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Hokies signing day: Secondary

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.

Virginia Tech has had no problem putting together top secondaries in recent years, and the 2009 season was no exception. Although senior cornerback Stephan Virgil was limited all year with a knee injury, Virginia Tech saw the emergence of Rashad Carmichael and free safety Kam Chancellor showed moments of NFL potential. Jayron Hosley, who was a true freshman, impressed coaches and could be a future boundary cornerback for the Hokies.

But the 2010 season will bring the departure of two longtime members of the Hokies' secondary, Virgil and Chancellor, and Carmichael and rover Davon Morgan will each be seniors. So Virginia Tech needs to add some talent in the secondary to ensure that the future Hokie backfields will recall secondaries of recent memory. The Hokies added five defensive backs in this recruiting class, including a few with the potential to have a big impact.

Kyle Fuller is a cornerback prospect out of Mount St. Joseph in Baltimore. Although he does not possess the speed of a Carmichael, Fuller has a similar undersize build. Fuller, who runs a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and is 5-11 and 160 pounds, will need to add weight when he gets to Blacksburg, but his potential was apparent in high school and the Hokies have had their eyes on him for a while.

Virginia Tech started recruiting Fuller during his sophomore year and then became the first school to offer him a scholarship. Fuller told the Baltimore Sun he started going to Hokies games on a regular basis in "fifth or sixth grade." His brother Vincent Fuller was a four-year standout at Virginia Tech before being selected by the Tennessee Titans with the No. 108 overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft.

Dominique Patterson has been considered by some to be a free safety coming to Virginia Tech, but he starred as a linebacker at Kings Fork High School in Suffolk, Va. He is 6-2 and 215 pounds and ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at Virginia Tech's one-day camp in July 2009. Patterson has good range and the athletic ability that should translate well to the safety position. Patterson, who had a reported grade point average of 3.25, was rated the No. 21 prospect in Virginia by the Roanoke Times. Patterson was a somewhat under-the-radar recruit because he broke his left wrist during the first game of the 2009 season.

Theron Norman, a free safety, has already enrolled at Virginia Tech. A 6-3, 190 pound prospect, Norman has to put weight on his frame in order to play at the college level, but was one of the top prospects in the state coming out of Richmond's Hermitage high School via Hargrave Military Academy. While the Hokies envision him in the secondary, he played some quarterback his senior season, but mostly was a wide receiver. He caught 16 passes for 185 yards his senior season. He was considered by many to be an athlete recruit coming out of high school.

Detrick Bonner, of Locust Grove, Ga., was an out-of-state pickup for recruiter Torrian Gray, the Hokies' defensive backs coach, who lured him away from Michigan and Clemson. A member of the SuperPrep Dixie Team, Bonner finished with 74 tackles and three interceptions his senior year. Bonner is 6-0 and 180 pounds, so he has a good frame to play cornerback, and has a reported time of 4.6 in the 40-yard dash.

Here are some game highlights featuring Kyle Fuller playing at Mount St. Joseph.

Here's a video of Dominique Patterson explaining his decision and also training during the offsesaon.

By Mark Viera  |  February 3, 2010; 2:10 PM ET
 
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