It's not every day you can go head-to-head with Florida State in a recruiting battle and actually win. But with this morning's commitment of Michael Barnett, the Virginia Tech Hokies did just that.
Barnett is a four-star defensive end, and hails from Dorchester (S.C.), where he plays his prep ball for Woodland High. 247Sports.com rates him as the No. 11 strong-side defensive end in the 2015 class, and as the No. 4 prospect in the state of South Carolina.
His junior season at Woodland, which recently came to a close, was an impressive one: Barnett record 89 tackles, including 31 tackles for loss (uh, not bad, eh?).
He joins Washington, D.C. defensive back Marcus Lewis as the second member of Frank Beamer's 2015 class. Barnett, who was a frequent visitor to Blacksburg (he camped there this past summer, by the way), was on campus two weeks ago when Lewis committed.
Barnett has the dynamic combination of size (6-4, 250-pounds), speed (4.8 in the 40), and strength to become a pass-rushing maven in coordinator Bud Foster's defense. A strong defensive unit has always been a staple of Beamer and Foster's tenure in Blacksburg, and this was one of the many things that attracted Barnett to Tech, as he told HokieHaven.com: "I really like the coaching staff and their tradition on defense. I really love the campus and the facility and how the coaches are. I love how it's like a family there."
Despite all that the Hokies had going for them, landing Barnett was no walk in the park. The South Carolina native was strongly considering heading down south to Tallahassee, but the Seminoles weren't his only other suitors. Florida, NC State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Tennessee were in the mix, too.
Charley Wiles - Virginia Tech's defensive line coach and running game coordinator - headed up the recruitment of Barnett, which was key for the Hokies. "Throughout the whole recruiting process, I talked to him more. We were closer and just talked about anything. We were just so close. That was the main thing." Wiles was also the first coach to offer Barnett a scholarship.
Barnett told Rivals that Foster and Wiles plan to utilize his athleticism and versatility once he gets to campus. "Basically, they wanna put me down and have me in a five-technique or four-technique. They want me to read my guy, play the quarterback and watching the move of the linemen."
For highlights of the Hokie commit in action during his monster 2013 season, check here.