Oct 5, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas (3) tacked the snap as offensive linesman Caleb Farris (79) and Jonathan McLaughlin (71) block in the second quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies have been making some big pushes to get particular players in the Class of 2015 and one of those players has been 4-star offensive tackle Austin Clark of Rockbridge County High School in Lexington, Virginia. The Hokies, along with the South Carolina Gamecocks and Tennessee Volunteers, became the three main contenders for Clark with the Ohio State Buckeyes being a huge longshot.
Austin Clark made his decision earlier today and Hokie fans would end up disappointed.
Clark made the decision to commit to the South Carolina Gamecocks over the Virginia Tech Hokies and while it is definitely a big pickup for South Carolina, it is definitely a major disappointment for the Hokies. The Hokies have been looking to do well with offensive linemen and Clark was arguably the Hokies’ top target along the offensive line so this is a major disappointment. Also, Clark is the latest big-time in-state recruit in the Class of 2015 to leave for a South Carolina school after 4-star defensive end Clelin Ferrell chose Clemson over the Hokies.
There are some positives to take away still as the Hokies can now focus their efforts more directly on other high-profile offensive tackle recruits. Technically, Clark is still not locked in to South Carolina and the Hokies could try to steal Clark though that is extremely unlikely. Also, OL Coach Stacy Searels showed the impact he could have on recruiting as the Hokies went from a sleeper to a serious contender in the chase for Clark largely due to Searels.
Now, the Hokies’ top offensive tackle target will be four-star offensive tackles Matthew Burrell and Isaiah Prince. However, the Hokies seem to be out of the hunt for Burrell after the Hokies were missing on Burrell’s top 15. Isaiah Prince is still very much up for grabs with Maryland, Ohio State, Florida, and Penn State as the frontrunners. These two guys are both big time recruits just like Clark but the Hokies will have a much harder time getting one of those two guys.
The Hokies do have a lot of other targets including four-star recruit Sam Madden, and three-star recruit Patrick Allen who are kind of in a tier below Burrell, Prince, and Clark. The Hokies are in the hunt for those but not in great position. However, the Hokies are in very good shape for two three-star offensive tackles in Barnabas Baning and Mike Arnold. The Hokies are most likely a scholarship offer away from getting Baning while Virginia Tech is arguably the favorite for Arnold.
Missing out on Austin Clark is definitely a disappointment for the Hokies but Virginia Tech is definitely in position to get a couple solid offensive tackles.
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