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August 1, 2012

The Hokies' Top Commits The Past Decade

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Five-star cornerback Kendall Fuller's recent decision to commit to Virginia Tech Sunday was one of the biggest recruiting successes of all-time for the Hokies. He is truly a special talent on the defensive side of the ball. It also got us thinking…what are the top ten recruitments of the past decade? Only the successes of course. Today, we decide.

1. Tyrod Taylor

Virginia Tech identified Taylor when he was in the ninth grade, offered him a scholarship, and told him immediately he was going to be the only quarterback they recruited for his class. The strategy worked as Taylor committed to the Hokies on July 21, 2006 over an offer from the University of Florida.

The words "University Of" provided the biggest drama of the recruitment with just seconds left, as Taylor announced for the Hokies by saying the "University of Virginia Tech." It was the worst thing the well-spoken Taylor ever said during his four years in Orange and Maroon and he left Blacksburg as one of the best playmakers and flat-out winners ever.

2. Victor Harris

Victor "Macho" Harris is one of the most prolific high school players ever in Virginia, particularly at running back, where he rushed for over 2,000 yards during his senior year at Highland Springs. This recruitment was another strong one for the Hokies, as they were near or at the top the entire time.

His final four consisted of VT, Virginia, Michigan, and USC. The best story from Harris' recruitment had to be the story of his in-home visit with coach Frank Beamer, where a fire broke out in the Harris house while Beamer was there, leading to Macho suffering third degree burns on his arms and lesser burns on his face. Beamer, who was burned as well when he was a child, accompanied Harris to the hospital for treatment, although he claimed in his commitment article that it wasn't a factor.

3. David Wilson

Wilson played three short seasons at Virginia Tech and then left to become a first round pick of the New York Giants this spring. He was little-used as a freshman, got a little bit more time as a sophomore, but finally broke out in 2011 once Ryan Williams and Darren Evans moved on to the NFL.

Assistant coach Bryan Stinespring handled Wilson's recruitment, and Stiney had work to do to convince the Danville standout Blacksburg was the place to be. His high school, George Washington, has long been a Virginia Tech pipeline, however Wilson wasn't sure he wanted to follow early in his recruitment. Some hard work from Stinespring eventually convinced him and the rest is history.

Wilson was hands down one of the top five class acts in Virginia Tech history and the memories he made on the field were numerous. His infectious personality, desire to improve, and unreal athleticism ability are all things the Hokies will miss in 2012.

4. Logan Thomas

Thomas' recruitment was a very quiet, contained approach. He was considered a Virginia Tech lean essentially the entire time and was proud to accept Tech's offer to become the next great tight end in Blacksburg.

He never really got to play tight end as the Hokies decided he was too valuable at quarterback and what a decision that was. After a slow first five weeks of 2011, Thomas turned it around and became one of the top signal callers in the ACC. Heading into 2012, just a few years after signing his letter of intent, Thomas is one of the top quarterback prospects in the country for the 2013 NFL Draft.

5. Ryan Williams

Williams' recruitment was very similar to Thomas' in that it was very quiet with not a lot of news coming out of Manassas. Williams battled ankle injuries his entire last year of high school, but the Hokies knew they wanted him and stayed on him until the end.

The presence of former VT player Loren Johnson as head coach at Stonewall Jackson High School, Williams' school, was helpful, but because it was so quiet, only the insiders were completely sure heading into his announcement at the Army All-American game. With hats from Virginia Tech and Boston College to choose from, Williams chose the Hokies, redshirted a year, and then put together one of the most impressive seasons ever for a Virginia Tech running back.

6. Marcus Vick

Despite his career never panning out in Blacksburg, Vick's recruitment was one of the biggest commitments of the decade. The little brother of the guy who changed college football forever, Vick had everyone calling him.

There were even those who said he could be just as electric as Michael on the ground while also being a better passer. Vick eventually narrowed his choices to the Hokies and Tennessee, but Tech won out in the end thanks to the family connections along with a little help as the Hokies landed a number of prospects Marcus was close with, namely Brenden Hill.

7. Xavier Adibi

Adibi left Blacksburg as the best linebacker in school history. Since then, every backer that has played for the Hokies had been compared to the standard he set.

The Hokies had another family advantage built in while recruiting against Tennessee, as the Hokies had Xavier's older brother Nathaniel playing a very good defensive end already in the position. The youngest Adibi's recruitment and career is often overlooked now, but it makes this list based on the legacy he left at the backer position.

8. John Graves

The Graves recruitment was a good ole fashioned in-state battle between Virginia Tech and Virginia. The Hokies and 'Hoos went toe-to-toe for Graves, who was one of the top overall prospects in the state that year, eventually made the call for the Hokies on December 13, 2005.

Graves took a pair of visits the first two weekends in December to Virginia first and then Virginia Tech second before making the call. According to the commitment article in his Rivals profile, the Hokies followed up that final visit with an in-home visit during which Graves made his decision. UVA told Graves he would play either defensive end or linebacker, but Graves ended up becoming a quality defensive tackle for the Hokies.

9. Kendall Fuller

This one just concluded, so it is fresh on everyone's minds. Fuller has been one of the most talked about prospects on Virginia Tech's board during the past three years and for good reason.

With older brothers Vincent, Kyle, and Corey all either enrolled or graduated from Virginia Tech while playing there, the Hokies got a huge jumpstart on Kendall's recruitment and held the lead throughout, despite a strong push from Clemson.

Losing Fuller would have been one of the most shocking recruiting decisions in not just Virginia Tech history, but nationwide history, so it is good that Kevin Sherman and the Hokies closed this one out.

10. Jayron Hosley

One thing about Hosley is that he never took very long for anything. His recruitment by the Hokies popped up and ended in rapid fashion and he left Blacksburg after three years for the NFL, also fairly quickly.

The Hokies identified Hosley as a target late in 2008 as they didn't offer him until around December 23. In mid-January, he was quoted as saying in an interview with Adam Gorney of InsideTheGators.com that he "pretty much has his mind made up that he will sign with South Florida." However, the Hokies got the last visit on January 30, just a few days prior to signing day and made a lasting impression.

On the morning of signing day, the Hokies pulled off the coup and landed Hosley, who played as a backup his freshman year, led the country in interceptions his sophomore year, and was drafted in the third round after his junior year.

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