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May 29, 2013

COLUMN: Grimes' Way

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It didn't take long after the three newest assistant coaches were hired in January at Virginia Tech for new offers to be given to recruits.

Wide receiver coach Aaron Moorehead put the Hokies in new territory with his Illinois connections. For perhaps the first time ever, Virginia Tech went after some big-time names on the outskirts of Chicago.

Offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Scot Loeffler had already made some in-roads as well. His biggest was with Rivals100 quarterback David Cornwell, whose first offer came from Loeffler when the coach was at Auburn.

What happened to new offensive line coach Jeff Grimes' offers?

Unlike his two new coaching associates at Virginia Tech, Grimes didn't put out any new offers. But it wasn't because he was kicking back in his office eating Doritos and drinking Cokes. Grimes has a more meticulous way.

It's no secret about the struggles the Hokies have had on the offensive line. Sure, there's good stories like Vinston Painter being drafted last month by the Denver Broncos. But he and just about everyone associated with Virginia Tech, as a fan, coach or just observer, would be lying if they said they thought he would get to that point just a few years ago. Painter had plenty of injuries and setbacks but worked hard to finish his Hokies career strong.

But the offensive line as a whole didn't do Virginia Tech any favors last season. Quarterback Logan Thomas rumbled for a team-high 524 yards, though it took him 174 carries to get there. Sure, the rushing inefficiency doesn't rest solely on the offensive line (the running backs didn't help) but change was needed.

And with the pressure created from last year's disappointing season, Grimes knew he couldn't afford to have recruiting misses. He needed to get the guys he wanted and needed to have the linemen run what he wants.

A few weeks ago, Grimes hand-picked a few offers for offensive linemen after poring through plenty of film and seeing players in person. None were four-stars or stud linemen, but they had the characteristics he looks for: tough, rugged, durable, high-energy guys with good hands, good feet and the potential to get better. He likes the guys who aren't afraid to get dirty and do whatever it takes to win.

Council Rock South (Pa.) offensive lineman Eric Gallo is one of those guys. Today, he committed to the Hokies and became their ninth commitment for the class of 2014, as well as Grimes' first get.

Gallo doesn't have any high-profile offers. Temple, Buffalo and UMASS were the others to offer. And in giving Rivals.com analysts two looks, at the Army Combine in january and at the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour stop in New Jersey, Gallo didn't do anything spectacular. But he has shown a high-motor.

For anyone expecting a big-time commitment as Grimes' first, you might be a little disappointed to not see any stars yet, on Gallo's profile. But if Grimes has to look under rocks to find the linemen he wants, even if others have looked them over, that's what he'll do.

And as Grimes' first get, Gallo is a sign of just that.

Stars look great and appealing on player profile pages, but Grimes wants to find his type of linemen, stars or no stars. That's Grimes' way.






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