The Favorite: Virginia Tech
Back at the beginning of the fall, most people saw Virginia Tech as one of the outside teams for Tim Settle with Tennessee, Clemson, and Penn State being the frontrunners. However, many then believed that the Hokies were the favorites as soon as Settle announced that his top 5 was Virginia Tech, Louisville, USC, Oklahoma State, and Washington State.
Virginia Tech has a tremendous reputation as being a regular defensive powerhouse, and the signing of Bud Foster to a new five-year contract definitely has to help with coaching stability. Frank Beamer and Bud Foster has been with the Hokies since 1987 while DL coach Charley Wiles has been in Blacksburg since 1996 which is impressive stability.
The Hokies have also produced their fair share of NFL defensive linemen over the years with Luther Maddy, Dadi Nicolas, and others set to join that list after next season. Virginia Tech has had plenty of defensive line stars in college football with some of those more recent players having NFL success including Jason Worilds.
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Virginia Tech also has a great reputation for having plenty of high character players with only a few exceptions over the years. Virginia Tech also has arguably the loudest crowd in college football while also having extremely passionate fans that will pack stadiums for bowl games even after a 6-6 regular season as proven at the Military Bowl.
One thing that hurts is the lack of success over the last few seasons, but the loads of young talent should alleviate that. Another issue is early playing time as Settle will need to move ahead of Woody Baron and Ricky Walker in the fall just to be the fourth defensive tackle though Baron seems like a player that could be moved back to defensive end next season.
However, Virginia Tech has the proximity to home advantage plus a great defensive reputation along with a strong connection with the recruit. The Hokies are the favorites, but they need to make sure they seal the deal this time.
Next: Who does Settle choose?