Sep 7, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster watches players warm up prior to the start of the game against the Western Carolina Catamounts at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies have had an interesting start to the Class of 2015 recruiting process and currently have two players who could both be defensive tackles. Three-star defensive tackle Eric Whitehead from Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana is a definite defensive tackle. Meanwhile, three-star defensive lineman Harry Lewis of Phoebus High School in Hampton, Virginia has been seen as a guy that could play at either defensive end or defensive tackle. However, the Hokies still are looking to add more on the defensive line.
5-Star defensive tackle Tim Settle out of Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas, Virginia is one of the top five recruits in the state of Virginia and a nationally targeted player. Settle has fallen down recruiting boards slightly but is still seen as a five-star by many other than Rivals and the regular 247 Sports rankings. Settle is a top defensive tackle prospect that many programs are hoping to get a commitment from by National Signing Day 2015.
At 6-3 and around 310 pounds, Tim Settle is built to be a guy that could play defensive tackle in a 4-3 or slide over to nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme. Settle is an elite run defender as 247 Sports notes that he had 32 tackles for loss this past season while his 5 sacks prove he is a solid pass rusher. However, Settle’s pass rush skills are still lagging behind his elite run defending skills though if Settle can produce anywhere from 4 to 7 sacks in a season, I think most would be satisfied.
Back on May 2nd, Tim Settle released his top 15 via Twitter which at the time was the only expected update we would see.
Then, Settle announced that there was a new leader a month later once again via his personal Twitter account.
We have already seen one change in the leader of the Tim Settle pursuit from the Tennessee Volunteers to the Clemson Tigers which proves that this race is fairly wide open. From the original top 15, I would expect that only the top 8 are going to be the real contenders though Penn State is kind of on the border of being a serious contender.
Despite how the Virginia Tech Hokies are seventh on that list, the Hokies are going to be a contender as the in-state program that has consistently won unlike Virginia. The Hokies are not the frontrunners for Settle and optimisim around Virginia Tech’s chances isn’t great after the failure to get Da’Shawn Hand. However, Settle is not Hand and the Hokies definitely are contenders right now in the Tim Settle chase.
Right now, Clemson is the frontrunner for Settle and the Tigers have had some interesting battles in the past for top prospects including Robert Nkemdiche who committed to the Tigers early on before decommitting and choosing Ole Miss. Clemson has been on the rise over the last few years as one of the ACC’s powerhouse programs and the Tigers have the potential to be serious ACC title contenders in 2015 with Jameis Winston likely to enter the 2015 NFL Draft.
Clemson also has started to produce some quality defensive NFL prospects under defensive coordinator Brent Venables who is also the primary recruiter for Settle. However, the Hokies with Bud Foster can also match the ability to produce NFL prospects on the defensive side of the ball which is just another reason why the Hokies can’t be ruled out. Settle is also good friends with Clemson commit Chad Smith and that is definitely an x-factor in this recruiting battle.
Aug 31, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban (left) hugs Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Frank Beamer after the 2013 Chick-fil-A Kickoff game at the Georgia Dome. Alabama won 35-10. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama and Tennessee are definitely two of the most serious contenders for Settle with the Volunteers proving themselves as strong recruiters and Alabama being a national title contender. Tennessee might no longer be the leader but it is hard to deny the success of Butch Jones on the recruiting trail bringing a lot of top prospects to Knoxville. The Volunteers are improving and Settle might want to help be a part of their revitalization.
However, Alabama is the favorite in my opinion due largely to the friendship between Settle and Alabama signee Da’Shawn Hand. Alabama also has won 3 national titles in the last 5 seasons and is clearly has the advantage over everyone in college football in terms of being a national title contender. Alabama also has produced tons of NFL players on defense and Settle could be very interested by that. However, Settle might not be a great fit as a nose tackle and is more of a 4-3 defensive tackle rather than a 3-4 nose tackle.
The Hokies are a contender for Settle and while they aren’t the favorites, Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech definitely can’t be ruled out.
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