Caleb Steward Chooses Virginia Tech After Witnessing the "Fanatical" Devotion of Hokies Fans

The Hokies added a Florida running back to their 2018 recruiting class.


The Hokies may be hundreds of miles from Jacksonville, Florida, but they continue to land top targets from the area — this time, it's 2018 RB Caleb Steward joining the fold.

The Ed White HS product announced his commitment on July 4, Virginia Tech's first running back commitment of the 2018 cycle.

Steward is a 3-star prospect, according to the 247Sports Composite ranking, but his head coach at Ed White believes he has the versatility to play just about any role for the Hokies.

"He's got the skillset to play every down," Kevin Sullivan told The Key Play. "On that level, they're going to play a couple guys, but he's got the skillset to play every down. He's big and strong and he can block. He can run inside, he can run outside, he can catch the ball out of the backfield."

Steward narrowed down his choice between Tech and South Florida as things came down to the wire in his recruitment, a development that surprised Sullivan. At first, the head coach says USF "just hit for (Steward) offensively," though Sullivan says his running back slowly expanded his options a bit.

"He's been in Florida his whole life," Sullivan said. "And my thing is, in college, you want to get the whole experience. You want to deal with people you don't see every day or you don't deal with every day and different walks of life."

Sullivan might not have gotten to steer Steward towards Blacksburg had he not initially dealt with the Hokies back when he was at Atlantic Coast HS coaching TE Chris Cunningham, who signed with Tech back in 2015.

He says he formed a relationship with DL coach Charley Wiles, DC Bud Foster and director of player personnel Chuck Cantor over the last few years, making it no surprise when they called about Steward this January.

"I know those guys and they got to see him in spring and saw how he looked physically and it was a no-brainer for them," Sullivan said.

Sullivan notes that "in this day and age, people lie about size and everything," but that was never a problem for Steward. He says his RB always stood at every bit the 5'11", 209 pounds he was advertised at, and once he ran a 4.55-second 40-yard-dash, he was an easy choice for the Hokies to pursue.

"He's a big power runner, but he can also run away from you, and he can also catch the ball out of the backfield," Sullivan said.

As things heated up between Steward and the Hokies, Sullivan decided to give him a chance to see Blacksburg for himself. The pair made the long trek to Tech in June, giving Steward a chance to see what Cunningham and fellow Florida product Aundre Kearney made of the Hokie lifestyle.

"As we're leaving I looked at him and I was like, 'A little different than you thought it was gonna be?' and he was like, 'Yeah, coach, a lot different," Sullivan said. "And we're driving and we saw a black bear run across the road and I was like, 'You don't see that every day in Florida.'"

But Sullivan adds that Steward saw plenty of other things that helped Tech seem unique.

"I think the whole thing with Virginia Tech being the central point of Blacksburg and they're fanatical about their team and what they've done with Coach (Frank) Beamer there forever — tremendous coach, tremendous person — mattered to him," Sullivan said. "And I think Coach (Justin) Fuente is a really good fit for Caleb and he liked the homeliness of it, the family style thing of it, and I think he feels like he has an opportunity to get in there and play early."

Now, though he may be large in stature for a running back, Sullivan wants to see his top prospect improve a bit when it comes leadership before he arrives in Blacksburg.

"He's not a big rah-rah guy, he's not a big vocal leader," Sullivan said. "He needs to continue in reading what we're doing. He's got to get more comfortable in what we're doing and how we're blocking stuff."


Damn right we're fanatical!

Keep calm, Gobble on

Fanatical?! Isn't that what a fan should be? (unless you are a LILUVA 'fan') START JUMPIN'.

Welcome aboard Caleb. Enjoy the Fuente Express.

Hell yeah!!

Welcome Home Caleb! #ExitLight18 is starting to get pretty crowded. All interested parties better hop on soon because the hype train is getting full!

So I've watched his film a few times and here's what see:

-Good pad level, runs downhill, always falls forward.
-Willing blocker.
-Can catch out of the backfield.

-Not elite speed, often gets caught from behind or doesn't get around the corner.
-Not very elusive. Doesn't break many tackles.

He doesn't have the flashiest film of all the recruits we've offered, but in Fuente I trust. I wouldn't mind going after another RB to compliment him, but if Fuente wants him to be a Hokie, I do too! Welcome to the fam!!

EDIT: withdrawn

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Let's lay off the Beck thing guys. No need for it.

Always choose joy.

"Welcome to the Terror Dome." -- Corey Moore

Whats the deal with Beck? Does he want to come here? I really know nothing other than it is going to bite us in the ass. Do we really want him going to BC, Louisville, and even worse UNC or UVA? With Terry next year?

Do we have to keep doing this?

Good post, thanks for your help. Sorry I dont spend my life on this message board.

You don't have to spend your life on here and are certainly welcome to flit in and out to your heart's desire with no judgement from me. However, Joe has added a search bar up in the upper right and if you had typed in "Cole Beck" the very first result takes you to a lengthy discussion where this was covered ad nauseum last month. If you should decide not to avail yourself of this functionality, please don't be pissy when someone responds poorly to your dredging up a horse that has been thoroughly beaten to death.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Note to everyone not TKPing hard enough: Be sure to thoroughly research every topic before commenting and asking an honest question.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

I mean, the question was in response to "let's lay off the Beck thing." There was clearly some deeper conversation going on previously.
Also, a discussion about Beck just doesn't belong in the thread celebrating a commit at the same position. It's a bad look, just take it to the general Recruiting thread

I completely understand what you're saying, but I just don't think MRH should be lambasted for asking an honest question if they haven't been keeping up with the situation.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

Almost enough commentary on this to move to it's own thread...

Hey guys!

Do we really want him going to BC, Louisville, and even worse UNC or UVA?

The question we should be asking is "Does he really want to get smashed by Tim Settle, Nathan Proctor, Dylan Rivers, Alan Tisdale, and Cam Goode at least once a year?"

-Not elite speed

I agree after watching he film, he doesn't look that fast. However, his coach said he was timed at 4.55/40. If true, maybe we should also talk to some of the DB's he plays against.

"Step on a crack, break Miami's bak"

- ThatOneGuy

Laser timed at a 4.55 40 yd dash at The Opening Regionals. Also, had the 48th best Nike Sparq Composite score in the nation. Seems to be very athletic, but maybe just playing on a bad team against very talented/fast teams in his area.

Strikes me as a faster (slightly smaller?) version of Steven Peoples/Samuel F. Rogers. And I am just fine with that.

Get in here, big fella.

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

Isn't everyone a smaller version of Rogers? To have a larger Rogers would be some biblical level shit

The Dude Abides

Legend has it that Bucky Hodges at 7'10" is larger than Sam Rogers

Chem PhD '16

But not as big as Bucky Rogers. Or does he spell it as Rodgers? I wonder if Sam Hodges is any good at football?

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

They say players are faster in FLA, so maybe that's not a myth, and why a 4.55/40 guy seems slow.

Could also be that the 4.55 was timed out of pads, and his speed in pads will typically be 0.1-0.2 sec. slower.

There's also a difference between timed speed and game speed. Some guys time well, but are more deliberate in game conditions, which isn't always a bad thing for RBs, since they don't want to outrun their blocking.

Even so, to time that well, he can't exactly be slow. If he runs hard and with power, runs "downhill", and is a skilled receiver and blocker, he should be in the mix for playing time.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

"..because anytime you go upside a man's head, or a woman's, they have a tendency to blink their eyes.." - Deacon Jones

I liked the no frills. Just a big boy running quickly

Recruit Prosim

Kid is very coach able and a grinder. He will be the guy that sticks his nose into dirty parts when we need it the most.

"Welcome to the Terror Dome." -- Corey Moore


Recruit Prosim

You said it brother. I couldn't agree more.

Hokie Love!

I love all of this out of state talent we are getting!


He is already out there tweeting at McFadden and others. This class is on top the tweeter recruiting game.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club


This recruiting class is working out great. Glad to have him on board!

Looks like a solid RB. Now lets put the full court press on some OL to block for our skill guys.

1-0 every week

His film is pretty good when you consider he's from Florida and HS football there is ultra-competitive. Seems to have good instincts and though it doesn't appear he's a burner, he does seem to glide by defenders with ease. Just a smooth, natural looking running back. I'm very excited by this guy....seems to be a pretty good blocker, too.

Florida Man commits to Tech!

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

The south, south, south, south Virginia movement continues!

We put the K in Kwality

Upon hearing VT received a commitment from a stud RB in the mold of James Conner, Pat Narduzzi proceeded to throw a temper tantrum and left his 4th of July BBQ early because he needed a nap.

Haha. I can see it now:
"Pat, you're tired, you should take a nap."
"Patrick Regan Narduzzi, you will go take your nap right now or you will not get ice cream after your hot dog."

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

I can picture his mother telling him this.

She would have included his proper first name though.

"Step on a crack, break Miami's bak"

- ThatOneGuy

"Pat, I think it's about time to push off."

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

Fuck Pat Narduzzi

"Give me a fu¢king beer", Anonymous Genius

By the way...

I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge perhaps our best signings of the Justin Fuente Era:

Charlie Wiles,
Holman Wiggins, and
Zohn Burden.

These guys have taken the new recruiting philosophy all over this country in the last 18 months and come back with some huge recruiting wins. (Including today; any time you can beat Charlie Strong in a head-to-head 'croot battle, it's something to note.) One of them has been lead/support recruiter for almost every kid we've landed this cycle.

Kudos to the whole staff, but these three re-hires have put their faith in CJF (and vice versa) - and it's making a huge difference for us.

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

Great point. I am partial to the Keydet Burden. Also don't
forget Bud F. Foster!

"Step on a crack, break Miami's bak"

- ThatOneGuy

Beating Charlie Strong with a bull on his shirt isn't the same as beating him with a steer on his shirt.

Cheers, marcb2.

Always full of positivity. You must be a super fun hang. Yeesh.

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

Just watching his film, I would be willing to bet a few years in college S&C will speed him up a bit. He has a longish looking stride that, if he could make each step a bit quicker, would make for some great open field speed.
I think he looks moldable.

This is my favorite edit. Being that I'm a Florida boy myself. I love every recruit our hokies bring in from Fla. We are definitely a different breed of footballers. We will play football with no football. Lol

Hokie Love!

The orange and maroon plumbers overalls is a great touch

Same with "World 20-18". Hopefully the 100 coins is meaningless.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Here's a name from the past...

His HS Film reminds me alot of Branden Ore.

Smooth running style, always falling forward.

Ore also didn't seem to be a "burner" but could break off 20-30 yd runs regularly and by the time you turned around he had 120+ yds.

I'll take that.