we’re getting back on the right track. We’ve had some in the last few years who have played very well, we just didn’t have enough. We missed on some guys who just didn’t work out, but I feel like we’re closer to getting to where we want to be.”

The highlight of this class, though, was on defense, where Dew could give the Hokies some immediate help. With six starters gone from the 2009 roster, there should be plenty of opportunities.

“I think he and Dominique Patterson, both of those guys, you look at them and they’ve got good size and they’re very athletic,” said Beamer. “They’ll fit in somewhere pretty well. They’re big guys who can run well. We like those guys. They’ve got some versatility there as far as getting into your system and playing as quickly as they possibly can.”

Four-star defensive end Zack McCray is another player who caught Beamer’s attention.

“We want him to be prepared and come in here and challenge for some playing time at defensive end. We think he can. He’s physical, he’s got the credentials there. ... We’re going to give him that opportunity.”

As usual, the staff concentrated its efforts in the state of Virginia.

“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.”

With the exception of McCray, Dew and offensive lineman Mark Shuman, this class is mainly comprised of quality three-star athletes. Beamer is less concerned with how they're rated, though, than he is how they can help.

“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.”