Friday, February 25, 2011
Soured on recruiting, Hite embraces new task
UVa football recruit has basketball connection
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- Linebacker knows Virginia Tech's walk-on tradition
- Hokies, Cavs recruiting ranks 3rd, 4th in ACC, or 6th and 7th
- Green bucks the odds as ACC MVP candidate
- Recruiting updates
Long-time Virginia Tech running backs coach Billy Hite will be joining the ranks of Hokie football parents next season, but don't go looking for him in the parents' section.
"With my responsibilities, I'm going to be on the sideline," said Hite, recently appointed to a new position as assistant to the head coach and senior advisor. "And, I'm going to be at practice.
"Coach [Frank Beamer] wants me down on the field. I have every responsibility that I had before, except coaching and recruiting. And, you know how I was at recruiting."
Hite had the areas closest to Blacksburg that traditionally yield few Division I-A players. Some of the players he has recruited in recent years have included Rockbridge County offensive lineman Caleb Farris, who enrolled at mid-year, and Pulaski County's Nubian and Tahrick Peak, now at Hampton after a stopover at Texas Tech.
"I was a good recruiter at one time," Hite said. "But, I'll tell you, I hate [recruiting] more than anything in the world. I got sick and tired of it. I'm probably the first [Tech assistant] that ever had a kid back out on him.
"All that soured me. A commitment didn't mean anything to some people. I lost one at DeMatha [his alma mater and one-time recruiting stop] and then Yubrenal Isabelle.
Isabelle, a linebacker from Bluefield, W.Va., eventually signed with Virginia in 1997.
"That's when it started bothering me," he said. "I went to visit a fullback in Florida and, when I walked in, I told him, 'I understand you committed to Miami over the weekend.'
"And he said, 'Yeah, but commitments don't mean anything.' Then I flipped. I said, 'Commitments mean something to me and you're not coming to our place this weekend.'
"I said, 'I don't want you. If you're going to commit to somebody and then go visit somewhere, I don't want you.' That's when it started snowballing.
"I've been doing this for 37 years. How long have you been doing what you're doing, 37 years? And, you're not tired of it? And, the way Frank Beamer has taken care of me is unbelievable."
DURING ONE STRETCH of the season, I think I covered Blacksburg High School three times over a four- or five-week period.
When Blacksburg played at Patrick Henry, Billy Hite was on the road at Boston College. However, when the Bruins played at Cave Spring and Salem, I saw Billy Hite there both times.
I later mentioned to several Division III coaches that Hite's son, Griffin, would make an outstanding D-III linebacker. He also showed promise as a fullback or short-yardage tailback.
Griffin Hite committed to Tech this week, with a goal to play special-teams and eventually move into the rotation at outside linebacker.
"I'll be honest with you," Billy Hite said. "I know I'm his father but physically, he's tough enough and good enough to play on our level. It's the speed that's obviously keeping him from being recruited by a bunch of Division I schools.
"He ran a 4.88 [in the 40] at our camp and when he can get in [Mike] Gentry's program, if he can get him down to a 4.6 or 4.65, Griffin thinks he can be -- or he wants to be -- another Cody Grimm.
"I can tell you, he works his butt off. The game's important to him. He's been to 18 bowl games. It's kind of hard, as a player, not being able to go to all those bowl games. Coach [Beamer] was the one who convinced him to come here.
"Some of these places, he could have played earlier. I told him, 'I'm not making a lot of trips because I know deep down what you want to do,' but I want you to see some other places."
THE FOOTBALL COMMITMENT that Virginia received this past weekend from Green Run linebacker Mark Hall could pay a later dividend for another Cavaliers' teams.
Hall's younger brother, Devon, is a 6-3 guard at Cape Henry Collegiate School in Virginia Beach, where he is a sophomore this season but possibly could reclassify as a prospect for the Class of 2014, as opposed to his projected 2013 college enrollment.
Devon Hall joined his brother this past weekend at a football junior day coinciding with the UVa men's basketball game with Virginia Tech.
ROANOKE CATHOLIC COACH Bill Hodges confirmed that UVa men's basketball coach Tony Bennett was at his team's game Thursday night at Miller School outside Charlottesville.
It was Bennett's first look at Andre Washington, Catholic's 6-11 junior center, who is averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds and has seven triple-doubles.
Hodges said Washington got in early foul trouble but "played well enough that I would think they'd be interested." Hodges, in his first year at Catholic, coached Larry Bird and Indiana State in the 1979 Final Four and later was the head coach for six years at Division I Mercer.
Hodges, reached by cellphone on the bus ride home, said he could not provide a final score or point totals because his scorekeeper had quit during the game.