Virginia Tech’s 2012 recruiting class includes seven four-star prospects, the most the Hokies have signed since Rivals.com started tracking that sort of thing back in 2002. And if Hokies fans are searching for someone to thank, they should look no further than assistant coach Shane Beamer.
After spending the past 10 years honing his craft in the Southeastern Conference, Beamer has made quite a splash during his first season on the recruiting trail for Virginia Tech. Coach Frank Beamer’s son was directly responsible for three four-star recruits, including the top-rated prospect in this year’s class – wide receiver Joel Caleb. He also persuaded former four-star offensive lineman Brent Benedict to transfer to Virginia Tech last summer.
Beamer served as the primary recruiter for eight 2012 signees, double what any other Hokies assistant coach ended up with. Meanwhile, no Virginia Tech coach has signed three four-star recruits since former assistant and current director of recruiting Jim Cavanaugh got three back in 2007. Cavanaugh, it should be noted, laid the foundation for Beamer’s success, identifying many of the prospects Beamer signed before moving into an administrative role last offseason.
But in my interview with Beamer before the 2012 Sugar Bowl — when I wrote this profile on him — we discussed what makes him a successful recruiter.
“My wife will tell you, I’m not any sort of dynamic personality that just blows people away and just wows you when they meet me,” he said. “I’m one of those guys that I’m fearful that if I’m not doing something in recruiting, I’m scared that somebody else is. I probably need to relax a little bit more from that standpoint, but I’m just always, I hate losing; I have a fear of losing. I’m a competitor; recruiting’s competitive.”
That competitive streak was on full display when Beamer did a post-Signing Day radio interview with Kyle Bailey of SuperSports 101.7 down here in the New River Valley. He had some interesting comments about both prospects the Hokies saw slip through their grasp on Wednesday.
Like the entire coaching staff, he was particularly peeved about Jawand Blue, a Hokies commit since July who received an offer from Miami on Wednesday morning and reneged on his oral commitment to Virginia Tech. His de-commitment conversation with defensive line coach Charley Wiles was then made public via a reporter’s twitter account.
“To me it’s really disappointing when a guy has been committed to you for a long time, and let’s be frank, a school that didn’t think he was good enough to play for them until today, offers him a scholarship and then jumps on board,” Beamer said on the radio.
Speaking of the Blue situation, the rivalry between Virginia Tech and Miami may have been ratcheted up a notch by Wednesday’s events. When Hurricanes Coach Al Golden met with reporters Wednesday evening, he was asked about the conversation between Virginia Tech and Blue, in which Wiles emphasized that the Hokies ran a clean program.
“At times, it entered the world of vicious,” Golden said of what he perceived to be negative recruiting by Virginia Tech. “They saw a soft spot and went after it. A lot of times you give them enough rope to hang themselves.”
Beamer also had some pointed things to say about defensive tackle Korren Kirven, who told the Lynchburg News-Advance that he picked Alabama over Virginia Tech because “I didn’t know if [Virginia Tech] was the place I could achieve my goals at the end of the day.”
To which Beamer said on the radio, “That might be the most laughable statement I’ve ever heard.”
If anything, though, the competitor in Beamer has done wonders for Virginia Tech’s recruiting and he was quick to point out Wednesday that the Hokies’ success on the recruiting trail was a team effort. Beamer was one of five assistants who was the lead recruiter for at least three recruits during this cycle.
The Hokies finished with a top 20 class according to Rivals.com, and offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring believes not much has changed from a year ago when many viewed Virginia Tech’s recruiting class skeptically. This time around, Stinespring said, the Hokies just had more scholarships to work with.
“It’s the lifeblood of the program, and we’ve had a really good run, Stinespring said. “I think it really gets back to when you come out at the beginning of the year and you know you can be more aggressive in your recruiting because of the numbers you have and the opportunities to recruit.”
On a side note, Stinespring said he will turn more of his recruiting attention to the Tidewater area next year now that assistant Cornell Brown is entrenched as a recruiter in central Virginia. Brown was not responsible for any of Virginia Tech’s signings on Wednesday. Here’s a complete breakdown of how the Hokies assistants performed.
Shane Beamer (8 total): 4 stars (WR Joel Caleb, LB Deon Clarke, RB Drew Harris); 3 stars (RB Jerome Wright, OL Augie Conte, DB Desmond Frye, DL Nigel Williams); 2 stars (OL Jake Willenbrock)
Curt Newsome (4 total): 4 stars (RB J.C. Coleman,); 3 stars (Greene, T. Smith, A. Smith)
Torrian Gray (4 total): 4 stars (CB Donaldven Manning); 3 stars (DE Jarontay Jones, CB Davion Tookes, WR Joshua Stanford)
Bryan Stinespring (3 total): 4 stars (LB/RB Trey Edmunds); 3 stars (TE Dakota Jackson, DE Seth Dooley)
Bud Foster (3 total): 4 stars (DE Ken Ekanem); 3 stars (LB Devin Vandyke); 2 stars (Taraschke)
Charley Wiles (2 total): 3 stars (LB Dahman McKinnon, DL Woody Baron)
Kevin Sherman (2 total): 3 stars (QB Brenden Motley, DB Donovan Riley)
Mike O’Cain (2 total): 3 stars (RB Chris Mangus, WR Mark Irick)
Cornell Brown: None