National signing day saw several area youngsters sew up their athletic futures Wednesday.
Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, and Liberty University also announced their recruiting classes. See below for information about those recruiting classes.
Sprinter Kendell Wiles signed on to continue her track career at the University of Indiana. Kendell dominated the state meet last spring and is a state champ in the 500 meters. She has set school records in the 300, 400 and 500 meter races and also on the 4x400 relay and chose the Hoosiers over JMU, Virginia Tech, and Clemson.
Carley Graves has inked to play soccer at Concord University in West Virginia next fall. Graves has been a stalwart on the Bruins defense.
Kenneth Hagan will continue to run track at the University of Virginia, receiving a partial scholarship with the Cavaliers.
And McKenzie Raber, who's been swimming since she was 11, is headed to VMI to continue her career in the pool.
Bruins placekicker Carson Wise will join the Virginia Tech program as an invited walk on. Wise nailed two kicks in excess of 50 yards this season, including a 55 yarder.
He kicked 32 career field goals and also considered Davidson and William & Mary.
At Cave Spring, distance runner Katie Fortner is headed to Clemson. Fortner has finished in the top five of the state cross country meet four times. She won the 1,000 meters at the state indoor meet two years ago.
Emily Fulton will keep running as well, just up the road in Lexington at VMI next season.
And Olivia Sass is on her way to Division II Lock Haven to play volleyball next season. The setter helped Cave to a state title as a sophomore.
Defensive end DeAnthony Muse inked papers to play for the University of Richmond next season. A key cog in Northside's state title run this past season, Muse had 26 tackles for loss, including 13 sacks. He carries a 3.6 GPA as he prepares for a career with the Spiders.
In Lexington, Rockbridge County's Adam Doll-Hennis has decided to stay local and signed his letter of intent to play football for VMI. The Wildcats senior linebacker finished this past season with 153 total tackles and set a school record for career tackles at 517. Some of his awards for the 2013 season include being named first-team All-Blue Ridge District, and first-team All-Conference 31. Doll-Hennis picked VMI over Navy, William and Mary and Richmond.
Soccer star Emmanuel Scere is on his way to the University of Virginia. Scere signed his papers Tuesday afternoon to play for Coach George Gelnovatch and the Cavaliers, who made the Final Four this past season.
Salem lineman Alex Light signed Wednesday to play football at Richmond. Light, who committed to Richmond back in December, will likely play guard for the Spiders. The 6-5, 285-pounder helped the Spartans reach the state semifinals this past season.
Two girls soccer players put their signed on the dotted line. Heather Crouch will suit up at Tusculum College in Greenville, Tennessee, while Carley Andersen will get her kicks at VMI after being a three-year starter with the Terriers.
VIRGINIA TECH SIGNEES
Name Position Height Weight High School Hometown
Jaylen Bradshaw, wr, 6-1, 180, Oscar Smith HS, Chesapeake, Va.
Kevin Bronson, de, 6-3, 258, Village Academy, Boynton Beach, Fla.
Xavier Burke, te, 6-3, 245, Brunswick HS, Lawrenceville, Va.
Chris Durkin, , qb, 6-3, 230, Ursuline HS, Poland, Ohio
Terrell Edmunds, db, 6-1, 185, Dan River HS, Danville, Va.
Holland Fisher, db, 6-2, 210, Fork Union, Richmond, Va.
Andrew Ford *, qb, 6-3, 193, Cedar Cliff HS, Camp Hill, Pa.
Isaiah Ford, wr, 6-2, 180, Trinity Christian HS, Jacksonville, Fla.
Eric Gallo, ol, 6-3, 285, Council Rock South HS, Richboro, Pa.
Kendrick Holland, wr, 6-3, 190, Winter Haven HS, Winter Haven, Fla.
Melvin Keihn, lb, 6-2, 215, Gilman School, Towson, Md.
Shai McKenzie *, rb, 5-11, 215, Washington HS, Washington, Pa.
Travon McMillian, qb/ath, 6-0, 200, C.D. Hylton HS, Woodbridge, Va.
Vinny Mihota *, de, 6-5, 252, Massaponax HS, Fredericksburg, Va.
Raymon Minor, lb, 6-3, 215, Benedictine HS, Ashland, Va.
Billy Ray Mitchell, ol, 6-4, 280, Paramus Catholic HS, Westwood, N.J.
Shawn Payne, db, 6-3, 176, L.C. Bird HS, Chesterfield, Va.
Colt Pettit, ol, 6-4, 260, Patrick Henry HS, Deshler, Ohio
Cam Phillips, wr, 6-1, 185, DeMatha HS, Laurel, Md.
C.J. Reavis, db, 6-0, 190, Thomas Dale HS, Chester, Va.
D.J. Reid, rb, 6-0, 190, Fork Union, Chester, Va.
Michael Santamaria, k, 5-8, 150, Athens Academy, Athens, Ga.
Tyrell Smith, ol, 6-3, 260, Don Bosco Prep, North Brunswick, N.J.
Steve Sobczak, dt, 6-1, 285, Massaponax HS, Milford, Va.
Greg Stroman, cb, 5-11, 165, Stonewall Jackson HS, Bristow, Va.
Tabyus Taylor, rb, 6-1, 215, Hopewell HS, Hopewell, Va.
Ricky Walker, dl, 6-2, 265, Bethel HS, Hampton, Va.
Marshawn Williams *, rb, 5-11, 224, Phoebus HS, Hampton, Va.
Here is the news release from Virginia Tech:
Nine All-America caliber players highlight a football recruiting class composed of 28 student-athletes, as announced by Virginia Tech on Wednesday.
“We’re extremely proud of this class, both athletically as well as academic- and character-wise,” Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “It’s an extremely strong class and I like our overall speed, both in the skill positions and in the offensive and defensive lines. We’ll see how it turns out, but I think we’ll be proud of this class as they contribute to Virginia Tech football.”
Five players from the Commonwealth of Virginia earned All-America level honors: C.D. Hylton High quarterback/athlete Travon McMillian (No. 208 on Scout 300), Bethel High defensive tackle Ricky Walker (No. 299 on ESPN300) and Benedictine High linebacker Raymon Minor (No. 100 on Scout 300). Additionally, Holland Fisher (Richmond) and D.J. Reid (Chester) are a pair of highly acclaimed 2013 Virginia Tech signees from Virginia who are currently attending Fork Union and signed grant-in-aid offers from Tech on Wednesday. Fisher was rated as the No. 36 player in the country last year as a senior by 247Sports and is rated as the top prep school player in the country by 247Sports, while Reid was rated as the No. 234 player in the country as a senior and is listed as the No. 1 prep school running back in the country by the same outlet.
Additionally, four out-of-state signees earned All-America level honors: Ursuline (OH) High quarterback Chris Durkin (No. 271 on Scout 300), Trinity Christian (FL) High wide receiver Isaiah Ford (No. 196 on 247Sports), Gilman (MD) School linebacker Melvin Keihn (No. 226 on Rivals 250) and Washington (PA) High running back Shai McKenzie (No. 170 on Scout 300; No. 243 on 247Sports).
Tech announced 28 players total Wednesday, including 22 who signed NLIs. Fifteen of those 28 players are from Virginia and eight of them are ranked among the top 25 in the state according to The Roanoke Times. Highlighting this year’s in-state group are the three All-America level players - Walker (No. 10 by The Roanoke Times), Minor (No. 13 by The Roanoke Times) and McMillian (No. 14 by The Roanoke Times). Seven other players from the state of Virginia are ranked in the top 25 by The Roanoke Times. They are: Thomas Dale High defensive back C.J. Reavis (No. 15), Phoebus High running back Marshawn Williams (No. 17), Oscar Smith High wide receiver Jaylen Bradshaw (No. 20), Stonewall Jackson High defensive back Greg Stroman (No. 22) and Dan River High defensive back Terrell Edmunds (No. 24).
Also joining the Hokies are, listed alphabetically: Brunswick High tight end Xavier Burke (No. 10 tight end by ESPN), Massaponax High defensive end Vinny Mihota (No. 14 strongside defensive end by 247Sports), L.C. Bird High defensive back Shawn Payne (No. 110 safety by 247Sports), Massaponax High defensive tackle Steve Sobczak (No. 84 defensive tackle by 247Sports) and Hopewell High athlete Tabyus Taylor (No. 71 athlete by 247Sports). Fisher and Reid round out the Virginia signees.
Fourteen players from six other states also joined the Hokies. A trio of Pennsylvania products - Camp Hill quarterback Andrew Ford, Richboro offensive lineman Eric Gallo and McKenzie - hail from the Keystone State. Ford was the Gatorade state player of the year in Pennsylvania and is rated as the No. 18 pro-style quarterback in the country by 247Sports, while Gallo is ranked as the No. 8 center in the country by 247Sports. McKenzie missed most of his senior season after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee, but is still ranked as the No. 16 running back in the country by 247Sports.
The Hokies reached into the state of Ohio for a pair of signees in Durkin and Deshler offensive lineman Colt Pettit. Durkin is ranked as the No. 16 pro-style quarterback by Rivals, while Pettit is listed as the No. 25 offensive guard by ESPN. The Hokies had a strong year in Maryland, signing Laurel wide receiver Cam Phillips and the All-American Keihn from Towson. Phillips is listed as the No. 43 wide receiver in the country by Rivals, while Keihn is ranked the No. 16 outside linebacker in the country by Rivals. Tech also went north to New Jersey to bring in two highly ranked offensive linemen in Westwood’s Billy Ray Mitchell (No. 35 offensive guard by 247Sports) and North Brunswick’s Tyrell Smith (No. 56 offensive tackle by ESPN).
For the 24th signing class in the past 27 years (1988-2014), Virginia Tech has brought in at least one player from Florida with the addition of Winter Haven wide receiver Kendrick Holland, Boynton Beach defensive end Kevin Bronson and the All-American in Ford (Jacksonville). Holland is ranked as the No. 70 wide receiver in the country by 247Sports, while Ford is ranked as the No. 30 wide receiver in the country by 247Sports and Bronson is ranked as the No. 78 defensive end in the country by ESPN.
The Hokies also signed kicker Michael Santamaria, who attends Athens Academy in Athens, Ga., and is ranked as the No. 14 kicker in the country by 247Sports.
Of the 28 players in the class, 17 are projected to play on the offensive side of the ball. Of the 17 players slated for offense, 12 are coming in as skill players (quarterback/running back/receiver), while five are coming in as offensive linemen or tight ends. Eleven players are slotted to begin their careers on defense with four starting on the line, two at linebacker and five in the secondary, while the Hokies signed one special teams player.
Andrew Ford, McKenzie, Mihota and Williams all graduated from high school early and enrolled at Tech in January, and thus, did not sign an NLI on Wednesday. The four are already participating in offseason workouts. Offensive lineman Braxton Pfaff (Lynchburg, Va.), who signed with Tech in 2013 and deferred his enrollment, also enrolled in January.
For the purpose of this release, anyone ranked in ESPN300, 247Sports Top 247, Scout Top 300 or Rivals 250 is considered All-America level caliber.