From the sidelines
By Marty Gordon
New Virginia Tech head football coach Brent Pry says he will concentrate on recruiting from within six hours of the Blacksburg campus. Earlier this week, he proved it with the signing of Radford High School athlete Marcell Baylor.
Pry recently told the media, “Literally, you can take Blacksburg and draw a six-hour radius around it and that’s where we’re honing in first. That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be opportunities in other areas, but we want to be strong in North Carolina and parts of South Carolina. We’re going to be heavy in parts of Pennsylvania.”
The new coach is emphasizing the fact that the Hokies must take control of the commonwealth and neighboring states. He said this doesn’t mean the Hokies will not go after the top players in the Carolinas. It does mean, according to Pry, that Tech will start dominating the whispers in Virginia and maybe, just maybe, keep the top players home.
Over the past five years, the state’s top five have been signing with the likes of Penn State, Notre Dame and other ACC schools.
Recruiting outside that six-hour window, he said, will come down to a specific need and a specific player.
“I told the staff this morning, unless there’s some reason for us to get west of the Mississippi, right? I told them we’re not doing it,” Pry said. “I don’t want to see that you’re traveling to Texas or you’re traveling to Nebraska or you’re traveling to California unless there’s some type of relation to Virginia Tech or the state of Virginia. A family member went to Tech, whatever the case is. Maybe used to live in Virginia, used to live in the footprint. Best friends on the roster. If there’s not a reason, we’re just not going to throw darts across the Mississippi.”
This is a quite a change from the Justin Fuente era when coaches were constantly reaching out to players in Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia.
The idea of recruiting the commonwealth recalls the Frank Beamer era when the Hokies dominated the state of Virginia.
Baylor will join fellow Bobcat P.J. Prioleau, who was a preferred walk-on for the Hokies last season.
Baylor was named the 2021 All-County/All-City offensive specialist after splitting time this season at quarterback, receiver, and running back. He had a hand in 29 touchdowns and 2,095 combined yardage for Radford
This past week, Baylor was named a Class 2 all-state second-team defensive back.
Pry also proved to the student body he will be approachable after taking part in this week’s snowball fight on the drill field. The students and he snapped selfies before and after the annual event. The coach showed he is ready for the public relations side of the game.
This is something the Tech program has not had in a long-time, thus giving the university a shot in the arm as it changes its degree of doing things at least from the athletic perspective.
In addition, there have been plenty of reports the new coaching staff either visited or made contact on Day 1 with every high school in the 757 area code of Virginia. Chapter 1 is in the books, and Pry is starting off well.