Perspective on our Youth: Top 5 2017 in state recruits- Where are they now?

Saw this in an Article about Devon Hunter a couple of days ago... Below are the top 5 recruits out of the 2017 class in Virginia. (Devon was #2).

Just reminded me of the time and patience it can take for a player (even a blue-chip) to come into their own.

Top of the class

Four of the top five signees from Virginia in the 2017 recruiting class came out of the 757, according to the 247 Sports composite rankings. All five of the recruits ranked in the top 200 nationally. Here's a look at how the rest of the group has done at the collegiate level....

No. 1 2017 recruit from Virginia: Khalan Laborn, Florida State RB β€” Laborn redshirted as a freshman. He caught a 37-yard pass in his collegiate debut in the season opener against Virginia Tech in 2018, but suffered a season-ending injury the following week in a win over Samford. The Virginia Beach native had three carries for eight yards in FSU's 2019 opener against Boise State.

No. 3 2017 recruit from Virginia: Luiji Vilain, Michigan DE β€” Multiple knee injuries derailed the start of Vilain's college career. The Episcopal alum from Alexandria didn't play in 2017 or 2018. He made his debut in Michigan's opener against Middle Tennessee in Week 1, but didn't record any stats.

No. 4 2017 recruit from Virginia: Darnell Ewell, Notre Dame DT β€” The defensive lineman took a medical hardship waiver before the 2019 season bring an end to his football career. According to the South Bend Tribune, he's staying at the school to get his degree. The Lake Taylor alum from Norfolk switched to the offensive line and back again during his time with the Fighting Irish, but never played in a game.

No. 5 2017 recruit from Virginia: Jordan Williams, Clemson DT β€” Williams redshirted as a freshman. He had 13 tackles with three for a loss and 1.5 sacks last season in 12 games. Williams, a Frank W. Cox alum from Virginia Beach, opened season listed as the co-starter alongside true freshman Tyler Davis at one of Clemson's tackle spots. He had three tackles in the opener against Georgia Tech.

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Comments

Yetur Gross-Matos, the #6 ranked player from that class is projecting as a Top 10 pick in next year's NFL Draft.

Early NFL Draft Projections

So some of the guys got hurt and Jordan Williams sat a year behind a full line-up of guys drafted. Have to think every one of these guys would have made an impact on a VT squad - especially considering where we are with DL and RB.

Or they are injury prone and would have ended up in same circumstances at Tech. Williams is the only one who has demonstrated that he lived up to the recruiticorn hype.

So say you and 4 other students all at the top of your class, had to sit down and take a test at the end of the year to see how smart you are. If you got a C-, another guy who was considered the 5th smartest got a B+ and the other 3 all got the flu and could not take the test, you would feel encouraged by those results?

Do we get a bell curve?

The concern of things staying the same is only exceeded by the fear of change

No, I am challenging the assumption that if those 3 had come to VT they would be starters. There is no evidence that says they would have. In fact the ND kid probably had a physical limitation which was only revealed when he moved up to college ball and would have manifested itself whereever he played.

What I think this data says is that recruiting matters, but not every top 5 kid pans out even at other schools. And it also says that wrapping up the top 5 kids in the state every year might make us feel good on NSD but may or may not help us win championships (Coastal, ACC or Natty.)

Depends on whether or not the NCAA reviewed the test results and declared me ineligible.

The LewDew, Professional Golf Bum

i don't think you can realistically use a player's injuries as justification in hindsight for why we wouldn't have wanted to land them

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

Not saying that - I am challenging the statement "Have to think that everyone of these guys would have made an impact on VT's squad." There is no evidence to support that.

Sure that's fair. it's one of those statements that can't be proved or disproved because there's no evidence for or against. Who's to say they would have gotten hurt playing here?

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

Agree.
What it does show is that even other schools miss on "sure things." It also shows that the talent level in VA might not be as high as it used to be and that only getting the top 5 recruits from VA may not be enough to get us where we want to go. It would be a start, though.

I remember recruiting in the 90's when it seemed like we would get 2/3rds of the top players in the state. But that was before all the national recruiting services and the rise of internet.

I wouldn't label kids as "misses" because of injuries or medical retirements. Those kinds of things just cannot be projected. Would you label Shai McKenzie a "miss"? To me, a "miss" is a relatively well-rated prospect that just never pans out as a viable player, even when healthy. Someone like a Joel Caleb is a "miss" to me. But that's just semantics.

I think what this list does prove, is that recruiting is all about volume. Injuries, medical retirements, and misses are going to happen with all players from 5*s to 2*s, and they will happen at every single school. So you better get as many highly-rated recruits as possible so you can weather the inevitable attrition.

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

What it does show is that even other schools miss on "sure things." It also shows that the talent level in VA might not be as high as it used to be...

I disagree. You can't really use this data to make those assertions at all. Misses? They're a year in and sustained injuries. Laborn was actively contributing to his team, and Vilian was getting looks as a Fr.. Williams will be a stud.

At least with defensive guys, I never really cared about recruiting rankings. I always felt like Bud knew what he was doing from a recruiting standpoint. Our top guys from that side of the ball over the past decade (e.g. Kam, Kyle Fuller, the Edumndi) were never really highly rated guys. Bud's ability as a defensive tactician superseded any recruiting deficiencies.

Man, I'm going to miss that fuck.

Also Yetur Gross-Matos is a top 5 college football name.

I'd be interested to hear what the issues were on the scouting front for guys like Terrell and Tremaine not being 4* guys. Those weren't exactly walk-on types who had to be coached up to make up for their lack of size and skill. Those two are freak athletes with great measurables.

Played against smaller school competition and in Tremaine's case, LB was a projection for him since he was primarily a TE in HS.

That makes more sense. So he was more a jumbo-athlete being projected to LB?

Same thing happened with Vic Beasley coming out of HS. Nobody really knew where he was going to play in college, but he obviously had elite athleticism and measurables.

Yes, that is correct. The real missed eval was Terrell. He was a late bloomer but played alot of DB in HS, should have been a 4 star in hindsight- very productive college player after a RS year and a starter in the pro's.

Recruiting is a volume based business. No single recruit should produce the kind of emotion we see on our fanatic message boards. Yes a single recruit CAN change direction of a program (Vick?) but a single recruit has a greater chance of never even contributing. So, yes stars matter collectively but not so much in isolation.

The concern of things staying the same is only exceeded by the fear of change

True but there is a very strong correlation between multiple top 10 recruiting classes and playoff/BCS Champ appearances. Only Oregon in the modern era made a BCS title game without 4 consecutive top 10 classes, IIRC. If VT wants to beat Clemson or FSU when they get straightened out, we are going to need consecutive top 15 classes to largely pan out. Then we have a shot. Until then, maybe a fake punt conversion, a 50 yard pop pass to rogers, hero ball by Evans, a hot night coaching can keep us to within 14 of Clemson.

you basically said "true but here is another way to restate that"

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

But why do we care about that? We aren't going to get top 10 classes and we aren't going to be in the playoffs. Full stop. That's never going to happen.

So just go get players you like, fit your system and balance your roster.

I've always thought the biggest thought the biggest avenue for more VT success is to focus on keeping players longer into their careers. The flameout rate is wayyy too high.

I don't care what state recruits come from, what I care about is defending a lesser rated player from NC vs. a Va kid we didn't get because we are toxic in the 757 right now. That is my frustration. No, this kid from GA is not better than Klellin Ferrell because we need to defend our current staffs inability to recruit in state effectively.

Clelin Ferrell was from Richmond, not the 757. Also he was the class of 2015 so his recruitment was on the prior staff (geez, I wonder which VT coach was responsible for recruiting the Richmond area at that time). Our highest rated recruit in recent years was actually from the 757 (Hunter). You already know all of that though, which brings me to my next point.

This has been pointed out repeatedly but it gets really old to read posts that intentionally mix facts with exaggeration or outright lies. There's enough evidence at this point that it's fairly clear you do it on purpose, likely to maintain enough plausible deniability to claim you're being attacked for any criticism of that staff. Everyone makes some honest mistakes from time to time, and almost everyone agrees there are valid criticisms of the staff, but it'd be great if we could just stop with all the BS already.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I was using Ferrell as just one example, sorry you missed that. It was an example/a point of reference, not a lie or BS. Nothing in my post was an outright lie. You know what else is old? Making every excuse possible and deflecting the fact the fact that we don't have any 2020 recruits in the top 750... regardless of state.

No, this kid from GA is not better than Klellin Ferrell because we need to defend our current staffs inability to recruit in state effectively.

You associated Clelin Ferrell's recruitment with the current staff in the same sentence. Also I'd love to see where anyone defended the current staff by saying a player from GA is better than Ferrell. Because let's face it, that never happened. If there are so many examples of the failings of the current staff and them being toxic in the 757, why would you use a player that has ZERO relevance to the current staff as the example?

Honestly I didn't like how Fuente handled the Tahj Capehart situation but using Ferrell's name instead of Capehart because he is a higher profile player and makes the staff seem worse is a shitty thing to do.

Finally, I didn't make any excuses or deflect from the state of the current recruiting class or even mention so that's all completely irrelevant to my post.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

it's the build-a-straw-man argument. and 98% of the time it works in getting a response

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

LOL. Awesome. VT used to dominate the top 25 players in Va in terms of recruiting. Now, we don't and are lucky to sign 1-2 of those guys. You will find dozens of posts on this board and others that state : Va talent is "down", NC players are better, We don't need to focus in state anymore, GA players are better. The fact that we didn't get the 4th rated player in Va. is OK because we got the 15th ranked player from SC, etc. Dozens of posts to that effect. But yeah, Strawman argument.

If this comment is your point -- great, fine, i agree. You should have led with that, because this isn't what you said above, and when you invoke "Klellin Ferrell", "current staff", and "757" as all being related to each other and somehow being some example in favor of your argument in this comment, it doesn't fly.

it doesn't do anyone any favors for you to get to your actual point only after people call out the inaccuracies or inconsistencies in your comments. if you don't put it there on purpose (and i don't think you just post outright lies on purpose), maybe consider some brief fact checking to make sure it doesn't get confused with a fabricated strawman argument, because the shoe often really does appear to fit

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

VA talent IS down. NC talent IS up. And GA players ARE better.

Rivals 2020 state rankings - VA

VA - 1 5* and 7 4*

Rivals 2020 state rankings - NC

NC - 11 4*

Rivals 2020 state rankings - GA

GA - 4 5* and 31 4*

And 2021 is even worse. VA - 5 4*; NC - 11 4*; GA - 2 5* and 21 4*

You're right. We used to own the state. But that was a LONG time ago. With recruiting services, video highlight sites, the camp circuits, and travelling 7-on-7 football, the secret recruiting grounds we HAD are gone. Add to that that where we used to get our players isn't as talented as it used to be.

Look at the VA state rankings. 3 are from NOVA, 3 are from RIC, and 2 are from 757. Fifteen years ago, when we were at the height of VT football, there were only 7 5&4* players from VA. Of those, 1 was from RIC, 1 was from NOVA, and 4 were from 757.

Rivals 2005 state rankings - VA

I really don't get this continued living in the past sentiment on here. The only remnants from our 1, ONE, team that played from the National Championship are Bud Foster and Charley Wiles. Bud hasn't exactly been killing it on the recruiting trail for a while. And the current style of play isn't suited for what he likes to do on defense. How many D-line guys have we put in the NFL recently? Settle is the only guy on an active NFL roster. Until our D adapts, we're not going to get a real chance at getting a lot of the top talent up front. They'll just go play for anOSU, Clemson, Bama, etc.

Things have changed. Demographics have changed. Heck, none of the kids we are recruiting today were even alive when Mike Vick played for us. They haven't grown up rooting for the Hokies. They didn't go to school with the guys who were "Heroes of Lane". They have no idea what the "Terror Dome" even is. The fan base stops living for yesterday and wanting to have a stranglehold on an area of the Commonwealth that isn't producing talent the way it used to.

Even so, I'd love for VT to own recruiting in Virginia.

Some would imply that we owned it until Fuente took over, and that's not true, either. Though we often get more of the talent in the VA top 25 at one time than anyone else, we have to say "top 25" because we never really even owned the top 10.

I think DC knows it was prior staff, but the prior staff was once our current staff.

The concern of things staying the same is only exceeded by the fear of change

Haven't even reached Week 3 and TKP is in peak form downvoting DC's perfectly logical arguments again...

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

I downvoted because he is falsely claiming that the current staff were the ones who missed, and they weren't. He aggressively doubles down on a unrelated counter point, its his style I guess. But he's incorrect and never backs off, only deflects when called out. If he just once admits his reference is incorrect or irrelevant to his actual point, I'd gladly take it back.

My point was more generalized, but yes, I do see where you're coming from in this particular instance.

My point remains that a lot of people on here either (1) immediately downvote or (2) pick a fight with him because he's offended the board in the past. That I do not think is fair and is why I'm calling it. Most of his points are very valid but people love to nitpick the hell out of it because he has a history.

Not to sound like Fireman or Key here, but if you're downvoting him because of that and not just debating, you're doing it wrong. I could give a shit about my internet points, but it's clear you're pegging me too on this thread.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

(1) immediately downvote

I'm convinced that there are a lot of people on here just click the down-vote button just to down vote the post/person when they see someone in the negative.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

Most of his points are very valid but people love to nitpick the hell out of it because he has a history.

I think the overall point he tries to make may be valid. But he typically (anecdotally from what I have seen, of course, I cannot speak for all of his posts) uses some extreme reference or example that is incorrect or irrelevant. (Ferrel in this instance). I think people who read into the details downvote because of this but people who agree with the global point overlook. I think that's also why it looks like a mini echo chamber.

if you're downvoting him because of that and not just debating, you're doing it wrong. I could give a shit about my internet points, but it's clear you're pegging me too on this thread.

1) I never downvoted you. 2) Downvotes are the board's self moderation. So I'll downvote whatever I feel deserves it according to the guidelines, thanks. 3) Debating him usually leads to more outlandish examples or his deflections to whatever is bothering him that day, so hard pass on that.

I can't really speak to how you feel he conveys his point because that's your opinion and your certainly entitled to it.

Downvotes are the board's self moderation. So I'll downvote whatever I feel deserves it according to the guidelines, thanks.

Respectfully, I disagree with you here and this is back to by previous point. In my opinion, your point here relative to your explanation for downvoting him is exactly what you shouldn't downvote for. You don't have to agree with him or anyone on here for that matter. That's what makes this entertaining. However "incorrect", "irrelevant" or "outlandish" his examples are in your opinion, it doesn't warrant you downvoting him. If he's name-calling, talking about religion or politics, or picking a fight, have at it. But to "moderate" in your own way by downvoting because he's "wrong" is exactly what you shouldn't do.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Being incorrect is not an opinion. Otherwise I respect your perspective.

That was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, which is why I put it in quotes. Anyways, fair enough. Likewise.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

While ratings aren't everything, I'm still hoping we can go after some more of Virginia's top recruits. I think we are still in the running for Lambert.

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

I get what you're going for here, but IMO this just isn't a big enough sample size. Here's what I'd look for:

  1. Go through the Top 300 from 2017
  2. Label every prospect as Star, Successful Contributor, Non-Contributor, or Injury/Eligibility challenged.
  3. Revisit the list in 2021

Would be really interesting to see how quickly top 300 kids become contributors, if it varies by ranking, and how often the quality of earlier years predicts success in later years.

Twitter me

Go through the Top 300 from 2017
Label every prospect as Star, Successful Contributor, Non-Contributor, or Injury/Eligibility challenged.
Revisit the list in 2021

Great Points here and we also should do an assessment of players who signed and LOI and see what happened over a 4-5 year progression

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

Great point about sample size.

What I took away from the article is that even with the top recruits, there can be disadvantages to early playing time like not being ready physically (far more injury prone) and mentally (speed and complexity) for the college game.

I watched a game this weekend where the announcers were talking about a "young team" because the "only" had 18 Seniors!πŸ˜‚. I am totally pulling this assumption out if my ass but I bet there is a direct correlation between winning percentage and how many Juniors/Seniors are in the two- deep.

Here is the entire 2017 VA list
2017 VA Recruits

Notable Hokies:
8-Dylan Rivers-LB 4*
10-Tyjuan Garbutt-ATH 4*
20-Hezekiah Grimsley-WR 3*
21-Rayshard Ashby-LB 3*
30-Devante Smith-S 3*

Fair to say that Grimsley and Ashby are working out well. I would probably give Rivers and Garbutt "incomplete" grades. Rivers is just in a very crowded LB group and Garbutt

The rest of the Top 10:
6-Yetur Gross-Matos-SDE 4* PSU: Currently listed 6th on Kiper's current, way-too-early 2020 draft board
7-Eric Crosby-OG 4* Tennessee: Medically retired from football
8-Dylan Rivers-OLB 4* VT: 2017-7 games played, 3 total tackles, 2018-10 games played (7 starts), 35 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 int, 1 pbu, 2019-2 games played, 1 total tackle.
9-Ellis Brooks-ILB 4* PSU: 2017-redshirted, 2018-13 games played (PSU site doesn't list starts), 30 Total tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 int, 1 pd, named PFF National and B1G Teams of the week after Pitt Game, PFF B1G Team of the week after Illinois game. 2019-2 games played, 6 total tackles, 0.5 sacks.
10-Tyjuan Garbutt-ATH 4* VT: 2017-redshirted. 2018-13 games played (5 starts), 31 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 pbu, 1 pd, 2 QB hurries, 1 fumble recovery. 2019-1 game played (1 start), 0 stats.

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

I wish we could go back to the days were we owned recruiting in the 757, and just lost out to bigger recruits to Florida every once and a while.

What's
Important
Now

Florida?

Remember reading this in a non-football site, but apparently there's been a big drop in overall population and especially families in the 757 beach area of Virginia over the last ten years. Lots of factors, but job loss during the 2007-08 recession is one. NOT BLAMING THIS FOR OUR RECRUITING LATELY, but statistically there are fewer VA players to choose from than there used to be

If you look through the 2016 VA top 10 list, it's not any better. They are Juniors and Seniors this year. The two DBs in the top 10 have done alright, the one DT has played but the rest didn't have much to show. (this was a quick look and I might have missed some one doing something)