The word I’m getting out of Blacksburg is that Virginia Tech is expecting 70 visitors for the Hokies’ home football game tomorrow with Duke.
Clearly, they won’t all be seniors because, with 22 oral commitments already on the rolls for 2014, the Hokie bean-crunchers are saying that Tech only has room for three more.
So, there will be plenty of underclassmen in attendance, although you can’t rule out prospective 2014 walk-ons, who will have the opportunity to see what Jack Tyler and Willie Byrn have done with a similar opportunity.
My source, subsequently unavailable, told me that Tech has 19 commitments. I’m guessing the difference there is with the three 2013 Hokie signees – Holland Fisher, D.J. Reid and Cequan Jefferson – who are at Fork Union Military Academy.
The top-rated in-state players who have not made oral commitments, according to the rivals.com preseason rankings, are No. 1 DeShawn Hand, a defensive end from Woodbridge; No. 4 Derrick Nnadi, a defensive tackle from Ocean Lakes in Virginia Beach, and No. 7 Jamil Kamara from Bishop Sullivan in Virginia Beach.
Out of that group, Tech is in the best shape with Nnadi, who is the son of a Tech alumnus. Virginia is in the best shape with Kamara, whose friends include Bayside safety Quin Blanding, who committed to UVa last winter.
All bets are off if Virginia makes a coaching change, but everything coming out of Charlottesville indicates that fourth-year coach Mike London is safe. Among other things, UVa’s rapidly growing injury list can be seen as an extenuating circumstance.
While connections are seldom seen as a deterrent in recruiting, it’s worth noting that Tech has commitments from siblings of two players on Virginia’s 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl team, offensive lineman Vinnie Mahota (brother, Anthony) and defensive lineman Ricky Walker (brother, Rijo).
According to the rivals.com database, the four uncommitted in-state players to whom Tech has made offers are Hand, Nnadi, Kamara and “athlete” Raymon Minor from Benedictine in Richmond. UVa has made offers to Hand, Nnadi and Kamara.
Hand, who is visiting Alabama this weekend, long ago narrowed his choices to the Crimson Tide, Florida and Michigan. Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State are three of the biggies who have made offers to Nnadi, who has not taken any official visits.
According to the rivals.com database, the Hokies already have extended offers to 43 juniors for the class of 2015, two of whom already have committed to other schools. Virginia has made offers to a listed 59 juniors.
Offensive tackle Austin Clark (6 foot 6, 285 pounds) from Rockbridge County is the most-heavily recruited player from Timesland, the Roanoke Times’ 19-county circulation area. Clark has offers from Tech and UVa, as well as Penn State, Tennessee, North Carolina, Maryland and Wake Forest.
Northside junior Chance Hall, a 6-4, 290-pounder who is projected as an offensive lineman by rivals.com, has an offer from UVa.
According to the lists, Virginia has made offers to a pair of quarterbacks, Nick Johns from Gonzaga in Washington, D.C., and Josh Rosen from Bellflower, Calif. Presumably, Johns is not related to current No. 3 UVa quarterback Matt Johns, a Pennsylvanian.
Tech has not extended an offer to a quarterback, but has 6-3 Andrew Ford from Camp Hill, Pa., enrolling with the current class. UVa has Corwin “Turtle” Cutler coming in from Fork Union.
West Virginia took a very early commitment for 2014 from Willie Crest, a dual-threat quarterback from Dunbar High School in Baltimore who reportedly had offers from Tech and UVa.
Dunbar is the alma mater of former Mountaineers’ star Tavon Austin, a first-round NFL draft pick for the St. Louis Rams last spring.
One name that won’t go away is B.J. Farrow, a 6-2, 175-pound wide receiver from Liberty Christian Academy who reportedly has one offer, from hometown FCS member Liberty.
Coaches are always talking about stretching the field, but I keep hearing that Farrow has exceptional “ball skills,” which means he can catch anything. Tech and UVa have scholarship guys who can’t say that.