The Hokies already signed 23 members of its 2018 recruiting class during the December 20 early signing period. In addition, defensive end Jaevon Becton, who committed to Virginia Tech at the end of January, is expected to sign, and defensive tackle Cam Goode, who ESPN recently bumped to a 4-star ranking, will make his pledge to the Hokies official. As it stands Tuesday morning, the 247Sports Composite ranks Tech's class at No. 22 nationally. However, the Hokies are well positioned to potentially earn signatures from some top prospects on their board Wednesday. By virtue of signing almost all of its class in December, down the stretch Tech's been able focus on a few remaining crucial targets.
Virginia Tech offered Dax Hollifield way back in February 2016, and Bud Foster has been in hot pursuit of the Shelby HS (North Carolina) linebacker since. The 247Sports Composite 4-star prospect (.9376) has made double-digit visits to Virginia Tech and has been highly prioritized. Hollifield announced a final group of Stanford, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Clemson. He's been masterful at not tipping his hand, or he's truly confounded himself, but in any event his ultimate destination has recruitniks puzzled.
Wednesday at 11:00 am in Malcom Brown Auditorium at Shelby High School, I will be committing and signing! Come out and show support! 🌲🐑🦃🐅? pic.twitter.com/7QtCXBXfOw— Dax Hollifield (@ChiefDax_25) February 4, 2018
Clemson emerged as strong eleventh hour competition for his services once a scholarship opened. Dabo Swinney even wooed Hollifield with a FaceTime call from the Super Bowl. Hollifield told the Tigers no once, but then he made a brief "undercover" visit to his one time favorite school at the behest of Clemson signee (and former Tech target) K.J. Henry for the latter's birthday.
Hollifield also has close relationships with coaches at Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Stanford, the schools that have been recruiting him all along.
"That's going to be hard (if I) tell them no. The relationships I've built with them are insane... But I've got to tell somebody no. They understand that," Hollifield said. "They've just done such a great job recruiting me... They're like a part of my family now. It's killing my mom right now because (North Carolina) Coach (Gunter) Brewer, she says he's a part of the family she feels like. It's just going to be so hard for him if I tell him no, or coach (Bud) Foster same thing. It's going to be so hard for anybody."
Hollifield's family is in the dark at the moment, but his father Aubrey Hollifield provided some recent insight that should make Hokie Nation's ears perk up.
Yet, his father and basketball coach Aubrey Hollifield remains skeptical about the Tigers' chances.
"I think he likes the things they've got there but to tell you the truth I would be very shocked if he went there," the dad said. "I find it hard to believe anybody could outweigh (Virginia Tech DC) Bud Foster in my opinion. I know Coach Venables is a good coach but he's not Bud Foster."
Tennessee commitment Anthony Grant will sign with either Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Florida State, or North Carolina. The 247Sports Composite ranks Grant as a 3-star running back (.8871), although Rivals rates him as a 4-star athlete. Grant made his official visit to Tech on December 15 and the Hokies had designs to flip and sign him during the early signing period. However, he ultimately took officials to his aforementioned three finalists, with Florida State a late entry to the fold.
National signing day Wednesday @ 7:00 am at Buford high school team meeting room!!!!!!!— A.N.T 1️⃣ (@anthonygrant204) February 6, 2018
Edge defender Javontae Jean-Baptiste will commit on national signing day. In addition to the Hokies, the 247Sports Composite 4-star (.9168) outside linebacker has Nebraska, Ohio State, Texas A&M, and Boston College under consideration. The Bergen Catholic HS (Oradell, NJ) product was tempted to sign with Tech in December.
"Things with Virginia Tech and me are going well," said Jean-Baptiste. "We talk on a constant basis. I thought about signing with them in the early signing period but I didn't sign because when I make my decision I want to make sure I'm at a place I love even if football doesn't work out. The coaches are talking to me about how I'd fit in their scheme and how they have a big need at my position.
Defensive lineman Jamarcus Chatman took post-December official visits to his four finalists: Miami, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Florida State. Chatman, who the 247Sports Composite ranks as a 3-star SDE, DT (0.8784), was previously committed to LSU and later Tennessee.
Rasheed Walker announced a final group of Ohio State, Penn State, and Virginia Tech and will decide on national signing day. The North Point HS (Waldorf, MD) visited the Hokies and Nittany Lions prior to the December signing period, and the Buckeyes thereafter. The 247Sports Composite (.9676) 4-star offensive tackle summed up his finalists in a video interview.