As the gem of the recruiting class, can Devon Hunter fill an immediate need at safety for the Hokies in 2017?
When Devon Hunter signs with Virginia Tech on National Signing Day, he will represent the most highly-touted member of the 2017 recruiting class for the Hokies.
Not only is the 4-star safety out of Chesapeake, Virginia, the highest rated prospect to sign with the Hokies in Wednesday’s 2017 class, but in the bigger picture, Hunter will represent a class of players that will rank among the best group of high school prospects to ever sign with Virginia Tech.
When coach Justin Fuente was named as the replacement for Frank Beamer following the 2015 season, he put an emphasis on the need to win back the state of Virginia on the recruiting trail, citing the desire to keep the state’s best talent at home with the Hokies.
As the 3rd-best safety in the country and 2nd-ranked player in the state of Virginia, according to 247Sports, Hunter embodies everything that Fuente was looking for as an in-state talent who could not only lay the groundwork for recruiting classes to come, but make an immediate impact on the team as a freshman in 2017.
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Given the clear ability of Hunter from his high school game film (see above, if you haven’t already), he was likely a candidate to earn early playing time no matter who was on the roster at his position. Luckily for head coach Justin Fuente and defensive coordinator Bud Foster, the decision to play Hunter as a freshman will likely be an easy one, given the hole at the safety position left by Chuck Clark, who graduated following the 2016 season.
With Hunter slotted in at safety, the Hokies will possess one of the top secondaries in the entire ACC. Hunter will likely be joined at safety by rising redshirt-junior Terrell Edmunds, while being flanked at corner by a combination of junior Adonis Alexander, senior Greg Stroman, and redshirt-senior Brandon Facyson. In the 4-2-5 look that the Hokies predominantly play, it is likely once again that junior Mook Reynolds will slot into the role as the whip, but could also rotate with Stroman there if Stroman does not win one of the starting cornerback jobs.
For Devon Hunter, he is a rare breed of size, speed, and athleticism that the Hokies have not seen with a prospect since Kam Chancellor roamed the defensive backfield. Chancellor is a defensive legend at Virginia Tech, and is one of the idols of Hunter. Additionally, Chancellor played a major role in sealing the deal with Hunter’s recruitment with the Hokies, as he was one of the many people present at Hunter’s commitment decision a couple of weeks ago.
On film, Hunter shows an ability to defend both the run and the pass equally well, which is a trait that is not often seen out of players who are just readily committed out of high school. Hunter appears to be ready to not only play right away, but also be a guy who can be an impact player immediately and have the potential to become one of the top defensive players in the ACC in year one, and for multiple years to come.
Devon Hunter, of course, is just one of the many players to sign in the “Statement 17” recruiting class who should be watched with a keen eye moving forward. Fighting Gobbler will continue to preview each member of the recruiting class with our profile series that is just getting underway. Stay with us for all of the latest National Signing Day coverage and analysis as we breakdown the latest class of Hokies and their potential impact on the program moving forward.