Justin Fuente on Virginia Tech's hits, misses and flips in the 2017 recruiting class

The Hokies didn't finish as strong as they hoped, but still managed to snag a top 20 class in Scout.com's national team rankings.

You don't have to remind Virginia Tech fans, let alone coach Justin Fuente that the Hokies couldn't quite keep the momentum they'd established, moving on national signing day.

Virginia Tech entered the day ranked No. 13 in Scout.com's national team rankings. It signed 17 of the remaining 18 recruits who had been committed. Nine in the 2017 class had already enrolled Jan. 17, in time for the spring semester.

But the one who decided not to sign with the Hokies was a big one. And the sixwho had Virginia Tech listed as a finalist for their signing day decision (Ameer Speed, Brad Johnson, Mekhi Becton, Dazz Newsome, Blake Proehl and Kofi Wardlow) all went elsewhere.

The big miss might have more of an effect long-term. Bishop Sullivan (Va.) and Scout300 wide receiver Tahj Capehart had been committed to the Hokies for nearly six months. He'd visited for multiple Virginia Tech games and was one of the more vocal about his solid commitment. But he flipped early Wednesday morning to Maryland, a surprise to many, but apparently not Fuente.

"We know all of these things, you all just don't," a salty Fuente replied to a question about Capehart. "So it's not surprising. We know what's going on. So when a guy sits up there and he's got hats and all that stuff, we already know. We've already either moved on, or we're celebrating. It's not like we're all sitting up there on the edge of our seats trying to figure out what's going on."

Yes, Capehart is a big loss, not just for this class, but future classes. The impact remains to be seen on some of his younger teammates at Bishop Sullivan, most notably 2018 linebacker Teradja Mitchell, No. 13 in the 2018 Scout300.

But there were plenty of misses. As of 4 pm ET, the Hokies' class ranked No. 19 in the Scout300, That's currently the highest in the current Scout.com rankings, which dates back to 2002. They were ranked No. 20 in 2008. 

Virginia Tech pulled in its highest-ranked recruit ever in five-star safety Devon Hunter, No. 7 in the Scout300. And Hunter is an in-state target at that, ranked No. 1 in Virginia with the hope being that his pledge could bring other elite in-state prospects with him.

The Hokies also flipped Scout300 linebacker Dylan Rivers, another in-state recruit, from Penn State and three-star cornerback Bryce Watts from Rutgers.

Perception-wise, because arguably more fans pay attention to National Signing Day than any other recruiting day of the year, the misses will be remembered more. But don't let that take away from plenty of big hits that should keep momentum going in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 recruiting classes.




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