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June 6, 2013

VT Targets In Chicago

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CHICAGO-- Beginning tomorrow, 100 of the top prospects in the country will descend on Chicago for the second Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour. Rivals.com has invited the top recruits from both the 2014 and 2015 classes, who will compete at Soldier Field this weekend.

For Virginia Tech, this includes a number of Hokies targets.

HokieHaven.com publisher Jason Stamm is in Chicago, to break down the targets with Virginia Tech interest.

Listing is alphabetically

Dillon Bates, Ponte Vedra, Fla, No. 59 in Rivals100--
Virginia Tech is loosely hanging on. The Hokies got in relatively early and had the benefit of his teammate, 2013 signee Kyle Chung, working him for Virginia Tech. But things have dropped off somewhat between Bates and the Hokies. Bates has heavy interest in Florida, Tennessee (dad's alma mater), Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and Notre Dame. Bates is also considering stops Ole Miss, South Carolina, Ohio State, UCLA and USC and visited a large group of those schools.

Jack Beneventi(2015), Benet Academy (Ill.)
The Hokies haven't offered, but are giving Beneventi a strong look. With assistant Aaron Moorehead's Chicagoland connections, Beneventi is definitely on the radar. Right now, Beneventi is planning to visit Virginia Tech and participate in the Hokies' July 13 camp.

Andrew Brown, DT, Oscar Smith (Va.)---No. 7 in Rivals100
Brown created a big stir in-state last week when we reported that he had a top five of Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State and Clemson. Brown has been thought by many to be a Virginia lean, though North Carolina has also made a strong push. Brown unofficially visited Virginia Tech Sunday for the Hokies' football camp and confirmed with HokieHaven.com that he has a top five, though he also said it was more for official visits. Read into it what you want, but Brown is also intent on being a music producer. He's found the major at VT that would allow him to get into the field easily, though don't count the Cavaliers or Tar Heels out.

Ricky DeBerry, LB (2015)---St. Christopher's (Va.)
DeBerry shined in April at the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour stop in Richmond. Physically, he's as imposing a linebacker as you'll find at the high school level and also showed he has good range and ability to cover. The Hokies were among the first to offer and assistant Shane Beamer has made him a top priority for the 2015 class. But it's still early and with over 20 offers and counting, it's tough to say where DeBerry is leaning, if anywhere.

Johnnie Dixon, WR, Dwyer (Fla.)---No. 135
The Hokies don't spend a ton of time in Florida but when they do, it's usually south Florida. Dixon isn't from the Delray Beach/Atlantic pipeline Virginia Tech has created, but assistant coach Charley Wiles loved what he saw in Dixon and cast an offer. Moorehead visited Dixon last month, though it's been tough to gauge Dixon's thoughts on the Hokies or where else he might be favoring.

Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB (2015), St. Peter's Prep (NJ)
He's on the Virginia Tech radar, but just barely. The Hokies and assistant coach Cornell Brown have ventured into New Jersey quite a bit, but they haven't given him a serious look. Still, he's a player on the rise, who, don't be surprised if Virginia Tech jumps in sometime in the future with an offer.

Clifton Garrett, LB, Plainfield South (Ill.)---No. 55 in Rivals100
Once thought to have Virginia Tech among his favorites, the Hokies have dropped off quite a bit with Garrett. But don't blame Moorehead for not trying. Garrett was one of the first offers Moorehead extended in Chicago, a rather unchartered territory for the Hokies. Garrett has long been smitten with the SEC, particularly Ole Miss, LSU, Alabama and Florida. But hanging around have been Ohio State and Virginia Tech. The latter still maintains steady contact, though it's still wait and see whether or not he'll look north of the Mason-Dixon line. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster visited Garrett last month, which has also kept the Hokies in the mix.

Da'Shawn Hand, DE, Woodbridge (Va.)---No. 1 in Rivals100
The nation's top player has come under some criticism for underperforming at the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour stop in Richmond. But with the top ranking comes plenty of scrutiny. Hand is still a dominant force, camp or no camp. He's maintained the same top five he's had for a few months of Virginia Tech, Michigan, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida, though the first two have long been thought to be the leaders. Hand was visited less than a month ago by Foster, though he said in a recent report that he hadn't heard from the Hokies in "a while." With his teammate and cousin fighting for an offer, there's a good chance Hand visits Virginia Tech for the July camp.

Jalyn Holmes, DE, Lake Taylor (Va.)---No. 48 in Rivals100
Just a month and a half ago, Holmes unofficially visited Virginia Tech for the April 20 spring game. At that time, Holmes appeared to have the Hokies among his favorites. But recently, he tweeted a top three of Ohio State, Florida State and Clemson. He seems to have soured on Virginia Tech, though he hasn't completely eliminated the Hokies. It's clear though that they'll have to do plenty of work to get back in Holmes' good graces.

Sterling Jenkins, OL, (2015) Baldwin (Pa.)
Like Fitzpatrick, barely on the Hokies' radar. But a rising lineman, he's gaining plenty of momentum heading into the summer. Virginia Tech has made more of an effort to scout Pennsylvania and Jenkins could join that group soon, though assistant Jeff Grimes has shown he's pretty particular about who and what type of lineman he offers.

Josh Malone, WR, Station Camp (Tenn.)---No. 38 in Rivals100
Malone created waves of optimism among the Hokies staff this spring when, already with 20 offers in hand, he reached out to them to gauge interest and inquire about an offer. He's a player Virginia Tech watched about five plays of before deciding to offer. Malone is from Chattanooga, but spent his middle school years in Fredericksburg, Virginia and has plenty of knowledge of the Hokies. Moorehead visited him last month and while talks are still good and steady, sources say they're not as frequent as they once were.

Nyles Morgan, LB, Crete Monee (Ill.)---No. 83 in Rivals100
Morgan's offer came at the same time as Garrett, in the first batch of offers for Moorehead to Chicago. Morgan seems to be more in tune to Virginia Tech than Garrett at this point. He still keeps up with Moorehead, but the biggest challenge will be getting him to visit. Morgan seems more open to schools, though he still might be a long shot for the Hokies.

Montae Nicholson, DB, Gateway (Pa.)---No. 127 in Rivals100
One of the first, non-quarterback offers handed out by offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler since he arrived at Virginia Tech in January. Nicholson's performance at the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour stop in Pittsburgh was a bit underwhelming, but he's still one of the best defensive backs in the country. He's expressed interest in Virginia Tech, but it's not clear as to what extent right now.

Derrick Nnadi, DT, Ocean Lakes (Va.)---No. 34 in Rivals100
Nnadi really got acquainted with Virginia Tech when he made the trip to Blacksburg with his coach in late March and spent three days checking out the Hokies during a coaching clinic at VT. Nnadi has long been thought to favor the Hokies and Virginia, but he raised some eyebrows at the College Prep World camp last month when he mentioned also beginning to look more out of state, at schools like Penn State and Michigan State. Still, a good bet to stay in-state at this point.

Damian Prince, OL, Bishop McNamara (Md.)---No. 10 in Rivals100
Prince is a guy who's hanging around with the Hokies at this point. He's told Virginia Tech he wants to stay close to home, which would make Virginia Tech a logical option. But it's been a struggle to get him to visit and it's still unclear anyone, other than Maryland, who he likes that would fit his request. If the Hokies can get him to visit, that might be a game-changer.

Artavis Scott, WR, East Lake (Fla.)---No. 81 in Rivals100
Scott is a player who the Hokies got wind of earlier this spring. He's well out of their usual recruiting prowess in south Florida, but Wiles, who's from central Florida, has some connections. Moorehead visited Scott this spring, though like Dixon, it's unclear what type of impact, if any, that had on him.

Kentavious Street, DE, Rose (NC)---No. 18 in Rivals100
Wiles has coveted Street for some time now, though Street's recruitment really took off with an impressive showing at the Army Combine in January. Street visited Virginia Tech just before taking part in the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour and had positive reviews, despite also like Georgia and Florida State. His mom seemed most interested in Virginia Tech, though this was all before he visited NC State and came away impressed. The Wolfpack are now a big player for him. But he's been one to waver quite a bit, so it's unclear who he could be favoring now.

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