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Carroll County standout Benji Gosnell becomes first big commit for Brent Pry-led VT Hokies

Carroll County standout Benji Gosnell becomes first big commit for Brent Pry-led VT Hokies

HILLSVILLE, Va. (BVM) — Benji Gosnell has seen a number of changes over the past year. Among them, the standout athlete moved states from North Carolina to Virginia, transferred schools from East Surrey High to Carroll County and decommitted from Ohio State. While those adjustments would throw any person off, Gosnell was able to maintain his focus on his ultimate goal: playing college football. That is exactly what Gosnell will be doing next season as the senior committed to Virginia Tech on Dec. 5 following a visit from new Hokies head coach Brent Pry and other offensive staff members.

“Now that [the decision] is officially made I feel a lot better,” Gosnell said. “When you’re not committed or anything like that you’ve got a lot of stress weighing down on you. The choosing part of the recruiting process is definitely the hardest and now that I’ve got it over with, I’m ready to sign, I’m ready to get on campus and I’m excited.”

When he visited the school for the first time, Gosnell was immediately impressed by the campus.

“When we first got to Blacksburg the first thing I noticed and, I know it’s cliché, but the atmosphere of the place when I first got on campus, Blacksburg is such a cool spot,” Gosnell said. “The campus is awesome. The game day atmosphere is awesome. All the fans are excited about Virginia Tech no matter what year it is. They still come out and support, especially in Lane Stadium. The fans are crazy. Enter Sandman is the best entrance in college sports. There is nothing to dislike about Blacksburg and Virginia Tech.”

The commitment is a huge one for the Hokies and their new head man Pry as it becomes the first high profile commit to the school under the new regime. Gosnell is a unanimous four-star recruit, ranking within the top 15 tight ends nationally at No. 15 by 247Sports Composite rankings.

“Especially with it being with Coach Pry it makes it much more special to me, not because I’m his first commit but just because I am a commit with Coach Pry at Virginia Tech,” Gosnell said. “It’s the best of both worlds when you consider the kind of guy he is, what kind of coach he is and the guys he’s bringing in. I’m pumped.”

This past season marked the first and only year the senior tight end would play in Virginia at Carroll County. An elite athlete, Gosnell played at numerous positions for Carroll County including playing the quarterback position on offense and both linebacker and defensive end on defense for the Cavaliers.  While he is a man of many hats, Gosnell confirmed he will be at his usual tight end spot when he first arrives in Blacksburg.

“I’ll be a tight end and the recent success they’ve had with tight ends with James Mitchell and Dalton Keene, it’s really attractive to tight ends,” Gosnell said. “I definitely want to try to make an impact as a freshman if I can.”

While being able to use a high-caliber athlete in a number of positions would seemingly spell success for a program, the Cavs went a disappointing 2-8, but that was likely due to their star player and starting QB suffering a season-ending torn ACL in the team’s third game of the season. During the game, Gosnell was a stud rushing for 141 yards and two touchdowns, but unfortunately for the Cavs, that would be the last on-field contribution for the senior.

“The time I did play it was just me having fun and playing football, the game I love,” Gosnell said. “With recovery, I had surgery Oct. 19 so I’m coming up on two months out. My range of motion is good, my strength is good. Recovery is going nicely. With the timetable, it usually goes about six to nine months but I am going in there with their training guys and I’m hoping they can get me back by June.”

Despite the injury, as a high-profile recruit, Gosnell received his fair share of scholarship opportunities, including from Florida, Georgia, Ohio State and North Carolina to name a few.

Gosnell initially committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes in November of last year before even coming to Carroll County. However, after never being able to physically visit the program, he decommitted over the summer to see if he could build a deeper connection with another program.

“I was committed for a while, seven or eight months and I was planning to get up there in the summer,” Gosnell said. “I never got to get up there and I sat down with my family and we discussed it. We didn’t think it was a coincidence, we were pretty sure we were being told something so we made the decision to verbally part ways and decommit. It was hard. … After things settled I definitely felt better and I knew I made the right decision, especially now.”

While many expected this would lead to Gosnell’s eventual commitment to North Carolina where his older brother, Stephen, plays as a receiver, the senior decided to forge his own path by joining the team in Blacksburg.

“He was in my ear a little bit. He mentioned over Thanksgiving break like, ‘Why don’t you come play defense for us?’” the younger Gosnell said. “Ultimately not following him wasn’t because I didn’t want to be with him or did want to be with him. Him being there didn’t really have an impact. I didn’t really put it into consideration at all even though it would be cool to be on the same team with him, I think it will be cooler now that I’m playing against him. …  I just felt like I was a Hokie.”

Now, the younger Gosnell will prepare for his career with the Hokies. He will start early as he expects to sign during the early National Signing Week festivities and will graduate early so he can join the Hokies for the spring semester.

As the first big fish landed by Pry, the senior will have high expectations from the get go. Pushing through his recovery and aiming to make an impact early, Gosnell will look to prove that he is well worth being the first commit of the Pry era. 

“It’d be nice to turn into like a Coach [J.C.] Price, when you get older Tech fans always remember you and you are one of their favorites,” Gosnell said. “I have a teacher at the school that always says Coach Price was always one of his favorite Hokies. To have that title from someone else about me is probably one of my goals after my time at Tech.”

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