With his southern drawl, Kevin Gillespie revealed measurables that make Alan Tisdale a sought-after recruit.
The Walter Hines Page High School football coach, whose teams have reached the state final in consecutive seasons, knows his star linebacker can do it all.
"He's a hybrid-type guy who's got a big frame, long arms is real rangy and he's got the ability to cover," Gillespie said. "I think that's what separates him."
A 16-year-old junior, Tisdale stands at 6-foot-4, 211 pounds. Versatility's served him well.
In his freshman year, the North Carolinian started each game at free safety on junior varsity. As a sophomore, he took the same spot.
An injury forced Gillespie's hand. He needed someone to fill a void at inside linebacker for the varsity club's 3-4 scheme. Enter, Tisdale.
"He's a downhill player," the coach explained. "We said, 'Who's the next best guy who can play there?' It was him and he did a heckuva job."
Heckuva may put it lightly. Tisdale finished the season with 142 tackles – 118 solo – and six sacks, per the Greensboro News & Record.
"I'll do anything for the team," Tisdale said of the position switch. "It really didn't bother me at all."
That mantra also served the Pirates well in 2016.
Gillespie needed better coverage out of his outside linebacker spot, especially in man-to-man situations. He switched Tisdale outside.
"I'm quick so if I take a false step, my speed always helps me out," Tisdale detailed of his effectiveness. "I'm aggressive and I'm a good cover guy. I'm kind of like a rover type."
Virginia Tech first showed interest in the teen through the 2015 campaign. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster's shared his vision for the youngster should he commit to the Hokies.
"He just always been honest with me," Tisdale said of Foster. "He said he can see me in Tremaine (Edmunds') spot."
From a physical standpoint, the fit seems natural. Edmunds is listed on Tech's roster at 6-foot-5, 236 pounds.
Tisdale's made multiple visits to Blacksburg since his initial recruitment. He will return on Saturday for the Hokies' spring game.
"Right when I stepped foot on (campus), I felt comfortable," he said. "I feel at home. I can trust the coaches. Me, (head coach Justin) Fuente and Foster, we all have a good connection."
Great time at VT today!!!— Alan Tisdale (@alan_tisdale) April 15, 2017
He hopes Saturday will help further a relationship with coaches and a feel for "how they run the defense."
Humble and respectful, Tisdale's disinterested in the hoopla that comes with his spot on recruitment boards. Yet, the 247Sports Composite ranks him a 4-star prospect and the No. 15 overall OLB.
"I really don't care about the attention like people do," he said. "I'm not a quiet guy but when it comes to football and the attention, I just don't talk about it ... I'm just a chill-type of guy."
Gillespie, whom Tisdale calls a father figure, didn't pinpoint a play or sequence that encapsulated the kid who can rush, cover and rack up the tackles.
Instead, he mentions that reserved attitude.
"He's a great character kid," Gillespie said. "He's not a rah-rah guy, but he's going to come to play every day and he's going to lead by example.
"I think in general, he's such an unselfish kid. He doesn't seek the spotlight. All the attention he's getting, he could care less about ... We moved him to three different places in two years and he's not said a word and in this day and time, man, that's something. He just goes and does it. And he's pretty good at it."
Tisdale expects to give his verbal commitment this summer or early autumn. He said Tech, West Virginia, North Carolina State, Maryland and Notre Dame are his top suitors.
Of the Greensboro products on the Hokies' roster – Kevin Henry, Mook Reynolds and Hendon Hooker – Tisdale singled out Hooker as someone he knows who's tried to sway him to Blacksburg ... Gillespie spoke to a couple points on Tech's involvement around The Gate City ... "Well, I think they were down here obviously when the Reynolds kid was here when (Frank) Beamer was there," he said. "I think here recently they've made a concerted effort to get to this area. It's not that bad a drive ... I've always thought that there are a lot of schools that should hit this general area because there are some good football players and good kids with academics too, so it doesn't surprise me." ... Asked whether he's noticed more presence since Fuente took over, Gillespie added: "I think there's a more concerted effort under Fuente, at least I've seen them more. They were recruiting my running back hard last year and they did a good job recruiting him." ... that running back is Javon Leake, who committed to Maryland ... One of four brothers, Tisdale refers to himself as a "family person" whose inspiration comes from his mother and grandmother.