BLACKSBURG (HokieSports.com)– Head coach Justin Fuente welcomed 15 student-athletes to Virginia Tech on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period. This group is comprised of players who competed at the prep level from nine different states. Tech’s list of signees includes four running backs, four defensive linemen, three defensive backs, two offensive linemen, one wide receiver and one tight end.
Two of the running backs inked by Tech have experience at the collegiate level. RB Khalil Herbert is a graduate transfer from the University of Kansas, where he played in 35 games, registering 320 carries for 1,735 yards (5.4 avg.) with 14 touchdowns. He also caught 24 passes for 118 yards. The Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, native registered three career 100-yard rushing games for the Jayhawks, including a career-high 291-yard effort vs. West Virginia (9/23/17) and a 187-yard performance in a 48-24 win at Boston College (9/13/19). RB Marco Lee comes to Blacksburg from Coffeyville Community College, where he racked up 236 carries for 616 yards (5.2 avg.) with nine TDs over the past two seasons. Lee prepped at Hardaway High School in Columbus, Georgia.
Florida and Georgia were the Hokies’ most represented states with three signees apiece from those states. Maryland and Texas both contributed a pair of signees, while Virginia, Tennessee, Connecticut and Pennsylvania each contributed one prep signee apiece. DB Lakeem Rudolph of Green Run High School in Virginia Beach continued the Hokies’ longstanding pipeline of talent coming from the 757 to Virginia Tech.
“We were very selective and targeted with this class from the start knowing the number of scholarships we had available,” Fuente said. “I’m very enthused that we were able to land a number of guys who had been on our radar for some time. Some of these players will have an opportunity help us immediately and others will give us depth at positions where we need to continue to develop and grow.
“It’s an exciting time at Virginia Tech and I’m glad this class of signees is going to be part of what still lies ahead for our program,” Fuente continued. “Whether it’s a new on-campus residence hall, our student-athlete performance center or the renovations to our strength and conditioning center, as well as our meeting space, our facilities are definitely undergoing a transformation. Just as importantly, our team continues to develop with a group of players who are committed to working hard, excelling in the classroom and doing whatever it takes for us to continue improving individually and collectively.
“I can’t wait to get everyone on campus to begin the next step in their academic and athletic careers,” Fuente concluded. “I know Coach Hilgart and his team are anxious to help these young men continue to develop the mental and physical toughness it takes to compete at this level. Congratulations to this group and everyone in their lives who has helped them get to this point. We will do our very best to help each and every one of them reach their full potential at Virginia Tech.”
The traditional National Signing Day will be on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020.
Virginia Tech Football – Early Signing Day Bios
Derrell Bailey, Jr.
Defensive Lineman 6’6″ 255 lbs.
Greenback, Tenn. Greenback School
Played for head coach Greg Ryan at the Greenback School in Greenback, Tennessee … Part of a squad that posted a 13-3 record during his senior campaign … Ranked second on the team with 11.5 TFL as a senior and also produced 63 tackles (17 solo) … Recorded 69 tackles, 9.0 TFL and 7.0 sacks as a junior … Also played basketball at Greenback.
Defensive Lineman 6’5″ 232 lbs.
Tyrone, Ga. Sandy Creek HS
Played for head coach Brett Garvin at Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Georgia … Team reached the state semifinals with a 12-2 record in 2019 … Recorded 53 tackles (32 solo), 9.0 sacks and a team-high 13.0 TFL as a senior … Also forced one fumble and averaged 3.8 tackles per game … Ranked the No. 49 weakside defensive end in the nation by 247.com.
Running Back 6’0″ 210 lbs.
Alpharetta, Ga. Denmark HS
Played running back for head coach Terry Crowder at Denmark High School in Alpharetta, Georgia. … Played in all 10 games as a senior, leading the squad in rushing with 94 carries for 661 yards (7.0 avg.) with three 100-yard games and nine touchdowns … Also had four catches for 106 yards with one TD … Ran for 935 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior at South Forsyth High School, where he was named co-Offensive Player of the Year … He transferred to Denmark HS prior to his senior season (Denmark is a new high school in his area) … He also competed in track and field.
Defensive Lineman 6’3″ 240 lbs.
Pearland, Texas Shadow Creek HS
Played for head coach Brad Butler at Shadow Creek High School in Pearland, Texas … The team is playing for the 5A state title at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Dec. 21 … Ranks second on the squad with 16.0 TFL to go along with 45 total tackles (31 solo), 6.0 sacks and four forced fumbles … Team was the state runner-up in 2018, posting a 15-1 record … Earned first-team all-district honors as a junior … Ranked as the No. 13 weakside defensive end in the country by 247.com.
Offensive Lineman 6’7″ 270 lbs.
Lugoff, S.C. Lugoff-Elgin HS
Played offensive tackle for head coach Mike Armstrong at Lugoff-Elgin High School in Lugoff, S.C. … A first-team all-state selection, earned a spot on the South Carolina roster for the 2019 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas against the top players from North Carolina … A two-time all-region pick, only permitted 1.0 sack as a senior, while grading out at 86 percent on the season … Led his squad in pancakes, knockdowns and “demon blocks” (blocking a defensive lineman 10 or more yards downfield) … Ranked No. 18 player in South Carolina by Rivals.com and No. 27 by 247Sports.com … Team qualified for the South Carolina 5A playoffs.
Running Back 5’10” 195 lbs.
Rockville, Md. Georgetown Prep
Played running back for head coach Dan Paro at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda, Maryland … Team finished the 2019 season with an 8-2 record and ended the year No. 9 in the Washington Post DMV rankings … The 2019 Interstate Athletic Conference Player of the Year, finished his senior campaign with 169 carries for 1,214 yards (7.2 avg.) with 11 touchdowns … A first-team all-metro selection, he also averaged 40.2 yards per kickoff return with one TD and caught three passes for 30 yards … Ran for 263 yards with a pair of TDs to lead Georgetown Prep to a 22-16 win over Bullis to win the 2019 Interstate Athletic Conference title … The IAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2018, racked up 169 carries for 1,443 yards (8.5 avg.) and 14 touchdowns, while adding another TD on a kickoff return … First-team all-metro pick as a sophomore in 2017, posted 180 carries for 1,302 yards (7.2 avg.) with 13 TDs.
Running Back 5’9″ 205 lbs.
Coral Springs, Fla. University of Kansas/American Heritage HS
Graduate transfer from the University of Kansas … Played in 35 games for the Jayhawks, registering 320 carries for 1,735 yards (5.4 avg.) with 14 touchdowns … He also caught 24 passes for 118 yards … The Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, native produced three career 100-yard rushing games at Kansas, including a career-high 291-yard effort vs. West Virginia (9/23/17) and a 187-yard performance in a 48-24 win at Boston College (9/13/19) that included a career-long 82-yard run … Played in four games in 2019, averaging 96.0 yards rushing per game and 8.9 yards per carry … A 2019 Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll selection.
Defensive Back 6’3″ 180 lbs.
Jacksonville, Fla. Jean Ribault HS
Played free safety, cornerback and wide receiver for head coach Kelvin Smith for his first three seasons at Jean Ribault High School in Jacksonville, Florida … Team was coached by Lin Shell for his senior campaign … The latest in a number of players from the Jacksonville area who have played at Tech, including current Hokies’ RB Keshawn King (Oakleaf), as well as WR Isaiah Ford (Trinity Christian), who now plays for the Miami Dolphins.
Running Back 5’11” 225 lbs.
Columbus, Ga. Coffeyville CC/ Hardaway HS
Played running back for head coach Jeff Leiker at Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kansas. … Rushed for 820 yards and five touchdowns this season for the Red Ravens and rushed for 1,232 yards and nine TDs in his two-year Coffeyville career … Played for head coach Michael Woolridge at Hardaway High School in Columbus, Ga., graduating in 2018 … He was co-Player of the Year in Region 1-A as a senior, rushing for 1,570 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Offensive Lineman 6’3″ 305 lbs.
Bethlehem, Pa. Freedom HS
Played for head coach Jason Roeder at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania … No. 16-ranked recruit in the state of Pennsylvania by 247.com … Freedom won the Pennsylvania 6A title in 2018 and lost in the finals in 2019, finishing 12-2 both seasons … Father, Greg, is an assistant coach at Freedom and his younger brother, Braelin, is a teammate.
Tight End 6’3″ 240 lbs.
Home Country – France St. Thomas More Prep
Talented tight end and wrestler joins current Tech P Oscar Bradburn (Sydney, Australia) as the only other foreign-born player on the Hokies’ roster … According to Tech’s coaching staff, Pene developed a passion for football in his native France and subsequently enrolled at St. Thomas More Prep in Oakdale, Connecticut, where he played for head coach Jason Manson … A two-time All-New England selection was part of an offensive unit that helped guide the Chancellors to a 7-1 record in 2019 … Played both tight end and defensive end, catching eight passes for 183 yards with four TDs on offense, while racking up 47 tackles, 15.5 sacks, 11.0 TFL and three forced fumbles … Also blocked a punt … Worked with head coach Ryan Roddy on the wrestling squad and finished seventh in New England in his first season competing in that sport … Last name pronounced (PEN-aye).
Defensive Back 6’4″ 202 lbs.
Virginia Beach, Va. Green Run HS
Played wide receiver and safety for head coach Brandon Williams at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, Va. … Another in a long line of Tech players hailing from the 757 region … Joins five current players on the Hokies’ roster who hail from Virginia Beach: WR Phil Patterson (Bayside), DB Armani Chatman (Bishop Sullivan), WR Tayvion Robinson (Cox), LS CJ Scott (Bishop Sullivan) and DL Jaevon Becton (Ocean Lakes).
Wide Receiver 6’0″ 174 lbs.
Jacksonville, Fla. First Coast HS
Played wide receiver and cornerback for head coach Marty Lee at First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Fla. … Caught 54 passes for 937 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior … Also ran track and played basketball at First Coast … Another Jacksonville-area signee joining Keonta Jenkins (Ribault) in this class, in addition to current Hokies’ RB Keshawn King (Oakleaf).
Defensive Back 6’0″ 160 lbs.
Upper Marlboro, Md. Dr. Henry Wise HS
Played wide receiver and cornerback for head coach DaLawn Parrish at Dr. Henry Wise High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland … Caught 17 passes for 425 yards with eight TDs as a senior … Also racked up 33 tackles (24 solo) and 2.0 TFL in 2019 … Was named Washington Post Player of the Week as he caught two touchdown passes and also returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown in win over Old Mill (11/30) to advance to Maryland 4A state title game … Also competed in track and field at Wise.
Defensive Line 6’3″ 230 lbs.
Stafford, Texas Stafford HS
Played at Stafford High School in Stafford, Texas … Recorded 73 tackles (41 solo), 6.0 sacks and 7.0 TFL as a senior … For his career, recorded 155 total tackles, 14.0 sacks and 22.0 TFL.