He's been a frequent visitor at Virginia Tech and on those trips, Woodland (SC) 2015 four-star defensive end Michael Barnett saw everything he needed to.
At noon on Monday, Barnett, a member of the Rivals250 to watch for 2015, announced an early decision. He's committed to the Hokies, becoming their second commitment for the 2015 class. Gonzaga (DC) cornerback Marcus Lewis committed just before Virginia Tech's game against Maryland Nov. 16. Barnett was a visitor for that game as well.
"I really like the coaching staff and their tradition on defense," Barnett said. "I really love the campus and the facility and how the coaches are. I love how it's like a family there. It was really, mostly them. I was considering Florida State, too, but I just really like Virginia Tech."
Barnett also had offers from Clemson, Florida, Georgia Tech, NC State and Tennessee, but said he felt like the Hokies had more to offer. In addition to his Maryland game visit, Barnett also visited Virginia Tech for the Pittsburgh game, the Hokies' July recruit camp and the spring game.
"I just like that the fans are with you one hundred percent win or lose," Barnett said. "It's like, whatever happens, they're there for you. They've got your back, no matter what."
Barnett also felt like assistant coach Charley Wiles had his back from the beginning. Wiles was the first to offer Barnett, earlier this spring and the two continued to build their relationship.
"Throughout the whole recruiting process, I talked to him more," Barnett said. "We were closer and just talked about anything. We were just so close. That was the main thing."
A quick, athletic defensive end, Barnett said he also liked how Wiles said he plans on using him at Virginia Tech.
"Basically, they wanna put me down and have me in a five-technique or four-technique," Barnett said. "They want me to read my guy, play the quarterback and watching the move of the linemen."
Heading into the off-season, Barnett has a few areas he'll be focusing on. He said he hopes the work will prepare him not only for his senior season next year, but for the Hokies as well.
"I just need to get faster and use my hands and stuff," Barnett said. "Basically, all the basics, I need to get better with them, get stronger at them. Coach Wiles never told me anything specific I need to work on. He just told me to get better and work hard because I have to get ready for the college level."
And Virginia Tech is where Barnett said he feels like he's best suited to play at that level. He noticed it on each of his visits.
"I wasn't really looking for anything different," Barnett said of the trips. "I just realized, I really love the atmosphere and I really like it up there. I just wanna experience it more. I'm gonna stay with Virginia Tech. I'm not looking around no more."
Note: Not including Rivals' premium sites, do not copy/paste and or repost this column outside of Rivals.com, particularly on message boards, chat rooms and e-mails, as it is a direct violation of copyright laws. Thank you.