Signing day: Fuente adds his first recruits


Signing day: Fuente adds his first recruits

Virginia Tech received 12 letters of intent on Wednesday in addition to their early signees. Here's who sent their letters of intent on signing day (all rankings and height/weight info from Rivals):

LB - Tavante Beckett, 3-star (6'0", 215 pounds), Chesapeake, Va.

Beckett made the USA Today 2015 All-USA Virginia team as a linebacker and was named the Conference 9 Defensive Player of the Year for 2015. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland made a late push for Beckett thanks to the efforts of Mike London. Though Beckett visited College park last week, he elected to stick with the Hokies.

ATH - Tyree Rodgers, 3-star (6'0", 192 pounds), Camden, N.J.

As a quarterback, Rodgers threw for 1,569 yards and 13 touchdowns in his senior season with only six interceptions. He also played defense and recorded 16 tackles and five interceptions. He was recruited as an athlete and will likely stick to the defensive side of the ball as a defensive back. He originally committed to Old Dominion, but a late offer from Virginia Tech was able to swing him to Blacksburg.

LB - Eron Carter, 2-star (6'2", 210 pounds), Palatka, Fla.

Virginia Tech won a late recruiting battle for Carter by beating out Air Force, Tulane, Central Florida and UMass. Carter was named the 2015 Putnam All-County MVP. He is a very physical player who started all four years in high school. He was also a star wrestler and won state titles on the track team in the shot put and discus.

OL - T.J. Jackson, 3-star (6'9", 325 pounds), Cumberland, Va.

Jackson stands as the biggest recruit of the class at a whopping 325 pounds despite being a senior in high school. Despite his massive frame, he is faster than you would expect with good explosiveness, but he tends to play a bit high.

OT - Thomas Jarrett Hopple, 2-star (6'6", 270 pounds), Suffolk, Va.

Hopple not only was the first offensive lineman to commit, he was also the first to send in his letter of intent on Wednesday. He has the size, but he's a bit slow off the snap.

OT - Patrick Kearns, 3-star (6'5", 273 pounds), Rome, Ga.

A highly recruited offensive lineman, Kearns has great size and explosiveness. He excels at run blocking and looks like the type of player you can be very excited about.

ATH - Jovonn Quillen, 3-star (6'2", 189 pounds), Hampton, Va.

Quillen was a star on both offense and defense. He was named the Daily Press' Offensive Player of the Year and Second Team Class 5A All-State. He compiled 2,370 total yards on offense and 39 touchdowns. Recruited as an athelte, Quillen is listed on the Hokies' website as a defensive back.

WR - Phillip Patterson, 3-star (6'1", 175 pounds), Virginia Beach, Va.

Patterson hauled in 40 catches for 801 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015 and was still named First Team All-Tidewater as a defensive back. He is projected to be a wide receiver in college which is a major area of need for the Hokies.

ATH - Reggie Floyd, 3-star (6'0", 196 pounds), Manassas, Va.

As a senior, Floyd was named to the All-Conference 8 first team as a running back. He was recruited as an athlete, however, and is projected to play defensive back in college.

OT - Silas Dzansi, 2-star (6'5", 263 pounds), Woodbridge, Va.

Dzansi began playing football as a sophomore at C.D. Hylton. He played on both sides of the ball, but will play on the offensive line in college.

LB - Emmanuel Belmar, 3-star (6'2", 220 pounds), Suwanee, Ga.

Belmar was named honorable mention to the 2015 Georgia Sports Writers Association All-State 6A Football with 78 total tackles and 10 sacks in his senior year. He lined up at defensive end frequently in high school which makes sense because of his size. With his speed, however, he fits well as an outside linebacker.

DT - Jarrod Hewitt, 2-star (6'2", 290 pounds), Venice, Fla.

Hewitt earned the Herald Tribune Player of the Year Award in 2015 and is a two-time Florida 7A First Team All-State performer. He recorded an incredible 22 combined sacks in his last two seasons.

Early enrollees:
WR - Divine Deablo, 3-star (6'4", 207 pounds), Winston-Salem, N.C.
WR - Samuel Denmark, 3-star (6'0", 177 pounds), Hanahan, S.C.
QB - Jerod Evans, 4-star (6'3", 225 pounds), Athens, Texas
QB - Joshua Jackson, 3-star (6'2", 195 pounds), Saline, Mich.
WR - Eric Kumah, 3-star (6'3", 200 pounds), Woodbridge, Va.
DB - Khalil Ladler, 4-star (5'11", 168 pounds), Bradenton, Fla.
OL - Demetri Moore, 3-star (6'6", 295 pounds), Moorhead, Miss.
DE - Jimmie Taylor, 3-star (6'3", 220 pounds), Jacksonville, N.C.
OL - Zachariah Hoyt - not rated (6'5", 275 pounds), Salem, Va.

Total: 21 signed, 2 four-stars, 14 three-stars, 4 two-stars, 1 not rated

Final thoughts on Virginia Tech's signing class:

This definitely wasn't the best recruiting class we've ever seen from Virginia Tech, but it was never going to be. Consider everything that was working against Fuente: he is taking over for a legendary coach in Frank Beamer who is the only coach to have any sort of sustained success in Blacksburg and the program has slid in recent years. Fuente was not going to be able to erase all doubt about the team's future among recruits in his first recruiting cycle. All things considered, however, you have to be happy with what Fuente was able to do.

Despite all the hurdles, the signing class is a middle of the pack class for the ACC. It addressed three major areas of need: wide receiver, offensive line and quarterback. Virginia Tech added four wide receivers to a position in sore need of depth. Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips have locked down the top two spots, but this offense needs receiving depth badly to the point that, with a strong spring and fall, you could see some of these incoming freshmen play right away. They may not have added the top offensive line prospects in the country, but they added a lot of size with six linemen recruits. The top recruit in the class is quarterback Jerod Evans who is my early pick to start next season over Brenden Motley.

Nine of the team's signees come from the state of Virginia and four come from the Virginia Beach region, one of the major talent pools in the area. Virginia Tech has to maintain a presence in that region.

Amid all the players Virginia Tech was able to sign, they did miss out on several prospects as well. The Hokies made an effort to flip North Carolina commits Dominique Ross and Tomon Fox, but both elected to stick with the Tar Heels. They also lost JaQuan Bailey to Iowa State and Rick Wells to Florida. Chase Pine from Williamsburg, Va. committed relatively early to Pitt, but it was believed he was wavering on that commitment and that the Hokies were in play. On Wednesday, however, he stuck with his original commitment to the Panthers.

Ty Pigrome, Alabama's Gatorade player of the year, elected to go to Maryland over Virginia Tech. Pigrome played quarterback in high school, a position that's suddenly very crowded in Blacksburg.

RELATED: Signing day: The Mendenhall era begins in Virginia

Georgetown snaps 4-game road losing streak, tops Butler

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Georgetown snaps 4-game road losing streak, tops Butler

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marcus Derrickson tied a career-high with 27 points, on 11-of-13 shooting, for his eighth 20-plus point game this season and Georgetown beat Butler 87-83 on Tuesday night.

After Georgetown missed two free throws, Kamar Baldwin made a scoop shot in the lane and Sean McDermott stole the inbounds pass, leading to another Baldwin basket to pull Butler to 84-81 with 1:29 to go.

Butler had a chance to tie it in the closing seconds, but Baldwin's long 3-pointer was short and Jahvon Blair sealed it at the line at 4.5.

Jessie Govan had his 12th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds for Georgetown (15-10, 5-9 Big East). Trey Dickerson, a senior averaging 3.5 points per game, set a career-high in the first half with 12 points and finished with 18.

Kelan Martin had 22 points and eight rebounds to reach 20 points for the 17th time this season for Butler (17-10, 7-7). Tyler Wideman added 19 points and Baldwin had 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

RELATED: DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Missed opportunities

Virginia jumps to top of new AP poll for first time since 1982


Virginia jumps to top of new AP poll for first time since 1982

A loss didn't prevent Virginia from climbing to No. 1 in AP men's basketball poll for the first time in more than 35 years after all.

The Cavaliers rose a slot to sit atop Monday's AP Top 25 despite an overtime home loss Saturday to Virginia Tech, part of an upset-filled week that allowed for plenty of uncertainty in the poll. The Cavaliers (23-2, 12-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) earned 30 of 65 first-place votes to outdistance No. 2 Michigan State and rise above the turmoil that included last week's top three teams all losing.

Tony Bennett's Cavaliers had been at No. 2 before this season, but this is the first time the program has reached No. 1 since December 1982 — the senior season of 7-foot-4 great Ralph Sampson — back when the poll ranked only 20 teams. And that team fell out of that spot after its improbable upset loss to Chaminade in Hawaii, regarded by many as the biggest upset in the history of college sports.

Virginia looked set to reach the No. 1 spot after Villanova's home loss to St. John's before losing to the Hokies. Still, the Cavaliers ended up there a day after the NCAA selection committee had them as the No. 1 overall seed in its reveal of the top 16 seeds to date.

The Cavaliers — whose 12 previous weeks at No. 1 all came during the Sampson era — play with the top ranking for the first time since the Chaminade loss on Tuesday at Miami.

"I do not get too carried away with where we are," Bennett said after the loss to the Hokies. "I always say 'thus far,' and now we have to prove it again. ... Now we are going to get a chance to do it again and we are going to have to fight like crazy every game. Everybody is capable of beating everybody in this league and that is reality. If you are little off it is not enough."



Michigan State (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) climbed two spots after a weekend win against Purdue in a top-5 matchup. The Spartans, who reached No. 1 for a week in January, earned 21 first-place votes.

Next came Villanova (23-2, 10-2 Big East), who fell to third after a five-week stay at No. 1 and earned nine first-place votes. Xavier (23-3, 11-2 Big East) inched up a spot to fourth and earned five first-place votes, followed by Cincinnati (23-2, 12-0 American Athletic Conference) at No. 5.

This is Xavier's highest ranking in its history, while Cincinnati is in the top 5 for the first time since spending a good chunk of the 2001-02 season there.


Purdue (23-4, 12-2 Big East) fell from third to sixth after losing to Ohio State and Michigan State last week. Those losses snapped the nation's longest winning streak at 19 games, marking Purdue's first losses since falling to Tennessee and Western Kentucky on consecutive November days in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.

Texas Tech was next at No. 7, followed by Ohio State, Gonzaga and Auburn to round out the top 10.



Rivalry wins against Duke and North Carolina State helped North Carolina climb seven spots to No. 14 for the week's biggest jump. It continued the Tar Heels' wild swings in poll positioning, including a nine-slot drop last month and two other slides of eight slots.

Ohio State rose six spots to No. 8 after the Purdue win, while No. 11 Clemson was up five spots.


Oklahoma and freshman star Trae Young had the biggest fall of the week, down six spots to No. 23. The Sooners have lost three straight and six of eight after Saturday's loss at Iowa State .

St. Mary's (15th) and Arizona (17th) both fell four spots.


The newcomers aren't entirely new this week. Both No. 21 Texas A&M and No. 25 Arizona State have been ranked multiple weeks this season and appeared in the top 10, with the Sun Devils reaching No. 3 on Christmas Day.


Kentucky fell out of the rankings for the second time this season -- It hadn't happened since March 2014 before this year -- from No. 24 after three straight losses. Miami fell out from No. 25 after losing at Boston College.