The Scribes talk about their favorite NSD'21 Signees
As National Signing Day for the Class of 2021 came and went, the Hokies made little noise considering their recruiting class was mostly cemented back in December during the Early Signing Day period. However, the Scribes of Saturday didn't want this moment to pass without taking the opportunity to discuss a few of their favorite '21 signees. Now, this list isn't intended to gloss over any of the '21 recruits not mentioned in the article, as each Scribe had multiple favorites, but in the end, there's always that "one" recruit you are tracking just a little bit closer, mostly because you love their potential and what they can bring to the table. So without further ado, here are what some of the Scribes are saying about their favorite Virginia Tech Class of 2021 signees.
Grant Mitchell's Favorite Signee
DJ Harvey - Cornerback (5'11 / 182lbs)
Sierra Canyon HS - Chatsworth, CA
The Sierra Canyon-based DB is, as 247 Sports states, an "impact upper-tier Power 5 starter." Harvey is taking on a new challenge moving to the east coast, though his sensational change of direction and reactiveness make him likely to succeed regardless. Harvey provides an immediate upgrade for the Hokies in the slot by using his quickness to stifle opposing receivers and should make a quick impact in Blacksburg.
Evan Norris's Favorite Signee
Mattheus "Stretch" Carroll - Defensive End (6'3 / 220lbs)
Gilman School - Baltimore, MD
If I had to specify one player from the '21 class that I think has the most upside, the answer for me is easily Mattheus "Stretch" Carroll. The Gilman School product sits at 6'3 / 220lbs and has plenty of frame left to put on additional weight but maintain mobility. Not only is his size and lengthiness a plus, but the speed he displays on his game film is something to be thrilled about.
Many times, he can be seen easily beating out the opposing Offensive Tackle to their block and slipping by for an easy sack. His arms create enough space for him to get through the lineman, which should be the centerpiece of his playing style. It's safe to say, Carroll is very knowledgeable about how he wants to play, as well as the school he is coming to play for.
In an earlier interview with Carroll on Instagram Live, he was very knowledgeable about the history of Virginia Tech, but also the future of what VT is trying to build, and his excitement to prove people wrong about their evaluations, which fuels his hard-working ethic. It really seems that Carroll knows what it takes to become a successful player here in Blacksburg and is trusting of his coaches to get him there. Do not be surprised if you see Carroll take an Amare Barno-type progression in terms of his time here at Virginia Tech.
Konnor Kilgore's Favorite Signee
DJ Sims - Wide Receiver (6'3 / 190lbs)
Christchurch School - Richmond, VA
If you looked up "playmaker" in the dictionary, there would be a picture of DJ Sims. Whether it's on a deep route where he blew by the corner, a jet sweep where he makes multiple defenders miss, or on a kickoff return, Sims has the ability to score every time he touches the ball. He also has excellent size to complement his speed, standing at 6'3 / 190lbs. He is also a standout basketball player and shows flashes of his ability on the hardwood in jump ball situations, where he skies up for the catch over a helpless DB or subtly boxes out the safety for a better position.
In addition to all of his offensive prowess, he is a playmaker on defense too, possessing excellent ball-hawking skills and anticipation. Sims still has a few rough edges to iron out in his game, such as expanding his route tree to become more of a threat in the short and intermediate passing game, and adding more muscle to his lanky frame so he can compete with higher-level corners than he faced in high school. There is an open spot on the depth chart at wide receiver across from Tre Turner, and I would expect Sims has a good shot to claim it with his diverse skill set. Don't be surprised when this kid ends up as Tech's next great receiver.
Justin Cates's Favorite Signee
Jalen Hoyle - Safety (6'0 / 180lbs)
Dwight Morrow HS - Englewood, NJ
Jalen Hoyle is a 6'0 / 180lb Safety prospect from Englewood, NJ, and is considered the "OG" for the 2021 class as he was the first to commit, where he chose the Hokies over reported scholarship offers from West Virginia and Georgia Tech. 247 ranks him as the 21st best recruit in New Jersey joining quarterback Tahj Bullock as the new players hailing from the Garden State. Hoyle enrolled at Tech in January.
Despite being much smaller than Divine Deablo, Hoyle plays with a similar style. He hits opponents with controlled aggression that belies his stature and he isn’t afraid to come up to the line and get involved with stopping the run. He shows some impressive closing speed and has a nice break on the ball. He managed 46 total tackles, 6 sacks, and an interception in a shortened 2020 season. He also flashed his athleticism on offense as a mobile quarterback passing for 632 yards, running for 640, and accounting for 12 total touchdowns.
Among the biggest priorities for Tech’s recruiting has to be adding speed across the board and Hoyle checks that box. It’s also nice to see the Hokies landing recruits from New Jersey which is an often underutilized area for the program — I’m sure Billy Ray Mitchell will agree.
Sam Jessee's Favorite Signee
Tahj Bullock - Quarterback (6'4 / 223lbs)
St. Peters Prep - Jersey City, NJ
I wrote an extensive article on Bullock right after his commitment and had the opportunity to interview him and his coach. Truthfully, he's the best QB recruit in terms of raw talent that Tech has signed in the Fuente tenure. He has great size, dual-threat speed, with an effortless throwing motion that is gushing with power and flair. Oh yeah, and he's a winner. In his first year as starter for St. Peters Prep, Bullock led the Marauders to a New Jersey non-public, Group 4 state title, which is arguably one of the toughest divisions in all of high school football.
What jumps off the screen in Bullock's film is his effortless deep ball, even against coverage. He combines this with a real knack for scrambling and keeping plays alive while also keeping his eyes downfield. Bullock will draw many comparisons to Jerod Evans, but make no mistake Bullock is a pass-first QB. His game shows great ingenuity and spark. He's the kind of talented and fiery leader that you need to take a stagnant program back to prominence and glory.
Truthfully, I'm on record as saying that I wouldn't be opposed to seeing Bullock take some significant snaps early on in the season. For a program that has struggled to have a consistent man under center, Bullock offers a much-needed hope of stability and talent.
Chris Himes's Favorite Signee
Keli "CEO" Lawson - Athlete (6'4 / 200lbs)
Sherando HS - Stephens City, VA
One word, wingspan.
That is what VT found in the form of Keli "CEO" Lawson, a massively overlooked VA-based prospect, who currently touts an athletic 6'4 / 200lb frame along with a 6'8 WINGSPAN! In other words, he's essentially the perfect player to mold into whatever you can imagine him to be. If Virginia Tech is doubling down on its "Developmental U" moniker, then Lawson represents the ultimate "buy low, sell high" type of stock, especially when you consider his projected position as an OLB/DE who can also flat out sprint at 23mph and dunk a basketball. However, given his frame and freakish athleticism, in three years if he ended up becoming either an elite WR, TE, DE, LB, or S, I wouldn't be shocked by any of those outcomes.
Also, for a school that has utilized an actual "Horse on a Treadmill" in one of its previous University commercials... there's also this...