From Alabama to Michigan, 2019 WR Jacoby Pinckney's had some big offers come in over these last few months.
But the Hokies decided to offer the rising senior out of Roebuck, S.C.'s Dorman HS two years ago, when he was just 14 and Justin Fuente was still putting his mark on Virginia Tech's program. And when it came time for Pinckney to make his college choice on June 26, he put a premium on Tech's consistency.
"I felt like I'd been a priority for Virginia Tech since day one," Pinckney told The Key Play. "I felt most comfortable there, felt most comfortable with the coaching staff, the environment, just the fanbase in general. I think I fit in well there schematically. It really was a perfect storm, and I chose to go ahead and commit."
Indeed, Pinckney's head coach at Dorman, Dave Gutshall, points out that Tech's current crop of coaches "have been recruiting Jacoby since the day they arrived" in Blacksburg. Alabama came calling with an offer in May and Michigan followed up in April (with Georgia rounding out Pinckney's final four) but Gutshall says it was Pinckney's long history with Tech that really made the difference.
"He had a lot of offers, from Oklahoma, Alabama...but I think Virginia Tech was the right fit for him," Gutshall said. "The Virginia Tech people recruit our high school really well. They do a good job, and it's paid off with Jacoby."
Because he's been on Tech's radar for so long, Pinckney has also had his fair share of chances to get comfortable with Blacksburg. He estimates he's been there about seven times in all over the years, from junior days to big games in Lane, with his most recent trip for a spring practice a few months ago.
"I'm very comfortable with Blacksburg," Pinckney said. "I can see myself living there as a college student."
He's used those trips to build close ties with WRs coach Holmon Wiggins. Gutshall notes that Wiggins constantly visited Dorman as well, even though TEs coach James Shibest generally recruits the Carolinas for the Hokies, and Pinckney says he developed the impression that Wiggins will "push me to my limits."
"I think he'll bring out the best in me, develop me how I need to be developed," Pinckney said. "I've just got to give him everything i've got. He says he's going to give me everything he has...I think he's a straightforward kind of guy, gives you that which you give him. I think he's very honest with his players, he has high expectations for us, his players, and that's not going to change. If anything he'll just get tougher with the more and more talent that we bring in."
Pinckney, who's rated a 3-star (0.8880) prospect by the 247Sports Composite ranking, says Wiggins' directness extends to how he's portrayed Tech's depth chart at wide receiver. Even though the Hokies are still searching for their next generation of stars at the position, Wiggins wasn't making any big promises about Pinckney's playing time.
"It's more, 'Come in, do what you've got to do,'" Pinckney said. "If you're good, then you do all the right things and do what you're supposed to do, you'll get the opportunity to make the most of it and be on the field. That's the kind of guy Coach Wiggins is though, he's not going to sugarcoat it, he's gonna tell you how it is."
That being said, Gutshall thinks Pinckney has a decent shot of playing early by the time he gets to Tech. Gutshall says he runs a fast-paced, passing-heavy offense at Dorman, so he expects Pinckney will feel "comfortable going into their offense because it's very similar to what he plays in high school."
Plus, he says Pinckney has a unique set of skills at wide receiver, and Gutshall should know — two of his former wideouts are in the NFL at the moment, one with the Buccaneers (Adam Humphries), the other with the Jets (Charone Peake).
"We'll use him both as a wideout and a slot, because we want to get the ball to him," Gutshall said. "Jacoby's a very big wideout. He's not only 6'3", he's 200 pounds and put together really well, so he's a very physical wideout and that's the kind of thing you like. He's got height on the outside, but you can put him inside because he can block and he's a matchup problem for safeties. Jacoby's real football smart. It seems like wherever we put him, he picks it up real well, so he can play multiple positions in our offense."
Gutshall says it helps, too, that Pinckney's "one of those kids who runs like a tailback once he catches it."
"He's a big old body out there as he's going," Gutshall said. "He has very strong hands and attacks the ball well. He doesn't wait on it, he gets there. And when he gets his hands on it, he's pretty good at making sure it stays with him. I think that combination you like on the outside. He's good for back shoulder and jump balls. He brings a lot to the table."
But Pinckney is well aware he's far from the only talented athlete joining Virginia Tech's 2019 class.
He wants to return to Blacksburg for the big cookout Tech is hosting for recruits later this month, with an official visit sometime during the season, and he's already getting to know the rest of the ever-growing class.
"I feel really good about it," Pinckney said. "It's not a big class, but it's definitely a good class. Solid at every position."