Virginia Tech never has been a haven for five-star football prospects. Indeed, Frank Beamer’s renowned program is rooted in sage evaluation and effective talent development.
In short, the typical Hokies recruit gets bigger, stronger, faster and better – often in a hurry. Two-star afterthoughts such as Danny Coale, Rashad Carmichael, Branden Ore, David Clowney and Josh Hyman are classic examples.
Which brings us to cornerback Kendall Fuller’s commitment to Tech on Sunday. As rated by Rivals.com, he’s a five-star prospect from Our Lady of Good Counsel, a private-school power in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.
According to Rivals’ database, Fuller would be, presuming he honors his pledge, only the fourth five-star, and the first from out-of-state, to sign with the Hokies in the last 12 classes. Each of the others made first-team All-ACC.
They were: quarterback Marcus Vick, class of 2002, cornerback Macho Harris ’05, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor ’07. Vick hails from Newport News, Harris from Richmond, Taylor from Hampton.
Fuller, by the way, is the second five-star ACC pledge for 2013, joining Clemson-bound defensive end Robert Nkemdiche. With two brothers on Virginia Tech’s roster, cornerback Kyle and receiver Corey, and another who played for the Hokies before heading to the NFL (defensive back Vinnie), Fuller’s decision was hardly a surprise.
Also not surprising, given their recruiting base and national-championship heritage: Florida State and Miami lure many more Rivals five-stars than Virginia Tech, or anyone else in the ACC for that matter.
What’s interesting, and amazing in Florida State’s case, is to see how many of those acclaimed signees lived up to the hype and became first-team all-conference players.
Rivals’ database dates to 2002, and if you include commitments for 2013 such as Fuller, that’s 12 recruiting classes. During that span, 68 five-star prospects chose ACC schools.
Florida State (23) and Miami (17) account for 40. Clemson is next with eight, followed by Virginia Tech, Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina State with four each. North Carolina’s three and Boston College’s one complete the list. Georgia Tech, Duke and Wake Forest have none.
The Yellow Jackets’ zero surprised me, considering their 15 consecutive bowl appearances. That’s a tribute to former coaches George O’Leary and Chan Gailey, and current big whistle Paul Johnson.
Of those 68 five-stars, 11 have made first-team All-ACC. Three each from Virginia Tech, Virginia and Miami, and two from Clemson.
The most notable pro among those 11: Chicago Bears receiver Devin Hester, one of the greatest return specialists of all-time.
Perhaps most unusual: None of Florida State’s 23 five-stars have made first-team all-league, though safety Lamarcus Joyner and cornerback/return specialist Greg Reid figure to contend this season.
Just another reason to place limited stock in the countless recruiting rankings that clog up cyberspace.
Here are the ACC’s Rivals five-stars, by school, and with signing year in parentheses. First-team All-ACC honorees are noted by an asterisk.
FLORIDA STATE (23)
DT Mario Edwards, DT Eddie Goldman, QB Jameis Winston (2012).
DB Karlos Williams (2011).
LB Christian Jones, S Larmarus Joyner (2010).
DT Jacobbi McDaniel, CB Greg Reid (2009).
LB Nigel Branham, DE Markus White (2008).
DB Myron Rolle, DE Brandon Warren (2006).
DT Callahan Bright, WR Fred Rouse, RB Antonio Smith (2005).
QB Xavier Lee (2004).
LB Ernie Sims (2003).
RB Lorenzo Booker, ATH Chris Davis, WR Dishon Platt, WR Chauncey Stovall, DB Leon Washington, DB Pat Watkins (2002).
DB Tracy Howard, RB Randy Johnson (2012).
ATH Latwan Anderson, OT Seantrel Henderson (2010).
DB Ray Ray Armstrong (2009).
LB Arthur Brown, DT Marcus Fortson (2008).
RB Graig Cooper (2007).
DB Kenny Phillips*, OL Reginald Youngblood (2005).
LB Willie Williams, WR Lance Leggett, OL Tyler McMeans (2004).
DB Devin Hester*, TE Greg Olsen*, QB Kyle Wright (2003).
WR Ryan Moore (2002).
DE Robert Nkemdiche (2013).
LB Stephone Anthony, RB Mike Bellamy, LB Tony Steward, WR Sammy Watkins* (2011).
DE DaQuan Bowers* (2008).
LB Ricky Sapp. RBC.J. Spiller* (2006).
OT Eugene Monroe* (2005).
LB Ahmad Brooks*, LB Kai Parham*, RB Michael Johnson (2003).
VIRGINIA TECH (4)
CB Kendall Fuller (2013)
QB Tyrod Taylor* (2007).
CB Macho Harris* (2005).
QB Marcus Vick* (2002).
WR Stefon Diggs (2012).
OL Bruce Campbell (2007).
DE Melvin Alaeze (2005).
LB Wesley Jefferson (2003).
N.C. STATE (4)
OL Robert Crisp (2010).
DT DeMario Pressley (2004).
OL Derek Morris (2003).
DB Tramain Hall (2002).
NORTH CAROLINA (3)
DE Donte Moss (2009).
DT Marvin Austin, WR Dwight Jones (2007).
BOSTON COLLEGE (1)
LB Brian Toal (2004).
Who knows how Fuller’s career will unfold, but at least one Virginia Tech coach expects instant dividends, witness assistant Shane Beamer’s tweet Sunday:
“GREAT day to be a #HOKIE. 2013 Defense vs Alabama in our opener in Atlanta keeps getting better and better.”
Time will tell.
I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP
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