Ideally, a school would take one quarterback in each recruiting class. Virginia Tech has already gotten a huge jump on that for 2018.
Last night, McDonough (Md.) four-star quarterback DeJuan Ellis announced via Twitter that he'd committed to the Hokies. He becomes already, their second pledge for that recruiting class.
What does his decision mean for Virginia Tech? We break down Ellis' commitment and how he got to this point.
In recent years, it seems quarterbacks commit earlier and earlier. Typically, a school wants a quarterback to be among the first to commit in a class, so the rest of the offense is built around him. A quarterback is also a big selling point for skill position players.
In a lot of ways, Ellis' recruitment was only beginning. Maryland was the first to offer, last fall and the Terps were one of the biggest factors in his recruitment. Syracuse, Temple, Rutgers and Wake Forest also joined in by this spring.
The Hokies had been in steady contact dating back a couple of years. But they didn't offer until March. No matter, though, as Ellis visited first for Virginia Tech's 2015 spring game and another four times after that.
What really intrigued Ellis was the new spread offense coach Justin Fuente has installed, as well as offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen. Ellis spent time talking with both coaches and in an April interview, said the Hokies were high on his list.
On July 23, Ellis was on hand for Virginia Tech's Blacksburg Bash cookout. And the following day, he took part in the Hokies' final recruiting camp of the summer. Ellis wanted to work more with Cornelsen and also spent time dissecting film with Fuente.
This past weekend, Ellis visited Maryland, the only other school he truly considered. But the visit pushed him a bit more towards Virginia Tech and his commitment yesterday.
What it means for the class
Though the previous staff, with a pro style offense, liked Ellis, it's the current staff that revved up their pursuit. While he could have managed in the previous offense, both the new staff and Ellis believe that the spread is a good fit.
It seems that Cornelsen was even more impressed by Ellis after working with him at the camp. The two talked at length and worked out a bit one-on-one.
This should have the Hokies set with a quarterback in the 2018 class. You always want to keep tabs on other options as backup, but Ellis seems to be set at this point in his decision. Should he start taking visits, at that point Virginia Tech will re-visit some options.
Ellis also seems to be motivated by the inevitable battle with three-star Hendon Hooker, who has committed for the 2017 class. Redshirts could spread the two out further, but with their varying heights, it should make for an interesting battle.
There's been some chatter of Ellis moving positions and that could happen. But for now, expect Ellis to be set at quarterback.
“First of all, it's a huge pickup for Virginia Tech. He's improved at quarterback and is a kid who can really run. DeJuan is a legit 4.5 40 (yard dash) guy, just off the charts athletically. He's got a strong arm, a really smart kid with a high football IQ. He understands how to read defenses and he's a true leader.
He's gonna bring a lot to Virginia Tech and it's a huge, huge addition to the 2018 class. This gives them a lot of momentum."
-- Michael Clark, Scout.com mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst
What it means for Virginia Tech as a program
We're a long way from knowing who the starting quarterback a few years from now will be. If all goes as expected this season, junior college transfer Jérod Evans will grab the starting spot and should be the starter next season as well.
It's after that, the Hokies are trying to give themselves options. But at this point, it looks like a battle between Hooker and Ellis for that spot.
Depending on how those two perform and the confidence they receive from the coaches, there could be a third quarterback brought in. You never know what will happen, so Virginia Tech will maintain backup options, including in the junior college ranks.
For now, though, Ellis looks set and being from in-state (transferred from Bishop O'Connell), he's a big-time addition. It looks like the Hokies are back to being a threat in the Tidewater area and a grab like Ellis helps make them a threat in northern Virginia as well.