247 Sports’ J.C. Shurburtt talks about the Hokies’ 2013 class, Kendall Fuller, under-the-radar commits
I spoke with 247 Sports national recruiting director J.C. Shurburtt for a story I’m working on, but when I had him on the phone I briefly chatted with him about Virginia Tech’s 2013 class. Here’s what he had to say:
AB: What are your thoughts on the Hokies’ class?
JCS: “Currently, we have it rated as the top class in the ACC. It’s one that obviously they needed a quarterback and they got two. One [Bucky Hodges] hat’s definitely going to be a quarterback and another [Carlis Parker] that, if he’s not a quarterback, he can do a lot of different things. I think if there’s a theme, two things that stand out for me: first of all, winning the battle for [Parker] Osterloh and [Braxton] Pfaff I think was huge. Just because Virginia recruited those guys pretty hard and they’re in-state kids, and while they’re not players that are going to set the world on fire as far as star ratings, stuff like that, they’re in a position of need and they’re from within the state of Virginia. And you’re battling your in-state rival who has some recruiting momentum for those guys, and that was huge.
“And then there’s some guys who are just risers, like I think Holland Fisher. Look at what he’s done lately as far as getting attention from other schools, how he’s performed in the camp setting, getting national honors and stuff. I mean, Alabama came in and offered him the other day. I think that’s a testament to the quality of prospect on their commit list. And certainly Fisher is a great example of that. I think it’s an excellent start so far. Like I said, best class in the ACC right now. Ten of the 11 from the state of Virginia, and that’s sort of the secret recipe to the success of Virginia Tech over the years. And it looks like they’re right on schedule to continue that.”
AB: Will the class be judged on whether Virginia Tech gets Kendall Fuller or not?
JCS: “It’s obviously huge. Any time you have a player like that with any strong ties. Unless something’s happened, like say your older brothers go someplace and one of them has a negative experience and then the parents get upset, all that stuff, that can throw it off. Well that hasn’t happened with Kendall Fuller. He’s been extremely excited every time he’s gone to Virginia Tech. He’s been seen wearing Virginia Tech gear at school. Things like that. And his brothers both should have really good seasons for the Hokies, so anytime you have it set up like that, teed up for you with a player of that caliber, yes, I think it’s very important to get that player and it’s a disappointment if you don’t.
“That being said, if it weren’t basketball, yes, maybe it’s make-or-break the entire class. But we all know there are 11 on each side of the ball that play in football, and one guy will never make or break the entire group. That group will be judged in time, based collectively on how it makes an impact on a program. A Kendall Fuller or a Robert Nkemdiche or whoever you’re talking about that’s highly rated is going to make an impact. It’s not as much of an impact as 21 other guys that are high quality that are in your program will make. And that’s just the nature of football. So I always hate to say success hinges on this or not, but certainly it would sting if the Hokies did not land him.”
AB: Would you consider the Hokies the leaders at this point?
JCS: “Yes, I would. I think Virginia Tech is clearly the team to beat. Clemson I think would be second. And I think Michigan and Tennessee are right there behind the Tigers. Clemson landing Dorian O’Daniel from Good Counsel [Fuller’s high school] was big in terms of their chances with Kendall Fuller. If there’s a team that could pull the upset, I think it would be Clemson. But right now, I think Virginia Tech is the clear leader and clearly the team to beat at this point.”
AB: Are there any under-the-radar guys on Tech’s commitment list right now?
JCS: “I think two guys. Cequan Jefferson out of Henrico in Richmond is a guy I got to see at the Baltimore Nike Camp a couple weeks ago. Was just really impressed with his footwork and quickness and competitiveness. I mean, when you’re going to play corner, you’re going to have to change directions. And his change of direction ability in the camp setting was outstanding. And you combine that with what you see on film, the speed — if he makes it in next year, whatever, I think he can contribute early.
“And then also Anthony Shegog, kind of a taller kid, a 6-2, 200-pounder. A very athletic player out of Stafford. I think he’s got a chance to really be a guy, one of those versatile athletes that they plug into their defense and he ends up making 50-60 tackles a year or whatever down the road. And he committed relatively early, March 13, so I don’t know that there are a ton of schools knocking down his door right now, so there’s not a lot of hype, but he’s a player, make no mistake about it.”
Here’s an updated list of Hokies commitments for 2013. They are non-binding until National Signing Day next February:
- Charles Clark, DB, 5-11, 180, Suffolk (King’s Fork)
- Holland Fisher, DB, 6-2, 205, Midlothian (Manchester)
- Bucky Hodges, QB, 6-5, 225, Virginia Beach (Salem)
- Cequan Jefferson, ATH, 5-11, 167, Richmond (Henrico)
- Andrew Motu’apuaka, LB, 6-0, 210, Virginia Beach (Salem)
- Deon Newsome, ATH, 5-11, 170, Hampton (Hampton)
- Parker Osterloh, OL, 6-7, 268, Williamsburg (Warhill)
- Carlis Parker, QB/ATH, 6-4, 187, Statesville, N.C. (Statesville)
- Braxton Pfaff, OL, 6-5, 290, Lynchburg (Liberty Christian)
- David Prince, ATH, 6-0, 175, Roanoke (Patrick Henry)
- Anthony Shegog, DB, 6-2, 195, Stafford (North Stafford)