2019 LB Traveon Freshwater came away from his first visit to Virginia Tech reasonably sure that the Hokies liked his game — but once he started getting texts from Bud Foster, there was no doubt left in his mind.
The 6'3", 220-pound junior out of Elizabeth City, N.C.'s Northeastern HS swung by Blacksburg for the first time in late September for the Clemson game, and he says Foster and company have stayed on him ever since.
"He just likes that I'm physical, that I love the game, play with emotion," Freshwater told The Key Play. "He just loves me as a player and how I play with a chip on my shoulder...He said I'm a great pass rusher and I'd be getting to the quarterback in their defense, either on the outside or in the middle."
Freshwater, a 4-star prospect according to the 247Sports Composite ranking, is also earning attention from plenty of other top-flight programs as running back. But he says the Hokies are particularly enthusiastic about his talents on the defensive side of the ball, and they've been pushing recently to get him back on campus sometime this winter for a Junior Day event.
"They just want me to hang around, get to know the coaches more and more," Freshwater said. "And I feel like it would be a big deal recruiting-wise. They're actually one of my top schools I'm choosing from, so that'd be a big deal."
Indeed, he says the Hokies are among his favorite programs right now, along with South Carolina and N.C. State. But his penultimate season of football has also kept him from thinking too much about his recruitment these days — his visit for the Clemson game on Sept. 30 was actually his last trip of any kind.
Luckily for the Hokies, the game seems to have left a lasting impression.
"It was wonderful, it was one of the best games I've been to," Freshwater said. "I actually got the chills a little bit. I felt like I was ready to play myself, that's how great the atmosphere was."
Like many of the other recruits in attendance, Freshwater was also thrilled with the other visitors he found on the sidelines for the game: Michael Vick and DeAngelo Hall.
"I took a picture with both of them, and that was very exciting," Freshwater said. "I couldn't believe I was actually meeting them and seeing them in person, after seeing them on TV. It was really exciting seeing DeAngelo Hall, because the Redskins, that's my team. That was very exciting."
The Hokies didn't exactly deliver the finest result on the field against the defending champs, but Freshwater says he liked what he saw from Foster's bunch on defense, all the same.
"I loved their defense, they fought through the whole game," Freshwater said. "On third down, fourth down, they didn't let up. I liked the way they played and the way they send their corners every now and again, that was very impressive to me as well. They executed and got stops."
But outside of spending a few minutes with Justin Fuente, Charley Wiles and Foster during a pre-game meal for the many high school prospects in town, Freshwater says he didn't get to spend much time with the coaching staff, to say nothing of current players on the roster.
That's why he's so interested in the prospect of a Junior Day visit this winter.
He's tentatively targeting this coming spring or summer to make his college choice (with the goal of having things finalized before his senior season on the gridiron), which should give him some time to get back to Blacksburg as he mulls his options.
"It was a great campus to be on, and I'm looking forward to getting on campus a little more often now," Freshwater said.