Trust in Father Figure Charley Wiles Convinces 2019 DT Mario Kendricks to Head to Blacksburg

The Orlando-area defensive lineman became the latest in a long line of Floridians to follow Wiles to Tech.

@22problemsss

For most people, a flight delay can become one of the most infuriating parts of any trip out of town β€” but not for 2019 DT Mario Kendricks.

When the rising senior out of Kissimmee, Florida's Osceola HS made his first visit to Blacksburg last month, the weather wasn't especially kind as he tried to head home. But more time at Virginia Tech, even under less than ideal circumstances, didn't exactly strike Kendricks as a bad thing.

"His flight got delayed coming back and I called to check on him and he was like, 'Coach, don't worry about me, it's not gonna bother me to stay another day, I love it here,'" Doug Nichols, Osceola's head coach, told The Key Play. "They just blew him away."

Nichols, a West Virginia native, says he once played football with Frank Beamer's nephew, so he's no stranger to Blacksburg himself. He frequently urged Kendricks to get down to Southwest Virginia after the Hokies offered him in May, but Nichols wasn't prepared for just how much the DT would enjoy the trip.

"I remember texting him getting off the plane, saying, 'This place is beautiful, the trees, the mountains, the whole deal,'" Nichols said. "He took one official to Indiana right afterward, and he was like two days into that one so I texted him and he said, 'It's ok, but it's not like Blacksburg...I don't know what they did, but they knocked it out of the park with that kid."

Kendricks says part of the Hokies' strategy was simply to give him a players-eye view of Blacksburg, pairing him up with DE Zion Debose to stay with for the trip. He says that made him feel "like I was in college already," which certainly didn't hurt Tech's chances.

But he stresses that the real deciding factor in his decision to take the plunge and commit to Tech was the strength of his relationship with DL coach Charley Wiles, who's spent years recruiting Kendricks' Florida stomping grounds for Tech.

"He's like a father to me," Kendricks said. "He's very understanding."

Certainly, Kendricks says he's impressed by Justin Fuente as well, praising his "very straightforward" demeanor. But he adds that he chose to reveal his decision to Wiles, rather than the head Hokie himself, before he left Blacksburg, even though he wouldn't announce his decision publicly until June 30.

That hardly surprised Nichols, who views Wiles' courtship of Kendricks as the "number one reason" the Hokies landed the DT.

"We've got a great defensive line coach, and he's a lot like Coach Wiles," Nichols said. "He's gonna coach your ass off of you and get after you, but he's also gonna love you on the side too, and I think Mario gets that same sense from Coach Wiles...He told me he felt like Coach Wiles was a guy he wanted to play for."

But Kendricks adds that it wasn't simply Wiles' familiar demeanor that earned him high marks. His long history in Blacksburg alongside Bud Foster was awfully relevant as well.

"It played a lot into it, because I just have more trust with coaches like that, instead of coaches that spend time with me and then leave," Kendricks said.

Whatever the reasons Kendricks picked Tech, Nichols believes the Hokies are getting a "steal of kid." Kendricks is rated a 3-star (0.8560) prospect by the 247Sports Composite ranking, and had chosen programs like NC State, Iowa State and Louisville as his finalists, but Nichols says even programs as prominent as Clemson and Michigan had started "dabbling around" with Kendricks before he committed.

"You hate to brag on a kid, but he's a freaking four-year starter for a very good program," Nichols said. "The kid doesn't miss workouts, he doesn't miss practice, he doesn't take plays off."

Kendricks, who stands at about 6'1" and 280 pounds, says the Hokies envision him fitting in at defensive tackle when he gets to Tech, even though he's spent the bulk of his time at DE in high school. But Nichols says that was more a factor of the quality of Osceola's other players at tackle β€” '18 UVA signee Jordan Redmon and '18 Wake Forest signee Dion Bergan β€” than it was Kendricks' own shortcomings.

"He's a quick enough guy to play out on the edge, but now you're going to stick his butt inside with that quick first step, he's gonna cause some havoc," Nichols said. "He still probably got 10 to 15 snaps per game on the inside, but those last couple years his primary position was an edge guy, and he'll be inside strictly for us this year."

Perhaps most importantly, however, Nichols suspects Kendricks' work ethic will set him apart at Tech.

"He told us he would commit on the 30th, which is a Saturday," Nichols said. "What kind of kid is he? He showed up at my house at 8 o'clock on a Saturday to help wash the roof of my house. That's the type of kid he is. A lot of kids would be sitting around saying, 'I'm gonna sign today, I'm big, I'm all this,' but not him. He's just a very modest, humble kid.'"

Kendricks says he's looking forward to getting back to Blacksburg for an official visit, likely for the Notre Dame game. In the meantime, he says he has a group text going to stay in touch with fellow Floridian Norell Pollard and the other members of Tech's rapidly growing 2019 class.

"It seems like we have a bright future," Kendricks said.

Comments

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Just be careful washing roofs.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Family turkey house football.

I understand completely, who said I don't?

just wait till Hilgart gets to work with him and corrects his form

1-0 every week

Man, everyone has to take away from these lifts with "but mah form!" A 17 year old kid is squatting with a bending bar. Let him have a moment.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

wasn't trying to take anything from him, was just saying once he gets his form corrected that number will be even higher

1-0 every week

His form is way better than most high schoolers lifting vids. Gets below 90 on his squats, doesn't drive through correctly but will be easy to correct once on campus.

Does he even lift?

Eddie Royal would like a word...

From Hokiesports:

Pound-for-pound one of the strongest players on the team with a 390-pound bench press ...

Is it football season yet?

I love this kid already!

How old is he?

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

So he knows who his Dadi is?

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
β€œI served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

Just so he shows our opponents who their Dadi is. (Dadis are?)

Sure sounds like he's got that Lunch Pail Defense mentality. Glad to have him on board!

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Nichols, a West Virginia native, says he once played football with Frank Beamer's nephew

He's gonna coach your ass off of you and get after you

Checks out

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)..

Hey Wiles can bring the Florida to Blacksburg

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

This place is beautiful, the trees, the mountains, the whole deal

Sounds almost exactly what my immediate impression was the first time I stepped on campus. You just know when you want to be at Tech and I'm thrilled Kendricks felt it

That team sure did suck last night. They just plain sucked! I've seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.

He'll be a member of the 1500lb club before he graduates...that's a strong kid

My favorite part:
"He told us he would commit on the 30th, which is a Saturday," Nichols said. "What kind of kid is he? He showed up at my house at 8 o'clock on a Saturday to help wash the roof of my house. That's the type of kid he is. A lot of kids would be sitting around saying, 'I'm gonna sign today, I'm big, I'm all this,' but not him. He's just a very modest, humble kid.'"

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Articles like this are part of the reason that Charley Wiles is one of my favorite coaches.

I really like the two Florida DTs we got this cycle, especially when you consider how they will both fit into the system. At 6'1, they aren't too tall... And they both appear to have frames that could carry that 285lbs-300lbs type of weight. combine that with the fact that they are both quick, and they both seem to have a motor that will run for days.

And Pollard, in particular, seems to have a knack for "getting skinny" (meaning that he moves his body in such a way that the OL has trouble squaring up on him).

Is it football season yet?

If he is already 280, he looks lean in the lifting videos. He will be able to carry 300 with no issues.

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

With that get-off and speed at 270, if he were 6-3 he'd have a crazy offer list.

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'