BLACKSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The new wrinkle to the recruiting process has provided Virginia Tech head football coach Justin Fuente with a very Merry Christmas holiday weekend with 24 student athletes signing their national letters of intent during the early signing period.
Hokies got six from the state of Virginia and one from central Virginia, Kaleb Smith of Louisa County.
Here is the list of early signees for the Hokies 2018 recruiting class:
Eli Adams (Defensive Line, Rock Hill, S.C. / South Pointe)
Keshon Artis (Linebacker, Chesapeake, Va. / Oscar Smith)
Cole Beck (Athlete, Blacksburg, Va. / Blacksburg)
Armani Chatman (Athlete, Virginia Beach, Va. / Bishop Sullivan Catholic)
Chamarri Conner (Defensive Back, Jacksonville, Fla. / Trinity Christian Academy)
DJ Crossen (Defensive Back, Greensboro, N.C. / Dudley)
Walker Culver (Offensive Line, Soddy-Daisy, Tenn. / Baylor School)
Christian Darrisaw (Offensive Line, Upper Marlboro, Md. / Fork Union Military Academy)
DeJuan Ellis (Quarterback, Accokeek, Md. / McDonogh School)
John Harris (Offensive Line, Hoschton, Ga. / Mill Creek)
Joe Kane (Defensive Line, Wake Forest, N.C. / Heritage)
James Mitchell (Tight End, Big Stone Gap, Va. / Union)
Quincy Patterson II (Quarterback, Chicago, Ill. / Solorio Academy)
Nasir Peoples (Defensive Back, Abington, Pa. / Archbishop Wood)
Oscar Shadley (Long Snapper, Naples, Fla. / Golden Gate)
Darryle Simmons (Wide Receiver, Philadelphia, Pa. / St. Joseph’s Prep)
Kaleb Smith (Wide Receiver, Bumpass, Va. / Louisa County)
Caleb Steward (Running Back, Jacksonville, Fla. / Ed White)
Luke Tenuta (Offensive Line, Crozet, Va. / Western Albemarle)
Nadir Thompson (Defensive Back, Elm City, N.C. / Southern Nash)
Alan Tisdale (Athlete, Greensboro, N.C. / Page)
Tré Turner (Wide Receiver, Oak Ridge, N.C. / Northwest Guilford)
Jermaine Waller (Defensive Back, Washington, D.C. / The Avalon School)
Jeremy Webb (Defensive Back, East Mims, Fla. / ASA College)
The following is additional information directly from Virginia Tech:
BLACKSBURG – Head coach Justin Fuente welcomed 24 student-athletes to Virginia Tech on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period. This group is comprised from nine different states, plus the District of Columbia and includes 11 players on offense, nine on defense, three athletes and one specialist.
The state of Virginia topped today’s list with six signees, followed by North Carolina (five) and Florida (four). The Hokies added two signees apiece from Maryland and Pennsylvania. The District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, South Carolina and Tennessee were all represented with one addition to the Tech roster.
“We’re excited about everybody that joined the Virginia Tech family today. I think it is an accumulation of a tremendous amount of hard work from our coaching staff and really people across campus,” Fuente said. “I’m not sure everybody fully understands the amount of people that touch these kids when they are on campus from our academic center to our training room to the equipment room and obviously the weight room and on down the line to professors across campus who take their Saturdays to meet with these kids and their families. I’m just really appreciative of that because it has really been a collective group effort.
“Some of these guys we have built a relationship with as soon as we got here,” Fuente continued. “Obviously there is another signing day on the horizon and we are still dealing with a handful of kids, but we have a great place to sell here both athletically and academically. We’ve been juggling a lot of things, but it is good to get some closure on some things today.”
Offensively, Tech brings in two quarterbacks, one running back, three wide receivers, four offensive linemen and a tight end. On the defense side, the Hokies will welcome six defensive backs, a linebacker and two defensive linemen to go along with the three athletes and a long snapper.
Fuente indicated that the following 10 student-athlete were candidates to be early enrollees: Eli Adams, DJ Crossen, Christian Darrisaw, Joe Kane, Oscar Shadley, Caleb Steward, Alan Tisdale, Tré Turner, Kaleb Smith and Jermaine Waller.
The current early signing period concludes on Friday, Dec. 22. The traditional National Signing Day will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.
Defensive Line 5’11” 236 lbs.
Rock Hill, S.C. South Pointe
Adams guided South Pointe to a SCHSL state championship four years in a row at the 4A level. He earned all-region honors three times, while being named a 2017 SC Shrine Bowl selection. Adams was tabbed 2017 4A Upper State Defensive Lineman of the Year. He racked up 77 tackles, 19.0 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery this past fall under head coach Strait Herron.
Linebacker 5’11” 227 lbs.
Chesapeake, Va. Oscar Smith
Artis was coached by Scott Johnson at Oscar Smith High School, where he was the 2017 Southeastern District Defensive Player of the Year. He was a two-time first team all-state linebacker and the 2016 6A South Region Player of the Year and finished his junior season with 108 tackles, 4.0 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. He also ran track for Oscar Smith.
Athlete 6’0” 185 lbs.
Blacksburg, Va. Blacksburg
Beck produced 4,723 rushing yards, 6,027 total yards and 81 touchdowns during his career at Blacksburg High School. As a senior playing for head coach Thad Wells, Beck rushed for more than 1,900 yards and 32 touchdowns. He helped lead the Bruins to a 10-5 record in 2016 and the Class 3A football state championship. He also ran track for Blacksburg where he was a three-time state champion and New Balance Outdoor All-American.
Athlete 6’0” 173 lbs.
Virginia Beach, Va. Bishop Sullivan Catholic
Chatman led the Crusaders to a 6-5 record this past fall and helped them to a 51-14 win over Riverdale Baptist by scoring four touchdowns to close the season. The Crusaders, under the watch of head coach Chris Scott, finished the fall ranked second in the state, according to MaxPreps.com. Before transferring to Bishop Sullivan Catholic, Chatman played at Bayside High School for head coach Jon White, and he hauled in 26 catches for 352 yards and five touchdowns in 2016.
Defensive Back 6’0” 195 lbs.
Jacksonville, Fla. Trinity Christian Academy
Conner led Trinity Christian Academy to a 9-4 record this past fall at the 5A level, which came on the heels of four straight 3A titles. The safety tallied 107 tackles, including 58 solo, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery under the watch of head coach Verlon Dorminey. He helped the Conquerors’ defense average 2.5 turnovers a game this past season.
Defensive Back 6’1” 186 lbs.
Greensboro, N.C. Dudley
Crossen was a three-time all-conference selection, a two-time all-area honoree and this fall was named to the NCHSAA all-state team. He turned in 143 tackles, 28 pass breakups, eight interceptions and 20 touchdowns in his career under head coach Steven Davis. Crossen led the Panthers to a 10-3 record in 2017 and a trip to the second round of the state tournament after a win over Southeast Guilford in the opening round. In 2016, Crossen guided the team to a 4A NCHSAA title. He also played basketball, earning all-conference honors by averaging 13.8 points and six assists per game. He also participated in track and field, tallying three all-conference and all-area selections. He hails from the same high school as current Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker.
Offensive Line 6’5” 275 lbs.
Soddy-Daisy, Tenn. Baylor School
Culver played for head coach Phil Massey at Baylor High School and was a three-time letterwinner, helping the Red Raiders reach the state semifinals in 2015 and 2016. As a senior, Culver was named to The Tennessean’s All-Division II-AAA East/Middle squad.
Offensive Line 6’5” 290 lbs.
Upper Marlboro, Md. Fork Union Military Academy
Darrisaw played for head coach John Shuman last season at Fork Union Military Academy. Prior to his prep season, he played his senior season at Riverdale Baptist and earned a spot on Team Baltimore in the 2016 Maryland Crab Bowl All-Star Game.
Quarterback 5’11” 180 lbs.
Accokeek, Md. McDonogh School
Ellis racked up 214 rushing yards and 116 passing yards, while scoring four touchdowns at the quarterback position for head coach Dominic Damico at McDonogh School. He totaled 64 touchdowns, 6,521 total yards and completed 256 of 423 pass attempts in his career. This past summer, Ellis clocked a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, earning him Fastest Man honors at The Opening Washington, D.C., regional. Before his senior season, Ellis played football at Bishop O’Connell and turned in 1,071 passing yards and eight touchdowns in seven games played his junior year in 2016. He also competed in track and field, earning all-conference accolades and owning the 100-meter dash and long jump records for the league.
Offensive Line 6’4” 278 lbs.
Hoschton, Ga. Mill Creek
Harris was an all-county, all-region and all-state performer for Mill Creek High School and head coach Shannon Jarvis as a senior. He helped lead Mill Creek to an 8-4 record this past season and an appearance in the second round of the Georgia 7A playoffs. As a junior, Harris was a third-team all-county offensive tackle before moving to guard as a senior.
Defensive Line 6’2” 280
Wake Forest, N.C. Heritage High School
Kane was the 2017 Cap 8 Conference Defensive Player of the Year playing for Heritage High School and head coach DeWayne Washington. Kane’s play during his senior campaign earned him NC Preps 4A all-state and all-region honors from The News and Observer. He also was named Heritage’s Defensive MVP and was selected to play in the 2017 Shrine Bowl. Kane registered 200 tackles in his career, which included a school-record 31 sacks.
Tight End 6’4” 227 lbs.
Big Stone Gap, Va. Union
Mitchell was the 2017 VHSL Class 2A Offensive Player of the Year and helped guide Union to a trip to the Class 2A semifinals this season under the watch of head coach Travis Turner. He was a four-time all-state tight end and a USA Today All-Virginia first-team selection. Mitchell racked up 756 receiving yards on 42 catches and nine touchdowns in his career. He was also a two-time first-team all-conference pick as a basketball player.
Quincy Patterson II
Quarterback 6’4” 229 lbs.
Chicago, Ill. Solorio Academy
Patterson played for head coach Matthew Erlenbaugh at Solorio Academy in Chicago. This past summer, Patterson was the quarterback MVP at Nike’s The Opening Regional en route to earning an invitation to participate in Elite 11, the nation’s premier quarterback competition, in Beaverton, Oregon. As a junior at Solorio Academy, Patterson threw for 1,359 yards and 15 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,146 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Defensive Back 6’0” 178 lbs.
Abington, Pa. Archbishop Wood
Peoples played for head coach Steve Devlin at Archbishop Wood, where he won three 5A state championships in four seasons. The 2017 Philadelphia Catholic League Red Division MVP and a 2017 5A all-state selection, Peoples accumulated 1,834 career rushing yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground as a running back at Archbishop Wood. He picked off two passes as a junior.
Long Snapper 6’0” 230 lbs.
Naples, Fla. Golden Gate
Shadley left Golden Gate High School as one of the most decorated players in school history, as he earned first-team all-state, first-team all-region, and U.S. Army All-America honors in 2017. He’s listed as the top long snapper in the nation, according to Rubio Long Snapping. He didn’t have a single bad snap on 120 punts, 44 point after attempts and 11 field goals as a senior at Golden Gate and also registered five tackles, recovered five fumbles and downed 16 punts. Shadley played for head coach Mike DiGrigoli at Golden Gate.
Wide Receiver 6’3” 200 lbs.
Philadelphia, Pa. St. Joseph’s Prep
Coached by Gabe Infante at St. Joseph’s Prep, Simmons caught 34 passes for 526 yards and three touchdowns during his junior season. He earned All-Eastern Pennsylvania honors as a junior and helped lead St. Joseph’s to the 6A state title in 2016. He also earned an invitation to Nike’s The Opening New York regional showcase in 2016.
Wide Receiver 6’2” 180 lbs.
Bumpass, Va. Louisa County
Smith earned all-district honors twice and was an all-region selection as a defensive back during his high school career. He scored seven touchdowns and caught 22 passes for 208 yards to go along with 117 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and three interceptions as a junior. Smith played for head coach Bryan Davis at Patrick Henry High School and transferred to Louisa County High School for his senior season.
Running Back 5’ 11” 203 lbs.
Jacksonville, Fla. Ed White
Steward played for head coach Kevin Sullivan at Ed White High School. He rushed for 805 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017, and in addition, he was an All-Gateway Conference and a Florida Times-Union Super 24 team selection. Steward totaled 1,489 yards from scrimmage in his career and 16 touchdowns.
Offensive Line 6’7” 275 lbs.
Crozet, Va. Western Albemarle
Tenuta was a three-time letterwinner and an all-conference, all-district, and all-region selection on the offensive line for head coach Ed Redmond at Western Albermarle High School. He was a VHSL Class 3A all-state pick this past season after racking up 52.5 tackles and 11 tackles for loss at defensive end. He also registered multiple starts at offensive tackle.
Defensive Back 5’10” 170 lbs.
Elm City, N.C. Southern Nash
Thompson was a do-it-all athlete for head coach Brian Foster at Southern Nash High School. As a senior, he rushed for 115 yards on 21 carries, caught two passes for 78 yards and was 5 for 14 passing for 117 yards for a Southern Nash squad that went 12-2 in 2017. Thompson also saw time at defensive back and punt returner. He ran track at Southern Nash and was a two-time state champion in the 200- and 300-meter events.
Athlete 6’3” 208 lbs.
Greensboro, N.C. Page
Tisdale accumulated 112 tackles, 17.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks and two interceptions during his senior campaign for head coach Jared Rolfes at Page High School. He was a three-time all-state, all-area and all-conference selection and was the linebacker MVP at the 2016 Underclassmen Challenge. Tisdale helped lead Page to an 11-2 record as a senior.
Wide Receiver 6’2” 177 lbs.
Oak Ridge, N.C. Northwest Guilford
Turner amassed 123 receptions, 2,614 receiving yards and 31 total touchdowns at Northwest Guilford High School, where he played his senior season under Kevin Wallace. Overall, Turner was a two-time HSXtra.com all-area honoree at wide receiver and was a preseason all-state selection by The Charlotte Observer. This past season, Turner totaled 567 yards and six touchdowns in the first half of the season, missing the second half of the season because of a shoulder injury. He also played basketball at Northwest Guilford and was the 2016 HSXTRA Player of the Year.
Defensive Back 6’1” 178 lbs.
Washington, D.C. The Avalon School
Waller earned two varsity letters under head coach Tyree Spinner at the Avalon School in Washington, D.C., after spending his first two seasons at Archbishop Carroll. In his first two seasons, Waller threw for more than 2,600 yards and 24 touchdowns as a quarterback before moving to defensive back at the Avalon School. He tallied six interceptions as a junior and was on The Washington Post’s All-Met preseason watch list this past season.
Defensive Back 6’3” 190 lbs.
East Mims, Fla. ASA College
Webb racked up 29 tackles and four pass breakups at ASA College this fall, playing in all 10 games for head coach Joe Osovet. He turned in a career-high seven tackles against Mesa Community College, helping the No. 16 Avengers to a 29-23 victory in the Valley of the Sun Bowl to close the season with a 9-1 record and a Northeast Football Conference Championship. He was named first-team Northeast Football All-Conference this past season.