Hokies signing day: Linebackers
Hokies Journal is taking a position-by-position look of Virginia Tech's incoming class on national signing day. Virginia Tech had seemed to shore up its class early, so all prospects listed were among the recruits expected to sign Wednesday with the Hokies. Follow @HokiesJournal on Twitter for any changes or unexpected signings.
As Cody Grimm's experience shows, stars assigned by recruiting services don't mean much. A former walk-on, Grimm blossomed in his career at Virginia Tech and became a first-team all-ACC selection at linebacker after the 2009 season. Grimm will be missed in 2010, having finished with a team-leading 106 tackles and bringing remarkable savvy and grittiness to the Hokies' defense.
But Virginia Tech has plenty of young linebackers ready for their chance, including Lyndell Gibson, Barquell Rivers and Jake Johnson. All three saw action in 2009 and Rivers, as a reshirt sophomore, was the oldest of all of them. So there is potential in the years to come, but Virginia Tech created some depth with the addition four linebackers. The Hokies' coaches surely hope that, for all these recruits' high rankings and projections, they can match Grimm's productivity.
Chase Williams is perhaps the most promising of the Hokies' newcomers at linebacker. Williams, who is 6 feet 3 and 240 pounds, was a first-team All-Met selection by The Washington Post out of Leesburg's Loudoun Valley High School. He made an eye-popping 173 tackles as a senior, including 11 sacks. He also had 12 forced fumbles.
Like Grimm, Williams has been described as a heady presence on the field and a real "football player." Williams was reportedly an honor-roll student and, after graduating early, enrolled at Virginia Tech for the start of spring 2010 classes. He is the son of New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who used to be on the Washington Redskins staff.
Nick Dew is one of Virginia Tech's top prospects. At 6 feet 2 and 210 pounds, Dew has the body to play either linebacker or safety, and he has 4.41 speed in the 40-yard dash. Dew, who played at First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach, Va., was an important coup in the Tidewater area; he had offers from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and others. Dew is has a rare blend of quickness, size and athletic ability. During his recruitment, Dew spoke highly of Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer, saying he liked Beamer's laid back yet businesslike approach. Dew could get on the field early for the Hokies.
The Hokies added another legacy player in linebacker Tahrick Peak, the brother of current Hokie Nubian Peak. The younger Peak is 6-3 and 210 pounds, so he will have to fill out his frame a little more, but he is said to have a time of 4.45 in the 40-yard dash. Peak, who played at Pulaski County High School in Dublin, Va., reportedly had more than 100 tackles in his senior year. He had offers from North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, among others.
Brian Laiti is another addition at linebacker for the Hokies. A 6-4, 200-pound prospect from Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax. Laiti has shown great speed and pursuit to the ball, but he has also been praised for his tenacity from the linebacker spot. Laiti is the youngest of four brothers who played at Robinson: Peter, a 2002 graduate; Patrick, a 2004 graduate; and David, a 2007 graduate. Laiti had scholarship offers from Maryland and others.
Here's a video of Nick Dew at First Colonial High School from the 2009 season.
Here are some photographs of Tahrick Peak at Pulaski County High School.
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