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

Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors


Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors

Leaving the Georgetown Hoyas a season early is initially paying off for Marcus Derrickson. 

Less than a month before what would have been his senior season at Georgetown, the 6-7 forward has signed a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors. 

Derrickson nabbed the second two-way position on the Warriors after an outstanding Summer League translated to a solid preseason.

Fitting right into the Warriors deep-ball oriented scheme, Derrickson was 6-16 from three point range during the five-game preseason. He's a versatile stretch-four that continues to develop and improve on his outside game. 

By signing a two-way contract, the former All-Big East Second teamer will have a chance to get called up to the two-time defending NBA champions at any point this season for up to 45 days. The remaining time will be with the Warriors' G-league affiliate the Santa Cruz Warriors

This arrangement will earn Derrickson a contract of $75,000 and a prorated amount for however much time he is practicing/ playing with Golden State. 

If he is called up to the NBA for more than the allotted 45 days, then the Warriors are obligated to give him a minimum rookie contract. 

Derrickson continues to prove himself as the list of aspiring players dwindles. As each contract begins to near its end, the Warriors time after time offer another opportunity.


West Virginia, Penn State drop in new AP top 25 poll


West Virginia, Penn State drop in new AP top 25 poll

After four of the top eight teams lost, The Associated Press college football poll had a new look behind No. 1 Alabama, with Ohio State reaching No. 2, LSU jumping back to No. 5 and Michigan moving into the top 10 for the first time this season.

The Crimson Tide received all but one of the 61 first-place votes from the media panel Sunday, with Ohio State receiving the other. No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Notre Dame also moved up a spot. LSU jumped eight after handing Georgia its first loss of the season. The Bulldogs slipped from No. 2 to No. 8.

No. 6 Michigan has its best ranking of the season after blowing out Wisconsin and Texas is up two spots to No. 7.

No. 9 Oklahoma moved back into the top 10 while it was idle and Central Florida remained No. 10.


1. Alabama 7-0 (60 first-place votes, no change from last week)

2. Ohio State 7-0 (1 first-place vote, No. 3 last week)

3. Clemson 6-0 (No. 4 last week)

4. Notre Dame 7-0 (No. 5 last week)

5. LSU 6-1 (No. 13 last week)

6. Michigan 6-1 (No. 12 last week)

7. Texas 6-1 (No. 9 last week)

8. Georgia 6-1 (No. 2 last week)

9. Oklahoma 5-1 (No. 11 last week)

10. UCF 6-0 (No change from last week)

11. Florida 6-1 (No. 14 last week)

12. Oregon 5-1 (No. 17 last week)

13. West Virginia 5-1 (No. 6 last week)

14. Kentucky 5-1 (No. 18 last week)

15. Washington 5-2 (No. 7 last week)

16. NC State 5-0 (No. 20 last week)

17. Texas A&M 5-2 (No. 22 last week)

18. Penn State 4-2 (No. 8 last week)

19. Iowa 5-1 (Not ranked last week)

20. Cincinnati 6-0 (No. 25 last week)

21. South Florida 6-0 (No. 23 last week)

22. Mississippi State 4-2 (No. 24 last week)

23. Wisconsin 4-2 (No. 15 last week)

24. Michigan State 4-2 (Not ranked last week)

25. Washington State 5-1 (Not ranked last week)

Virginia and Maryland are among those that received votes, with each team getting two apiece.


Eight ranked teams overall lost Saturday, including three previously unbeaten teams. Joining Georgia among the previously undefeated on Saturday were West Virginia and Colorado.


All the losses up and down the rankings meant plenty of movement. Joining LSU and Michigan as teams that gained at least four spots were:

-- No. 12 Oregon jumped five after beating Washington in overtime. The Ducks have their best ranking since September 2015.

-- No. 17 Texas A&M moved up five after edging South Carolina on the road.

-- It was a good week to be idle and watch teams plummet. No. 14 Kentucky and No. 16 North Carolina State each gained four spots in an idle week, and No. 20 Cincinnati moved up five.


-- No. 13 West Virginia lost at Iowa State and fell seven spots after reaching a season high last week.

-- No. 15 Washington dropped eight spots after losing at Oregon.

-- No. 18 Penn State's second straight close home loss, this time to Michigan State, dropped the Nittany Lions 10 spots.

-- No. 23 Wisconsin, which started the season ranked fourth, dropped eight spots after its second loss.


-- Colorado reached No. 19, racking up wins against a weak schedule, but USC manhandled the Buffaloes in Los Angeles and now they are unranked.

-- Miami, which started the season at No. 8, is out altogether after losing at Virginia.

-- Auburn, which started the season ninth, is out and no longer receiving votes after getting beat at home by Tennessee and falling to 4-3.


-- Iowa surged into the rankings for the first time this season at No. 19.

-- No. 24 Michigan State is back in after a week out.

-- No. 25 Washington State moved in just in time to host ESPN's "College GameDay" for the first time ever with Oregon coming to town. Getting to Pullman, Washington, is notable for the show because for years it has been followed around by Wazzu fans waving the `Ol Crimson school flag.


A week after the Southeastern Conference placed a season-high eight teams in the poll, the SEC lost one and the Big Ten gained two. The ACC has only two ranked team for the first time since Oct. 4, 2015, when Clemson was No. 6 and Florida State was No. 12. The Tigers played for in the national championship game that season.

SEC -- 7 teams (1, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 23).

Big Ten -- 6 (2, 6, 18, 19, 22, 24).

American -- 3 (10, 20, 21).

Big 12 -- 3 (7, 9, 13).

Pac-12 -- 3 (12, 15, 25).

ACC -- 2 (3, 16).

Independent -- 1 (4).


No. 16 North Carolina State at No. 3 Clemson. The ACC's only ranked and unbeaten teams meet in a game that will likely go a long way toward settling the Atlantic Division.

No. 22 Mississippi State at No. 5 LSU. This will be the fourth ranked team the Tigers have faced -- though two (Miami and Auburn) are no longer.

No. 6 Michigan at No. 24 Michigan State. Another chance for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines to flipped the narrative.

No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington State. The Ducks look to make it an Evergreen State sweep.