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Virginia Tech football staff shakeup could re-invigorate Hokies’ recruiting

By Mark Giannotto,

When former Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr talks about new Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, who served as Carr’s quarterbacks coach from 2002 to 2007, the first words out of his mouth are about Loeffler’s ability to get the best out of his signal-callers.

Carr still marvels at the improvement former quarterback John Navarre showed in 2003, when he led the Wolverines to the Rose Bowl after just one year spent in a Loeffler-led meeting room. Loeffler’s charges aren’t told what to do, Carr said. Instead, Loeffler embraces the Socratic method, using rapid-fire questions to teach his charges the exact reads and audibles they should be using on a given play.

That, though, wasn’t the part of Loeffler’s tenure that caught Carr by surprise. It had more to do with what Loeffler did off campus.

“He did a phenomenal job recruiting,” Carr said in a recent telephone interview. “I just think he’s the kind of guy, if you want to be a great quarterback, he’s a guy that can help you develop your abilities.”

This, it seems, is the most overlooked part of Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer’s decision to overhaul his offensive coaching staff last week. While it remains to be seen what sort of scheme the Hokies will run next season, they have made another significant upgrade on the recruiting trail.

Virginia Tech had already seen its recruiting fortunes surge since Beamer decided to bring back his son, Shane, two seasons ago. The Hokies have oral commitments from three prospects ranked among the top 100 in the country by Rivals (Good Counsel cornerback Kendall Fuller, defensive lineman Wyatt Teller of Bealeton and defensive back Holland Fisher from Midlothian) in 2013. It’s the first time since Rivals began its top 100 rankings in 2002 that Virginia Tech has had more than two.

By transitioning former offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring back to his old role of recruiting coordinator, Frank Beamer also kept one of his best recruiters of the last decade on staff. Stinespring is responsible for luring highly touted players like DeAngelo Hall, Vince Hall, Daryl Tapp, David Wilson, Logan Thomas and Trey Edmunds to Blacksburg.

But Beamer has now added reinforcements in Loeffler and new offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, and their track records suggest Virginia Tech’s recruiting reach could extend farther than the Baltimore to Atlanta corridor the Hokies usually mine for talent.

Loeffler persuaded future NFL quarterbacks like Chad Henne and Ryan Mallett to come to Michigan, and was also the primary recruiter when current Florida tight end Jordan Reed committed to Auburn. Henne came from Pennsylvania – “not far from State College,” Carr noted – and Mallett was from Texas.

Grimes, meanwhile, should pay immediate dividends in terms of recruiting offensive linemen. Over the past six years at Auburn and Colorado before that, he has been the primary recruiter for 16 offensive linemen rated as a four-star prospect or higher by Rivals, and they have come from all over the map (Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Colorado, California, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia to be exact).

New wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead has never been a full-time assistant before, but he continues the youth movement at Virginia Tech. At 32, he’s the youngest member of Beamer’s coaching staff, which has seen its average age drop from 50.1 to 41.6 over the past two years.

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