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Oct 5, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Frank Beamer reacts in the second quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech's Chase of Class of 2015 OLB Ricky DeBerry

The Virginia Tech Hokies know that the talent pool for the Class of 2015 in Virginia is quite strong once again and the Hokies will want to take advantage of the opportunity. Frank Beamer and his staff have already missed out on a few of in-state four-star players in Clemson commit Clelin Ferrell, Michigan commit Garrett Taylor, and South Carolina commit Austin Clark. The Hokies are still in strong pursuit of Taylor as they look to poach him from the Wolverines but the Hokies definitely have a chance to still get a lot of the best talent in the state of Virginia.

The Hokies have already gotten a commitment from 3-star defensive lineman Harry Lewis but he is the only in-state player committed to the Hokies. The Hokies have only five total commits which is disappointingly low but the talent level is solid with 4-star cornerback Mook Reynolds from Northern Guilford High School in Greensboro, North Carolina leading the way. However, the Hokies definitely have the chance to bring in some more top recruits including Ricky DeBerry.

Ricky DeBerry is a four-star outside linebacker from St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, Virginia and is ranked in the top 7 in the state by 247 Sports, ESPN, and Rivals. DeBerry is 6-2 and around 235 pounds though 247 Sports has him at 255 pounds and this size is the reason why some sites like 247 Sports think he could also be a defensive end.

Ricky DeBerry is a player that has above-average instincts and reactions which are two very valuable things for a Virginia Tech player. DeBerry plays a lot as a defensive end so his coverage skills are probably fairly raw but he definitely would fit well at the outside linebacker spot. DeBerry is an above-average run defender and is also a very good pass rusher with the instincts to pick apart some play-action plays. DeBerry also has very good reactions as he has shown that he can bat down passes in the backfield if he can’t get to the quarterback.

Alabama and Oklahoma are battling the Hokies for Ricky DeBerry.

Jan 2, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban (right) and Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops talk prior to kickoff of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Right now, Virginia Tech is one of about nine teams that seem to be in serious contention for DeBerry with programs from the SEC, Big 10, and Big 12 all in contention. It wouldn’t surprise me if DeBerry ends up using all five of his official visits this fall as his recruiting battle seems very wide open right now and it is unlikely that the unofficial visits he will take this summer will change that.

One of the top teams that the Hokies will battle for DeBerry is the Alabama Crimson Tide who hosted DeBerry on an unofficial visit on June 14th. The Crimson Tide have become a recruiting powerhouse under Nick Saban and are once again contenders to have the best recruiting class in all of college football. Schematically, DeBerry actually would fit quite well in the Alabama system as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Alabama is a very dangerous contender that the Hokies will definitely have to battle.

The Tennessee Volunteers and Penn State Nittany Lions are two programs that have seen their recruiting take off recently. Butch Jones brought in an impressive class for Tennessee in the past cycle while James Franklin is building a strong class for 2015 at Penn State. Both of these programs are in somewhat of rebuilding modes but Franklin and Jones are proven recruiter that the Hokies definitely will have to watch.

Virginia has struggled a lot on the field but are definitely a contender as Mike London has been good at doing one thing and that is recruiting elite Virginia prospects. However, a lot of the success London has had has been in the Norfolk region and the Richmond area has been a place where London has not had the same kind of luck. Plus, London is on a very hot seat and if London gets fired, I would expect Virginia to be out of the DeBerry hunt.

Ohio State and Virginia Tech will be competing on and off the field this fall.

Jan 3, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer (right) talks with his players in a timeout against Clemson Tigers during the first half in the 2014 Orange Bowl college football game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Two top contenders right now for DeBerry are the Oklahoma Sooners and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Both of these programs are run by well-known coaches in Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer who have built teams that are currently national title contenders and have also won national titles in the past.

Oklahoma is arguably the very slight favorite over every other team because of the schematic fit for DeBerry on top of how Oklahoma has been a traditional power. However, the Buckeyes are seen as the favorite by the 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball with 40% of predictions being in the Buckeyes favor. I would expect that Oklahoma and Ohio State will be two of DeBerry’s five official visits this fall.

So, the Hokies have some tough competition but DeBerry made a surprise unofficial visit to Blacksburg on June 8th which makes youn wonder if the Hokies aren’t one of the favorites. Virginia Tech has been traditionally a strong defensive teams and DeBerry has the skill set to play at outside linebacker or possibly be a defensive end in college as he is in high school. The Hokies also have the advantage of being the successful, in-state football program which could make a big difference.

For now, the race for Ricky DeBerry is wide open but the Hokies are definitely in contention and seem in good shape to get and official visit from him this fall.

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