Hokies add an exclamation point to their 2017 recruiting class, landing consensus 4-star safety, Devon Hunter.
The first major in-state recruit of the Justin Fuente era has officially committed to the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Class of 2017 consensus 4-star safety Devon Hunter, a 6’1″ 205 lbs. prospect out of Chesapeake, Virginia, announced his verbal commitment to the Hokies on Friday evening. Hunter made the announcement in the Indian River High School gym at halftime of his school’s basketball game, in front of his family and friends who have been with him throughout his high school journey.
Hunter is the second-ranked player in the state of Virginia according to 247 Sports, and the third-ranked player in Virginia according to ESPN. Hunter is also recognized as one of the nation’s best overall players, as he was selected to the ESPN 300 list as the country’s 126th-rated recruit. He was also a participant in the U.S. Army All-American Game on January 7th, recording a game-high four tackles.
In addition to the Hokies, Hunter was pursued by Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, Florida, and North Carolina throughout his recruiting process. While it is unclear how close other schools were to landing Hunter’s verbal pledge, there is reason to believe that Florida closed strong with former Virginia Tech defensive backs coach Torrian Gray on their staff.
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Gray now holds the same position with the Gators, and has strong ties to the Tidewater region of Virginia, which was one of his areas of emphasis as a recruiter under Frank Beamer. While the primary recruiter of these schools and their influence on the process overall is often overstated, it is an important step for Justin Fuente and his coaching staff that they were able to close the deal on a blue-chip prospect in the state of Virginia, and overcome the prior ties held by Torrian Gray from his time at Virginia Tech.
With the addition of Hunter, Bud Foster’s defense is in strong position to possess one of the ACC’s elite secondaries heading into 2017. The Hokies return five contributors in their secondary, including cornerbacks Brandon Facyson, Adonis Alexander, and Greg Stroman, whip Mook Reynolds, and safety Terrell Edmunds.
The lone starter from the 2016-17 secondary that will not return is Chuck Clark, who leaves his free safety spot open after graduating. With the ability of Hunter and the buildup of his talent leading up to his commitment on Friday evening, one would have to believe that Hunter has as good of a chance as anyone on the roster to be the Hokies’ starting free safety in the season opener against West Virginia next September.
Virginia Tech will likely enter into the Top 25 recruiting rankings for their 2017 class with the Hunter addition, but the ultimate judge of this new class for the Hokies will be the product on the field in the coming seasons.
While the staff is not short on confidence in the roster that they continue to put together, they can breathe easily knowing that they kept Devon Hunter, one of the top prospects in Virginia in-state, who can be an impact player in the secondary for years to come.