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Virginia Tech signee Montrezl Harrell asks for his release


The news that many expected to happen finally came to fruition on Thursday with Virginia Tech signee Montrezl Harrell asking the school to release him from his Letter of Intent.

This comes on the heels of freshman forward Dorian Finney-Smith deciding to transfer, and heading into 2012-13 new head coach James Johnson will have eight scholarship players on the roster.

The move by athletic director Jim Weaver to bring back Johnson, who momentarily joined Brad Brownell’s staff at Clemson following the 2011-12 season, was seen as one done to help limit the number of players leaving Blacksburg.

But even with Johnson being able to retain the commitment of Marshall Wood that hasn’t been the case.

Harrell will be a highly sought-after prospect and his 2011-12 season is just one reason why.

The Hargrave Military Academy product played well there and then went on to rack up MVP honors at both the Jordan Brand Classic regional game and the Capital Classic.

According to the Washington Post, Harrell’s list includes Cincinnati, Kentucky, North Carolina State and Pittsburgh.

Harrell’s decision puts more on the plates of C.J. Barksdale and Jarell Eddie, with the latter likely playing some minutes at the ‘4' in a smaller lineup.

But the biggest concern will be the effects on recruiting down the road. And in that regard Johnson has been clear in what he wants in a Hokie.

“I said it in the press conference and I’m gonna continue to say it: ‘I want guys that want to be here.’ It’s a special place and I don’t want distractions on campus. I don’t want distractions in the locker room. I want guys that want to be here and that are happy and excited about being at Virginia Tech.”

Roster turnover tends to come with coaching changes so it isn’t stunning that Johnson will have a limited rotation in 2012-13.

The key is to make sure a sound foundation is being built on the recruiting trail so they can avoid similar situations in years to come.

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Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.