We're almost two weeks removed from signing day, which feels like it's about the limit to still be talking about stuff that was said about the 2014 class.
But I will use those two weeks to the fullest, finishing off going through what was said on Virginia Tech's signing day webcast with one final post today.
Today, we'll wrap it up with some of defensive coordinator Bud Foster's thoughts, followed by a few quick hitters from J.C. Shurburtt, 247 Sports' National Recruiting Director, who was on the show via phone.
-- Foster started with Raymon Minor (Ashland/Benedictine), who just yesterday tweeted that he got the test scores he needed to qualify at Virginia Tech. A four-star prospect who's 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Minor was a signing day commitment who was also considering Nebraska and Marshall.
"Very athletic, long, has a lot of range, very explosive," Foster said. "Just a tremendous athlete. I think he’ll fit our backer position very well. It’s a play-making spot for us. He reminds me a little bit of a guy we had here before, Xavier Adibi, from a standpoint of athletic, has great speed, has some length. I think can be a good blitzer, can be good in coverage and just can be a special athlete."
-- Ricky Walker (Hampton/Bethel High) was one of two defensive tackles Foster talked about. He's 6-foot-2, 265 pounds, but Foster says he can move.
"Once he sees the ball, he can chase the ball," Foster said. "He’s not just a guy that’s a space-eater. He’s a guy that can put pressure on the quarterback. He can pursue down the line of scrimmage extremely well. And that’s kind of what we want. We want an aggressive defense that can play sideline-to-sideline and end zone-to-end zone, and he’s one of those guys."
Walker will need to add some size once he gets to Tech -- almost all linemen do -- but given the Hokies' dire tackle depth, he's likely to get a look right away.
"I think he’ll be a guy that has the ability to come in and be an impact player right away," Foster said.
-- Melvin Keihn (Towson, Md./Gilman School) might need some time. He's played both defensive end and linebacker in high school, but Foster said the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder will start at linebacker at Tech.
"Very athletic. Can really run. Has a lot of tools," Foster said. "And I think this kid is extremely raw from a standpoint of where he’s played some down, he’s played some linebacker. We’ve got to fine tune some fundamentals. But as you can see on the video there, just really explosive, athletic, can bend his body, can redirect. He runs the hurdles in indoor track, which I really like. It shows his flexibility and explosiveness. I think the kid is going to be a very special football player for us."
-- Foster called defensive tackle Steve Sobczak (Milford/Massaponax High) an under-the-radar guy. As Stinespring said earlier on the show, Sobczak was 340 pounds at this time last year but slimmed down to his current 6-foot-1, 285-pound frame.
"He was a little overweight, made a commitment to lose weight, and really is a guy that's been under the radar," Foster said. "He was in our camps and we thought he was the best defensive lineman in our camp. Just very athletic, can bend his body, plays extremely hard.
"I think the kid is a great sleeper for us. I think he is our sleeper. Again, has a high motor, much like Ricky Walker from the standpoint that he can chase from sideline-to-sideline. He’s extremely powerful and extremely explosive and just plays with a high motor. And I think this guy is our diamond in the rough, a really good football player."
Foster said the weight loss makes Sobczak's motor more effective. He can give sustained, consistent effort now, whereas he could only go for a few plays before.
-- Foster didn't touch on Sobczak's teammate, 6-foot-5, 252-pound defensive end Vinny Mihota (Fredericksburg/Massaponax High), somewhat surprisingly, since he was Mihota's primary recruiter (I think Bud's time was limited). But the webcast did have a brief interview with Mihota himself, who said the broken foot that forced him to miss nearly all of his senior season is fully healed and hasn't bothered him for the last two months. The early enrollee is 100 percent cleared.
Briefly, here's what Shurburtt had to say about the class:
-- On the quarterback class: “I think it’s one of the best quarterback classes in the country. Most schools sign one. Virginia Tech had 2½ or 3.”
-- On the running backs: “It’s a good class there in terms of getting Virginia Tech-type running backs back in the system. It’s just something the offense has been missing the last few years."
-- On quarterback Andrew Ford: “He’s a precision passer. He’s not going to win any Brett Favre-type of contests for arm strength, but he’s a guy that puts it on the money.” Shurburtt said he didn’t understand why Ford didn’t garner more interest early in the recruiting process.
-- He called quarterback Chris Durkin “tough as nails.” (He’s the son of Chris Durkin Sr., a former minor leaguer in the Astros system.) “He will compete in some of the Brett Favre contests for arm strength, because he’s got a howitzer on him," Shurburtt said. "Just a tough, tough, gritty guy … and you don’t often get that at the quarterback position. I can assure you Chris Durkin isn’t going to mind taking a sack or getting hit or running over somebody on the goal line to get a touchdown."
-- Shurburtt said Ford will have to get stronger and, although he’s mentally ahead on things, will still have to adjust to the speed of the college game. With Durkin, he said, “it’s a matter of polish. Making all the throws consistently and being a more consistent passer. … With him it’s probably a matter of full quarterback development.”
-- He thought both Marshawn Williams and Shai McKenzie have “high upside ability” to contribute early. Shurburtt liked the toughness in both of them, but thinks McKenzie has an elusiveness that will serve him well and Williams is “faster than people think.”
-- During Shurburtt’s segment, Fork Union safety Holland Fisher’s letter of intent came in. Shurburtt gushed about him:
“He’s a Hokie type of defender. He’s a safety type that can slot down to play some of those different positions that coach Foster has on the defense. Was an elite prospect coming out of high school. ... Holland Fisher is a guy that competes and competes and competes and competes. And considering he’s been at Fork Union for a year and he’s coming to Virginia Tech and is going to be very hungry to play college football, it’s not going to surprise me at all to see Holland Fisher making plays, at the very least on special teams, next year, just given his athletic ability and his upside. ...
"I can’t say enough good about Holland Fisher. Every time I saw him in high school, he was extremely impressive. And like I said, that competitiveness combined with the athleticism makes him potentially special.”
-- Shurburtt touched on the fact that Tech missed on a lot of the top players in the state.
"It’s not a positive thing," he said. "And it’s not an extremely welcome development when you have that type of talent in your state and you see a guy go out of state and two go to your in-state rival. That can’t be spun as anything positive. But recruiting is about filling needs and recruiting is about getting impact players, and Virginia Tech accomplished both of those objectives. And it was a little bit more difficult because they didn’t get the top in-state guys, but it was certainly one of those things that has to be considered a success."