Virginia Tech did not have a top 25 recruiting class this year, but the Hokies did a great job filling several areas of need on signing day. I had a chance to catch up with recruiting coordinator Bryan Stinespring for his thoughts on the incoming group.
The skill positions were a huge area of need, and you seemed to have met them. How many do you think can contribute right away?
Stinespring: We hope all of them. But first off, I want to say I thought our staff from the beginning to the end did a great job being diligent in making sure we met our needs. You’re always looking for the best players you can get regardless of position, but you also need to focus on your primary needs. For us to get the skill position guys we got -- not only the quality of the player but in terms of creating depth, creating competition -- I thought we did a terrific job and we’re excited about it.
At receiver, you have a guy like Isaiah Ford who has an opportunity, a two-sport guy who is very impressive in both venues; an in-state kid like Jaylen Bradshaw, a very skilled athlete. A guy we've been impressed with is Greg Stroman. He's one of those guys that in recruiting you go into the school and people have great things to say about him, but when you go out and people talk about him who’ve seen him play, he’s just one of those guys that kept popping up no matter where you went, just about how impressive he is. With Cameron Phillips and Kendrick Holland, too, I know how excited we are about that bunch.
Stinespring: We also have Braxton Pfaff (OL), Andrew Ford (QB) and Vinny Mihota (DE) in here early. But as for the backs, Trey Edmunds is going to be out of spring practice so we’ll get a chance to get a look at some of these younger tailbacks. Shai is still recovering from a knee injury he had in high school. He will have no contact but we’ll see some things in the spring practices. To almost rush for 5,000 yards in high school and miss three-fourths of your senior year, that’s pretty impressive.
Williams and McKenzie are similar in size. Are they similar in how they play?
Stinespring: They are somewhat different in their running styles. We wanted to get a couple bigger backs and we felt like we were able to do that. Marshawn is probably the biggest. When you think of him, you think of power and strength. You don’t want to be the first tackler on Marshawn, you want to be the second or third guy because that first one, it's hard to determine who’s the hammer or the nail. Shai has size but he relies on the ability to make people miss and he does a great job of that.
Stinespring: Initially, McMillian will concentrate on the quarterback spot, but Andrew is here and will go through spring practice and we can evaluate where he is. With Durkin and Travon, we still want to be able to see where Travon is as a quarterback. We felt like with where we are at quarterback, we needed to re-up the numbers there and we were able to do so.
Offensive line was also an area of need. How do you feel you did at that position?
Stinespring: We’ve got potentially four seniors starting up front this coming year, so it was certainly very important for us to go out and be able to get the numbers in that grouping to enable us to develop and create some depth. We also have time available to develop these guys. They all share similar qualities we were looking at this go around -- they all move around real well, they’ve got good feet, they’re athletic. We feel like our strength and conditioning program will benefit them tremendously.
There were a few guys who got away on signing day, but overall how do you feel about the class you signed and what are some area of needs headed into 2015?
Stinespring: We met our needs for the most part. We never get all that we want. We're all like 8-year-olds on Christmas, we all appreciate what's under the tree but we're not opposed to having another present no matter what. When you go into a numbers game, this year was paramount for offensive line and the skill positions. We got three defensive linemen, so we’re going to immediately turn our attention back to that area.