Brent Pry delves into recruiting philosophy and why James Johnson checks all his boxes

In part two of a two-part interview with the Virginia Tech football coach, Pry answers questions about hiring James Johnson, beard timing, life advice, and the most almost arrested he's ever been.

[Mark Umansky]

This is part two of The Key Play's phone interview with Virginia Tech football coach Brent Pry. If you haven't yet, read part one.

This transcript was lightly edited for clarity.

The Key Play: When you're recruiting inside of Virginia, what are the positives the folks you're interacting with on the trail see in your program, and what are areas of resistance for people that don't see Virginia Tech as positively as you do?

Brent Pry: I think anybody that comes here gets a sense of what this place is about. The students that go to school here, the players, the athletes, the staff that work here. It's a special place. It's got a great genuine feeling. It's a welcoming feeling. Our mantra about "This is Home", people feel that way. When I meet with all of our players at the end of the spring, the last question I ask each and every one of them is 'Do you like it here?' and 95% of them say 'Coach, I don't just like it here, I love it here'. It's just that kind of place and people that know Tech, that identify with Tech, they get it. That's why I say, as we recruit the Commonwealth there's going to be guys that come here and they get around us, our genuine qualities, our blue collar mindset, they're going to relate to what we're about. When I talk about accountability and competition and communication and details and mentality, if that resonates with them, then they're for us. If it doesn't, that's okay.

We're invested. I think the high school coaches feel that. We didn't just talk about recruiting the state, we're doing it. We're giving back to these coaches. We're extending invitations to practice and clinics and camps, and we're in these schools, even when they don't have a player. We're in the school, we're taking the time. I think they see that this isn't just a narrative, it's how we're going to do it. It's what we believe in. I think it's how Coach (Frank Beamer) did it, and I don't think there's any reason to think you can't do it the same way. You invest in the state, you invest in the footprint, which is five to six hours from Blacksburg. You get into Knoxville, you get into Nashville a little bit, you get into Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Harrisburg, the DMV and you don't need to do much more than that. When you take that approach, it allows you to spend the time necessary for these coaches and these families to get to know you. You're not spreading yourself so thin by flying to Texas, and flying to south Georgia, and flying to Illinois, and flying to California and instead you're spending time and going back to schools again and again.

TKP: It's obvious you're putting in the time, but there's still players that you've heavily recruited that have decided to go elsewhere, even out of state...

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