For months, Stockbridge (Ga.) three-star Jalen Holston has been Virginia Tech's top target at running back. And last night, he came through on the Hokies' wait and gave them his commitment.
What does his decision mean for the Virginia Tech? We break down Holston's commitment and how he got to this point.
Holston has been on the Hokies' radar for over a year. But it was in June, at their Atlanta satellite camp, that he really improved his stock.
Since then, Holston has been Virginia Tech's top running back target for the 2017 class. The staff has put the press on Holston, but he's also shown his interest in multiple ways.
In July, it appeared Holston could be on track for a Hokies commitment. He attended their Blacksburg Bash barbecue. But while he praised Virginia Tech after the visit, he remained uncommitted.
In August, Holston was back in Blacksburg during Virginia Tech's fall camp. And while he talked about visiting other schools, the only one he took an official visit to was to North Carolina in October...and that was when the Tar Heels played the Hokies. Holston was in Blacksburg Thanksgiving weekend for an official visit for the game against Virginia.
On Tuesday, Holston had an in-home visit from assistant coach Zohn Burden and Virginia Tech. It seemed like after that visit, he had all but committed to the Hokies, according to staff sources. But later that same night, Holston talked of at least seven schools still under consideration to TheVTZone.com and a visit that afternoon from Georgia, which it seemed he was waiting on, though an offer hadn't come.
But yesterday morning, Holston text Scout.com TheVTZone.com that he had talked over the decision with his parents and would be announcing his decision last night. Analyst Chad Simmons confirmed yesterday afternoon that Virginia Tech was the choice and last night, Holston indeed tweeted his commitment to the Hokies.
What it means for the class
There's still some big fish Virginia Tech is trying to reel in. The biggest, obviously, is five-star safety Devon Hunter.
But while Hunter and others might get the attention, the Hokies HAD to have a good running back in the class. And as previously mentioned, Holston has been the top target at running back for at least six months now.
The Virginia Tech staff loves Holston's explosiveness. They love his athleticism, his burst and ability to turn any play into a big one.
Stockbridge (Ga.) fell last weekend in the Georgia Class 5A state playoffs, the only blemish in a 13-1 record. Holston certainly carried his share of the load and more this season. He rolled for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns on a workhose-load of 201 carries. Last season, Holston tallied 1,361 yards rushing.
Yes, Holston is not a four-star player by Scout.com. But it isn't by much that he's off. He doesn't make the freakish cuts and moves of guys ahead of him, but Holston is a bruiser. He's smart and knows how to see where holes and defenders will form.
There's still a chance Virginia Tech could go after another running back in the class. The odds are slim with Rasheed Martin, but others like Terius Wheatley, have been offered as an 'athlete,' with the possibility of playing running back. And commit Aundre Kearney could play running back or linebacker.
"Holston is a strong running back who runs with authority and power. He does not do a lot of dancing around, but when he gets the ball, he hits the hole, he gets up the field and he does not play around. He is a decisive runner. He sticks his foot in the ground and goes. He has a great frame, he shows good balance and he can get those yards after initial contact."
-- Chad Simmons, Scout.com southeast recruiting analyst
What it means for Virginia Tech as a program
Just two seasons ago, Virginia Tech had runners to burn in a stable of running backs. Since then, there's been multiple torn ACL injuries. That slowed Shai McKenzie and Marshawn Williams, the latter whom will miss the Belk Bowl with an injury.
Then, there's the drop-off and inconsistent play from Travon McMillian, who ran for 1,000 yards last season. And while Sam Rogers has picked up the slack, he's a senior. The Hokies desperately need to replenish the backfield.
Holston isn't the only answer, but he's a great start. He's certainly a kid who will get a look next fall, but he won't arrive on campus until the summer, which might make it more difficult for him to make impact, at least right off the bat.