The Virginia Tech Hokies have had a very strong second half of July in recruiting, and it started on July 20th when the Hokies received commitments from 2016 three-star OLB Emmanuel Belmar and 2017 three-star DB Devante Smith. This gave the Hokies some momentum heading into what turned out to be a very successful recruit cookout on Saturday and Beamer camp on Sunday.
The Hokies also gained two commits on Saturday from two 2016 three-star recruits, OT Patrick Kearns and LB Tavante Beckett. Then, the Hokies gained another commitment from three-star WR Divine Deablo, who is rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN, two days later.
While all that was happening, the Hokies were also included in the top two for another highly-regarded recruit.
Defensive end Nick Coe of Asheboro High School in Asheboro, North Carolina announced that the Hokies and Auburn were in his top two. These two schools have long been seen as frontrunners though they have now been able to separate themselves from other major programs including Miami and in-state North Carolina.
Coe is rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals and 247 Sports' traditional rankings, while ESPN and the 247 Sports Composite have Coe as a three-star recruit. Coe is one of the best recruits in North Carolina as ESPN ranks him 24th within his home state, the 247 Sports Composite ranks him 14th, and Rivals and 247 Sports' traditional rankings rank him eighth.
Coe is also a highly ranked defensive end with ESPN ranking him as the 60th best defensive end, the 247 Sports Composite ranking Coe as the 19th best strong-side defensive end, and Rivals ranking him 13th among strong-side defensive ends.
Coe has impressive size for a defensive end at 6'5'' and around 265 pounds while also being listed as having ran a 4.78 40 yard dash. Coe had a breakout junior season with 70 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 19 sacks; and seems likely to earn more than his current nine offers over the next few months.
Nick Coe's combination of speed, size, and power make him someone that projects to have a huge ceiling whether that is as a defensive end or possibly at defensive tackle. Coe seems fairly raw as a defensive end, but has good reactions and plays with the discipline of a much more experienced player, especially when that involves preserving containment on an interior run or scrambling quarterback to prevent that team being able to turn a bad play into a big one.
The Auburn Tigers had a strong visit with Coe, and are the favorites to gain the commitment of the four-star defensive end. The SEC reputation is likely a major factor for the Tigers along with the success of Auburn getting to the national championship game twice in the last six seasons. The addition of elite defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is also paying huge dividends on the recruiting trail.
However, the Hokies have stayed in the hunt for Coe with Charley Wiles making a big push to get the four-star defensive end. The Hokies also do not have a single defensive linemen committed to their 2016 class just yet, and Coe is clearly one of the top targets for a Hokies' recruiting class that needs some defensive linemen, though Auburn only has one defensive end commit currently.
The Hokies have built some solid recruiting connections in North Carolina, and are hoping to build in North Carolina after getting WR Divine Deablo. Both the Hokies and Tigers have defensive pedigree with coordinators Bud Foster and WIll Muschamp, but the stability in Blacksburg definitely helps. However, Gus Malzahn's future stability and recent success has to help compared to Frank Beamer potentially nearing retirement.