Dec 27, 2014; Annapolis, MD, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies players take to the field prior to their game against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the 2014 Military Bowl at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies’ main recruiting focus is currently on the Class of 2015, but Virginia Tech, like many other programs, has a growing focus on the Class of 2016 with National Signing Day rapidly approaching for the Class of 2015. The Hokies are hoping to finish strong in Virginia by getting Tim Settle and flipping Darrell Taylor, but also hope to do better in-state with the Class of 2016.
The top recruit from Virginia for the Class of 2016 is once again from the fertile Chesapeake recruiting territory.
Levonta Taylor is a cornerback from Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia that has emerged as the top Virginia recruit for the Class of 2016. Taylor will be a very good pickup for somebody, and there seems to be a fairly high potential that he stays in the state of Virginia.
Currently, Taylor is ranked as a five-star recruit by the 247 Sports Composite and Rivals while ESPN has him as a four-star that will likely become a five-star soon since ESPN does not give juniors five-star grades. Taylor is ranked as the best Virginia recruit by all three while Taylor is also ranked as the best cornerback by Rivals, and the second best cornerback by the 247 Sports Composite and ESPN.
Taylor has already received 29 offers while some more powerhouse programs will likely join that number including Alabama, LSU, and Florida. The Hokies look right now like they might be one of the top contenders for Taylor, but it is arch rival Virginia that has emerged as the early favorite.
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Virginia recruiting coordinator Chip West is once again the primary recruiter, and he has done a great job of recruiting players from the 757 recruiting territory. Some of the names West has gotten for Virginia includes Quin Blanding, Andrew Brown, Eli Harold, Demetrious Nicholson, and Taquan Mizzell.
West also has had success recruiting Ocean Lakes High School players led by Harold and 4-star ILB Jahvoni Simmons. West has cost the Hokies multiple top players in the Chesapeake region, and Virginia is hoping to beat out everybody for Levonta Taylor in this case. If Mike London gets fired after 2015, Virginia’s chances will likely go down a lot with the whole staff likely to go if London is fired.
One thing Virginia Tech will be able to use to their advantage with Taylor is the Hokies’ ability to give him early playing time. Donovan Riley will be gone after 2015, Chuck Clark will be at free safety, and Kendall Fuller will likely leave after the 2015 season to be a very high 2016 NFL Draft pick. This would open the door for Taylor to come in and immediately battle for playing time.
Dec 27, 2014; Annapolis, MD, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Chuck Clark (19) makes a one-handed interception during the first quarter of the 2014 Military Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
On top of that, Taylor would get to be coached by the best DBs coach in the nation, Torrian Gray. The chance to get coached by someone who knows how to develop quality NFL cornerbacks that also have tons of collegiate success has to be very intriguing. Chip West might be a great recruiter and a solid CBs coach, but Gray is college football’s best DBs coach.
Ohio State and Tennessee are preparing to each make strong pushes for Taylor, and it would not be surprising to see those programs emerge as serious contenders in this recruiting battle. The Buckeyes have the boost of being in this year’s College Football Playoff while Tennessee definitely looks like a program on the rise under Butch Jones.
Levonta Taylor looks like a player that still might be uncommitted this time next year, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Taylor ends up at Virginia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, or Ohio State.