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10 DMV-related things to watch ahead of February's official National Signing Day

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10 DMV-related things to watch ahead of February's official National Signing Day

In just two weeks, a slew of top-rated high school football prospects will rile up fan bases across the country with their college decision announced on National Signing Day. 

Here are 10 DMV-related things to consider as we creep closer to the first Wednesday in February.  

1. Who will join Isaiah Hazel, Deonte Banks, Dino Tomlin, Lavonte Gater, Mason Lunsford, and Malik Jackson to make up the rest of Mike Locksley's first-year recruiting class in College Park? 

Maryland has received verbal commitments from Tayvion Land (CB, Virginia Beach), Jordan Houston (APB, Oakton), Kameron Blount (OLB, Waldorf), David Summers (PRO, Trumbull) and Deshawn Holt (WDE, Waldorf). 

2. Does Virginia Tech add onto its already confirmed list of 19 early signees? 

Head coach Justin Fuente's class is led by five four-star players in offensive lineman Bryan Hudson, Jaden Payoute, defensive back J.R. Walker, wide receiver Tayvion Robinson and running back Keshawn King. The Hokies aren't expected to make any other moves, but be on the lookout for under-the-radar JUCO kids. 

3. Can Bronco Mendenhall and the University of Virginia smoothly turn a page after losing the school's all-time leading receiver Olamide Zaccheaus? 

Filling the shoes of the 2018 Belk Bowl MVP won't be easy but the Cavaliers should be in good position to do so. Zaccheaus is the lone receiver the team is losing from its 2018 roster. Virginia returns its three outside receivers while adding three more from the 2019 class (Dontayvion Wicks, Nathaniel Beal III & Dorien Goddard). 

4. Will West Virginia's focus and commitment to the state of Georgia continue to pay off? 

Four of the current 16 signees in the 2019 class hail from Georgia and it certainly doesn't hurt that several members of first-year head coach Neal Brown's incoming staff have ties to the state. Recruiting from the Peach State has proven to be worth it in the past as names like Bruce Irvin and Pacman Jones both tore it up in Morgantown at one point. Just this year the Mountaineers added four-star cornerback Dreshun Miller (Kennesaw via Eastern Arizona CC), four-star linebacker Jared Bartlett (Suwanee), four-star cornerback Nicktroy Fortune (Roswell), three-star receiver Winston Wright (Pooler) and three-star running back Tony Mathis (Cedartown). Brown did his part to retain each player in the midst of Dana Holgorsen's departure.

5. Will Woodgrove TE Ben Castellano enhance Richmond's passing game?  

Coming off a disappointing 2018 that saw the Spiders go 4-7, Castellano will be a bright spot for head coach Russ Huesman's squad. The 3-star tight end totaled 18 Division I offers while leading Woodgrove High School to the Virginia State Class 4A Championship as a senior, securing the school’s first-ever title. 

6. Can the Good Counsel trio live up to the hype surrounding James Madison's 2019 class under first-year head coach Curt Cignetti? 

Three of nine JMU hard commits hail from Olney, Maryland and join a team that went 9-4 before losing to Colgate in the second round of the 2018 FCS playoffs. Jalen Green (OLB), Julio Ayamel (ILB) and most recently Latrele Palmer (RB) will bring teammate chemistry after a successful high school run in Olney. 

7. Can key members of Old Dominion's 2019 class improve areas on both sides of the ball that led to an eight-loss season for the first time in program history? 

Head coach Bobby Wilder made a slew of coaching changes following the team's second straight losing season. One area in need of improvement is red zone performance which starts with the man under center. JUCO commits Messiah deWeaver and Stone Smartt, freshman Hayden Wolff, and Steven Williams will all compete for the starting QB slot. Another issue for the Monarchs in 2018 was the inability to stop the run. Elonte Jones (WDE) and Elijah Golston (OLB), both three-star signees in their own right, could help clean up last year's shortcomings come 2019. 

8. First-year William & Mary head coach Mike London prepares to solidify his 2019 class. 

With longtime head coach Jimmye Laycock calling it a career after 39 seasons, the Tribe secured London who returns to the CAA where he first led Richmond to the 2008 FCS national championship. London's eight-member incoming class features three offensive linemen, two defensive backs, a quarterback, wide receiver and defensive lineman. London is reportedly bringing his Howard defensive coordinator, Vincent Brown, with him to handle the same duties in Williamsburg. 

9. Hugh Freeze takes the reigns at Liberty University in Season No. 1. 

After a two-year coaching hiatus, Freeze's 2019 early signing class includes four defensive linemen, three wide receivers, two safeties, two defensive backs, kicker/punter and a quarterback. Three-star standouts C.J. Yarbrough (WR), Brayden Monday (WDE), Malik Caper (ILB) and Johnathan Bennett (PRO) headline the group. 

10. This isn't necessarily something to watch for February since he's already signed his National Letter of Intent, but DeMatha Catholic's DeMarco Hellams is Alabama bound to play for the legendary Nick Saban. 

The 2018 All-Met Offensive Player of the Year hauled in 78 receptions for well over 1,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. But don't forget: he's committed to play defensive back at Alabama. The two-way player had 12 interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns, and 91 tackles. 

Virginia Tech spoils halftime lead, falls to No. 10 Duke

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Virginia Tech spoils halftime lead, falls to No. 10 Duke

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Tre Jones scored 15 points and No. 10 Duke rallied after a slow start to beat Virginia Tech 77-63 Friday night.

Vernon Carey Jr. and Wendell Moore Jr. added 12 points each for the Blue Devils (9-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who used runs of 12-2 just after halftime and 12-3 a short time later to take command after trailing for almost the entire first half.

P.J. Horne scored 15 points to lead the Hokies (6-3, 1-1), who lost their third in a row and ended their three-game home winning streak against the Blue Devils. Wabisa Bede and Tyrece Radford added 12 points each.

The Hokies made 10 of their first 14 shots and led by 12 early, but Duke slowly climbed back. The early 12-2 run in the second half gave them their first lead, 50-47, since the opening minute. After Virginia Tech pulled even at 52 on Horne's 3-pointer with 11:10 remaining, the Blue Devils scored 12 of the next 15 points and gradually pulled away.

BIG PICTURE

Duke: The Blue Devils came in averaging seven 3-pointers and had three by the time Carey scored his first point (9:24 into the game) and six by halftime. Virginia Tech had 10 field goals before the game was 10 minutes old, and it took Duke 15 minutes to make 10 shots. Five of them were 3s, though, to keep the score close.

Virginia Tech: Landers Nolley II is the Hokies' leading scorer (20 ppg) and is second on the team in assists. He had three first-half assists, each time feeding a teammate for an easy lay-in when the defense came toward him. But Nolley had an otherwise pedestrian night, finishing with seven points, eight rebounds, four assists and nine of their 14 turnovers.

UP NEXT

The Blue Devils don't play again until Dec. 19 at home against Wofford.

The Hokies are at home against next Wednesday against Chattanooga.

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Howard football coach Ron Prince resigns amid investigation into verbal abuse allegations

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Howard football coach Ron Prince resigns amid investigation into verbal abuse allegations

Ron Prince resigned from his position as head coach at Howard University on Friday. Prince had been on administrative leave since November after allegations of verbal abuse and mistreatment of players.

“Coach Ron Prince has resigned as head coach of Howard’s football program, effective immediately,” Howard athletics director Kery Davis said in a statement to ESPN. “The university and Coach Prince have agreed to mutually part ways. A national search for a replacement will begin immediately."

The allegations came to light after HBCU Gameday reported that Davis received a letter from a parent with the accusations against Price. The university put Price on administrative leave and launched an investigation into the matter.

Four Howard players joined the transfer portal in October, the most notable being quarterback Caylin Newton, the brother of former NFL MVP Cam Newton. Prince joined Howard after the 2018 season and has had 17 players enter the transfer portal during his tenure.

Price's previous experience includes coaching in the NCAA for Rutgers University and Michigan University, and in the NFL for the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts. He was the head coach at Kansas State from 2006-08. 

Howard assigned interim responsibilities to director of football operations Aaron Kelton, who will continue on in that role until a new coach is hired.

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