Virginia Tech didn’t get all the recruits it was in the running for during the initial rush of National Signing Day, but the Hokies did snag the two four-star prospects many predicted they would Wednesday morning. Two-time All-Met Ken Ekanem of Centreville High and wide receiver Joel Caleb both announced they would be attending Virginia Tech next year, providing a welcome jolt to a recruiting class that was already considered a successful one.
Caleb, in particular, represents a major recruiting win for Virginia Tech after he entered the fall as the top recruit in Virginia, according to Rivals.com. Considered a top 100 recruit nationally, Caleb chose the Hokies over Ohio State and West Virginia and becomes the highest-rated prospect in this year’s class.
As a senior at Clover Hill High in Midlothian, Va., Caleb played quarterback, passing for 747 yards and rushing for another 737 despite missing seven games. Recruited by Shane Beamer and listed at 6 feet 2 and 201 pounds, Caleb should be a fixture in the Hokies’ receiving corps in the coming years.
Many expected Ekanem to choose the Hokies after an official visit to Notre Dame last week was canceled, but he still represents a significant recruiting victory for Virginia Tech. Ekanem had 72 tackles, 18 sacks and 32 quarterback pressures for Centreville this past season, including a 4.5-sack performance in the state semifinals against Hermitage.
Recruited by defensive coordinator Bud Foster, Ekanem is a four-star recruit who is considered the No. 209 prospect in the country by Rivals. After Ekanem made his announcement in a crowded Centreville auditorium, he held up a Virginia Tech No. 4 jersey as Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” — the song to which the Hokies traditionally take the field — played in the background.
Ekanem underwent offseason knee surgery after suffering an injury in the state championship game this year and said that played a big role in his decision.
“Virginia Tech showed me more love after my injury,” Ekanem told The Post’s Paul Tenorio. “It just gave me a lot of confidence in the decision.”
The news wasn’t all good for the Hokies early on during signing day. Before Caleb and Ekanem’s decisions Wednesday morning, Lynchburg, Va., defensive lineman Korren Kirven announced he would be attending Alabama over offers from Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Maryland.
Kirven took an official visit to Blacksburg this past weekend, but it appears a personal visit from Alabama Coach Nick Saban last week put the Crimson Tide over the top. Kirven is a four-star recruit who went to the same high school as Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas and defensive end Zack McCray.
Virginia Tech may have also lost a second of its oral commitments to Miami. After watching wide receiver Robert Lockhart switch course and agree to sign with the Hurricanes earlier this month, Lockhart’s high school teammate, linebacker Jawand Blue of Boca Raton, Fla., may have done the same.
The Palm Beach Post reported Wednesday that Blue could be in line for a scholarship offer from the Hurricanes because four-star recruit Reggie Northrup spurned Miami in favor of Florida State. Blue’s high school coach told the Palm Beach Post that, “he would probably want to stay home,” if he got an offer from the Hurricanes.
A year ago, Virginia Tech wasn’t able to close strong on signing day, watching quarterback prospect Lafonte Thourogood switch his commitment to Vanderbilt and five-star linebacker Stephone Anthony select Clemson over the Hokies.
As of 9:55 a.m. Wednesday, Virginia Tech had officially signed 16 recruits, not including Caleb and Ekanem. Among them were All-Met linebacker Devin Vandyke, running backs Drew Harris and Chris Mangus, defensive lineman Alston Smith — son of former Hokies great and NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Smith — and running back-linebacker Trey Edmunds, son of former Maryland tight end Ferrell Edmunds.
We’ll have full profiles of the Hokies recruits once Virginia Tech receives all of its national letters-of-intent.