Oct 4, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams (12) is sacked during the second half by Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Ken Ekanem (4) at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Virginia Tech Hokies won 34-17. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies are working on adding a few more players to their current recruiting class with National Signing Day less than two months away. The Hokies have had up and down success on the recruiting trail as they have missed out on a few recruits but gained commitments from Yosuah Nijman and Adonis Williamson, and had 7 players sign their National Letters of Intent to enroll in the spring including Nijman.
Now, the Hokies have made another addition to their 2015 recruiting class.
Three-star defensive end Houshun Gaines of Nash Central High School in Rocky Mount, North Carolina committed to the Hokies over Vanderbilt and Virginia. The Hokies have been the favorites for Gaines for a while so it is not a major surprise that he ended up choosing the Hokies over Virginia and Vanderbilt.
Gaines is ranked as the 23rd best prospect in North Carolina by ESPN, 39th best North Carolina recruit by the 247 Sports Composite, and the 25th best North Carolina prospect by Rivals. Gaines is ranked as the 64th best defensive end by ESPN, 53rd best strong-side defensive end by the 247 Sports Composite, and 44th best strong-side defensive end by Rivals.
Oct 5, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Frank Beamer, left, and defensive line coach Charley Wiles react in the fourth quarter. The Hokies defeated the Tar Heels 27-17 at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Gaines could also be an outside linebacker but with Charley Wiles being the primary recruiter for Gaines, it is almost certain that he will be a defensive end.
Houshun Gaines will need to add some weight as he currently is around 220 pounds but he looks like a guy that can bulk up to around 240 to 250 with his 6’4” frame. However, getting into a college weight room should help Gaines bulk up fairly quickly along, and it would not surprise me if Gaines is around 230 to 235 pounds by the start of next season.
Gaines has solid speed for his position though the level of athletes that Gaines will be facing at college will definitely be a lot better than what he currently faces. One thing that will definitely translate well for Gaines is the fact that he is very explosive off the line. Gaines’s reactions are quite impressive, and that could help him get some early playing time on special teams potentially.
Gaines is not the most consistent tackler but does a good job of wrapping up someone’s legs when he goes low to get a tackle. There are many players who fail to do a good job of wrapping up on tackles when they go low but Gaines does a good job of doing that and preventing broken tackles.
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Houshun Gaines projects to be a developmental defensive end that seems like a very strong redshirt candidate for his first season in Blacksburg. However, Gaines definitely has a lot of upside and has the potential to be a very good starting defensive end in a few years.
Gaines is also the third player to commit to the Hokies whose primary recruiter was DL Coach Charley Wiles. Wiles has had a fairly good year on the recruiting trail with 4-star CB Mook Reynolds and 3-star TE Chris Cunningham being the other two commits.
However, Gaines did tweet out that he will still be taking his three official visits which means that Vanderbilt and Virginia aren’t completely done in their pursuit of Gaines. However, it seems very likely that Gaines will stick with the Hokies.
Houshun Gaines is a solid addition to a very deep recruiting class for Virginia Tech.
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