TECHSUPERFANS (TM) - THE NEWSLETTER
BlueChip vs. BlueCollar
Updated at 8:00 PM 7/28/06 to include latest verbal committments
Well my Calm and Beloved Reader, TSF is back for another season. Summer practice is about to begin and while it seems certain that even more big name recruits are going to commit to the Hokies prior to our summer practice wrap-up, I wanted to bring some perspective to what has certainly been an exciting few months.
First of all, let me tell you all that The Blonde delivered the perfect touchdown heave by adding a healthy beautiful baby girl to the TechSuperFans community. Having my first child has bumped Hokie football down one notch on the priority list, but make no mistake, I now have the opportunity to write my football ramblings at the most peaceful times (such as at 3:45 AM when the baby has decided that this will be a sleep-optional night). And she will be receiving her introduction to Hokie football this fall at the Thursday night game against Clemson. We can't wait for that!
But until then let's talk some Hokie football.
My initial thoughts were to go player-by-player through the current verbal commits and offer my analysis on the player and the need at the position. I'm not going to do that for two reasons - 1) I really haven't watched enough video on these players to comment accurately on their ability and 2) They haven't even finished their senior seasons in high school yet! I mean, these kids could be playing at or near their maximum potential right now, or they could get hurt or any other number of factors that may prevent them from being studs (they put Christmas donkeys out to stud don't they?) at the college level.
We need to have faith in the coaches and scouts who recruited them that they have huge upsides and that they can play Hokie football at a high level. However, thanks to our friends at Rivals.com I will post the list of verbal commitments so far for your reference as it is impressive - particularly the verbal of one of the top players in the country, Tyrod Taylor - the 5 star QB out of Hampton, VA.
William Alvarez - 6-5 OL, 305 lbs. 40yd dash - 5.2sec- Woodbridge, VA
Brandon Barden - 6-5 TE, 211 lbs. 40yd dash - 4.6sec -Lincolnton, GA
Kwamaine Battle - 6-1 DE, 260 lbs. 40yd dash - 4.9sec -Bailey, NC
Danny Coale - 6-0 WR, 195 lbs. 40yd dash - unlisted- Lexington, VA
Blake DeChristopher - 6-6 OL, 300 lbs. 40yd dash - 5.0sec - Midlothian, VA
Chris Drager - 6-4 TE, 232 lbs. 40yd dash - 4.8sec Jefferson Hills, PA
Darren Evans - 6-0 RB, 207 lbs. 40yd dash - 4.71sec - Indianapolis, IN (My hometown)
Andrew Lanier - 6-4 TE, 225 lbs. 40yd dash - 4.7 sec - Spartanburg, SC
Davon Morgan - 6-0 ATH, 184 lbs. 40 yd dash - 4.58 sec - Richmond, VA (projects at FS)
Greg Nosal - 6-7 TE, 255 lbs. 40yd dash - 5sec - Virginia Beach, VA
Quillie Odom - 6-2 LB, 200 lbs. 40yd dash - 4.6sec - Potomac, VA
Josh Oglesby - 5-11 RB, 205 lbs. 40yd dash - 4.43sec - Garner, NC
Tyrod Taylor - 6-1 QB, 200 lbs. 40yd dash - 4.55sec - Hampton, VA
Patrick Terry - 6-0 WR, 185 lbs. 40yd dash - 4.5sec - South Boston, VA
Justin Young - 6-5 DE, 255 lbs. 40yd dash - 4.8sec - Germantown, MD
Kyle Nunn - 6-5 OL, 265 lbs. 40yd dash - 5.06sec - Sumter, SC
Jaymes Brooks - 6-3 OL, 296 lbs, 40yd dash - 4.93sec - Newport News, VA
This list is impressive and filled with 3,4 and 5 star recruits. Virginia Tech already has 15 verbal committments and summer practice hasn't even started. Let's all jump around and get excited and lose our heads, right?! Well I hate Lee Corso as much as the next sane person, but "Not so fast, my friends". May I present for the opening argument, Your Honor, the 2003 Virginia Tech Hokies.
The single most-talented team in Virginia Tech history was the 2003 team. The aftermath of Michael Vick led to the recruitment of bigtime players. I want you to read some of the names that started on that team during the season - Kevin Jones, Marcus Vick, Jon Dunn, Jake Grove, Cols Colas, Jimmy Williams, and DeAngelo Hall!! That's 7 players on NFL rosters right now that were starters on that team.
The 2003 Virginia Tech Hokies had the talent to win the national championship that year. They OBLITERATED the Miami Hurricanes at home 31-7 in the second greatest Hokie team performance I ever saw in person (the greatest you ask? 62-0 shutout against Syracuse led by Michael the Master himself). This Miami Hurricane squad hadn't lost a regular season game in 2 1/2 seasons and the Hokies utterly destroyed them. So wha'ts the problem then, you may ask? Well the 2003 team ended up going 8-5 and losing to Cal in the damn Insight.com Bowl!
I truly believe deep down in my heart that the pain of that season still scars Frank Beamer. He has the opportunity to learn the lessons that team taught him, because there were a whole lot of "I's" in that team.
First of all, there are three unbreakable laws - never get involved in a land war in Asia, never get into a battle of wits with a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line....... and finally, there is no such thing as TWO starting quarterbacks. I think it's pretty safe to say that we will never see two starting QB's at Tech again after the Vick-Randall fiasco of that season. That split at the QB position was symbolic of the deeper rift in that team between the "team" players and the "I'm the star and I'm headed to the NFL" players.
But more on-point to this column, a key lesson Beamer should have learned is that all the talent in the world won't win you championships, it can only help. Teams are what win championships. We reviewed some of the starters on the 2003 squad, let's go back and look at the 2003 roster for some other key backups who weren't starting and didn't have as loud a voice in the locker room at the time - Will Montgomery, Cedric Humes, Jeff King, Darryl Tapp, and Aaron Rouse. Four of those players were drafted this year and Aaron Rouse will be in next year's draft, so they also were great talents but the big difference is that these players suffered through the 2003 season. And when they had a voice in the locker room the following season as starters, they, along with Bryan Randall led the team to the ACC Championship - and it was most assuredly that: a TEAM.
It has been harped on by me as well as Kirk Hirbstreit of ESPN (and my wife's wallposter) fame - the Hokies football program has struggled with its success. It's typically a blue-collar recruit that shines here more than a blue-chip. The coaching staff has struggled to integrate the team-first concept into the NFL dreams that the top-talent players have. It is no secret that Kevin Jones and DeAngelo Hall were looking past the 2003 season at their NFL careers. Therefore it's essential that Beamer and Co. grab a hold of the team this year and in the coming years with all the committed blue-chip talent and make sure to remind these kids that they have to bring their lunchpail to work. Remind them that this is a team game and to win championships you have to play with total focus one game at a time for each other.
If they are successful in applying the lessons the 2003 team tried to teach them, not only does it help alleviate some of the pain we all felt from that 2003 team's performance, but it helps set the stage for a magical run at success here over the next few seasons. I'll maintain reserved excitement about the recruits and look forward to summer practice to see who "manned-up" during the offseason.