BASSETT — Enter Sandman. Enter a Bengal.
Four-year Bassett High School quarterback Ja’Ricous Hairston announced on Tuesday his commitment to play football at Virginia Tech in the fall.
The senior made his announcement before Bassett’s boys basketball game against Patrick County on Tuesday night at BHS. As the starting lineups were being announced, BHS announcer Brandon Johnson — who is also the Bengals football coach — told the crowd his quarterback had a special announcement about his college choice. Johnson said Hairston “is going to run out to this for the next four or five years,” as they began playing Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” the song the Hokies play before running onto the field at every home football game.
The decision to go to Virginia Tech was made by Hairston earlier in the day, and he wanted to make the announcement in front of his Bassett family.
People are also reading…
“I just knew that’s always been my home,” Hairston said after the game.
“Bassett has just always been a culture to me, so I just wanted to make sure everybody in this culture knew at the same time.”
Hairston said he chose Virginia Tech over scholarship offers from Howard, VMI, Navy, Emory & Henry, and University of Charleston, among others. He committed to the Hokies as a preferred walk-on.
It was song lyrics that motivated him to take a chance on playing in the ACC.
“I listen to a lot of J. Cole music, and I was listening to a song and listening to the lyrics and one of the lyrics was ‘If I’m betting on myself then I completely double down.’”
Hairston said he grew up a Tech fan and went to the school “countless times” both for football visits, camps, and as a fan. He took his final official visit last Saturday.
Hairston, who is also a starter for the Bengals basketball team, was named Piedmont District Co-Offensive Player of the Year this fall after finishing the regular season with more than 2,000 total yards of offense, scoring eight rushing and 16 passing touchdowns for the Bengals. He averaged just under 10 yards per carry on 69 runs this season, and completed 63.5% of his passes for more than 1,400 yards.
He was named to the all-district first team and the All-Region 3D first team as both a quarterback and linebacker.
On defense, Hairston had 46 solo tackles and two interceptions this season. He had one defensive touchdown, one fumble recovery and seven tackles for loss.
Hairston was a four-year starter as the Bengals quarterback, and broke school records for single-season touchdown passes (18) and single-game passing touchdowns (five).
The Hokies plan to move the 6-foot-4 athlete from quarterback to tight end.
Hairston said he’s OK with the position change, he’s just ready to get to work however he’s needed.
“I’m just excited about the fact that it was my dream school and I actually get to go there now,” he said.