Wednesday was a tough day for Virginia Tech fans. Four-star quarterback Dematrius Davis, the centerpiece of Tech’s 2021 recruiting class, announced his decommitment via Twitter.
In his brief statement consisting of four sentences, Davis stated he would still be taking an official visit to Blacksburg. Of course, we all must wait on the COVID-19 pandemic to end before any visits — official or unofficial — actually take place.
The immediate question that comes to mind is how does this affect Virginia Tech?
Well, Davis was considered the player to get the #TX2VT movement going when he committed back in November. A pair of 2020 defensive ends — Alec Bryant and Robert Wooten — signed with the Hokies in December.
The momentum was strong. Four-star wide receiver Latrell Neville, from Missouri City, Texas, chose the Hokies back in April. In fact, Neville was one of four players who committed to Virginia Tech in a span of weeks just last month, one of which was graduate transfer Justus Reed.
Other Texas players, such as defensive end Landyn Watson came to Blacksburg and enjoyed their visits. At one point, Watson was favored to Virginia Tech, but apparently slowed things down before deciding where to commit. As of now, he's still uncommitted and is evaluating his options.
The Hokies appeared to be picking up steam with several other targets, too. Then things went quiet. Apparently, some even gave the Virginia Tech staff the dreaded “silent” verbal commitment.
We know how that story ends.
Not much was made of how quiet things were recently because of the aforementioned COVID-19 pandemic. Most assumed things would pick up once visits were allowed again. However, things changed when Davis changed his Twitter bio last week. It went from saying “VT QB Commit” to no mention of the Hokies at all.
In this day and age of fans panicking over every like, retweet, etc., on social media, Virginia Tech fans were apoplectic.
How could this happen to us again?
I am not going to discuss all of the recruiting failures of the past several years or the shortcomings that affect the football staff at the current time. All of it is well-known. But this time, VT fans were right to worry.
Davis was as good as gone when he changed his Twitter profile.
And this one is a tough blow for the Hokies.
Davis was supposed to be the kid who was different. The one who was blazing his own path, shunning the big-time SEC schools to come to Blacksburg and help put the Hokies back on the national scene.
He was relentless on social media and behind the scenes, in his effort to get others to join him in Blacksburg. He even called those out who were using Virginia Tech to get more Twitter followers. Yes, you read that correctly.
Davis is a special talent who also happens to play the most important position on the field. A true dual-threat quarterback, Davis led his high school to consecutive state championships at the highest level in Texas high school football.
And now he is gone.
Perhaps Davis takes these next few months to talk with other schools and eventually take visits, only to realize Virginia Tech was the school for him the entire time. While it is not common, the Hokies have three recent examples of players who originally decommitted, only to eventually sign.
I wouldn’t count on that, though. Quarterbacks generally don’t play out their recruiting until signing day. The goal is to get in the boat early and recruit others to join you. Davis tried that with the Hokies.
Head coach Justin Fuente and his staff certainly wasted no time in reaching out to another quarterback from the Lone Star State on Wednesday, offering three-star passer Lucas Coley out of San Antonio.
Fuente simply cannot wait on Davis. The Hokies can still recruit him — and they will — while also moving forward.
Neville certainly took notice.
Virginia Tech wide receiver Tre Turner replied to Neville’s comment, “why wait?”
Turner is right.
Losing Davis leaves the Hokies with five recruits for the class of 2021. Neville will likely decommit at some point, too, if we're being honest with ourselves. Neville committed to the Hokies last month without ever visiting Blacksburg, and the opportunity to play with Davis was a big reason why.
After last season’s class, this cycle was a big one for Fuente and his reassembled staff. Having Davis in the boat early certainly heightened those expectations. And Tech can still finish this class strong - it is only May, after all.
The pandemic has significantly changed recruiting this spring. Certain schools have taken advantage of the “virtual visits” and are on a roll. Schools like Tennessee and North Carolina, currently ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the 247Sports team rankings for 2021, are on a tear. Even Virginia is ranked No. 20.
Virginia Tech meanwhile?
52nd overall as of this writing, and that is nothing short of unacceptable for Virginia Tech fans.
The Hokies will add some good players in this class. Once this pandemic ends, you’ll likely see a rash of decommitments all across the country. But will Virginia Tech do enough to satisfy a sometimes disillusioned fan base?
Getting Davis back would be nice, but the Hokies must move on. In the end, it all comes down to winning. If the Hokies can have a successful 2020 season — and defeat Penn State — good things will follow.
For too long, the team’s performance on the field hasn't matched the electric atmosphere that is Lane Stadium on game day.
It’s time to change that - and soon.