Talking Recruitment with Ricky DeBerry

I spoke with 6-3, 240 pound defensive end / outside linebacker Ricky DeBerry on Saturday morning. The 2015 cycle prospect was on his way to Charlottesville for a recruiting event. Ricky's played defensive end for the last two seasons at St. Christopher's School (Richmond, Virginia). "I normally don't play defensive end. My coach asked me to play there because he didn't necessarily trust anybody else in that position, and he asked me to play that for him the last two seasons. I normally play outside linebacker, sort of a pass rusher hybrid."

Over the course of our conversation DeBerry made it clear rushing the passer, whether it's at end in a 4-3, or OLB in 3-4 is extremely important to him and what he wants to do in college. His favorite pass rush moves are the swim and side scissors. He told me Virginia Tech is recruiting him to play defensive end.

Hokies QB Competition: The Vision is Clear

On Saturday Andy Bitter published a candid interview with offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler about Tech's quarterback situation. It's not business as usual at Beamer Co.

After the Sun Bowl loss, Frank Beamer gave, according to WaPo's Mark Giannotto, a definitive response about the future of the quarterback position, "Mark [Leal]'s the next guy in line here."

"He had a couple tough throws. He'll learn from that. ... That's not a great situation for your backup guy to step into. But I've got a lot of confidence in Mark. I've seen him in practice too many times."

Frank siding with seniority is neither new or surprising. Scot Loeffler stocking the cupboard with capable prospects and effectively declaring an open competition is.

Tech Aims for Strong, Humble Rockbridge LT Austin Clark

Former Rockbridge County High School football coach Jason White wasted no time pointing out his exception to the recruiting process.

After all, who could lose sight of 6-foot-6, 295-pound junior Austin Clark?

"You almost have to work your tail off to get kids looks," the nine-year head coach said. "With Austin, it's never been a problem of that.

"He got his first offer from UVa. the spring of his sophomore year, which is about a year ahead of schedule."

Clark holds offers from 15 Division I schools. The polite Lexington, Va.-native politely explained which way he leans.

Class of 2014 First Look: Cam Phillips

Last season, Coach Aaron Moorehead molded a wide receiver unit that looked utterly inept against Alabama into a group that had 3 receivers post more than 40 catches. The Virginia Tech short passing attack became the Hokies most reliable offensive weapon. By exploiting matchups, using counter-action, and pick plays, Scot Loeffler's passing game controlled time of possession and kept the Hokie defense off the field for long stretches.

Despite their surprising success, the Virginia Tech passing game struggled against teams than could successfully play man-to-man defense, especially against the smaller Willie Byrn and Demitri Knowles. The Hokies also struggled to create big plays over the top of the defense. One of the major goals in the 2014 recruiting cycle was to recruit wide receivers that could get separation against man coverage and beat it over the top.

2015 Center Brian Chaffin Talks Hokies and His Recruitment

I had the pleasure of speaking with 6-2, 280 pound 2015 center / offensive lineman Brian Chaffin from Charlotte, North Carolina (Charlotte Christian) about his recruitment. Brian is considering Virginia Tech as well as scholarship offers from Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina State, UNC, UNC Charlotte, Mississippi State, Cal, Northwestern, and Marshall. Brian told me he's going to take as many visits as he can to the schools that have offered him, do his due diligence, try to narrow his list of schools in May before making his decision in June. Because Brian's answers were insightful and detailed, I'm posting this Q&A style.

John Dobbins - The Integration of Virginia Tech Football

When the focus of Black History Month turns to sports it usually means learning about or rehearing the story of Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in baseball. What we sometimes lose sight of is that in many areas, and many sports, some much closer to home, integration came much later. Often, when it came, individuals were battling many of the same things Robinson did throughout his career. Even if they didn't play on a national stage, it doesn't lessen the harsh reality they were forced to endure, frequently alone.

This is probably a little out of the normal tone you're used to hearing from me, but after reading the story of Wally Triplett at Penn State and Syracuse's Wilmeth Sidat-Singh, I started digging into Virginia Tech's football past and when and how we integrated our football team. This is the story of John Dobbins, who broke the color barrier for Hokie football.

Class of 2014 First Look: Ricky Walker and Steve Sobczak

Virginia Tech will open 2014 spring practice with only three scholarship defensive tackles on the roster (Luther Maddy, Nigel Williams, and Woody Baron). Former Division 3 transfer Wade Hansen will be eligible and get some second team repetitions, and perhaps a defensive end will move inside. Either way, it is not a deep group, and Maddy is by far the biggest guy. I am sure that Maddy and Williams will be an excellent starting pair, and despite his small size, Baron did an excellent job of holding up against much bigger blockers in a limited role, but the lack of size and depth is deeply worrisome. For the 2014 Hokies to be successful, they will need immediate contributions from one or both of their freshman defensive tackles, Ricky Walker and Steve Sobczak.

Hokie Hoops: Wait...They Won?

They won? Yes, the Virginia Tech men's basketball team won a game this weekend, ending their losing streak at ten games. Despite it being their second ACC win, the strain of the last 10 losses made their first win (against Miami in early December) feel like three lifetimes and a thousand Jarell Eddie misses ago. What's worse is that the win was during that random period of conference games before the bulk of ACC play had actually started. While they may count all the same, picking up a conference win between games against Winthrop and VCU took some of the magic away from it.

Let's just not dwell on the negative though.

Hokies Remain Barnett's Leader

Last night I spoke with Michael Barnett (Woodland High School in Dorchester, South Carolina) about his recruitment, which he opened back up last Thursday. Barnett is a 6-5, 248 pound, 4-star prospect as rated by both and 247Sports. He's being recruited to play defensive end, but also plays left tackle and is the center on Woodland's basketball team. He had been committed to Virginia Tech since late last November.

"They were on me from the get go. They were the first ones to offer me. They've been there the whole process."

Barnett received an offer from Nick Saban and Alabama last Wednesday, which had many fans incorrectly concluding that was the catalyst for decommitting from Virginia Tech.

Class of 2014 First Look: Travon McMillian

While most of HokieNation's attention to replace Logan Thomas has been focused on Andrew Ford and Chris Durkin, Scot Loeffler's first quarterback commitment of the 2014 cycle was Travon McMillian (6-0, 200, C.D. Hylton Woodbridge, Virginia).

McMillian is a prospective engineering student who had offers from several ACC schools along withTennessee and Auburn. In 2013 he completed 97 of 169 passes for 1,472 yards and 17 scores, and also rushed for 1,537 yards on 166 attempts and 20 scores. In 2012 he racked up 1,326 yards and 12 touchdowns, and ran for 1,242 yards and 16 scores.