2018 DT Cam Goode has never been shy about his love for Virginia Tech, even before he committed to the Hokies last June — so much so that he can't help but bring up the program as he's walking the halls at St. John's College HS.
The Washington, D.C. school boasts several other top prospects that have attracted the eye of Justin Fuente and company, and it would seem that Goode isn't afraid to offer them a little friendly advice about their recruitment.
"When he sees me around school, he always says something about Virginia Tech or why I should come there," 2020 WR Rakim Jarrett told The Key Play. "He's always trying to recruit me, like jokingly, but it's also seriously."
2020 CB Luke Hill says he gets a similar sales pitch from Goode, who plainly has plenty of confidence about how he plans to help Virginia Tech's defense.
"He tells me all the great things academics-wise, and how great the team would be, if not next year, then the year after," Hill said. "He says they'll keep it going."
Both Jarrett and Hill hold offers from the Hokies, and Goode's overtures have clearly proved convincing enough that they're starting to take a closer look at Tech. The pair headed to Blacksburg for the team's big junior day event on Jan. 14, even though it was largely geared toward the class of 2019, and got a chance to see more of what Goode's been raving about.
"It was my third time coming up and I loved it even more this time," Hill said. "I love the Hokie stone, that stood out a lot. I love the campus...Just a positive environment. Everyone's supportive and everyone's positive there."
Indeed, Hill says he first visited Tech last summer, then again for the Clemson game with Goode. But this was Jarrett's first time in Blacksburg, and his campus tour more than met his expectations.
"It was really nice, the way it was all set up, kind of like a square and how it took 15 minutes to walk the whole campus from one end to the other," Jarrett, who is a 4-star prospect according to 247Sports, said. "It was really enclosed and private, and that's something I like in colleges. Not too big to go around."
But what really stood out to Jarrett was his time chatting with WRs coach Holmon Wiggins, who doubles as his area recruiter. Jarrett may be a hair smaller than Cam Phillips, standing at 6'0" and 182 pounds, but Wiggins couldn't help but notice a resemblance between the two.
"He said I could be just as good as him," Jarrett said. "My body size, my physique, it's already built for college, though I've got to get stronger and faster. He just likes that I could be a problem in the ACC if I came there."
Meanwhile, Hill got to sit down and watch some film with his own would-be position coach, CBs coach Brian Mitchell, and he came away with the impression that "his way of coaching connects to my skill" and "we connect on many levels."
But the 6'0", 170-pound prospect also got the hard sell from another coach on the defensive side of the ball: Bud Foster.
"He told me he'd love to have me, he wants me to come in and lock that one side of the field down," Hill said.
Through it all, Hill says the Hokies weren't shy about talking up Tech's reputation for sending talented defensive backs to the NFL, and that's a factor that certainly works in the Hokies' favor as he starts to get serious about his recruitment.
"It means a lot," Hill said. "It definitely means it's a place I could fit in and keep the legacy going."
Jarrett feels similarly bullish about the Hokies, especially now that he's gotten his first look at Blacksburg.
"Now, I'm really starting to take them into consideration," Jarrett said. "I've viewed the campus, talked to the coaches a little bit. There's still a long way to go before I make a decision, but I really like them."
The feeling is clearly mutual. Hill says Fuente himself urged him to make a return trip to campus sooner rather than later.
"He wants me to come back up, I'm not sure when, but he said soon," Hill said. "So I told him I'll definitely be back up."
Jarrett expects there's another visit in his future as well, perhaps for the spring game.
Both players are sure to attract plenty of attention from other programs as their recruitments heat up — Hill has offers from Maryland and South Carolina, with a Clemson visit on tap, while Jarrett has a Michigan offer and is talking with Penn State regularly.
But once Goode officially signs with the Hokies and makes it to Blacksburg, the pair certainly won't lose touch with Virginia Tech.
"When he's there, I can ask him questions about how it really is, how the transition from St. John's to Virginia Tech will be if I go there," Jarrett said.