On Thursday, Capital (WV) three-star linebacker Dorian Etheridge was in the middle of performing at a camp at Toledo.
Etheridge had just run the second of back to back 4.6 40-yard dashes. The feat was enough to make the Toledo coaching staff stop camp and make an offer on the spot.
To this point, Etheridge has 10 total offers, with Louisville and Cornell also recent to the mix. Slowly but surely, word has gotten out on his ability, whether it’s from his film or in-person at a camp setting.
A handful of schools, though, like Virginia Tech, have been well aware of Etheridge’s ability for some time. There’s no top list right now, but more visits are on the way, that could help him get his list together even more. But performances like the one he had at Toledo have given Etheridge the sense that he’s on the right track.
“Really, I’m just trying to get a feel, as early as I can and it’s really where I just feel more comfortable,” he said. “It’s getting to the point, no matter where you go, it’s always gonna be good football. I wanna go to the league and wherever you go, you can go to the league. Football is football, but I just wanna be comfortable, too, because I’m gonna have to be there for a long time. My look at recruiting hasn’t really changed that much, it’s just really about feeling comfortable and getting on the field as fast as I can.”
The Hokies offered Etheridge early last year. He made another unofficial stop to Blacksburg in April, to check out a spring practice.
“That’s still always gonna be in there,” Etheridge said of Virginia Tech. “They offered me when I was young, so I’ve been knowing them for a long time.”
Previously, former assistant coach Torrian Gray served as the primary recruiter. Those duties have since been passed to assistant coach Galen Scott, but Etheridge said the presence of defensive coordinator Bud Foster has also made a big difference.
“Really, it’s been the whole coaching staff,” Etheridge said. “It’s good because they have a newer coaching staff. Coach Foster is still there, but for all of them to get there, I know they have so much on their plate. They’ve gotta know all the recruits and they really made me a priority, so I really respect them. Coach Foster, I talk to him like once a week, so they’re really recruiting me hard.”
Next on the docket, Etheridge will be camping today at Kentucky. Later this week, he plans to visit Pittsburgh as well.
“Kentucky’s a camp, but Pittsburgh’s already offered me, so I’ll just go chill out with the coaches and sit down,” Etheridge said. “I know we’re watching the Steelers practice. It’s just to get down there again. My first time there was for a junior day and that’s where they offered me, but I really wanna explore and see more.”
More visits are likely on the way. And before his senior season starts, Etheridge said he hopes to have a better sense of where his recruitment is.
“I wanna do a top list and it’s probably gonna be when I’m done with camps this summer,” he said. “But I don’t really know yet. I’m still working on that right now. The way it’s going, I don’t really know who’s safe. The coaches know about my film, they always just wanna see me in person and just see me run and everything. The way it’s going, I might have five or six more offers by the time that comes. I don’t really know who’s gonna be in that.”
At this point, Etheridge said he’s keeping all of his options open. That includes schools like Toledo.
“Toledo’s a good program, don’t get me wrong,” Etheridge said. “I talk to the coaches a lot, Coach (Mike) Ward. They just sat down and talked with me and everything. I had a really good time up there. I consider them really good coaches. They really broke it down and everything while we were up there. It was crazy, because that was the first time ever getting offered just from my testing. It was a good experience going up there.”
If nothing else, camps like Toledo give Etheridge reassurance that his work has paid off. And it’s not done.
“I wanted to work on my straight-line speed and I’ve been working on that,” Etheridge said. “Last year, I ran a high, 4.8. Really, I need to be better at playing in space and being versatile. I gained some weight, too, but I also got faster and I can move better. So I can play inside or outside. Where I still need to work, I need to work on everything, being better as a player, like studying the game and knowing everything I can about it.”