Teel Time: Football commitments keep rolling in for Hokies, UVa
By David Teel
8:44 PM EDT, July 10, 2011
Among ACC teams, only Miami has secured more 2012 football commitments than Virginia Tech and Virginia, with the Hokies scoring Sunday with defensive end Woody Baron of Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy and defensive tackle Nigel Williams of Richmond's Benedictine High, the Cavaliers countering with defensive end Courtnye Wynn of Norfolk Christian.
Wynn, 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, is Virginia's 15th pledge, the third from Norfolk Christian. Virginia Tech, Michigan State, North Carolina State and Notre Dame were the most prominent of his options.
Tech now has 19 commitments, 14 on defense. Baron, 6-foot-3, 252 pounds, chose the Hokies over offers from Arizona State, Louisville, Syracuse, Duke and hometown Vanderbilt, according to Rivals.
Williams, 6-3, 260, told the Times-Dispatch he also had offers from the likes of Virginia, Maryland, Notre Dame, North Carolina and North Carolina State.
The focus on the defensive side is telling for a program renowned for its D but fresh off a season in which opponents averaged 4.7 yards per rush, the most in Frank Beamer’s 24 seasons as head coach.
Still, most striking about the 33 combined pledges for the Hokies and Cavaliers: the in-state and 757 flavor.
Moreover, both coaching staffs are straying outside the box, trusting their instincts and offering off-the-radar prospects. And that’s where recruiting becomes true science.
After all, you need not have a PhD in the zone-read offense to recognize the talent in Tyrod Taylor and Morgan Moses. Players such as Jamall Brown and Sean Dooley are different.
Brown and Dooley are among the most recent to commit to Virginia and Tech, respectively. Neither received a mega-star rating from the myriad scouting services, but both performed well in recent camps to earn their offers.
So Brown, a Hampton High receiver, is Charlottesville-bound, while Dooley, a Glenvar High defensive end, is headed for Blacksburg. No matter that neither was wading in offers – Rivals.com lists Dooley’s other options as James Madison, Norfolk State and VMI. Coaches saw potential in Brown and Dooley and believe they can tap it.
Dooley is the Hokies’ 11th pledge from Virginia, this from 19 total. That in-state concentration has long been the program's M.O., but is notable after the 2011 class (only nine of 21 signees from the commonwealth) and Frank Beamer’s offseason staff overhaul, designed to rejuvenate Tech’s recruiting.
Four of the Hokies’ 2012 commitments hail from Hampton Roads, most notably running back J.C. Coleman from Chesapeake’s Oscar Smith.
Virginia counts five 757s among its pledges, headlined by Norfolk Christian linebacker Kwontie Moore and his teammate Wynn. Of the Cavaliers’ 15 commitments, nine are in-state, reflecting second-year coach Mike London’s intense efforts to secure the borders.
Seventeen of his 26 signees for 2011 were from Virginia, eight from Hampton Roads, led by cornerback Demetrious Nicholson of Virginia Beach’s Bayside High.
Signing day for the 2012 crop is more than six months away, but the Hokies and Cavaliers already have assembled more than half their respective classes, providing no one bails. Miami, with 20, is the only ACC team with more commitments.
Tech and Virginia are targeting several other commonwealth prospects, among them Clover Hill athlete Joel Caleb, a projected receiver, Centreville linebacker Ken Ekanem and Dan River linebacker Trey Edmunds.
Given my advanced age, I had a hunch about Edmunds the moment I saw his high school and the spelling of his last name. The hunch was right.
His father is Ferrell Edmunds, an All-ACC tight end at Maryland and a third-round draft choice of the Miami Dolphins in 1988. As a cub reporter in Lynchburg in the early 1980s, I saw Edmunds play for Danville’s George Washington High, a long post pattern from Dan River High.
Edmunds earned two Pro Bowl appearances with the Dolphins and is Dan River’s head coach. And yes, Maryland also has offered Trey Edmunds.
Hokies, Cavaliers land defensive line commits
Two defensive linemen rated among the top 15 prospects in
Virginia made oral commitments Sunday, one to Virginia Tech and one to Virginia.
The Hokies landed Nigel Williams, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive tackle from Benedictine in Richmond.
Virginia took a commitment from 6-6, 260-pound Courtnye Wynn, a defensive end from Norfolk Christian.
Williams is rated the No. 11 prospect in Virginia by Virginia Preps.
Wynn, the third player from his team to commit to Virginia, was rated 13th on Virginia Preps' list.
Virginia Tech was among the Division I-A programs that had made an offer to Wynn, along with Notre Dame and North Carolina State.
Virginia was one of five ACC schools that had made offers to Williams, along with Boston College, Duke and Maryland.
Wynn's commitment was Virginia's 15th for 2012. Tech's 2012 class currently numbers 19 after the addition of four players this weekend.
In addition to Williams, the Hokies took a commitment from Woody Baron, a 6-3, 252-pound defensive end from Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy.
Baron had eight Division I-A scholarship offers.
-- Doug Doughty
Williams commits to Va. Tech
By TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF
Published: July 11, 2011
First, it was outside linebackers. Now, it's defensive linemen.
And the latest recruit to commit to Virginia Tech for the Class of 2012 is one of the Richmond area's best players: Nigel Williams, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive lineman from Benedictine High.
Williams' decision Sunday brought Tech's commitment total to 19, because defensive end Woody Baron also chose Tech over the weekend.
Tech now has five defensive linemen, four of whom committed on Saturday or Sunday. The Hokies got three outside linebackers in the span of a week from June 29 to last Wednesday.
Williams, who picked Tech over Virginia, said the Hokies' coaches have talked to him about playing end in college. He plays both positions at Benedictine and is rated the No. 49 tackle in his class by Rivals.com.
He isn't sure what position he'll play in college, but, he said, "either way, I just want to help win a national championship at Virginia Tech."
Norfolk DE Wynn commits to U.Va.
Virginia picked up one of the most sought-after high school players in the state late Sunday evening, as defensive end Courtnye Wynn committed to coach Mike London and the Cavaliers.
Wynn attends Norfolk Christian School, which has a senior class this year loaded with college-bound talent.
Linebacker Kwontie Moore and tight end Will Wahee will also be joining Wynn in Charlottesville. Receiver Mario Nixon is headed to Blacksburg.
Of the school's four Division I recruits, Wynn was the final one to pick his college. He had been courted by the Hokies, as well as Notre Dame, Michigan State and a host of other colleges.
He received a mix of three and four-star ratings from recruiting services, but at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, his size made him stand out among similar high school players.
With his teammates split between the Hokies and Wahoos, he took visits to both schools over the weekend, making his commitment Sunday evening. He is the 15th player in Virginia's current recruiting class.
Joe Harris extras
by Whitey Reid on July 10th, 2011
Here’s some stuff that didn’t make my story on Virginia sophomore Joe Harris…
Harris on the brutal loss to Miami in ACC Tournament.
“You try and just forget about it, but that was a pretty tough way to end the season. It’s fresh on all of our minds as we work out in the weight room and the gym every day.”
Harris on the departure of friend and teammate Billy Baron:
“He was probably my best friend at school. We were roommates and he was a great guy.
“I wish he had stayed and tried to make an impact with the other freshmen that had come in, but he was kind of having a rough go of things and he wanted to go home and play for his dad.”
Harris looking back on victory over No. 15 Minnesota (he had 24 points and five rebounds):
“It was a big win for us. It was cool to go and play in The Barn. Coach Dick Bennett talked to us before the game. It was right after Maui where we had really struggled. To get a big win like that [was great].”
Harris on Senior Night win—said it was his biggest highlight:
“To have their careers end on a high note with a win over N.C. State was pretty fun.”
Harris on James Johnson and Akil Mitchell getting their ears pierced:
“It was kind of a joke. When all six freshmen came in, we joked that we were all going to go out and get our ears pierced, but then nobody ever did anything. It never panned out.
“But then all of a sudden, out of the blue, Akil and James come back [for summer school] and they have these big rocks in their ears and we were just like, ‘Oh God.’”