Hokies continue recruiting struggle as a new head coach takes over

25, 20, 31, and 25.

Those are Virginia Tech’s recruiting class rankings, according to ESPN, for the last four seasons of the Frank Beamer era.

While it looks good, Virginia Tech has always missed out on some of the biggest and best prospects from within Virginia and throughout the country.

Just last offseason, the Hokies were in the running for the #1 overall prospect, Josh Sweat, who grew up just hours away in Chesapeake, VA. Instead, Sweat decided to go to Florida State, a team that many consider a serious contender for the national championship this year.

In fact, according to ESPN, Virginia Tech has gotten just one five-star recruit in the past four seasons, defensive tackle Tim Settle. 247Sports.com is the same story, except the five-star recruit was cornerback Kendall Fuller back in 2013.

Based on this, Virginia Tech hasn’t been able to get the very best talent that they wanted. And there are two main reasons why.

First and perhaps the biggest one is that the past four season haven’t been up to the standards Virginia Tech had set for itself in the previous decade. A 29-23 record from 2012-2015 vs an 84-24 record from 2004-2010 is a big shift in overall accomplishment for the Hokies.

Second would be because of this decline, it has allowed other teams that have stayed constantly good like FSU, Alabama, Ohio State, etc to come into Virginia and get the best players. Even Virginia, a team that’s lost 12 straight games to the Hokies, have gotten three five-star recruits in the past four seasons.

Now that Justin Fuente has taken over as head coach of the Hokies, that has taken an effect on recruiting as well. The Hokies  lost two verbal pledges – wide receiver Phillip Patterson and cornerback Troy Pride – shortly after Beamer made his retirement announcement. “This year, we’ve just gotta hope that they find a few pieces to help them,” stated Bleacher Report writer Bryan Manning.

This is an unfortunately common situation that schools run into when their head coach retires or leaves for another school. Players who had been recruited by that coach quickly do an about-face when said coach leaves, either following them to their new school or just going for possibly greener pastures.

Either way, Virginia Tech is in a sort of rebuild mode, having an almost completely new coaching staff come in, while relying mostly on recruits who had signed while Beamer was still on the sidelines. That doesn’t mean that the Hokies will be bad this year. In fact, many pundits are predicting average to slightly-above average, which would be okay for the first season under a new coach.

But not until next offseason will fans know whether Fuente can hold his own stalking the sidelines of Lane Stadium and the recruiting trail or start wishing for Beamer to come out of retirement.

Hokies Men’s Tennis Sweep JMU as ACC play begins

Playing a rare doubleheader and with ACC play on the horizon, it would have been understandable for the men’s tennis team to drop their match versus James Madison.

Instead, the #43rd ranked Hokies soundly swept their regional rival, 7-0 with the only match loss occurring during doubles play.

The Hokies had played and swept a match earlier in the day against the College of Charleston, but that didn’t seem to faze them, winning 2-1 in doubles and 6-0 in singles. The only loss sustained in doubles were by Joao Monterio and Andreas Bjerrehus.

Monterio, a senior from Portugal, was the only one of the two to play both singles and doubles and he came back strong, winning 6-1, 7-5 in his singles game.

“I’ve just tried to do my best since my freshmen year and I think I’ve become one of the best on the team,” said Monterio.

Overall, the Hokies looked impressive throughout the entirety of  a the match, as not one JMU player won a single set.

That doesn’t mean that the match started out smoothly. During doubles play, all three teams for the Hokies looked tired and a tad slow at first, having only finished the previous match several hours beforehand.

Outside of the loss by Monterio and Bjerrehus, the doubles teams of Mitch Harper/Jai Corbett and Jason Kros/Freddy Mesmer easily won their matches 6-3 and 6-1, respectively

Perhaps most impressive was the play of freshmen Harper and Kros. Having won in their doubles match, Harper and Kros went on to win their respective singles match soundly, with an identical score of 6-2, 6-2 for both of their games.

The future of the men’s team seems bright in Harper and Kros, especially when 5 of the 11 member team graduate later this spring.

“Since I’ve been here, leadership has been something we have been working on,” Monterio explained. “When you’ve been playing for three years, you become a role model for the younger players.”

Add in the play of sophomore Mesmer and with redshirt sophomore George Cartledge currently on the bench and the Hokies might not even miss a step going into the next season.

However, all that matters right now is prepare for the beginning of conference play, with a visit from #2 Virginia that’ll probably set the tone for the remainder of the season.

 

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Getting Through the Pain

Tragedy has sadly become a common occurrence at Virginia Tech,  but this community is unique in how it responds to such suffering

When the news broke that 13 year old  Nicole Lovell of Blacksburg had gonna missing, everyone was obviously shocked. But no one was prepared for what happened next.

Two Virginia Tech freshmen were arrested in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Lovell, a seventh grader at Blacksburg Middle School.

18 year old engineering major David Eisenhauer was charged with first degree murder and abduction while 19 year old engineering major Natalie Keepers was charged with accessory before and after the fact and the unlawful disposal of a body, all in the first degree.

While the actions committed by these two students are atrocious, what is just as worrying is what effects such actions might have on the university itself. How will the university respond, what actions will it take to ensure that the students are safe and well-informed of the situation?

The university made available counseling to any students affected in any way by this tragic event. But surprisingly, there has a been a lack of student gossip surrounding the event.

Rarely has it been brought up, even in conversations between friends. The engineering department didn’t seem to make any formal announcements about it and students still believe that the department won’t be affected by it.

“I don’t think so,” responded freshmen and engineering major Chris Noble when asked whether the engineering department would be effected in any way. “For me, it doesn’t have a bearing on Virginia Tech that much.”

Virginia Tech has been through much in the past decade and yet, the school and community continue to show resilience in the face of terrible events.

“I think Virginia Tech is a very special place,” junior and engineering major Meredith Loew stated. “There is a huge strong community here…People bond over terrible situations.”

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