Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Virginia Tech has continued to be busy on the recruiting trail as the Hokies made the cut for one of the best offensive lineman in North Carolina. Meanwhile, the Hokies continue to be showing lots of interest in a star athlete from the Bristol area and could be considering offering a few talented athletes in the Roanoke Valley.
3* OL Michael Gonzalez
Three-star OL Michael Gonzalez released his top 5 yesterday and Virginia Tech made the cut along with a few other ACC programs.
— Michael Gonzalez (@mgonzalez_71) May 9, 2020
For someone who’s offer list includes schools like Florida, Ohio State, Illinois, and Kentucky; the fact that all five of Gonzalez’ schools are in the ACC and three (Duke, N.C. State, Wake Forest) are in-state seem to show the value of being close to home and/or being able to play in games that are close to home.
Louisville is the one odd ball on this as a school not too close to home for Gonzalez, but the fact that they are an ACC school would seem to make it clear that being able to play at least some games close to home is a priority for him.
Currently, it’s hard to overlook the imposing presence of the three in-state schools for Gonzalez, but the Hokies have been involved with Gonzalez for a while and should not be taken lightly.
3* ATH Jaden Keller
Jaden Keller has built up a solid offer list to date and while he doesn’t have any schools standing out or even a leader currently, he does have a trio of schools pushing the hard for him.
Keller told us that Virginia Tech, Appalachian State, and Coastal Carolina are currently recruiting him the hardest. This comes out of an offer list with double-digit offers including ones from VT, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Vanderbilt, and Duke.
The Hokies are recruiting Keller at both wide receiver and safety with his size and length at 6’3” giving him the flexibility to play either spot. Safety seems to be the more likely of the two spots at the moment given the recruiting board for the Hokies though his athleticism and versatility gives Tech plenty of options.
Right now, Virginia Tech definitely seems to be one of the top contenders for Keller while South Carolina and UVA have both had plenty of involvement and should be seen as contenders. Additionally, Appalachian State has been one of the best Group of 5 schools and if Keller ends up at a G5 school, the Mountaineers may be the favorites in that scenario.
Keep an eye on Jaden Keller as Virginia Tech continues to show lots of interest in the Bristol star.
Roanoke Valley Stars
Virginia’s fourth most-populated metro area, the Roanoke Valley, has produced plenty of college football talent, but not a lot of talent at the Power 5 level in recent years outside of growing offensive line factory Lord Botetourt HS. That latter trend has continued with the Hokies offer three-star OL Troy Everett already, but there may be a big increase in Power 5 talent in the Roanoke Valley this cycle.
The Hokies are also showing interest in a trio of Roanoke Valley stars who haven’t been offered by VT yet in Salem twins Jayden and Jorden McDonald, and Northside’s Zach Horton.
Jayden McDonald is of particular interest as Ole Miss recently became the first Power 5 program to offer him. Him and his brother both have tremendous size with both being around 6’4” and 215 pounds which likely has them headed for backer or whip if they ended up at VT. However, the McDonald brothers have shown plenty of versatility lining up at wide receiver and cornerback as well during their time at Salem HS.
Both brothers feel that Tech could be close to offering with an offer likely making a big impact not only on their recruitment but VT’s standing in it. Part of that is due to the fact that the McDonald brothers have been regularly on campus at VT with Jayden telling us that he was at every home VT game this past season.
Meanwhile, Zach Horton could play either TE or DE, but he projects more at TE in an h-back role. Horton also told us that the Hokies see him fitting in that h-back role similar to what Dalton Keene did. Horton also feels that a VT offer may be “pretty close” though timelines about these things are unclear in this current, unprecedented reality.
One interesting thing is the fact that RBs coach Adam Lechtenberg has taken on the lead in recruiting the McDonald brothers and Horton. Lechtenberg has been used on the recruiting trail all over the country and has proven to be one of the best on staff for building relationships in all sorts of parts of the country.
Virginia Tech may not be done offering Roanoke Valley stars with Jayden McDonald, Jorden McDonald, and Zach Horton being recruits to watch.