It’s been a long day, having started at about 6:30 this morning. I don’t normally like putting up a straight transcript of stuff, but there’s still plenty of newspaper material I have to write today, so I’m going to just put up some straight quotes from Frank Beamer and Bryan Stinespring talking about the Hokies’ 2013 class today.
Here’s some raw quotes from the presser today, with a few cut out to be used later (on the new recruiting zones for the coaches, for instance, which I tweeted about earlier but will blog about in the future).
Beamer: “The class I think athletically is very good. I usually talk about character this time of year, I think that’s important here. I think recruiting within basically a six-hour radius of Blacksburg, that’s mostly where we recruit. I like that because families come with the recruit to visit. They get to come back and watch them play fairly easily. I think that’s gone into our recruiting somewhat this year.”
“It’s kind of interesting, we had this class committed … I don’t know, it’s been committed for a long time, and we haven’t had anyone flip on us. Again, I think having the parents here when they visit, a decision’s a final decision. And then I think it goes back to the character of the kids too. They’re not guys who can’t figure out what they want to do. They’re not flipping and flopping. I think it kind of speaks to the character and how we’re recruiting that everyone we got committed stayed right with us.”
“And then the other thing I’m really proud about, we’ve got a couple of family connections there. Deon Newsome and Kendall Fuller and Kyle Chung. I think it’s 46 either brother-brother or father-son something [connections we've had over the years]. And it even goes into, you talk about Bobby Martin and then got to be Orion Martin and then Cam Martin and then [their cousin] Martin Scales came here and earned a scholarship. I think Jonathan McClaughlin’s a cousin. It’s kind of gone into even the cousin stage here. But what I think it says if a second person followed a first one here, the first one’s experience was a good experience. We’re doing things the right way here at Virginia Tech and caring about the people and getting them graduated, or working to do that. I think that’s kind of what I’d take from this recruiting class, those things.”
Stinespring: “One of the aspects of our recruiting class is just what coach said, because I think it really makes a statement about a family type atmosphere at Virginia Tech and you now have 25 sets of brothers under coach Beamer’s tenure that have attended Virginia Tech. I think that says a great deal. That an older brother goes to school and he’s followed by a younger brother. I think that resonates with all of us from people that have their own siblings. You know the conversations that you have. There are no secrets. To have 25 sets of brothers that been part of coach Beamer’s tenure here at Virginia Tech says a great deal and then also have 24 sons that have now followed in their fathers’ footsteps. I think it just says a great deal about the quality of program and what you want it to stand for and what you know that it stands for. I think it’s portrayed when you have guys who follow each other to the same school.”
What do you think about Kendall Fuller and his prospects of playing right away?
Beamer: “The tough thing about Kendall Fuller is, he’s the last one. We’d like to have a couple more Fullers come through here because that whole family, starts with mom and dad, they’ve been great kids. Just great to have them here. Kendall I think is extremely athletic. I think he’ll have a chance to figure in in our secondary play. I think he needs to get his hands on the ball some. We’ll work with him as a return guy. And maybe even after he gets settled defensively maybe get a couple offensive packages or an offensive package he might get involved with. He’s quite a player. Just very athletic, very smart, very competitive, just like that whole family.”
Who else could play immediately?
Beamer: “I hate to always say that. It gets into the guys that we have here now have the best chance because they go through spring practice and it’s much slower. Next fall, after about three days you have to figure, ‘OK, are we going to redshirt this guy or are we going to try to play him?’ Then you’ve got to depend on that guy to continue to improve to get the playing time you thought he was going to get. You’ve got to make a quick decision. So those guys that are here now, I think they have a shot. I think, and I say this generally, I think the farther away from the ball you are, the more likely it is that you can play, because you’re into depending on another guy so much. You’re using your athletic ability. I think when you get in offensive line, linebackers, I think those are positions that are just tough to play because there’s a lot more involved than just go make a play. We’ll give them all a chance. I think there are some kids here that they’re mature enough to get some playing time.”
This class has a ton of defensive backs. Was that an aim?
Beamer: “It just kind of happened that we hit on some. Some of those guys I think have flexibility where they may end up playing. When they start out with good athletic ability, can run and redirect, that gives you some flexibility elsewhere.”
Where do you envision the offensive linemen starting out?
Stinespring: “I think Braxton [Pfaff], we’d like to start all these guys off at the tackle spot. I think that’s the way you want to approach these guys. They’ve shown the ability to be able to play in space. Their footwork ability has been on film, what you’re looking for at that spot. Obviously it’s one of the tougher spots to recruit to. Each of these guys will start off at the tackle because we believe they have an opportunity to do so. There’s a need. But if it doesn’t work out there we can move them inside to a guard or center spot. Each of these guys we’ll look to start them off at the tackle spot. As coach Beamer alluded to, the fact that we’ve got a couple offensive linemen here already, I think that bodes well for getting them a look once we get into fall camp. Getting not only a chance to go through spring practice, but they get a chance to go through a spring and a summer with [strength] coach [Mike] Gentry too, and I think that’s critical for any offensive linemen.”
Did anyone in the class commit and help you recruit more players?
Stinespring: “I don’t know if he brought anybody, but I think Wyatt Teller was a guy who because of the different combines and those things, where a lot of the best players or highly recruited guys attend, I think that helps you in the process. Wyatt is a very communicative kid that gets involved not only with the guys who are already committed but other guys who may be out there. As coach alluded to, this class really was established probably the vast majority of it, once we entered into this past fall camp. It’s not only what they’re doing in terms of getting them to sign this year. But I think they’re also involved in potential next year class too.”
What side of the ball will Anthony Shegog start on?
Beamer: “I think he’s kind of made for a safety position. Bigger guy, good tackler, good athletic ability. That’s probably where he will start and it’s probably where he’ll stay too.”
Is Teller a defensive end or a tackle?
Beamer: “Defensive end is where we’ll start with him. You don’t always see guys play as hard as he plays. For a guy that’s his size and his ability, he plays hard. That’s kind of what you like to see on the video there. I think it gives him a chance to get in there and we’ll see what happens.”
Frank, what do you know about Holland Fisher being suspended and having a signing ceremony at home?
Beamer: “We visited with Holland and the people at the school. I think it was a little bit of a misunderstanding. Holland’s got to learn from the situation and I think he has. I think it’s been resolved.”
Did you or anyone point out that having a signing ceremony at home would bring unwanted attention to his school suspension?
Beamer: “Nah, we don’t get into that too much. What we try to do is get them to sign and send it to us so we can talk about them right now.”
Does Bucky Hodges compare to Logan Thomas?
Stinespring: “It’s hard not to compare those two. If they both walk into the room, the physical comparisons, it sticks right out. They’ve both got height, they’ve both got length in terms of their appearance. They’re just very similar. When they walk through the door you say OK, the comparisons begin immediately. So, and I think there’s a lot of other things you compare to when you watch them on film. When Logan’s in high school, Logan to this day, they’re both able to keep plays alive with their feet, with their strength, with their size. They can fend off defenders and either pull the ball down and be effective running it or pull the ball down and get out of the pocket and continue to look down field to make plays down the field. Those things readily stick out to you when you notice them. They both have legitimate arm strength. They’ve all been acclimated to making a lot of different type throws. Certainly there’s a lot of comparison between the two individuals.”
How does Carlis Parker fit into the quarterback picture?
Beamer: “I was impressed with him. I told him he reminded me a little bit of Michael Vick, and not only because he’s left-handed, but some of the things he does on the field would remind you of that. He’s an excellent athlete but he can throw the football. That’s what we recruited him for, is to be a quarterback. And I think he will be.”
How many future Michael Vicks have you been told about over the years?
Beamer: “There’s been a bunch over the years but this is one that’s legit in my opinion. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him early but he does do some things like Michael did, I tell ya.”
When did you establish Bucky Hodges as the quarterback you would pursue?
Beamer: “I think you kind of had to figure it out. And we evaluated all of them. But for us, I think Bucky was the best fit. And then when we got on Carlis, that’s a good fit, too. So we had the quarterbacks that we wanted or thought was best for us. And that’s not to say those other guys … there are a lot of great quarterbacks around, but I think we’re pleased with the two that we got.”
Stinespring: “I really think that there’s a lot to go into it. Obviously the ability you’re looking for at that quarterback. We really liked his physical stature. And then, we were just very fortunate that we were around Bucky quite a bit. He was up here for camps as a sophomore, so you just had a great familiarity with him, the type of person that he is. You’ve seen where he’s started, how far he’s developed as a quarterback. So there’s such an awareness about not just the physical stature, the physical abilities, but you just knew that this guy and what he was all about. And because of that, I think all of those things thrown into the mix, kept zeroing in that Bucky was the way we wanted to go.
How much will it help for him to sit and develop behind Logan Thomas for a year?
Stinespring: “I think that it’s a tremendous advantage, because I think you have a guy that’s been there, done that. I think you have a guy in Logan who understands how important it is to develop as a quarterback, because you just can’t rely on skill and ability. There are nuances of the game that you have to develop. And I think Logan is such a personable guy that he’s a guy that anybody would benefit to be under, because he’s always going to want to help others. He’s always working with other guys, the other quarterbacks, constantly. He’s passing on information, what he thinks they need to do, what he already knows. He just does that naturally. So I think it’s good for somebody like Bucky to have a guy that’s very approachable, very comfortable. That leads to a great relationship and how far can I push leaning on another guy? Because I think that’s going to be such an easy determination for Bucky to understand, that this is something that’s readily available and is a tremendous resource for him.”
What positions do you envision “athletes” like Deon Newsome and David Prince to start out?
Beamer: “I think possibly wide receiver. I think we see both of them need to get the ball in their hands. I think both of them are athletic and can make things happen. Both of them probably want to be on the offensive side right now. They could play either. I think they want to be there.”
How soon do you make that determination?
Beamer: “I think as soon as they get here, we start that evaluation and try to get them into the position as soon as possible so they can learn the position. But I think just what I know of it, I think just what I know of it, both of them would have a shot of doing that. Very good athletes and good hands. We’ll give them a shot, I think.”
Stinespring: “I think what coach Beamer alluded to earlier is within this recruiting class, there are individuals with a lot of versatility. And in any recruiting class, you’d like to have versatility. You’d like to have versatility within an offensive scheme, a defensive scheme, and special teams. You also like to have that within your individuals too, that you’re not just locked in. But what we really like about this class is you watch on tape and there’s guys that are playing free safety, playing receiver, playing tailback, returning punts, covering kicks. When you have that type of versatility, that gives you more options. And the options the more options you have, no matter what aspect of life you’re in, it’s an advantageous situation. We really like the versatility we have within this group.”
What did you see in David Prince at Patrick Henry, where he was a quarterback, to tell you that he could play at other spots?
Stinespring: “He was afforded an opportunity at Patrick Henry to not only, because he played quarterback, he was afforded an opportunity to showcase his athletic ability also. You could see him running with the ball. You could see him making plays in space. You could see that speed factor that he has. So you’re able to evaluate the talent that he has, the skill set that he has. It wasn’t so much because of that … it’s not really a projection, can or is he able to? You see that skillset within the offense that he ran and the things that he did. And you also take into account what he’s done in the track and field complex too. So you recognize that athletic ability, so you know that just because it’s a quarterback who transitions, it’s not a concern.”
Did you need to re-recruit guys because of the staff changes?
Beamer: “Well, we called all of them or went to visit all of them or they were coming on an official visit or the whole thing, but like I said, all of them kept their commitments and we’re proud about that. That is, when one guy starts out recruiting them and another guy ends up, that can get a little confusing for the kid. But I think we did a good job with that really.”
What are your thoughts on Cequan Jefferson?
Beamer: “Athletic ability. I think he can change direction. I think he’s going to be a good secondary player. Competitive. All those things you look for.”
Stinespring: “Plays bigger than his size.”
How about D.J. Reid?
Beamer: “We’re going to start him out at tailback. He’s another one of those guys where you need to get the ball in his hands. He may be a punt returner, a kickoff returner. But I think he’s got some size to him. I can see him getting to be a fairly thick guy. I think he’s got a great future. But it’s going to start at tailback.”
Stinespring: “There are some things about his balance as a runner, his ability to cut and get positive yardage, kind of reminds me of Lee Suggs a little bit. I don’t like to make comparisons and say this guy is just like this guy. No, there are just similarities that I see in their running styles and things they do, especially the balance portion and being able to make decisions quickly and get positive yardage.
I’m going to butcher the pronunciation of his name, but Motuapuaka …
Beamer, laughing: “Andrew. We refer to him as Andrew.”
What did you see in him during the recruiting process?
Stinespring: “A football player. Just likes playing the game. In some regards, and again, I don’t like making comparisons, but Vince Hall just had a knack of being around the football and making plays around the football. And Andrew has that same knack. The ball is snapped, all of a sudden you look up and there’s Andrew. Like he’s dialed in, got a GPS on the football. He plays the run well. He’s a very good blitzer. He’s good in coverage. He understands the game. And the other commodity that both coach and I understand is he’s a tell-you-once kind of guy. We need to get this done. Well, it’s done. He’s a very on-point, on-top-of-things … things are important to him and nothing really slides. He works hard at it. He wants to be successful. That family is outstanding. The father was transferred this past year to Georgia. It was important to the family to keep him in Virginia Beach, let those kids stay at Salem High School and his dad got to see him play twice. But that’s a tribute to kind of who he is and the makeup of that family and the makeup of him.”
Can you say anything about Drew Harris’ situation?
Beamer: [Silence. Shakes head]
Who can play whip linebacker from this class?
Stinespring: “Jamieon Moss is a guy who you’re talking about in the whip spot. I’m just thinking back a little bit. I think watching him on film and being around our defense for the last 20 years too. And I was just privy to be watching his film just a little bit and so it reinforced. He’s very good in space. Very good on his feet. Likes being out in space, but can also attack the line of scrimmage.”
Is there any way to tell if a class will be special?
Beamer: “In my opinion, you look at it real hard and the more mature the kids are and the more characters you’re dealing with, the more you’re able to predict the future. But to truly predict, I don’t think it happens. Some guys that you think are going to be great and it just doesn’t work out. And some guys, we’ve recruited a lot of guys … Antonio Freeman comes to my mind, he had one other offer. Or Kam Chancellor, he had one other I-AA offer. But they come here and they are great players. So it kind of goes both ways sometimes”
Talk generally about the class.
Beamer: “Well, I’ve said, this year in a lot of ways, you feel great about the players, because we had an unusual season for us. And some of the disappointment we brought on ourselves because of our play and some other things happened that don’t normally happen around here. And sometimes the ball just didn’t bounce right, but whatever it was, in the end, we were 4-6 and not much positive being said and written or anything else. And our guys hung in there. Players, we didn’t point fingers, we hung in there and went out and won the last two ballgames, which wasn’t easy, and then won the bowl game. To me, everybody is going to have adversity in their life, but how do you react to it, and that tells you a lot about the players in the program.
“I think this year told us a lot about the players we’ve got in the program. And I think when you try to recruit those kind of guys, if you get enough of them, things like this … now I don’t want to go through another 4-6 season and be proud of my football team and end up 7-6. But I do think it makes a great statement about the people we’ve got here.”