Virginia Tech is poised to make a run for the ACC Coastal crown and a spot in the ACC championship game in the 2020-21 season due to their strong returning core on both side of the football.
Key guys on this team have different stories that define their own recruitment from classes in the past. This 2021 recruiting cycle has been far from run-of-the-mill and will continue to produce ups-and-downs until we get to National Signing Day.
How were Tech's current proven players recruited? What did their offer lists look like? How does their high school film compare to their production at the collegiate level?
Let’s take a look.
Linebacker Rayshard Ashby
Let’s start with five-time ACC Linebacker of the Week and Second-Team All-ACC linebacker Rayshard Ashby. Ashby hails from Chesterfield, VA out of Lloyd C. Bird High School.
He was listed at 5-11 and 230 coming out of high school, with notable offers from Maryland, West Virginia and East Carolina. 247 Sports ranked Ashby with a 0.8524 composite ranking and he was the 21st-ranked player in the state.
His high school tape showed an impressive ability to diagnose and attack the play immediately, which has clearly carried over to his time with the Hokies. While Ashby’s offer list doesn’t jump off the page, he is a perfect example of looking past the undersized optics and reading the tape. As Tech fans saw on full display last year, Ashby's football IQ has led to him becoming one of the top linebackers in the ACC.
Comparison to Recent Recruit - 3-Star 2021 DB commit Shawn Asbury
Asbury is a bit undersized for his position and has played a good amount of safety for North Stafford High School. Similar to Ashby, he shows a similar ability to diagnose plays from the jump with his high football IQ. He knows where the play is going immediately and is in the mix making the stop more often than not.
While they don't play the same position, the undersized nature of both recruits, coupled with the high football IQ, lend a fair comparision. Both Ashby and Asbury are guys you want in the film room breaking down X's and O's for your football program.
Cornerback Caleb Farley
Pro Football Focus darling Caleb Farley out of Maiden, NC actually played QB in high school and originally went committed to Virginia Tech as a wide receiver.
Looking at Farley’s high school film, the versatility is impossible to miss, and was certainly what drew the coaching staff in with his potential at the collegiate level. Farley was the best athlete on the field playing quarterback in high school, and ran circles around his opponents at that level of competition.
Virginia Tech has adapted that athleticism to fit him in at cornerback, where Farley has developed into one of the nation's best at the position. His offer list out of high school included South Carolina, Wake Forest and Ohio University. While his recruitment heated up towards the end of the cycle in 2017, he stuck loyal to the Hokies after his early commitment to the program.
247 Sports composite ranking rated Farley at .8781 and he finished as the 6th-ranked player out of North Carolina in the cycle. At 6'2", Farley has the size, and requisite speed and agility to not only be one of the best corners in the country once again this upcoming season, but to also be an early first round pick in next April's NFL Draft.
Comparison to Recent Recruit - 2021 3-Star RB commit Chance Black
Though they played different positions in high school, the athleticism of Farley and 2021 RB commit Chance Black jumps off the tape.
Chance Black, like Farley, is listed as an athlete, and has decent size at 6’1’’ 190. Black projects as a running back at the next level, but also shows strong ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and return kicks as well on special teams.
Like Farley, Black is also the most athletic guy on the field at all times, and makes defenders looks silly trying to bring him down.
Wide Receiver Tre Turner
Tre Turner will be the number one receiving option for the Hokies in 2020, and has developed into an outstanding college player for Virginia Tech.
Turner was a highly-rated recruit for the Hokies coming out of Greensboro, NC. As a 4-star prospect, Turner was ranked with a composite ranking of .9273 and was the 34th-ranked receiver in the country in the 2018 class.
Turner's offer list was a bit more robust with notable programs such Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and others on the list. Turner said recently that a major reason he chose Virginia Tech was the opportunity to play with fellow North Carolinian, quarterback Hendon Hooker.
Unsurprisingly, Turner’s high school tape contains plenty of evidence leading to his "Big Play Tre" nickname, with highlight reel catches and difference-making plays at wide receiver. At the high school level, Turner showed an impressive ability to high point the football and take it to the house, which has translated well to his career at Virginia Tech thus far.
Comparison to Recent Recruit - 2020 3-Star WR Signee Tyree "Showtime" Saunders
Turner and incoming freshman Tyree "Showtime" Saunders both show their big play ability in their high school film, and fun nicknames to boot.
Saunders shows the ability to not only make the contested catch, but also shake off defenders and use his speed to breakaway from from the defense. He, like Turner, looks to be a complete receiver with tools to take it to the end zone any time he touches the football.
Saunders has a chance to play early in his career at Virginia Tech, and while he was not as highly-rated as a prospect out of high school, he has an opportunity to make a significant impact for Virginia Tech.