Matthew Hatfield (Original)
Slowly but surely, the Hokies have worked their way back into a recruiting force in the "757" region that they were once famous for dominating.
After earning commitments from 2015 Virginia Beach and Hampton talents Trevon Hill, Harry Lewis and DeShawn McClease in the past few months, Tech added another player from the Tidewater area when Ocean Lakes HS CB/S Jahque Alleyne announced he'd be heading to Blacksburg.
Alleyne — rated a 3-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite ranking — chose the Hokies this weekend over Kentucky, and he credits the coaching staff as the deciding factor in his commitment.
"It was just about being in contact with the coaches," Alleyne said. "I really got along with them."
While recruiting coordinator Bryan Stinespring made some visits to Virginia Beach to see Alleyne, Ocean Lakes head coach Chris Scott thinks it was Torrian Gray that really swayed the rising senior.
"Coach Stinespring came up here and spent time with him, but he got to sit and talk with Coach Gray one-on-one when he visited Tech over the summer," Scott said. "I don't think he knew what to expect going into the visit, but he left really impressed by this guy that would be his position coach and the guy who would be his defensive coordinator, Bud Foster."
Alleyne visited Blacksburg back on July 14 — the same day as the Hokies' prospect camp — and he feels it was a big factor in his decision as well.
"It really was a big part of it, it helped me make my decision," Alleyne said. "I got to listen to players there, what they had to say."
Among the voices in his ear talking up the Hokies was fellow Virginia Beach native and current Tech TE Bucky Hodges.
"I got to talk to Bucky and a couple other commits," Alleyne said. "I listened to what they had to say, that really put me over the edge."
While the visit was clearly a success, Alleyne was still giving serious consideration to the Wildcats leading up to making his announcement last Saturday on ESPN Radio 94.1.
"No one knew my decision beforehand but me," Alleyne said. "I gave (Tech's coaches) a heads up, like 'hey, you might be in the mix with Kentucky,' but that was it."
Now that he's in the fold with the Hokies, the staff has to figure out where to put him on the field. Alleyne's played wide receiver, safety and corner in high school, so it's clear he's got some versatility.
"Because of my height, they said I could play anywhere," Alleyne said. "Corner, nickel corner, safety. They said I could rotate positions, and I think I can play any position they put me."
Scott agrees that Alleyne's 6'1" frame gives him flexibility on the field.
"Our staff is still debating where exactly to use him next year," Scott said. "He just does so many different things well."
But it's not just his height that makes Alleyne dangerous in the secondary — he also has a nose for the football.
"His ball skills are just so strong," Scott said. "He's a really lengthy defender, long arms. He has a 10'10 broad jump, so he can just get up there and make plays."
However, for all of his vertical ability, Scott thinks he'd need to spend some time with Coach Gentry before he can line up at safety.
"At Tech, to play safety, he needs to put on weight, which he'll do since that's what happens to everyone at Virginia Tech," he said.
If the Hokies decide to stick with him at corner, Scott believes they'll have a playmaker on par with one NFL star in the defensive backfield.
"At cornerback, if they need a lengthy, Richard Sherman-type guy, he can fit there," Scott said.
Alleyne also seems to have the brains to handle a scheme like Foster's.
"He's a smart guy, does a really good job of getting us in and out of our checks," Scott said.
Those smarts are particularly impressive considering Alleyne only started playing on the defensive side of the ball a year ago.
"He's normally been a receiver, and he'll play there again this year, but he's somewhat new to all this," Scott said. "He's really raw in a lot of ways since he's only been on defense for a year, but he's got such a high ceiling. And he'll get great coaching at Tech to help him reach it."
In the meantime, Scott wants to work with Alleyne on his physicality near the line of scrimmage.
"I'd really like to see him press the line, and if we play him there, be a really physical safety," Scott said. "He's got the speed to get to the running back as a safety before the linebackers do, so he can do it. I want him to lead us in interceptions, but we'll see him on the tackle chart as well."
For Alleyne's part, he seems ready to meet the challenge.
"I just want to bring my competitiveness and aggressiveness, show how much I love the game," Alleyne said. "I can be fun out there, but I want to show I take it seriously."
Equally exciting for Hokies fans is Alleyne's commitment to spreading the word about Virginia Tech.
"I'm definitely planning on recruiting some guys from my school," he said.
With 2016 Ocean Lakes corner Levonta Taylor a prime target for the Hokies in the next cycle, that comment has to be reassuring news for the staff. But it sounds like Alleyne has sights set on a variety of players in the area.
"Tahj Capehart, a  wide receiver from Landstown (in Virginia Beach) came up with Jahque back in July and Tech offered him," Scott said. "He's got a similar build as Jahque, and he'll be good on either side of the ball."
With the nation's top recruit also playing in Alleyne's area, Tech will have to hope he can apply a little pressure to make the Hokies' presence in the region formidable once more.
"I'm all about making it a 757 team," Alleyne said.