In this week’s edition of ‘Crootin, we’re talking about a handful of top targets for which the Hokies are major contenders. The goal for the entire ‘Crootin series is to familiarize Hokie fans that may not closely follow recruiting with some important names that may hopefully don the Maroon and Orange in the future. Fair warning: a major theme of this will be “I don’t know” because usually the correct response to “Where will X or Y recruit commit to” is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. But, today I’m going to talk about 3 HUGE names that the Hokies are targeting in the 2016 class.

First up, Grant Holloway:

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Grant Holloway

6’2″ 190 lb | ☆☆☆ Wide Receiver | Grassfield High School
Chesapeake, VA | #14 in the state of VA
 

Grant Holloway will likely be a future Olympian, but, the Hokies hope he is also a future Hokie. The 6’2″ 190 lb speedster holds a number of big offers but from all indications Virginia Tech is a major contender with what they offer on both the Football and Track and Field side of things. One thing to know about the 2016 class is that the coaching staff and new WR Coach Zohn Burden are going after Wide Receivers HARD because we lack true depth at the position. You may be thinking that we have two young studs in Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips which is true, but there is a significant gap between them and our #3 receiver. With Joshua Stanford leaving the program and a number of WR prospects that have yet to make an impact, there will continue to be room for talented pass catchers to make an impact right away.  Holloway is poised to be one of those quick impact guys, a player with his combination of speed and play-making ability will always be welcome on an offense that has lacked a great depth of quick and talented players at the skill positions on Offense. Many believe the Hokies are the team to beat here and I would have to agree with that. The biggest determining factor will be opportunities on the track. The Hokies have a solid pitch both on the field and on the track and should feel good about their chances. However, there are lingering questions about Holloway’s intentions at the next level and whether football is a priority for him at all.

Holloway’s recruitment is very much “wait and see” and at this stage of the game it’s hard to get a read on exactly what his plans are. Though, if Holloway does choose the Hokies then I believe, like David Wilson before him, he could lead the Hokies to more ACC Championships on the football field and on the track.

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 Landon Dickerson

6’5″ 293 lb | ☆☆☆☆ Offensive Tackle | South Caldwell High School
Hudson, NC | #3 in the state of NC
 

We need Offensive Tackles and we need ’em bad. The Hokies Offensive Line hasn’t been particularly good for a while. As such, the offense as a whole hasn’t been good for a while. In fact, it seems that more often than not our offensive skill position players succeed in spite of the Offensive Line. That’s not how good offensive football works.

First solution, bring in big, talented Offensive Linemen and develop them. Landon Dickerson definitely fits the bill. Dickerson has seen his stock rise rapidly in recent months and has major programs begging for his services. The Hokies are a contender but this one will be a battle. Some other teams to keep an eye on are FSU, South Carolina, and Tennessee who will each be a major factor in Dickerson’s recruitment. As reported by 247Sports.com’s Virginia Tech site, VTscoop.com, Landon made a visit to Virginia Tech on Wednesday

Dickerson has a ton of reasons to like Virginia Tech. His grandfather played for the Hokies, he’s quite familiar and comfortable with the team and the coaching staff, and, per VTScoop, he was blown away by the Engineering Department from an academic standpoint. Though, he does have some hang-ups, namely the possibility of Coach Beamer being gone in the next year or two. It’s an issue that’s becoming more and more common with our recruits as the future becomes more and more clouded regarding Coach Beamer’s tenure with the Hokies. It’s a completely reasonable worry to have for a kid that’s had 3 different high school coaches and there isn’t much the Virginia Tech staff can do to ease those worries.

That said, it’s clear the Hokies are a contender for Dickerson and have worked hard to show why they could be the best fit for him as a player. Will it work out in the end? Nobody knows for sure.

 

Tino

Tino Ellis

6’1″ 185 lb | ☆☆☆☆ Wide Receiver | DeMatha Catholic High School
Hyattsville, MD | #9 in the state of MD
 

Folks, mark this day down in your Lisa Frank day planners. July 31st. That’s the day Tino Ellis is set to announce the school of his choice and make one fan base incredibly happy. Though Ellis did waver slightly with his commitment date, it seems he has talked it over with his family and coaching staff and is once again set to announce his decision on the 31st. While a lot of schools have been heavily recruiting the immensely talented Wide Receiver it seems that it is down to a two team battle with both teams having good reason to be optimistic heading into the final stretch. Maryland has a strong pitch for the talented playmaker – stay home and play for your home state. It’s a pitch that has endured the test of time. But, I think the Hokies make a solid case in their own right. First consider that Ellis’ cousin is Donovan Riley and Cam Phillips is a former teammate and close friend of Ellis’ as well. The Hokies are no longer the ground and pound team we’re used to seeing and under new management the Offense has relied on the pass more and more each season. This trend will only continue to grow as more and more talent comes in at the skill positions out wide. Ellis is one of my favorite, if not my #1, prospect in the 2016 class and it would be huge if he chose to spend his collegiate career in Blacksburg.

In the last week of his recruitment and leading up to his announcement next friday, things have been changing rapidly. Initially, he was going to postpone his announcement, then quickly changed his mind. On top of that, he was done with all visits until the 31st. Then, it came out that he’d be visiting Virginia Tech this weekend. Theennn, he decided not to visit this weekend. So, to say his recruitment is hard to read at this point would be a major understatement. Hokies fans and Terp fans alike have been flip-flopping on whether they feel supremely confident or completely hopeless. My advice, let it all play out. His decision will be made in a week and till then all we can really do is wait.

 

In other ‘Crootin news…

This weekend is an enormous recruiting weekend for the Hokies with a long, long list of big name prospects making the trip to Blacksburg for the weekend camp.

That’s just 5 recruits.. the full list is in excess of 30 big time prospects making the trip to Blacksburg this weekend.

The best way to follow the latest up to the minute recruiting news and scoop is with 247Sports VTScoop.com. I’m a member and they do some of the best work when it comes to Virginia Tech recruiting. That’s not to take away from sites like Tech Sideline or the Rivals affiliate HokieHaven as far as paysites go. If you’re just getting into recruiting or just don’t want to pay for news about high school football players then I have to recommend The Key Play, who I know every single one of you already know about. But, you may not know that in the past year they’ve really stepped up their recruiting coverage and have made up some ground on the aforementioned paysites.

In Drunken Gobbler news…

There’s been a lot going on with the site recently and I’ve been working at make the site look less terrible. So, here’s some of the stuff we got goin on in the DrunkenGobbler universe.

1. Free stuff! A new giveaway is going on right now!

2. The DrunkenGobbler T-shirt is available to preorder now!

3. Much, much more on the horizon, thanks y’all for reading

 

A didas is one of the largest Uniform and sporting goods suppliers in the world. As I touched upon previously, Adidas was founded by a former member of the Nazi party, Adolf Dassler. He dead now doe. Since then, the Adidas brand has systematically produced worse and worse Uniforms to the point that many would prefer to have uniforms by Under Armour, (a company that was founded by a guy that would sew a logo onto thrift shop clothes and resell them and a guy who spelled Armour with a ‘u’ because THE URL FOR ‘UNDER ARMOR’ WAS ALREADY TAKEN).

You’ve seen the depths of the depravity of design by Adidas with their Louisville Cardinal alts that look straight out of a B movie. But then they seemed to have turned things around with their roaring success with Miami’s uniforms that are being hailed as “not as horrible as I expected” and “I mean, I guess they’re okay.” With reviews like that it seemed like Adidas was on the up and up.

But now…

Now, I’ve only got 1 question for Adidas: WHAT ARE THOOOOOOOOOOOSE??

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Do less, Adidas, do so much less.
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Someone felt clever as hell putting that N in the side of the pants. At least make the N match the width of the stripes.CKmkd-VUEAECvIj

Hol’ up. Is that Mad Max: Fury Road?
CKmkd-ZUYAA5-GPAdidas must be stopped at all costs.

and let’s check in with noted Acrostic Poet Rodger Sherman of SBNation

The football season is coming. It may not seem like it but I promise it will be here soon enough. In my everlasting attempt to give back I will be running my 2nd Giveaway! Gear up for the long season ahead of us with a Campus Emporium gift card from www.DrunkenGobbler.com!

The main prize will be a $50 online gift card to CampusEmporium.com, my personal favorite place to buy Hokie stuff in Blacksburg.

Secondary prizes will include smaller denominations of Campus Emporium gift cards to be determined pretty much when I’m drunk and feeling generous!

Entry is very simple and you can enter twice thrice! Each entry method counts as a separate entry!

Method 1: Follow Us on Twitter and Retweet this Tweet – simple as that

Method 2: Like Us on Facebook then”Share” and “Like” this Post – again, simple as that

Method 3: Buy the Official Drunken Gobbler T-shirt and get 3 bonus entries. 😉

T-Shirt funds go directly to supporting the site and to more giveaways in the future (hint: some won’t be contests and will be straight up freebies in the future). Also, you get an awesome shirt that nobody else has!

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Winner will be announced August 14th.

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The Hokies had a big day recruiting the defensive side of the ball with commitments from 2016 LB Emmanual Belmar Jr. and 2017 Safety Devante Smith. Emmanuel Belmar Jr. is the Hokies’ 12th commitment of the 2016 cycle and Devante Smith is the 1st commitment for Hokies’ 2017 cycle. The Virginia Tech coaching staff invested early in both of these players, being the first offer for both, and the belief from the staff has paid off as both announced their commitments in what turned out to be a big Monday for the Hokies.

Emmanuel Belmar Jr.

2016 ☆☆☆ OLB | 6’2″ 220 lb | Collins Hill High School | Suwanee, GA

The Hokies defensive staff made Belmar Jr. a huge priority in the 2016 class since the Hokies became the first program to offer Belmar way back in February. Since then, the 6′ 2″ 220 lb Linebacker has made it to double digit offers but none more meaningful than that first one. Belmar is the second LB commit in 2016, a year in which the Hokies would really like to bolster their Linebacking corps.

Photo courtesy of 247sports.com

Photo courtesy of 247sports.com

Belmar Jr, out of Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Georgia, is listed as a 3-star 86 by 247Sports.com. Emmanuel joins Victor Greene as the only Linebackers to commit to the Hokies so far in 2016. The Hokies will look to add at least one more Linebacker in the 2016 class (*pssst* keep an eye on Tavante Beckett and Brock Miller).  He also joins Deandre Plantin and Brandon Facyson as some of the only Georgia Hokie commitments in recent years. Though, Georgia will be an area of interest moving forward for the Hokies as they look to broaden their recruiting horizons.

The Hokies got a good one in Belmar as the 2016 class continues to take shape through the Summer. In the coming months a few more of the dominoes should fall and we will get a clearer picture of how this class will really shake out. If the Hokies continue to add talented players in positions of need then I think we will be in good shape moving forward.

Devante Smith

2017 Safety | 6’1″ 185 lb | Stonewall Jackson High School | Manassas, VA

Photo courtesy of 247sports.com

Photo courtesy of 247sports.com

The Hokies got off to an early start to the 2017 class with the commitment of Safety Devante Smith. The 6’1″ 185lb Safety from Manassas, VA is the latest in the line of Stonewall Jackson Hokies following the lead of Greg Stroman, Tim Settle, and Reggie Floyd. Smith’s verbal to the Hokies means that the 2017 class will be the 4th straight Virginia Tech class with a commitment from Stonewall Jackson, those 4 are: 2014 – Greg Stroman, 2015 – Tim Settle, 2016 – Reggie Floyd , and (now) 2017 – Devante Smith.

Devante is the first commitment for the Hokies in the 2017 class and looks to have all the requisite traits to be one of the next to run #DBU. If Torrian Gray believes in a DB enough to offer, then I believe in that DB. If Torrian Gray believes in a DB enough to offer this early in the game, then I get excited about that player. If you take some time to check out his Sophomore year highlights below you will see some of what I’m talking about. You will see a Sophomore who is already playing at 6’1″ 185lbs and moving well. His highlights show him largely on the offensive side of the ball, mostly at QB, similar to Greg Stroman’s highlights when he was at Stonewall Jackson. From this we can see his athleticism and speed, in addition to the fact that he is already bigger than Stroman and still just a Rising Junior in high school. In his highlights we do get to see a few clips of Smith lined up in the defensive backfield. In these clips we see that he is more than just a willing tackler, which is a key trait for a Hokie DB. Take a look at his film and see what you think for yourself.

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I am excited to announce that the first ever shirt from DrunkenGobbler.com is available for pre-order! I decided to go with the whole pre-order thing (at least for this first initial release) for a bunch of logistical reasons. A couple of important things to know about this pre-order: 1.) You will not be charged until the shirts are all printed and ready to be shipped and 2.) I plan on getting these shirts done and sent out relatively quickly and they will be ready for football season (hopefully much sooner) oh and 3.) 100% FREE SHIPPING oh, one more 4.) All proceeds from these shirts go to supporting the site and future contests and giveaways to give back to you guys.

So, you can click the picture of the shirt above to be taken to the Shop or you can press the handy-dandy Shop button up top and that’ll do the exact same thing.

Now, notice I did say *first* ever shirt. I have plans (not very detailed or well-thought-out plans) to have more and different shirts in the future but I don’t want to be making predictable boring shirts you find at the bookstore. I want to make shirts that I like that are unique to my tastes; unique shirts that are alternative to the “basic Tech shirt” that everybody wears on gameday.

Keep an eye on my Twitter or on the site as I’ll probably talk about designs I’m working on and stuff like that. Who knows.

Order a shirt, support the site, be my best friend.

Disclaimer: If I ever see someone at the bar wearing one of these shirts I will buy you a beer and you can hold me to that.