Virginia Tech Tapps into 757 to land Hybrid OLB Isi Etute

The Hokies went back to a familiar recruiting region for the latest defender in their 2021 recruiting class.

Without saying a word, they both just knew he had picked the Hokies. Isi Etute and Darryl Tapp's relationship has that sixth sense to it.

"I got on the phone with coach Tapp, and the crazy thing about it is, I didn't even have to say it to him," said Etute. "Right when I hopped on the phone with him we both started laughing because we both knew what's up. That's how our relationship is. It's so close to that point. That's so different than all of these other colleges."

Etute, the 247Sports Composite ranked 3-star (0.8357), committed to Virginia Tech on Saturday over finalists NC State and West Virginia.

As Etute put it, he and Tapp hit it off on day one.

"It's been up since then," he said. "It's been a great experience getting to know him as a coach, not only as a coach actually, as a person too."

The Cox HS (Virginia Beach) standout and Tapp, the former Deep Creek HS (Chesapeake) star, bonded in-part over their opportunities to represent one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the nation.

"The experience of being able to play for the home team and put on for the 757," said Etute. "We both speak highly of that, being able to put the 757 on our backs."

Etute visited Blacksburg prior to the COVID-19 dead period and came away impressed with Tech's future amenities.

"What's exciting about it is they're building a brand new [facility] for the 2021 class," he said. "So right when we get there everything is going to be brand new, so I am excited to see that. The plans that they have for the program are amazing and I can't wait to see it."

Tech recruited Etute as a hybrid outside linebacker/safety. And while it's unknown exactly what scheme first-year defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton will deploy, Whip LB, and former Cox player, Derek Dinardo sprung into head coach Bill Stachelski's mind when he described Etute's potential role with the Hokies.

"He's kind of like a hybrid-type guy," said Stachelski. "He can play anywhere from a rush d-end to an outside backer. Everyone seems to like him at that spot, outside, and he can play a little bit inside as well."

Etute played safety as a freshman, but the 6-3, 205 pound defender moved closer to the line of scrimmage, at outside backer, for his last two seasons.

"I can play in coverage," said Etute. "That's where the safety part of me comes in. I have a good sense of where the ball is going. I have an opportunity to play safety along with playing in the box and attacking the run and going off the edge on blitzes."

Etute is a versatile long strider with plenty of reach, and because of that he accounts for a lot of space in Cox's 4-3 scheme.

"He's able to cover a slot receiver," said Stachelski. "Playing DB early on in his career allowed him, especially with his height and athleticism, to play man coverage too."

While Etute is exploring options with his guidance counselor to enroll in January 2021, it's more likely the planned physical therapy major will make his way to Virginia Tech that summer.

"They made me feel at home," said Etute of the Virginia Tech staff. "They made me feel welcomed, and they made it seem like I was a priority and I was important to them."


A former DB growing to LB size sounds like one of those roundball recruiticorns who started at PG before growing to 6'10.

His current size looks like a large DB but a very small LB.... But he's what, 16? Go go West End Hilgart!

I am excited about this kid. He was well spoken in his commitment video. He understands what being a Hokie means...

Anddddd... Tapp recruited him.

2 time Longwood grad married to a Hokie.

Seems like athleticism has been a priority trait this class.

And Size in places. Athleticism and size. Not a bad recruiting focus.

Serious question... what were we focusing on before?

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Twitch and speed over size I'd say. We've generally not been the largest of players up front as long as we were quick enough to make it into the backfield and disrupt plays (for our DL), and can cover ground / have a nose for the ball (for LBs).

I really think it was fit within the defensive positions. You didnt need to be the most athletic if you could do the basics of what Foster wanted. We had tons of highly productive players that didn't have the atheletism of lots of other guys at the position, but they were great for Foster's defense.

Like the length, athleticism and room to grow. Seems quite underrated.

Great article on what seems like a great future Hokie! Thanks, Joe!

Whip LB Derek Dinardo sprung into Cox head coach Bill Stachelski's mind

So you're telling me he's a first in last out kind of guy! Does the coach have a connection to Dinardo? Seemed like a random comparison haha

DiNardo was a classic Bud Foster coached up player. Hokie Nation has no idea how much we will miss that in the coming years, unfortunately.

I loved Dinardo as a player. As you mentioned, it felt like he really maximized his potential and was a big time contributor to the win in the horseshoe.

I just don't think I would ever utter the phrase he reminds me of Derek Dinardo without some sort of coaching connection

He played at Cox. I transposed some stuff in that sentence and in the process of editing that important detail got cut. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have an actual editor.

Thanks Joe, that makes sense. Great article

And the DiNardo family is kind of a big deal football family at Cox HS (several kids in that family have done really well, locally) - so this is a big compliment coming from the Cox coach.

Please inject as many long, rangy James Anderson, Aaron Rouse, Tremaine Edmunds, Alan Tisdales into my veins as possible please.

Every time I think about how Xavier Adibi was 10 years too early on his entrance to the NFL it makes me sad. He's the ideal size, speed, length combination for an NFL ILB nowadays. He entered the NFL when they still wanted ILB's to be 250-265. The bulked up weight wasted his best qualities. Truly a shame.

edit: A letter

Yep- Adibi needed to find the right team. He could have been a Troy Polomoulu type in the right defense.

Yep, a 2000's 3-4 ILB (Texans) was basically the worst possible system to utilize Adibi's ability to play in open spaces and close down space to the edge quickly.

Etute reminds me a lot athletically of X Adibi

'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'

One of my favorite players of all time, he was there when I was student, great kid, I got vodka, so I'm taking a shot for X!

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Alan Tisdale is an absolute stud. He should never come off the field when we are playing defense.

He reminds me of Mike Singletary mixed with Lawrence Taylor.

That's high praise, but I'd be down with that. As long as he had a little more Singletary on the field, and little less LT off the field, we'll be good.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis