The hot streak continued on Saturday for Virginia Tech at its Blacksburg Bash. No. 3 on the day came from another recruit who had the Hokies in good position for some time.
A former California decommitment, Rome (Ga,) three-star linebacker Jaylen Griffin gave Virginia Tech his commitment before he left Blacksburg.
What does his decision mean for the Hokies? We break down Griffin’s commitment and how he got to this point.
The first offer for Griffin came in mid-December, from Illinois. In the ensuing months, East Carolina, Appalachian State and a handful of other smaller FBS schools offered.
The big moment came in early May, when California offered. Just a few weeks later, Griffin committed there, as it appeared he was enamored with a major offer. But before and even right after his commitment, Griffin never visited there.
By late spring, Griffin had 32 offers. And on June 22, Griffin announced his decommitment from the Golden Bears, but kept them in a top six, along with Virginia Tech, Louisville, Colorado State, Boston College, East Carolina and Colorado State.
Four days before that, Griffin was on hand at the Hokies' elite camp. It was evident then that they were high on Griffin's list. In early July, Griffin told TheVTZone.com that he would return to Blacksburg this weekend for the cookout. And with little surprise, Griffin made his commitment.
What it means for the class
This is another hard-hitter, somewhat in the mold, as far as style of play, with inside linebacker Tavante Beckett, whom Virginia Tech took in the 2016 class. Griffin isn't quite the hitter Beckett is, but he packs a punch.
Griffin looks like he's slotted for the inside and depending on how he grows, could be the 'mike linebacker help that the Hokies desperately needed. He joins Rayshard Ashby, who committed to Virginia Tech back in March. That tandem could be a solid one the next couple of seasons.
Because of the lack of depth at the position, there's a possibility Virginia Tech could take two more inside linebackers. At the top of the wishlist is four-star Ellis Brooks. But don't forget about three-stars Sherrod Greene and Andrew Ward. Expect the Hokies to push hard and take at least one of those three.
“First of all, Jaylen is a great kid. He works hard, takes in coaching and nobody's gonna outwork him. He works with his team, has a personal trainer, so the kid goes the extra mile to be as good as he can be. He's always gonna play hard, has a good motor, just that consistent work ethic, mindset, self-motivated, self-driven. A lot to like there even before he steps on the football field.
Once he steps on the field, he straps 'em up and gets on the field between the lines. I think he'll come into Virginia Tech physically prepared and mentally prepared to play. He's a good-looking kid at 6'2" and around 215 pounds, he's strong, plays in a good football program that prepares those guys to go and compete on the next level. At linebacker, he's played some outside, he's played inside, used on some blitz packages. But ideally, he's an inside linebacker who plays inside the box. He's best when he comes downhill. He has great recognition, he reads his keys and he goes to find the football.
I think Jaylen does a great job playing within himself, not trying to do too much and be somebody that he's not. He knows his limitations, what kind of game he has and he plays that way. He attacks, he's a solid tackler, an instinctive player and he can work on becoming more explosive, quicker and better in space. He's not a drop guy who's gonna be great in pass coverage, not the most explosive, tackle through the opponent, type of kid, but a solid tackler, a wrap-up guy and he plays a very smart game of football."
-- Chad Simmons, Scout.com Southeast recruiting analyst
What it means for Virginia Tech as a program
Especially with the transfer of Carson Lydon, the linebacking corps is a bit thin right now. It was thin even before Lydon's departure, though.
Depth will be a concern this season and in turn, the Hokies had to replenish their linebackers. Griffin will be a guy who could push to play right away, especially given the circumstances.
Already physically, he's not far from being ready for the next level. There's still lots of room to grow and improve, but Griffin is certainly a guy who could slide in and contribute immediately.