2018 DT Cam Goode has loved the Hokies from his very first days watching football — and from the Hokies' first days of watching him, it seems the feeling was mutual.
Goode, a product of St. John's College HS in D.C., only committed to Virginia Tech on June 10, but he says he's been eyeing the program for years now. He remembers wearing Michael Vick cleats along with his Michael Vick jersey as a kid, and he even ended up with a Tyrod Taylor jersey to boot.
"I've loved Tech from the start," Goode told The Key Play.
But he says it never looked like he'd get to don the maroon and orange as a Hokie himself until he went to a football camp in Alexandria during his sophomore year. DL coach Charley Wiles was running drills, and Goode says it didn't take long for their paths to cross.
"I was competing against all seniors and I was the only sophomore and I didn't lose a single one-on-one (matchup)," Goode said. "Coach Wiles was like, 'Don't even worry kid, I'll see you really soon.'"
Goode says the Hokies soon began sending him plenty of mail, but he still hadn't gotten a chance to talk with the coaching staff. He consulted with his coaches at St. John's, who told him he was still too young to connect with them directly, but suggested he attend a junior day event in Blacksburg instead once he got a little older.
There was only one problem: "I couldn't drive that far by myself," Goode said.
So Goode found himself waiting on friends and fellow prospects to take campus visits of their own so he could tag along. That meant he was able to get to Rutgers and even Wake Forest before making it down to Blacksburg.
Yet the Hokies managed to make an impression on him anyway, offering him while he was on his visit to see the Demon Deacons.
"It was just crazy that I got an offer in a whole different location," Goode said. "I just felt special and I felt the love, and felt how much they loved me and needed me."
From then on, Goode wasn't shy about offering praise for the Hokies, including after drills at a camp in Northern Virginia, where he even donned a Tech visor.
"I wasn't really committed, but I spoke highly and really liked Virginia Tech for the past month and a half or so," Goode said.
With his mind mostly made up, Goode decided to head down for another visit to Blacksburg as the Hokies hosted a camp for some prospects last weekend.
"I just felt like it was time for me to commit to Virginia Tech because they needed a defensive tackle and, on top of that, I love Virginia Tech," Goode said. "I went down to the camp and I was like, this is the best time, I'm in person, I'm doing drills, and it just felt like the best time for me."
Once the camp started to wind down, Goode told Justin Fuente that he wanted to talk to him one-on-one in his office, and the head Hokie obliged.
"When I told him, he was like, 'Seriously?' and gave me a hug," Goode said. "So it was a big relief and I felt good about my decision."
The pair walked outside, where Goode's parents were waiting with the rest of Tech's coaching staff, and Goode put on a Hokies hat to let everyone know the big news.
"They were like, 'Hey, let's go!'" Goode said. "And Coach (Bud) Foster, he screamed real loud and he ran downstairs and said, 'Stay right here, I need to go take a shower.'"
Once Foster had cleaned up from a long camp in the hot Blacksburg sun, Goode says he got to celebrate a bit with his new future coaches. And he says the celebration continued even once he got back to his hotel with his family and shared the news on Twitter the next day.
"Even people in my own hotel found out that I was committed to Virginia Tech, and they were like, 'Congrats and welcome to the family,' which was crazy," Goode said. "Within a matter of minutes, they all knew about it."
Goode says his high school league's rules will prevent him from enrolling early, but he plans to spend plenty of time around the Hokies between now and when he gets to Blacksburg for good. He's planning a trip to see Tech take on West Virginia at FedEx Field, since that's an "easy and convenient" drive for him, and then he wants to follow that up with visits for a pair of home games.
"I know I'm going back when they play Clemson, and I may go back one more time for another home game," Goode said.
In the meantime, he's looking forward most to the chance to work with Wiles for the next few years, fulfilling the DL coach's prediction from back when they first met.
"Coach Wiles, that's my guy," Goode said. "The funniest guy I know, a relaxed guy. He's also gonna push me to be better and do what's best for me, not just as an athlete, but as a person. I just feel good with Coach Wiles, he's a great guy."