The football staffs at Virginia and Virginia Tech are genuinely jazzed about their 2012 recruiting classes.
- Bio | E-mail | Recent columns
- Teel Time: Cavanaugh, Beamer set high bar for Virginia Tech's 2012 recruits
- Eli Harold overcomes family tragedies on way to becoming a Cavalier
- Teel Time: Virginia Tech's signing of Joel Caleb a credit to not only Shane Beamer but also Jim Cavanaugh
- Virginia Cavaliers
- Virginia Tech Hokies
See more topics »
But the Cavaliers and Hokies signed more than their share, which arranges the ideal dynamic: Mike London's preferred guys versus Frank Beamer's.
Let's kick it off in a few years and see who wins. Let's see if these rivals can make last November's defacto ACC Coastal Division championship game a regular happening.
Do we know if defensive end Eli Harold of Virginia Beach's Ocean Lakes High is the state's best prospect? Heck, no. But some scouts rate him such, and he's headed for Charlottesville.
Do we know whether acclaimed Clover Hill quarterback Joel Caleb can transition back to receiver and recover from a knee injury? No, but Ohio State didn't recruit him on a whim, and he's Blacksburg-bound after revealing his choice Wednesday morning.
Before the coffee had cooled, Brookville defensive tackle Korren Kirven disappointed Tech by opting for reigning national champion Alabama. Tide coach Nick Saban visited Brookville last week, and in short, his rings — he's guided LSU to one title and Alabama to a pair — trumped Virginia Tech's familiarity.
"I didn't know if (Tech) was the place I could achieve my goals at the end of the day," Kirven told the Lynchburg News' Nathan Warters, referencing a national title and the NFL.
Easing the sting for the Hokies: Subsequent gets of Caleb and Centreville pass rushing specialist Ken Ekanem, acclaimed in-state players. If only the intrigue had ended there.
Soon, Twitter feeds went haywire as a Palm Beach Post reporter, Matt Porter, began live tweeting quotes from a tense phone conversation in which West Boca Raton (Fla.) High linebacker Ja Wand Blue, a Virginia Tech pledge, was informing the Hokies he was signing with Miami, a Coastal Division rival.
Porter attributed bitter remarks about betrayal and lies to Beamer, prompting rash retweets by fans and media, me included. Except Blue wasn't talking to Beamer. He was speaking with his primary recruiter, defensive line coach Charley Wiles.
"I found it highly unusual that a newspaper guy would be tweeting a private conversation … and then I'm interested how that newspaper guy got on that conversation and us not be aware of it," Beamer said. "We're kind of checking into that right now."
Even without Blue, the Hokies unveiled a class of 28, two of whom enrolled last month. Seventeen hail from Virginia.
"A little nervousness there early in the morning," Beamer said of the rapid-fire decisions from Kirven, Caleb and Ekanem, plus receiver Joshua Stanford from Lithonia, Ga.
Beamer's son, Shane, Tech's running backs coach, effectively mined suburban Richmond for players such as Caleb and Benedictine defensive lineman Nigel Williams, but much of the credit goes to recruiting coordinator and former assistant coach Jim Cavanaugh, who played C.C. Sabathia to Shane Beamer's Mariano Rivera.
Conversely, the day could not have been more tranquil at Virginia, where each of the Cavaliers' 25 commitments faxed a national letter-of-intent. Contrast that to the angst of last year, when Virginia awaited signing-day decisions from receivers Darius Jennings of Baltimore and Dominique Terrell of Manassas, both of whom chose the Cavaliers.
"You always worry about your guys decommitting," London said. "The message was true and consistent, and obviously it helped with the winning."
Virginia's 8-5 Chick-fil-A Bowl season was its best since 2007, and London welcomed 13 in-state recruits, a head-turning 10 from Hampton Roads. London and cornerbacks coach Chip West grew up in these parts and have forged what London called "deep-rooted relationships" in the high school community.
London is especially pleased with the class' collective height and versatility. Fifteen of the 25 stand 6-foot-3 or taller, including 6-6 defensive end Courtnye Wynn, one of four signees from Norfolk Christian.
"Mother Nature will decide in the end" which position many of Virginia's newcomers play, London said.
Can Virginia receiver Mario Nixon escape the press coverage of Tech corner Donaldven Manning? Will Wynn and Harold develop into bookend pass rushers for the Cavaliers? Is Hokies tailback Drew Harris really in the Kevin Jones mold as Beamer suggested?
Answers are years away. Wednesday's theme was hope.
"I feel really good about this class," Beamer said. "I mean, really, really good."
David Teel can be reached at 757-247-4636 or by email at email@example.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/sports/teeltime and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP