The Virginia Tech football team announced that three freshmen from its incoming 2012 recruiting class have enrolled early for spring practice. Running back J.C. Coleman, cornerback Donaldven Manning and defensive end Dewayne Alford all took part in classes Tuesday when the school’s spring semester began and will participate in the team’s winter workouts as well.
Coleman’s decision to graduate early from high school is the most vital in terms of next season. With David Wilson declaring for the NFL draft and junior Tony Gregory’s recent ACL surgery, Coleman will get a chance to compete for the starting tailback job along with redshirt freshman Michael Holmes during spring practice.
Coleman, a consensus four-star prospect from Chesapeake, Va., is rated the No. 4 all-purpose back in the country and the No. 5 recruit in the state of Virginia by Rivals.com this year. Listed at just 5 feet 8 and 175 pounds, he gained 1,488 yards and scored 20 touchdowns despite missing three games because of an ankle injury as a senior. He led Oscar Smith High to the Virginia AAA Division 6 state championship.
Manning, who is 5-11 and 176 pounds according to the Miami Herald, is another of the Hokies’ prized recruits for next year. The Miami native, whose first name is pronounced Donovan, is a four-star recruit according to Rivals and is the No. 23 cornerback in the country. Manning’s Miami Central High team has eight players orally committed to Bowl Championship Series-conference teams this year.
Since cornerback Jayron Hosley chose to forgo his senior season for the NFL draft, Manning could compete for playing time next year. The Hokies have junior Kyle Fuller returning as well as redshirt sophomore Detrick Bonner and sophomore Kyshoen Jarrett, a highly touted recruit from a year ago.
Alford is a grayshirt from last year’s recruiting class, meaning he delayed his first year of eligibility so Virginia Tech could better position itself under the NCAA’s 85-scholarship limit. Projected as a defensive end, Alford was a three-star recruit and the No. 29 player in the state of Virginia according to Rivals. He graduated from Nansemond River High in Suffolk, Va.