Justin Fuente Discusses the Hokies' Youth on Defense, Including Newly Minted DB Caleb Farley

In the second part of his exclusive interview with TKP, Fuente previews the biggest position battles on defense.

[Mark Umansky]

Few conundrums in college football could be quite so accurately described as a "good problem" than the challenge of replacing players leaving early for the NFL.

Nevertheless, Justin Fuente will have his fair share of headaches as he sets about identifying starters to replace the Edmunds brothers and Tim Settle on defense.

The Hokies are also staring down the loss of other long-term starters like Greg Stroman, Brandon Facyson and Andrew Motuapuaka, players who have formed the core of Bud Foster's defense the last few years.

That means Fuente and company will have plenty of big decisions to make in preseason practice, particularly with several veterans set to be limited by injuries this spring.

In the second part of The Key Play's exclusive interview with Fuente, the head Hokie previews some of those position battles, from the secondary to the defensive line.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity. If you missed part one of the interview, focusing on the offense, give it a read too.

The Key Play: After watching Caleb Farley last spring, I think a lot of people (myself included) assumed he'd be a big part of the offense this coming season, particularly as you look to make more big plays on the outside. But we arrive at spring ball, and he's slotted in at cornerback instead. What did you see from him that convinced you to play him there?

Justin Fuente: Everybody gets excited, and I love Caleb on offense, don't get me wrong, but my responsibility is to the team. It's not to the offense and not to the defense; it's to make the best decisions for the team.

In the longer term, I think he has a unique skill set at defensive back. Does it mean he won't move? The primary focus for him right now is to get healthy. But everybody sees him make a couple plays in the spring game against a walk-on corner, and the next thing you know, he's Jerry Rice. I'm not saying he's not, I love the kid. He's one of my favorite players we have here.

I'm not saying he's not gonna play offense; I'm saying, with our situation at defensive back, with a bunch of young people with no experience and a few older guys that have been uneven at best, at times, we have some serious needs there.

To find five defensive backs that can go play at the level we're looking to play at, he's got a definite opportunity to be one of those five guys. So that's where we'll start it out and see where it goes. Caleb's a team player and trusts us and knows how I feel about him on offense, but also knows I've got his best interests at heart and the team's best interests at heart.

TKP: You mentioned the team's youth in the secondary, but you're certainly young at linebacker as well. As you look to replace both your starters there, which players do you see taking reps at the mike spot vs. backer, and who will you need to see the most from this spring?

JF: We don't have a linebacker who's played a meaningful snap here at Virginia Tech, but I like all our guys. I'm excited to watch them go compete and work and see how good they can be, but they haven't played a meaningful snap.

We've got young guys all over the place that I'm excited to go work with. I watch them work and try to mold them and develop them moving forward. We're at different levels everywhere all across the board, and it's going to show in our youth over the next year or so, and I'm pretty excited about that.

We'll try and figure out the best two, who can handle what and certainly we'll have a starting point there. But we're not going to have the second best linebacker sitting on the bench because he's playing behind the first one. We haven't seen enough of those guys to know where it's going to shake out yet, we'll add a couple more guys when the summer starts and try to get it all figured out.

TKP: How surprised were you that Tim Settle decided to declare for the draft, and how did that change the equation at defensive tackle for you?

JF: It made Vinny [Mihota] move inside is basically what it did.

That was Tim's decision and we counseled him and got him plenty of resources for him to make a good decision and that's the decision he made.

How did it affect us? Vinny moved inside and now we've got to do a great job with some of our younger ends.

TKP: So who among those younger ends will you be watching most intently this spring? How do you feel about your depth on the defensive line?

JF: Ricky [Walker] and Jarrod [Hewitt] will get their reps on the inside, at end we've got those three freshman that we redshirted in [Nathan] Proctor, [Tyjuan] Garbutt and [Zion] Debose that need a million reps, and they're gonna get them.

Hopefully, Xavier Burke can come along at tackle to give us our fourth defensive tackle moving forward to give us more depth. He's had a good offseason, he's stronger, he looks better and, hopefully, Emmanuel Belmar will continue to get better and improve at end and give us some depth over there.

Comments

That's the second time that Fuente has said something about the veteran DBs. He is really trying to give them a kick in the butt.

Which 'veteran' DBs are you talking about outside of Adonis? Mook could definitely step up, but he's not really a true corner. Ladler (not really sure if 'veteran') looked...okay in the very little time he had, I'm not sure Quillen will ever get meaningful reps, and then we've got a bunch of guys who play Safety. Our recruiting is contributing to Farley being forced to play DB as much as anything.

Adonis is clearly who he is trying to send a message to in my opinion. All good coaches "use" media interviews as an indirect way to talk to their team. That's what Coach Fuente is doing here, he knows players will either read this or catch wind of it.

TBF, Adonis looked pretty awful last season. Especially the bowl game. He's gone from a potential future lottery pick, to potential first/second round, to looking downright undraftable at this point. Here's to hoping he has a focused offseason and turnaround season.

Considering Adonis should be a Day 2 draft pick at worst, he has seriously struggled the past two years. It's almost like he's riding on his freshman year production and thinks that will get him drafted.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

That could be, but I don't like the idea of possibly leveraging another players ability to play in the 'right' position and potentially getting to the league, and playing him out of position, all because you're trying to 'make a point' with another player. Hope that isn't the case.

I believe he is referring specifically to Fuente's comment below using 'older guys' as a reference to veteran.

I'm saying, with our situation at defensive back, with a bunch of young people with no experience and a few older guys that have been uneven at best, at times, we have some serious needs there.

But everybody sees him make a couple plays in the spring game against a walk-on corner, and the next thing you know, he's Jerry Rice

This is the most settle down fan base comment as I've heard from him. Alex and Joe getting this interview and getting Coach to open up and be candid is awesome. These two articles alone are enough to justify the TKPC membership.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

It perfectly captured how I've felt about the Farley hype this entire time.

Recruit Prosim

"Walk on corners." While Farley made a spectacular catch vs a walk on in the video released to fans, Farley made two spectacular catches and drew several pass interferences on Brandon Facyson. Fuente is being a bit coy with that statement.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

That was my first thought. I could have sworn he went up against Facyson in the spring game. Did a quick TKP search and yep, gave Facyson fits:

On the opening drive of the scrimmage, Farley shook Facyson at the line of scrimmage, beat him with speed down the sideline, and was wide open for an easy touchdown — six points that Facyson prevented by tackling Farley before the ball could reach him. It was one of three pass interference calls Farley would draw on Facyson.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

TBF, while Fuente is exaggerating in his statement, I feel like Facyson had still regressed quite a bit since his injury and wasn't some world beater. The spring game was exceptionally bad.

I think his point still stands. We saw Farley make a few great plays on offense in the spring game. For all we as fans know, he's made hundreds of those at DB behind closed doors.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

For all we as fans know, he's made hundreds of those at DB behind closed doors.

Ok, so why didn't they switch him sooner??

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Likely because he has all of... what... 2 months on the practice field for VT and decisions take time.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

You also have to take in to account that the need last year was at WR not at CB.

It's Time to go to Work

Likely because he has all of... what... 2 months on the practice field for VT and decisions take time.

I hear you, but if this

For all we as fans know, he's made hundreds of those at DB behind closed doors.

is the actual case, then the other thing you said doesn't really make much sense (not an attack, just a matter of perception). And even though the need was higher at WR, again if he's that great at CB/DB, then the logical thing to do would be to put him on and utilize him at that position(s).

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Not to be too critical, but maybe it's because he tore his ACL practically while stretching the first day of August camp?

If folks will remember, the coaches were literally standing next to him at the Spring Game to show him where to line up and telling him the route to run.

Please, please, please Ricky Walker and Trevon Hill stay healthy... pretty please. Else, we will have huge issues.

Ricky Walker.... huge issues

I see what you did there, and I like it!

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

IMO we'll be ok if Tre goes down. Obviously I would rather he didn't, but Ty is extremely explosive and would fill in for Hill quite well.

But we're not going to have the second best linebacker sitting on the bench because he's playing behind the first one. We haven't seen enough of those guys to know where it's going to shake out yet, we'll add a couple more guys when the summer starts and try to get it all figured out.

I interpreted this as "mike" or "backer" designations for the returners from last season mean squat about right now. Tech's looking for the best two of the bunch and will play them.

Foster mentioned last spring that he favors repping reserve insider LBs at both positions to get them experience across the board and that should help out.

The "add a couple more guys when the summer starts" makes me wonder if they're that eager to get Dax out there. Admittedly, I haven't watched film and he'll be a little behind the 8-ball coming in with only a month or two to catch up, but is there a chance he sees meaningful snaps this season?

“Stats are for losers.” -Mel Kiper Jr.

Great news, we're publishing a 2,500-word film review of the incoming linebackers next week.

Chem PhD '16

Annnd that's how you throw a pitch right down the pipe. Ya didn't miss, Joseph!

“Stats are for losers.” -Mel Kiper Jr.

This comment just made me join the Key Players Club.

H. O. K. I. E. S. HOKIES!!

I would be VERY surprised if he isn't the starting mike by the end of the season. Probably the most game ready linebacker we've ever recruited. Physically developed, ran bud's defense in high school, and is smart enough to get accepted to Stanford.

and is smart enough to get accepted to Stanford.

I hear great things about Stanford

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

It's okay for a Cali school. /s

It's Time to go to Work

Awesome interview.

#thingsiblamethemvsfor

I feel like this is one of the first definitive statements from the coaching staff I've heard about Garbutt and Proctor. I hope they've beefed up and are impressing. Those are two athletes that I really want to see on the field somewhere. Anybody know why Proctor moved to the line? I always thought he was going to play backer.

Also went back to see what French said about Garbutt and he likes him a lot, but the funniest part is that I assume he got Tyjuans measurables off of 247 which back then said he was 6'4 and hokiesports has him at 6'1 lol. Either way those two guys are athletes that were high on our board and I hope to see them on the field soon.

Proctor has always been a DE for us. Really interested to see who rises to the top of the Proctor, Garbutt, and Debose group to grab playing time this year. Belmar and Gaines will get time b/c of the game experience but will need at least 1-2 of those guys to be ready to play game 1.

Koma asks who's going to be taking reps and who do we need to see the most from at LB...

In Fu's entire response he literally didn't mention a single name, haha. Coach speak at its finest.

Using /s is for cowards.

As others already mentioned though, he let slip that comment about getting guys in the summer. Definitely hints that he think Dax has a real shot.

Wow. Nice work Alex and Joe.

I appreciate all the support, and I appreciate all the hate I am getting. I will continue to work as hard as I can to be the best I can be and bring this team a championship. Go Hokies 🐔 - Josh Jackson

all this talk of youth everywhere makes me happy we start the season with a few OOC warm up games.../s

not/s - I can see the FSU game going a lot like BofB: flashes of brilliance inspiring hope, but also some boneheaded mistakes that result in a loss. Then we do actually get 3 gimmes before ACC play and that's just @Duke, ND, and @UNC. I hope we have our crap together by Duke. Or at least enough to stumble through those three and then really be able to take advantage of the BYE to prep for GT and the rest of the season.

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)..

probably good for younger player's focus to have a premier game 1 with the potential to start or play. Maybe lose the game, but establish a better season in the long run.

Also of note, FSU is in similar boat to our BofB matchup... New coach with a lot of older talent learning a completely different scheme. should be interesting.

🦃 🦃 🦃

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but we'll probably need to keep an eye on FSU all season. I remember last year discussing SoS and individual performances later on, and we're like "But...West Virginia!", and folks are like "yeah, so? They suck."

___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

My take on this interview focusing on the D is that Bud Foster has to develop a LOT of young, inexperienced talent across the board into the defensive machine that VT is known for. Lots of names we know everywhere, but most with very few reps. Budfu has had to do this before and been successful. We should all keep this in mind as we watch this year's defense develop together. There will be ups and their will be downs.

The offense is going to have to help the defense this year...

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

It's times like this that I question Bud's propensity to let one linebacker have almost all the snaps. We'd be a lot better off this year if we'd rotated some linebackers in to get some meaningful snaps, though admittedly at risk of their causing a loss or two last season.

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

I think he trusts that players will improve just getting in the weight room and in practice. He wouldn't be doing them or the team any favors by throwing them in the fire just cuz.

Why do I feel like every year we are "young and talented"?

Are we younger this year then last? I thought we wouldn't be.

On defense, certainly.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

On defense FOR SURE.

I don't think so on offense, but snap-adjusted average age is probably the metric to use more so than just "age by position group". With longer-time contributors like McMillian, Cam, and Teller moving on, and other "more experienced" players like Nijman and Peoples being hurt for a lot of the year, it would be interesting to see how those numbers shake out.

Chem PhD '16

Bill Connelly does a returning production metric that looks at actual stats generated (ie. yards/points/offensive line starts on offense, tackles/sacks/passes defensed on defense) weighted by importance to determine how much is returned. This year we're at 68% on offense and 64% on defense. I thought we'd be higher on offense and lower on defense, but it's a huge contrast to last year when we returned 34% on offense and 79% on defense (and saw the defense thrive and offense suffer mightily as a result).

https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2018/1/31/16950222/2018-ncaa-f...

This is awesome, thanks for passing it along!

Chem PhD '16

passing it along!

Based on the heavy weighted metrics used in the article:

🦃 🦃 🦃

That's a great bit of information. Thanks for sharing! I encourage all TKPers to share high quality analysis/content such as that and start a new thread for a discussion.

This makes sense based on their weights. WR and QB production best predictors of continued success on offense. Passes defended best predictor of continued success on defense with linebacker and D-line production being poor predictors.

It's interesting their analytics reveal almost near the opposite of what Beamer often preached: Further on the outside, easier to get on the field sooner. Seems that you would want the opposite to be true (except QB).

🦃 🦃 🦃

Our offense and defense are out of sync right now. 2016 was a veteran group, then the entire offense left. Last year a veteran defense carried a "young and talented" offense, and now most of the defense is gone. Hopefully by next year improved recruiting and an influx of Fuente's guys will even the balance, but who knows.

100%. This will be the third year in a row where I'll have to say "it'll be interesting to see what happens" and truly mean it.

Hopefully by next year improved recruiting and an influx of Fuente's guys will even the balance, but who knows.

That's a narrative that will wear out REALLY quick in this business & with our (anyone's really) fan base. I feel that the team needs to win AT LEAST the same number of games as last season in order to be tolerable. The following season, I believe NO LESS than 10 Ws are acceptable (in terms of the pulse of our fan base). It's just the nature of the beast of the business.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

So when does that stop though? Like, its not actually sustainable for our program to win 12 games a year. Is 10 a year acceptable with a few higher years? Would having 2 seasons of 8 wins, but every 3rd year we hit 11 work? Just saying "IT MUST GO HIGHER" is exactly how the 2008 recession happened. We need to make sure we allow room for small regressions in performance to see the bigger gains later. Otherwise we do what we make fun of other fanbases for and run good coaches out of town for literally no reason.

Get Angry, Bud!

So when does that stop though?

Well, I'm of the belief that once you close the door on self-improvement, then there's truly no more room for it. I believe that mentality goes beyond self, so, hopefully never.

Like, its not actually sustainable for our program to win 12 games a year.

Maybe not, but we first need to get to 12 wins (without the asterisk of '11-'12). I don't think having 2 seasons of 8 with every 3rd an 11 or 12 is acceptable.

Just saying "IT MUST GO HIGHER" is exactly how the 2008 recession happened.

Is that really your comparison? Well, first I think any economist worth their salt would disagree with that statement and go on to obviously point out that there was more to it than that. Second, that's just not a very great comparison with our program (IMOP).

We need to make sure we allow room for small regressions in performance to see the bigger gains later.

I agree we need to allow room for growth, and I can even concede that there may be some regressions experienced. But they need to be minor regressions. The concept of regression itself (I believe) stands in opposition and hindrance to the act of growth and authentic progression.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Put it this way... I could easily see all the good momentum and good feelings regarding this program evaporate in an instant if we lose for a 3rd straight year to Georgia Tech and that god damn triple option.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

We really need to put a serious beat down on GT this year. One thing should help, I understand GT moved on from Ted Roof as the DC. Apparently he could only defend against us.

We are going to have major trouble with them so long as Fu coaches differently - which he does- vs. other teams. Against UNC, he is a river boat gambler, and goes for the throat. Against GT he tries to milk the clock, afraid of their offense running up and down the field. He needs to be more aggressive against GT.

Against GT he tries to milk the clock, afraid of their offense running up and down the field. He needs to be more aggressive against GT.

I agree with this. Coach Bud and his unit are powerful enough to keep them out of the endzone (enough) for us to run up the points and make THEM play catch up.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

In order to do that, we need to stop treating the first 3 or 4 possessions as offensively table setting for the rest of the game. For most nights, ok fine, you can do that and still be successful, but against GT where you're only going to get maybe 5 or 6 possessions on the game, we need to be driving the field early and often.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

True. But I still say Bud gets a pass (sorry, couldn't resist).

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

yes you could too have

Chem PhD '16

You say that but Fu was also destroyed on these same message boards for going for it on 4th downs instead of kicking field goals in the past two years? Going for a game winning TD last year instead of just trying to get the first down on our last drive. Hindsight is 20/20, yea being aggressive against UNC has worked and it hasn't against GT, you have to trust your process and not your results, now if you want to argue the process that's fine but saying he hasn't been aggressive against GT is not true

VT '17

I think that's what he was alluding to.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

The only difference I want to see in his game-plan against GT is being aggressive earlier so that we don't get put in a position where we're throwing deep on 4th down to try to win at the end. Less set up and more kill shots early.

Hopefully by next year improved recruiting and an influx of Fuente's guys

Jury is still WAY out on the defensive line recruiting. Those guys (Debose, Porcher, Garbutt, Glaze, etc.) are not in the ranking range and size metrics of guys like Hill, Walker, Settle, Gaines, Mihota who are all prototypical size and 4-5 star (Mihota being borderline but with elite size).

Despite their shortcomings at other positions, Franks guys did some serious DL recruiting in the later years. I know they missed out on some guys, but the ones we got were really good ones.

'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'

It's early, but outside of Jerod Evans, Fuente's best players- by far - have been Beamer recruits. It "could" mean that Fuente is a development guy and not a "recruiter" and that his best teams will be like Jim Grobe's- the older teams he has. Or it could mean that we are in trouble unless he starts signing some more highly rated DL and RB especially. Like I said its early.

I definitely see him as a developmental coach given what he did at Memphis with the recruits he got. He is recruiting much better than Beamer did at the end of Beamer's tenure, though, which is good. New coaches at big programs almost always recruit well at first, though, because they have a vision of a program to sell. After about four or five years, you have to sell results. Given Fuente's track record as a developer of talent and a combined 19 wins in his first two seasons, I'm excited to see what the future holds.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

considering the Evans scenario I posted, I don't think we can say definitively that his recruiting is "better than the end of Beamers tenure" yet. The number rankings overall don't indicate that either. Late in Beamer's tenure he signed some of Fuente's best players- Settle, Tremaine Edmunds, Josh Jackson, Eric Kumah, Nijman, Hill, Gaines, etc, etc. Jury is still out there, IMO.

Well here's my question (I know it's already been answered, but I forgot): what is our recruiting ranking this year compared to Beamer's from '12-'15/'16*?

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

The number rankings overall don't indicate that either

According to 247 National Ranking

2013 - #21
2014 - #28
2015 - #29

2016 - #42
2017 - #26
2018 - #24

The numbers indicate the opposite of what you are saying. Of course these players need to develop, but let's not act like Fuente hasn't been moving recruiting in the right direction.

I appreciate all the support, and I appreciate all the hate I am getting. I will continue to work as hard as I can to be the best I can be and bring this team a championship. Go Hokies 🐔 - Josh Jackson

Also keep in mind that in 2017 26th and 24th were separated by 2.5 points and 2018 24th and 21st were separated by 3.5 points. Since composite scores in that range are around 230, 3 points is a tiny margin which shows that we are about 1 more 4* per class from being in the top 20. I know that's minor but top 20 is a goal most teams shoot for in recruiting and its certainly a benchmark. I know we say every year the class is going to be special, but even by realistic expectations the 2019 class looks like it could improve once again. Recruiting is definitely trending up.

Well when/if we get it to top 15-20, it will definitely feel like an improvement (big) to me.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

What am I missing?? Average for Beamers last 3 years is 26th. Fuentes first 3 years - where coaches usually get a "bump" is 30... Huh?

Wow man, I'm done trying with you. If I have to answer this, you are clearly just don't understand football or you are deliberately trying to argue like a 10 year old want to be lawyer.

I appreciate all the support, and I appreciate all the hate I am getting. I will continue to work as hard as I can to be the best I can be and bring this team a championship. Go Hokies 🐔 - Josh Jackson

This will end well.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

I posted my comment with great caution in fear that this would happen.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

I'm not the one that posted "recruiting is clearly better" with only subjective "data" to back it up.

You're factoring in an extreme outlier in his first year where he had to piece together a last minute class after a legend has left the program. You can't really count his first class when he only had a few months to put it together. He was hanging on for dear life.

You're "missing" the obvious fact that the average of "30" is obviously significantly skewed by what you are calling Fuente's first recruiting class. The guy literally showed up a month before signing day and just made a stab to salvage what he could. It's ridiculous to ascribe that class to him.

Honestly I think you're smarter than this though. I think you're just so biased you're not trying to be logical or fair.

Edit: Yea what the guy above said.

Using /s is for cowards.

OK, lets eliminate that- Beamers last 2 classes- 28.5 Fuentes last 2 classes 25th. Pretty close. Not some LOL, no brainer, you have no idea difference there. It's just not.

To be honest, over Franks last couple of years I am not sure we were getting great development of the players over the whole arc of offense, defense, and special teams. If we take the same level of recruits but can do better coaching (they are out to prove themselves) we are going to get better results. Hence, 10 wins with players who got 7 wins the year before.

Give him time, be patient, and get the great players for your system not just great players.

I love coach FU. would be very happy to see him here 20 more years. His offensive "system" is much better than Beamer's- and Beamer is in the hall of fame. Beamer's recruiting became greatly affected by the time period from 2007-2009 or so when the offense was comically bad. Guys like Percy Harvin let it be known we weren't even a consideration, etc. Even though we were winning 10 games, star VA players started to not even consider VT, and that had a trickle down effect obviously. those last Beamer teams were woefully short on talented depth- which is a result of recruiting no doubt, despite the numbers. that's why they won 7 games.

Of course Fuente's best players were from the Beamer era. They're the only ones old enough to make a serious impact. We aren't a school where freshman regularly come in and kill it from day 1. Fuentes first class was just a bunch of true freshman this past year. Savoy, Bradburn, and Keene all played really significant snaps too. If in year 4, we aren't impressed by his recruits than so be it. The jury is still out in terms of performance, but in terms of recruiting rankings Fuente has done better and is only improving. It's just not fair to compare the performance of their recruits yet.

Well, my point is that the "rankings" are not that much higher. At least not higher enough to definitively say recruiting is "much" better- the numbers just don't bear that out.

You're right I wouldn't say much better. But I'd say they're better and they're trending up. I think people are also excited about these classes because they seem to have less filler. It's not just a few guys at the top and then a lot of low rated players. It's a solid average across the board which some believe is a better recipe to success. We will just have to wait and see though.

I personally think his system is more important. If we can get our athletes to block like some of his guys at Memphis did, we will win a lot of games.

I think it depends on what that much means. Yes they aren't significantly higher (jumping from #25 avg. to #15 avg.) but if you also look at the last two years based off the 247 rankings, who have far and away the best recruit evals in the business, we were 16th in 2017 and 21st in 2018 (18.5 avg). That's certainly headed in the right direction and there is no sign of our recruiting taking a step back in the 2019 or 2020. I would put money on the fact that our next two classes will be in the 247 Top 15.

When is Jeremy Webb joining the team?

He enrolled in January. Has anyone seen any clips of him?

I thought so, too. But he's not on the spring roster.

Believe he enrolls this summer, not in January.

That's what I get for listening to Athlon sports.

His JUCO's schedule didn't sync up with enrolling in January, (their classes ended after our spring semester started) otherwise he would have enrolled in January.

So, how does that work? Does he just go home until summer? Or if he gets a place in Blacksburg, can he use facilities until he's on scholarship in the summer? Could he attain walk-on status which would allow use of the facilities? Inquiring minds want to know!

The Poster Formerly Known As The Spirit Of Bernard Basham

I really think the Farley move is more about our depth (or lack thereof) at DB and less about his potential at the position. You could easily have the same concerns about depth with our WRs at this point. Had Webb enrolled in January and we snagged one more impact DB recruit over the last cycle or two, I don't think we would be discussing this. It was really hard to deny Farley's potential on offense after watching the spring game. He may pan out to be an excellent DB, but I still think the situation at that position is more at play than his ceiling on that side of the ball. He's equally inexperienced at both, and there was an obvious move to keep him on offense before the injury, so what changed?

I think if Adonis shows up with a late career "resurrection" like Corey Marshall in terms of attitude/focus, Farley moves back to offense. I really think this is what this is about right now.

Based on what I have read on here, and know about VT, I believe he is natural at corner, and if healthy will the next Hokie to become an all star pro DB. I believe he was only switched last year because we were so terribly thin at WR, and he was the one player who we did not expect to need on D that could help - like Stro did when not needed on D early in his career. He may be a good receiver, but I believe his future has always been at DB, or he would not be there now. Bud has shown he knows a great corner when he sees it. Gotta believe Fu knows enough about he needs at WR to know if has an all conference player or not. Farley at WR was about our depth, not Farley at DB, is my guess.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Interesting article. In Fuente and Staff we trust. It's exciting to think that this team in Fuente's 3rd Spring only actually has one full class and a fraction of his recruits on board. Every team is trying to get better and will do their best to make it difficult for us, but we will continue to be competitive. This Spring I'm hoping Hooker can crank it up a notch and be Tech's version of Lamar Jackson. And here's to Farley and 19 interceptions using his speed and agility to play the ball as well as the receiver. Gene Bunn's career record of 18 has stood too long.

"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. " Rocky B.