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Fuente, his job status secure, for now, announces 2021 recruiting class

virginia tech logoVirginia Tech football coach Justin Fuente, who we learned Tuesday would return for a sixth season, on Wednesday welcomed a 2021 recruiting class that isn’t getting a whole lot of love from the recruiting services.

There is one four-star player – tight end Jack Hollifield, the younger brother of current Tech linebacker Dax Hollifield.

The class is ranked 40th by Rivals, 44th by ESPN and 45th by 247Sports.

The updated late-on-signing day rankings for in-state ACC rival Virginia: 26th by Rivals, 28th by 247Sports, 29th by ESPN.

Recruit capsules

Chance Black
Running Back 6-1, 190
Roebuck, S.C. Dorman High School
Played running back for head coach David Gutshall at Dorman High School in Roebuck, South Carolina … Dorman registered a 4-2 record during a six-game 2020 campaign … Rushed for 736 yards and 10 touchdowns in that six-game season as a senior and caught seven passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns … As a junior in 2019, he had 166 carries for 1,067 yards with 11 TDs … Also caught 20 passes for 375 yards and five TDs … Also ran track at Dorman and finished fourth in the 2019 state meet in the triple jump.

Tahj Bullock
Quarterback 6-4, 223
Jersey City, N.J. St. Peter’s Prep School
Played quarterback for head coach Rich Hansen at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, New Jersey … The Marauders finished 4-2 during the 2020 campaign, as Bullock threw for 814 yards and 12 touchdowns and ran for 306 yards and six TDs … A state player of the year finalist, a first-team all-state pick and a first-team all-conference selection … As a junior, he led St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City to four fourth-quarter comeback victories and threw five TD passes in a win over St. Augustine Prep … Led St. Peter’s to a state championship as a junior in 2019, earning first-team offensive all-state honors … Was also named the all-county MVP and the offensive player of the year … Considered by analysts to be one of the nation’s top 20 dual-threat quarterback recruits and considers him the top quarterback in New Jersey … As a junior, he threw for 2,274 yards and 26 touchdowns … Also had 480 rushing yards and six TDs … Full name is Tahjamell Bullock.

Mattheus Carroll
Defensive Lineman 6-3, 220
Baltimore, Maryland Gilman School
Played defensive end and served as a team captain for head coach Nick Bach at Gilman High School in Baltimore, Maryland … The Greyhounds posted a 2-0 record during an abbreviated 2020 season … As a junior in 2019, he was named an All-MIAA selection and was named to the Baltimore Touchdown Club’s Super 22 team after posting 11.0 sacks … Also competed on the wrestling squad at 220 pounds … Nicknamed “Stretch.”

Kenji Christian
Running Back 6-2, 197
Pinson, Alabama Pinson Valley High School
Played running back for head coach Sam Shade at Pinson Valley High School in Pinson, Alabama … He is ranked the No. 36 running back overall and the No. 22 prospect in Alabama by 247Sports … Pinson Valley earned the Alabama 6A state championship with a 23-13 win over No. 1 seeded Spanish Fort … The squad finished the season with an 11-2 record that included an eight-game winning streak … As a junior, he rushed for 451 yards on 63 carries … Opened the 2020 season with a 100-yard rushing performance vs. Hewitt-Trussville … Also ran track at Pinson Valley.

Da’Shawn Elder
Defensive Back 6-2, 200
Watkinsville, Georgia Oconee County High School/Fork Union Military Academy
Played for head coach Frank Arritt at Fork Union in 2020 and was part of a squad that posted a 5-1 record, continuing the long pipeline of FUMA alums to Blacksburg … Spent the previous three seasons at Oconee County High School in Watkinsville, Georgia … Posted 62 tackles (40 solo), 8.0 TFL, six INTs and a fumble recovery in 22 games for the Warriors, in addition to five catches for 74 yards and 63 kickoff return yards … Also competed in basketball at Oconee County HS.

Isi Etute
Linebacker 6-3, 205
Virginia Beach, Virginia Frank W. Cox High School
Played inside and outside linebacker for head coach Bill Stachelski at Frank W. Cox High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia … A first-team All-Beach district linebacker and tight end in 2020 … Was a second-team all-region pick at linebacker … Also worked at wide receiver and played safety as a freshman … Etute is the No. 36 prospect in Virginia and the No. 45 inside linebacker in the country according to 247Sports … Earned the team’s Iron Helmet Award in 2019, registering a team-high 74 tackles … Also added four interceptions and two touchdowns on defense during his junior season for the Falcons.

Jared Gibble
Tight End 6-4, 225
Winston-Salem, N.C. Oak Grove High School
Played tight end for head coach Mark Holcomb at Oak Grove High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina … Was a key contributor during the Grizzlies’ 2019 season in which they claimed a Central Carolina 2-A title in the program’s second year … Earned All-Davidson County honors, as well as all-conference accolades … He was primarily a blocking tight end for an offense that amassed more than 2,500 rushing yards … Caught 10 passes for 151 yards in 11 games as a junior … He had four TDs and averaged 15.1 yards per catch and 13.7 receiving yards per game … According to, he is the No. 65 overall player from North Carolina and the No. 71 tight end in the Class of 2021.

Bryce Goodner
Offensive Lineman 6-3, 300
Athens, Tennessee McMinn County High School
Played on the offensive line for head coach Bo Cagle at McMinn County High School in Athens, Tennessee … McMinn County finished the 2020 campaign with a 10-2 record and qualified for the state playoffs.

D.J. Harvey
Defensive Back 5-11, 166
Chatsworth, California Sierra Canyon High School
Plays for head coach Jon Ellinghouse at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, California … The Trailblazers are set to begin their season in January 2021 … Named the Cali Sports All-Purpose Player of the Year in 2019 and 2020 … Earned Max Prep second-team All-America honors in 2019 and named to their 2020 All-Defense Team … In his first three varsity seasons, accumulated 94 tackles (66 solo), 12 interceptions (195 yards) and 45 passes defensed to go along with a blocked FG and 1.0 TFL … Racked up 3,341 all-purpose yards in those three seasons – 2,166 receiving yards, 668 kickoff returns yards, 195 INT return yards and 43 rushing yards.

Jack Hollifield
Tight End 6-3, 225
Shelby, N.C. Shelby High School
Three-year letterwinner at linebacker and tight end for head coach Mike Wilbanks at Shelby High School in Shelby, North Carolina … Posted 369 career tackles, 18.0 sacks and three fumble recoveries … Also posted an INT return TD in the 2018 2A-AA North Carolina state championship game … Recorded at least 100 tackles in each of his three high school seasons, including a team-best 164 tackles in the 2019 season … In 2019, he had 24.0 tackles for loss, including 9.0 sacks … Part of Shelby squads that won North Carolina 2A-AA state titles in 2018 and 2019 … Also played on a state champion basketball squad … Younger brother of current Tech LB Dax Hollifield.

Elijah Howard
Running Back 5-11, 182
Chattanooga, Tennessee Baylor School
Played running back for head coach Phillip Massey at Baylor … Ran for 800 yards in a shortened senior season while also recording 110 receiving yards and seven total TDs … Compiled 1,422 rushing yards and 22 TDs as a junior in 2019 … Ranked by Rivals as the No. 25 prospect in Tennessee.

Jalen Hoyle
Defensive Back 6-0, 175
Englewood, N.J. Dwight Morrow High School
Played quarterback and defensive back for head coach Joe Hoyle at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, New Jersey … The Raiders compiled a 5-1 record during an abbreviated 2020 season, earning first-team All-North Jersey honors … Accumulated 46 total tackles, including 6.0 sacks to go along with one interception … Threw for 632 yards and nine touchdowns, while also rushing for 640 yards with three TDs … Earned first-team all-conference honors his final three seasons and a second-team all-county pick as a junior and senior … Had 77 total tackles as a junior, plus two interceptions and a fumble recovery … As a junior, he passed for 598 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 493 yards and three TDs.

Nyke Johnson
Defensive Back 6-1, 185
Florence, S.C. West Florence High School
Played defensive back for head coach Jody Jenerette at West Florence High School in Florence, South Carolina … As a junior in 2019, Johnson had 40 tackles, including three TFLs, three interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery … Also played running back for WFHS, rushing for 136 yards and four TDs and catching two passes for 42 yards and a TD … Posted 33 total tackles as a senior.

Will Johnson
Linebacker 6-2, 195
Leonardtown, Maryland Leonardtown High School
Transferred to Leonardtown High School from St. Mary’s Ryken, where he played his first three prep seasons as a wide receiver and safety … Was an honorable mention All-Metro selection of the Washington Post in 2019 … Registered 34 catches for 629 yards and 11 TDs his sophomore season … Had 17 catches for 279 yards with two TDs as a freshman … Tallied three interception return TDs in his career.

Jaylen Jones
Wide Receiver 6-1, 185
Richmond, Virginia Thomas Jefferson High School
Played wide receiver for head coach P.J. Adams at Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond, Virginia … Earned first-team all-state and all-region honors after accumulating 76 receptions for 1,369 receiving yards and 18 TDs as a junior in 2019 … Was a first-team all-metro selection of the Richmond Times-Dispatch … His totals as a junior were the top marks in the Central Region in 2019 … Thomas Jefferson’s first player to sign with a Power Five school since 1974.

Jaden Keller
Defensive Back 6-3, 195
Bristol, Tennessee Tennessee High School
Played for coach Mike Mays at Tennessee High School … Ranked No. 21 in his class in Tennessee … A second-team all-state defensive squad pick in 2020.

Keli Lawson
Linebacker 6-4, 200
Stephens City, Virginia Sherando High School
Played for coach Bill Hall at Sherando High School, the same alma mater as former Tech LB Dylan Rivers … Ranked by Rivals as the No. 32 player in Virginia … A three-year starter, three-time district champion and a one-time regional champion.

Da’Wain Lofton
Wide Receiver 5-10, 175
Fort Worth, Texas North Side High School
Played wide receiver for head coach Joseph Turner at North Side High School in Fort Worth, Texas … North Side finished the season with a 7-3 record and qualified for the Texas state playoffs … Posted 16 receptions for 294 yards with two touchdowns … Also added nine rushes for 63 yards … Had 2,022 yards of total offense and 32 touchdowns as a junior in 2019, helping North Side reach the playoffs for the first time in 40 years … Also played basketball for the Steers and was clocked with a 11.48-second time in the 100-meter dash on the track squad, the second-fastest mark in school history … Garnered numerous accolades that included 2018 District 4-5A Special Teams Player of the Year, ranked No. 81 on Dallas-Ft. Worth’s 2019 Top 100 Players, 2019 District 4-5A Most Valuable Player of the Year, 2019 DFW 1st first-team all-area wide receiver, 2019 AP first-team all-state wide receiver, 2020 District 4-5A Offensive Player of the Year, No. 11 on DFW’s 2020 Top 100 Players … Owns North Side High School career records with 5,135 all-purpose yards and 62 total TDs (26 receiving, 21 rushing, 11 return, four passing).

Desmond Mamudi
Defensive Lineman 6-3, 290
Tampa, Florida Carrollwood Day School
Played for Carrollwood Day School for two seasons … Totaled 146 tackles (79 solo) in two seasons, as well as 9.0 sacks and two fumble recoveries … Posted 85 total tackles (49 solo) as a junior season, including 23.0 TFL.

Danijel Miletic
Offensive Lineman 6-3, 290
Frankfurt, Germany Darmstadt Diamonds
Played for the Darmstadt Diamonds club team near Frankfurt, Germany … A member of the PPI Recruits program that has placed more than 60 players in major Division I programs … Originally from Serbia.

Christian Moss
Wide Receiver 6-3, 180
Kennesaw, Georgia North Cobb High School
Played for head coach Shane Queen at North Cobb High School … Part of a squad that compiled a 10-2 record in 2020 … Also competed in the long jump for the track and field squad.

Cole Nelson
Defensive Lineman 6-3, 230
Alpharetta, Georgia John’s Creek High School
Played for four years for head coach Matt Helmerich at John’s Creek High School … Recorded 179 total tackles in his prep career, 38.0 TFL, 16.5 sacks and 21 QB hurries … Posted 85 tackles (49 solo) as a senior to go along with 18.0 TFL and 5.0 sacks … He scored one rushing TD his junior year and also caught three passes.

D.J. Sims
Wide Receiver, 6-3, 190
Christchurch, Virginia, Christchurch School
Played wide receiver for head coach Ed Homer at Christchurch High School in Richmond, Virginia … Christchurch registered a 6-3 record during the 2019 campaign … Racked up 21 catches for 598 receiving yards with seven TDs, including a 76-yarder … Also rushed seven times for 156 yards (22.3 avg.) … Posted eight kickoff returns for 218 yards (27.3 avg.) with one TD … Posted 16 tackles (eight solo) on defense with a 22-yard INT return TD and nine passes defended … Also returned a pair of fumble recoveries for scores … Rated as the No. 27 prospect in Virginia by 247Sports.

Jalen Stroman
Defensive Back 6-1, 190
Nokesville, Virginia Patriot High School
Three-year starter at safety and wide receiver for head coach Sean Finnerty at Patriot High School in Nokesville, Virginia … As a junior in 2019, he made 58 tackles with three interceptions and caught 18 passes for 470 yards and five TDs, when the Pioneers went 10-2 overall … Stroman was a first team All-Region 6B and first team all-Cedar Run District defensive back and a second team All-District wide receiver … Younger brother of former Hokies’ standout, Greg Stroman, who is currently a member of the Washington NFL Team.

Malachi Thomas
Running Back 6-0, 180
Hartwell, Georgia Hart County High School
Played for coach Rance Gillespie at Hart County High School … Was the Georgia AAA Player of the Year in 2019 and a two-time all-region selection … Ran for 1,942 yards in 2019 and posted 2,862 all-purpose yards and 36 TDs.

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