The Hokies added to their 2013 recruiting class Thursday when Fork Union offensive lineman Jonathan McLaughlin switched his commitment from East Carolina to Virginia Tech.
The 6-foot-4, 288-pound McLaughlin, who is from Mauldin, S.C., is a three-star prospect, the 27th-ranked prep player nationally and the third-ranked offensive tackle, according to 247 Sports.
“Coach Frank Beamer came to see me at Fork Union, then he went from Fork Union to go see my parents in South Carolina,” McLaughlin said. “And that meant a lot for a legendary coach to do that.”
McLaughlin originally signed with East Carolina last February but didn’t qualify, so he spent the year at Fork Union getting his grades in order. He hopes to be approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse in time to join Virginia Tech in January. If not, he’ll spend a few extra months at Fork Union and enroll in June.
He has Virginia ties. He is originally from Danville, moving to South Carolina when he was around 8 years old. His parents are from Danville and he still has family living there, just a short drive from Blacksburg.
Shane Beamer was his primary recruiter. The younger Beamer spent plenty of time at Fork Union, where a pair of 2012 signees — running back Drew Harris and linebacker Jerome Wright – spent the season. McLaughlin is friends with both of them and said they both still plan to come to Tech.
McLaughlin said Virginia Tech’s offensive line situation was a big factor in his decision. The Hokies lose both starting tackles, Vinston Painter and Nick Becton, to graduation. The backups have little to no game experience, leaving the situation wide open.
McLaughlin played right tackle at Fork Union. Tech’s coaches have told him they’ll try him at tackle first in college, although they didn’t specify a side.
“I took that as my redshirt year there at Fork Union,” he said. “So I should be able to go in there and play. If not, I can be a backup.”
McLaughlin is the fourth possible offensive linemen in the class, joining Parker Osterloh of Williamsburg, Braxton Pfaff of Lynchburg and Kyle Chung of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Chung is a tight end who could project on the offensive line.
Here’s an updated list of Hokies commitments for 2013. Commitments are non-binding until recruits send in their letter of intent on Signing Day in February:
- Kyle Chung, OL/TE, 6-4, 255 Ponte Vedra, Fla. (Ponte Vedra)
- Charles Clark, DB, 5-11, 180, Suffolk (King’s Fork)
- Brandon Facyson, DB/WR, 6-2, 182 Newnan, Ga. (Northgate)
- Holland Fisher, DB, 6-2, 205, Midlothian (Manchester)
- Kendall Fuller, CB, 6-0, 175, Olney, Md. (Our Lady of Good Counsel)
- Drew Harris, RB, 6-1, 215, Downingtown, Pa. (Fork Union)
- Bucky Hodges, QB, 6-5, 225, Virginia Beach (Salem)
- Cequan Jefferson, ATH, 5-11, 167, Richmond (Henrico)
- Jonathan McLaughlin, OT, 6-4, 288, Mauldin, S.C. (Fork Union)
- Jamieon Moss, LB, 6-1, 210, Elizabeth City, N.C. (Northeastern)
- 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)
- D.J. Reid, RB/WR, 6-0, 202, Chester (Thomas Dale)
- Anthony Shegog, DB, 6-2, 195, Stafford (North Stafford)
- Wyatt Teller, DE, 6-5, 275, Bealeton (Liberty)
- Jerome Wright, LB/RB, 6-2, 220, Highland Springs (Fork Union)