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Should Virginia Tech fear Virginia in football recruiting?

When it comes to recruiting, Virginia Tech has recently dominated rival Virginia in the in-state battle. But the Cavaliers' new coach, Mike London, appears to taken a splashy tack when it comes to luring prospects to Charlottesville.

Virginia held an intrasquad scrimmage at Old Dominion University in Norfolk in March and will wear nine different uniform combinations in the fall. Add the fact that London was a top recruiter at Virginia while he was an assistant under the former coach, Al Groh, and it would seem to threaten Virginia Tech's stranglehold on the commonwealth.

In recent years, the Hokies have beaten Virginia in recruiting battles for top in-state talent such as former cornerback Macho Harris (Richmond), defensive tackle John Graves (Richmond) and running back Ryan Williams (Manassas). The Cavaliers, meanwhile, have had a broader recruiting outlook, looking for prospects in New Jersey and New York, among other states.

But since arriving in Charlottesville, London has put an emphasis on winning in-state recruiting battles, down to holding scrimmages away from campus and adding spice to the Cavaliers' uniform collection.

Also, London hired Chip West as cornerbacks coach, underscoring his in-state approach. West, who has strong in-state connections after coaching at Old Dominion and James Madison, is responsible for recruiting the talent-rich Tidewater region.

Virginia Tech has a longstanding cast of assistant coaches with deep in-state ties. Jim Cavanaugh, the outside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator, has been at Virginia Tech since 1996 and recruits in Richmond and the Tidewater peninsula and has recruited in the state since 1972.

When asked about the threat posed by the Cavaliers, Bryan Stinespring, the Hokies' offensive coordinator, spoke confidently and noted that the Virginia Tech coaches have a long history with in-state high school coaches.

"We have had longstanding ties within this state," Stinespring said Tuesday in a telephone interview. "We have spent years, going into my 18th season, cultivating a relationship based on mutual trust and respect within coaches, within players and neighborhoods. It has stood the test of time."

Virginia Tech plans to continue to focus intently on recruiting the state. "We’re going to approach this state as we always have," Stinespring said. "It's how we’ve acquired success, how we will maintain success and have done it over an extended period of time."

By Mark Viera  |  April 15, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
 | Tags: Cavaliers, Cavs football, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech football, Virginia Tech hokies, Virginia football, hokies, hokies football  
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There are plenty of good recruits in Virginia for both teams. It looks like London is going after U.Va.'s fair share, which was not a priority for Groh. I'm not sure how many he can take away from VT, but there are plenty of others who have left the state who it would be nice to see stay home in the future.

Posted by: U-Hoo | April 15, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

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