The early signing period is nearly upon us. Recruits can sign their national letter of intent prior to February from a period of December 20 to 22. This is new this cycle, and according to a bunch of anonymous college football coaches, it's now the de facto National Signing Day. Take that, first Wednesday in February.
The Hokies are not approaching it any differently than their peers.
— HokiesFB 🦃 (@HokiesFB) December 13, 2017
#Hokies coach Justin Fuente on early signing day: "If you're committed, I expect you to sign."
— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) December 9, 2017
With that said, Tech's still after many uncommitted prospects (plenty of which are outside the scope of this post).
K.J. Henry is poised to sign on December 20. The prevailing sentiment among recruitniks at the moment is Clemson will be the ultimate choice, but the Hokies received an official visit from the 5-star defensive end and are in the final group.
"A lot of people don't realize how much I actually like Virginia Tech," he said. "They're a sleeper for me. Coach Fuente has been hitting me up the most out of any coach. The fact that a lot of my good friends are going there and live less than 30 minutes from me right now is the main pitch for me.
Indeed, Henry would join his friends and 2018 Tech verbal commitments Tre Turner, Alan Tisdale, and D.J. Crossen as part of the #NC2VT movement.
In the face of the unwritten recruiting rule to win over mom, Henry's father might influence his decision more than his mother. Keith Henry serves as running backs coach for the Charlotte 49ers. Effective on January 9, 2018 FBS programs may hire a 10th assistant coach. Henry made no bones about the desire to play at a Power 5 program where his dad coaches.
"Out of my five schools, if my dad were to end up anywhere, obviously that's what he loves to do and he is part of my family and I like all five schools enough to where that could be a big decision coming forward," Henry said. "It's nothing where it is an analyst type deal or anything like that, but if he could go in and coach that would be big.
"At the same time, we have already talked about that. He is not pressuring me like if he were to get a job he's letting every coach know that doesn't ensure that I'm committing there. It's still my decision, but it is definitely something I think about."
It would be a blue shell to Clemson if one of his other finalists (Tech, South Carolina, Georgia, or Alabama) hire Keith. In any event, that Wiles' smile will be replicated among the faces of Hokie Nation should Henry sign with Virginia Tech.
— K5 💭 (@thekjhenry_) December 5, 2017
Oh, hello, Dax.
The Hokies have been in the thick of Dax Hollifield's recruitment since they offered back in February 2016. The 4-star, Shelby HS (North Carolina) linebacker has a bevy of Power 5 offers (reportedly including Florida State, South Carolina, Clemson, and Notre Dame), but he's narrowed down his finalists to Tech, Stanford, and North Carolina. Two local teams (one that's beaten the other 93-10 in back-to-back seasons), and a one west coast academic institution.
"With Virginia Tech, I just love the relative closeness to home," he said. "It's just right up route 77. Coach Foster and the 'Lunch Pail Defense' is what I really like about Virginia Tech. The obvious difference between Stanford and Virginia Tech is the distance from home. The education is different too. The education at Stanford is the best in the world.
"Trust me, North Carolina has made a big push," Hollifield said. "I'm by far their top recruit right now. They have visited me more than any school over the past two months. It's been insane. They have done everything they can. They have a great education. If you get a degree from UNC you can do anything. I want to be a dentist and I know their dental school isn't for undergraduates but there's a good shot you would get into it if you're a UNC grad. North Carolina is the flagship school in my home state.
The U.S. Army All-American will make his last official visit to Stanford on January 12, and that's a decided advantage for the Cardinal. However, Justin Fuente will be afforded the opportunity to make his final pitch to Hollifield on an in-home visit afterwards.
Jordan McFadden flipped to Clemson. McFadden committed to the Hokies on the 4th of July, but a late hometown Clemson offer changed the game for the Dorman HS product.
Staying home 🐅🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/cZtsvi6hOO
— jmac💰 (@Jmac_2332) December 10, 2017
That stings for Tech, which needs all the beef it can get in its 2018 class, and a long-armed OL who can dunk a basketball fit the bill quite nicely.
Three offensive lineman — John Harris, Luke Tenuta, and Christian Darrisaw — are pledged to the Hokies this cycle. This weekend Tech will get a chance to impress a pair of walkers — 4-star Rasheed Walker and 3-star Walker Culver — on official visits.
Quincy Patterson is finally recognized as a 4-star talent by the 247Sports Composite (about damn time). However, his academic prowess continues to rival his on-the-field achievements. Read: "How Quincy Patterson Became Virginia Tech's First Quarterback to Major in Engineering".