Hokies Add Trio of 2016 Walk-Ons, Including Former DT Commit Clay Dean

Justin Fuente's staff is adding depth under center and in the front seven with three more athletes.

QB Chase Mummau, right, on one of his many Tech visits ahead of his commitment to walk-on to the Hokies' squad. [@Chase_Mummau7]

Just a few days ago, the Hokies announced their 21 commitments in the class of 2016, but there are a handful of other prospects that will head to Blacksburg this summer.

Since National Signing Day, the team's added three more in-state athletes in preferred walk-on roles, including one who was previously poised to mail in his letter of intent and play on scholarship with Tech.

DE/LB Tre Hubbard of Virginia Beach's Ocean Lakes HS, QB Chase Mummau of Mechanicsville's Lee-Davis HS and DT Clay Dean of Purcellville's Woodgrove HS have all committed to walk onto the team in August and try to earn scholarships on the practice field.

Dean's name will probably be the most familiar to Tech fans, as former DBs coach Torrian Gray offered him a scholarship early last year, and he committed in late March.

Yet Dean says his status with the Hokies changed immediately "after the new coach got hired." While he'd certainly prefer the guarantee of a full scholarship, he believes the chance to walk on at Tech was still an opportunity worth exploring, considering that the Hokies were his only Division I offer.

"It's not the better situation of what I first had, but it's still a school I want to go to, so that's where I'm at," Dean said.

Dean added that Gray's departure was "disappointing," given the bond they'd formed during his recruitment, but that ultimately didn't affect his decision to stick with Tech.

"I had no idea he was going to be heading down to Florida, but it is what it is," Dean said.

Even with all the changes on staff, Dean still thinks he can fit in on the defense, particularly when it comes to playing the "inside 3-technique on the d-line."

Mummau's journey to walking on at Tech was considerably more accelerated. He says he only heard from the Hokies a week ago, when offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen reached out to his coach at Lee-Davis to express some initial interest, and Mummau was immediately intrigued.

"All of my family is from Tech, my mom, my dad," Mummau said. "Ever since I was eight years old, I've had a big mural of Lane Stadium in my room. It's been a big part of my life, I've been to probably four or five games every year."

Mummau says he wasn't particularly heavily recruited coming out of high school, which he attributes to the broken collarbone he suffered in his junior year.

Even still, he did attract offers from both Norfolk State and Davidson, and got a good bit of interest from Purdue early in the 2015 season — in a strange twist of fate, Mummau actually ended up on a trip to see the Boilermakers when they squared off against the Hokies in September, an experience he says was "hard for me because I've always been a Tech fan."

But Mummau says he eventually stopped hearing from Purdue and was forced to look for other opportunities. Though Towson and Richmond both offered him chances to walk on, he was thrilled when he heard Cornelsen liked his game.

"Coach Cornelsen said he liked my quick release, he liked my frame, I just have to widen out," Mummau said of his 6'2", 174-pound stature. "I'm not the biggest guy, but I like to think I have a good intellect when it comes to the sport of football."

Cornelsen invited him to visit this past weekend, and Mummau made the trip to Blacksburg once more to get to meet the new coaches.

"We toured all the facilities and stuff, just went around and introduced myself to all the new guys that were there," Mummau said. "I'd known all the old staff from going to prior camps and stuff. I've been in and out of Merryman (Center), so I know Tech like the back of my hand. And I've known Brenden Motley for a while, so I got to see him for a bit, that was nice."

Mummau adds that he quickly felt that the new coaches were "all class-act guys and definitely made me feel comfortable going down there," and he made the decision that he'd continue the family tradition and head to Tech.

"Virginia Tech has always been my dream school, so it was an easy choice," Mummau said.

Mummau noted that Fuente and Cornelsen strike him as "quarterback whisperers," and he's eager to start learning about Tech's new offense.

"I've been watching film of Memphis and Paxton Lynch in their offense, and I'm just astonished by how well their offense runs and how fluidly they run and the types of play calls that they run," Mummau said. "It's kind of similar to the offense that we run at my high school. It's a lot of the same schemes, so it's going to be a nice transition to go over and shouldn't be too hard to learn the new offense. So it was very attractive to me, especially knowing that they were both quarterbacks and played in the past, so it's nice to know that they know what's going on on the field."

Hubbard has been on Tech's radar for a similar amount of time, and he credits his affection for the school for convincing him to go the walk-on route as well.

"I just really like Tech," Hubbard said. "I've been up there five or six times, and every time I've been up there, it's been a great experience, so I felt like it was just the right place for me."

Indeed, Hubbard's frequent visits to Tech, often with his Ocean Lakes teammates in tow, helped him form a relationship with the staff that ultimately to his decision.

Hubbard says he did a hold an offer from West Virginia State, but when signing day rolled around, he gave RBs coach (and 757 area recruiter) Zohn Burden a call and made his case.

"We were talking for a while, and I've been interested in Tech for a while, so I finally asked him 'Can I play for you guys?' and he said 'Alright,'" Hubbard said. "He let me know what I had to do to get up there, and I'm gonna get it done so I go up there and play and earn a scholarship."

Hubbard's played both DE and LB at Ocean Lakes, and while the Hokies haven't yet told him where he'll play once he gets to campus, he feels confident that "wherever they put me, I'm gonna excel."

Since deciding on Tech, he's already hit the ground running when it comes to recruiting his teammates to join him in the move to Blacksburg. He says he's particularly keen on convincing 2017 players like DT Eric Crosby, WR Tahj Capehart and RB Khalan Laborn and 2018 LB Teradja Mitchell to become Hokies too, saying he "definitely will try and bring my guys with me."

He got first chance to leave an impression on them when he drove down with that same group this past weekend, even snapping a quick selfie with Frank Beamer on the trip.

"We have all been good friends for years now," Hubbard said. "Those are the guys I trust the most, and they have mutual trust and respect for me."

He says his recruiting pitch will be a pretty simple one — come down, and let's win another ring together.

"We've had a great time playing together for years, and I know they'd love to have the opportunity to be back together and play in college with their boys," Hubbard said. "I hope that I can have some influence in their decision to want to come to VT. We won states, and it would be even better to win a bowl game."

Regardless of whether he can convince his teammates to tag along, Hubbard hopes to make "at least one more" visit to Tech before he enrolls in school this summer so his parents can see campus.

Dean's in the same boat, as he says he's "for sure going for either spring practice or the spring game," so that he can "meet the new head coach, meet the new coaching staff" for the first time and "talk more to my defensive staff."

Mummau is even more enthusiastic about the chance to return to Tech, and he pledges to get to Blacksburg "quite a bit" over the next few months.

"I'm gonna try and go back and forth, see if I can sit in on some meetings, get a grasp of the offense, go to spring practice, take some of my coaches with me to give them the experience of going down there and get some new ideas for practice back at our high school, and then I'll probably return for the spring game with a bunch of my family and friends," Mummau said. "I can't wait to get down there and get to work."

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