Categorized | Recruiting News

A Look at VT’s Top Recruits Since 2004

In the Greenberg Era, Seth was able to sign 8 recruits ranked in the Top 100 according to  They were:

  • 2004 – Marquie Cooke – #57
  • 2006 – Lewis Witcher – #99
  • 2007 – Jeff Allen – #77
  • 2007 – Malcolm Delaney – #89
  • 2010 – Jarell Eddie – #70
  • 2011 – Dorian Finney-Smith – #31
  • 2011 – Robert Brown – #82
  • 2011 – C.J. Barksdale – #99

Arguably, Cooke and Finney-Smith were the two biggest on that list, and not just because they had the highest rating.  Yes, Jeff Allen was a huge, national recruit, too, with experience at Dematha and Oak Hill, but I’ll still put Cooke and DFS above him.

Cooke was seen as a huge get for Virginia Tech back in 2004, Seth’s first full year of recruiting.  Cooke was from the 757 and played in the prestigious Boo Williams AAU program.  Tech didn’t get Boo kids in the ricky stokes reign.  But Marquie instantly appeared to be a headcase and was kicked off the team after one season.  He transferred to colorado state and was quickly booted from there.  Cooke finally finished out his college career this past season playing for elizabeth city state university in North Carolina (“Lots of people go to college for 8 years,”  “Yeah, they’re called doctors.”).

Finney-Smith was regarded as Tech’s biggest recruit since Dell Curry, Tech’s last (and probably only) McDonald’s All-American.   Doe Doe wasn’t a McDonald’s All-American but was right on the cusp of it, along with near 5-star status.  He struggle at times this past season, missing 25 straight shots early on in ACC play (he didn’t make a FG in a 5 game stretch between ACC game #3 through 7), but did get better at the end of the season and made the ACC All-Freshmen Team.  Yet, now Doe Doe is extinct in terms of Hokie status.

It is hard to say how much was Seth’s fault in either case, and we’ll likely never know.  But it isn’t a great trend (well, if you can call 2 guys a trend).  You could look at the positive side and say that of the 3 guys on that list above that stayed all 4 years, 2 of those 3 (Allen and Delaney) garnered multiple All-ACC honors (Allen as a freshman and senior, Delaney his last 3 years including back-to-back First Team All-ACC honors).  Plus, Dorenzo Hudson, who was top 100 on some lists and #110 with Rivals, also was named 2nd Team All-ACC his junior year.  But…

The charge for Coach Johnson will be not only getting top 100 recruits, but keeping them.  Can Tech only get the problem childs of top recruits?  The malcontents?  We’ll see.  But clearly the issue for Coach Johnson starting today will be landing those top guys (VA has 3 top 100 recruits in the 2013 Class) and getting them to the graduation podium.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1246 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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  • Will Stewart

    Good post, Niemo. To this day, I’m baffled as to why Marquie Cooke was rated so highly. He had a very limited skill set that basically included driving to the basket with his right hand. Beyond that? Meh.

    • Niemo

      And a poor attitude to match! Perfect combination. Hopefully he’s matured since then. Both our ‘stud’ recruits have been more hype than substance, although Jeff Allen had a lot of hype and game to match. But much like with our OL recruiting in football, our big name recruits haven’t really panned out. It is the lower radar guys like Dowdell, Gordon, and Green that really blossomed. And now perhaps Raines is following a similar path of a 3-star recruit that turns into a star for us.

      It is crazy to me to think Nigel Munson and Marquie Cooke were still playing college ball this past season. Both seem so ancient.

      • Will Stewart

        Yeah, Cooke in particular. That dude’s ancient. :)

        • Will Stewart

          BTW, this is now linked in today’s Hokie News on TSL.

      • RK in Roanoke

        Nice summary, Niemo. Still the most disconcerting part of that list is how guys who came in with much promise did not seem to improve significantly. The jump from Fr to So should show fairly noticeable improvement, and I just never saw it.
        So I would say that the charge for Coach Johnson is to get solid recruits and then make them better basketball players and citizens.

        Hope one of these new assistants can coach post moves so that Raines can continue to rise.

  • Les

    Seth had said that he wished he had more competition (i.e., more depth behind the starters). It not only makes the starting players better from practice against ACC-level talent, but it forces some players to be on their better behavior when they know they can be replaced.

    • hokiegrad

      And yet when he had that last year it didn’t seem like he knew what to do with it. I do not understand why DoeDoe played so much 4 instead of staying at the 3 and competing with Eddie for a starting spot. Not like we were terribly deep inside, but we had enough bodies to keep him on the wing and would have been better for it at least in the long run, IMHO. Barksdale played well enough for a freshman backup in limited minutes. Could only have improved with more. We saw how Raines came on when given more minutes. Could have used him and Davila out there together more before Davila got hurt.

  • Les

    It seems that Finney-Smith was ahead of Barksdale at that point based on his performance in the pre-conference schedule. Then he hit that protracted slump.

    I don’t think they were comfortable with Raine’s foot yet. In the fall, there were some reports that he was still experiencing pain.

    Van Zegeren, Thompson, and Chaney were out.

    I think Barksdale may be better suited to playing center as he gets bigger during the next three years.

    2013 PG Rashawn Powell is still very interested in Virginia Tech.

    “I like the coach. I know he got fired but I like the assistant [who they hired to replace Coach Greenberg]. I like how they let their guards play. They just let them loose and play a lot of transition ball.”,0,1946864.story?track=rss

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