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The arrival of prospective student-athletes to Blacksburg on fall weekends makes Saturdays and Sundays extremely important for the future of Hokie athletics. This weekend is no exception for the revenue sports at Virginia Tech. Top prospects for the VT football and men's and women's basketball programs will be in attendance at the Tech-NC State football game, and the experiences each of the prospects have can dictate where they will end up next fall.
The Hokies will be hosting athletes from all over the east coast this weekend, several of whom are taking their official visits to Blacksburg. (The NCAA allows a high school senior being recruited by Division I-A colleges to take five official visits, where all expenses are paid by the hosting school.)
One of the many recruits from out of state visiting this weekend is 3-star ATHJahre Cheeseman from Vorhees, New Jersey. The speedster (4.37) stands at 5’9 and weighs in at 180 pounds. Cheeseman primarily plays running back Eastern Regional High School, one of the top programs in the Garden State.
Cheeseman has narrowed his list to four schools: Virginia Tech, Penn State, Tennessee and Virginia, and it appears that VT's Kevin Rogers is primarily competing with the Nittany Lions for Cheeseman’s commitment. Cheeseman currently has 17 offers.
Cheeseman is an excellent student who will easily qualify for college. He has been to Blacksburg before for a day visit, so his time at the campus this weekend is extremely valuable.
3-star OLChris DeGeare fits the mold of an offensive lineman (6’4, 340). The R.B. Glenn High School star from Kernersville, N.C. is making his first official visit. DeGeare has decided to place his focus on Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Wake Forest, South Carolina and Clemson—where he will be taking his official visits.
DeGeare will qualify academically (3.65 GPA) and plans to enroll at his school of choice in January. DeGeare has been to Blacksburg for a day camp and enjoyed his visit. It appears Virginia Tech stands as good a chance as any at this point of the recruiting process.
The Hokies will also be hosting several players for unofficial visits this weekend, which are crucial in forming relationships as the recruiting process inches closer to signing day.
Perhaps the top prospect likely taking an unofficial visit this weekend is 4-star running backToney Baker from Jamestown, N.C. Baker is one of the top running back prospects in the nation and has earned scholarship offers from a multitude of schools.
Baker spent last weekend in Knoxville and was impressed by the game atmosphere of Neyland Stadium. Many are saying Virginia is the school to beat for Baker’s verbal commitment, but the 5’10, 220-pound star from Ragsdale High has also included North Carolina State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and North Carolina when discussing favorites.
3-star quarterbackIke Whitaker from Germantown, M.D. is expected to be in Lane Stadium for the noon kickoff this weekend as well. The 6’4, 200-pound dual-threat quarterback from Northwest High School was the focus of much discussion months ago, but has been focusing on his season since then.
Whitaker is primarily looking at Tech, Maryland and Florida and has been to see all three locations. Head coach Frank Beamer has already attended one of Whitaker’s games, which says Tech is holding this recruit in high regard. It will not be his first trip to Blacksburg.
Also taking an unofficial visit from Germantown is OLJon Walko. The 6’6, 295-pound senior from Seneca Valley is still growing and could bring a mammoth presence to the Tech offensive line of the future. Walko is mainly looking at Clemson, West Virginia and Tech. He has been to Virginia Tech before and is familiar with the campus and the coaches. The West Side expansion is something that appealed to Walko.
Rounding out the list of unofficial visitors this weekend is WRGeron James from Wilmington, N.C. The 6’4, 178-pound star receiver only holds three offers but expects more activity once he qualifies academically. Right now, James’ clear-cut leader is North Carolina State, even though they have yet to offer him a scholarship. The only thing that could steer James clear from the Wolfpack is a good visit to other schools—including Blacksburg.
Several other prospects are currently hoping to make it to Lane Stadium for an unofficial visit. Considering the game carries major ACC implications many recruits from the region want to see what unfolds this Saturday. The list of football visitors could change by kickoff. ATHJordan Hemby is currently trying to find transportation to Blacksburg from his home in North Carolina and could be one of unexpected several visitors this weekend the Hokies will be trying to leave an impression on. QB/JATH Greg Boone of Chesapeake might also be in the stands this weekend as well.
One of Tech’s top targets, TE/DEJonathan Hannah was scheduled to visit Blacksburg this weekend but ran into some conflicts which pushed his visit back a week. He will be in attendance for an official visit when the Hokies play West Virginia on October 2.
Hannah is 6-4, 255, and has a long list of suitors and offers that include Clemson, VT, Georgia, Penn State, and Oklahoma. Those are the five schools he has scheduled for official visits, and he's already been to Clemson, three weeks ago.
Hannah plans on taking all five official visits before making his decision. At this time, his last scheduled official visit is Oklahoma on November 13th.
Thus far, Hannah has been impressed with Tech’s ability to use the tight end in their offense. Hokie junior Jeff King has been a primary target for Bryan Randall through the first three games.
Tech stands a good chance with Hannah, but will have to wait and see how his other visits turn out.
Hannah is also a close friend of Hokie QB prospectCameron Sexton from Laurinburg, N.C. The quarterback will be in Tallahassee this weekend for the Florida State-Clemson game and could possibly make the trip up next weekend for Tech’s rivalry game for the Black Diamond Trophy.
One other visitor Tech will have is OLBrandon Holland. The former Northside prep start in Roanoke is spending a year at Hargrave Military Academy. Holland is 6’6 and weighs 276. Barring any unforeseen changes, Holland will be wearing the Maroon and Orange next fall.
Two top prospects of the men’s basketball team are arriving in Blacksburg this weekend for official visits.Shawn Taggart of Durham, N.C. is playing his final year of basketball at Mount Zion Christian Academy (which produced NBA star Tracy McGrady, among others). Taggart stands at 6’10 and weighs 205 pounds.
The center/power forward is originally from Richmond, where he attended George Wythe High School with 2004 guard Tyree Evans, who now attends Cincinnati. Taggart has played his AAU ball with the Richmond Squires.
Taggart went through the recruiting process last year, but decided to spend an extra year at the prep level. Last fall he received a lot of mid-major attention but has shifted his attention from school such as DePaul and Georgia State to Virginia Tech, Florida State, Iowa State, St. John’s and Memphis — the schools he has set official visits to. Taggart has already visited Memphis and Iowa State.
The big man enjoyed both of his visits and the two school are currently in the lead for his services. Taggart will visit Tech this weekend and then decide if he will take his last two visits in October.
The Cyclones have one scholarship remaining and Taggart is near the top of their wish list. On their roster is his former high school teammate Tasheed Carr, which could influence him some to commit to Iowa State.
Tech seems to be trailing slightly at this time, but a good visit could definitely change his state of mind. The fact that Tech needs height and their new home is the Atlantic Coast Conference could definitely propel Tech to the top of his list.
The other player visiting this weekend isRonnie Thomas from Middlebury, Indiana. Thomas also stands at 6’10 but has a more solid frame; he weighs in at 230-pounds. The big man exploded onto the scene this summer in Orlando at a tournament where he averaged nearly 20 points per game.
Thomas has narrowed his focus to three schools: Virginia Tech, Duquense and Ball State. Tech has a definite shot at Thomas, who must decide how far away he wants to be from home. A good weekend in Blacksburg could erase thoughts of his mind about being away from Middlebury with thoughts of playing in the best basketball conference in the nation.
The women's basketball program, entering its first full recruiting season under new coach Beth Dunkenberger, hosts three recruits this weekend.
Shayla Fields is a 5'8 guard who averaged 23 points and 9 rebounds per game during her junior season. Last season her team won the state championship. Fields, from Salisbury N.C., played on the same AAU team as current Hokie Kerri Gardin. She is interested in becoming a computer technician and is looking at Wake Forest, North Carolina State and UNC Charlotte. She will need to have a good visit in order for Tech to move up on her list.
Laura Haskins from Alexandria has already committed to Tech and is taking her official visit. The 5'10 guard led West Springfield High to the State Final Four before losing to Woodrow Wilson High. She was part of the AAU national champions for the 10-under, 13-under and 15-under age groups. Laura is interested in studying business who is an excellent student that boasts a 4.0 average. As a junior, Haskins averaged 11.9 points per game (second on the team), and led the team with 7.4 rebounds per game, 5.9 assists per game and 3.8 steals per game.
Jill Stephens hails from Mineral Wells, West Virginia. The 6'3 post player averaged 23 points and 12 rebounds per game last season. She is a Nike All-American who also boasts a 4.0 grade point average. Stephens plays volleyball and softball and has taken a visit to Blacksburg. She is also considering Pittsburgh, Penn State and Cincinnati, where her sister currently plays on the women's basketball team. Tech stands a strong chance of landing her services, but she must have an excellent visit.
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