Friday, December 26, 1997

Doug Doughty's New Top 25 Recruiting List is Out

For you recruiting nuts (and aren't we all at least a little nutty about recruiting?), Doug Doughty of The Roanoke Times has released his postseason Virginia Top 25 list.   Here are the players, their preseason rankings, their postseason rankings, and their verbal commitments or schools of interest (bold italicized print under "Colleges" means that the player has verballed to that school - blue for UVa, maroon for Tech, black for others).  I made the font small in an attempt to fit as much of the table as possible into one screen for easy visual scanning and comparison (if you know what I mean).

1 Ronald Curry, 6-3, 193, QB
1 UVa
2 David Terrell, 6-3, 200, WR
Huguenot, Richmond
2 Michigan
3 Michael Vick, 6-2, 183, QB
Warwick, Newport News
4 Tech,
Syracuse, Clemson
4 Jake Houseright, 6-4, 200, LB
Gate City
5 Michigan, Tech,
Tenn, N'west., UVa
5 Bobby Blizzard, 6-7, 235, TE
3 Kentucky
6 Marlan Hicks, 6-3, 260, DT
Kecoughtan, Hampton
6 Tech
7 Darnell Hollier, 6-2, 200, LB
7 UVa
8 Lee Suggs, 6-1, 185, RB
Wm. Fleming, Roanoke
12 Wake, UVa, Tech,
Wisc., N.C. State
9 Ronyell Whitaker, 5-11, 187, DB
Lake Taylor, Norfolk
10 Tech
10 Chanston Rodgers, 6-0, 215, DB
9 UVa
11 Keith Burnell, 6-0, 195, RB
West. Branch, Chespke.
13 Tech
12 Butch Jefferson, 6-3, 310, OL
Jeff Forest, Forest
8 Tech,
13 Richard Rodgers, 6-5, 265, DL
Deep Creek, Chespke.
Not ranked in
Top 40
14 Devon Battle, 6-4, 230, DE
16 UVa
15 Emmett Johnson, 6-3, 185, WR
West. Branch, Chespke.
Not ranked in
Top 40
16 Bob Krantz, 6-6, 270, OL
Not ranked in
Top 40
17 David Blount, 6-5, 210, WR
Indian River, Chespke.
Not ranked in
Top 40
18 Travis Turner, 6-4, 200, QB-DB
17 Tech
19 Jermaine Lauzon, 6-3, 185, DB
Ocean Lakes, Va Beach
18 UVa
20 Jake Grove, 6-3, 260, OL-DL
Jeff. Forest, Forest
24 Tech
21 Shernard Newby, 6-3, 195, WR-DB
Surry Co., Dendron
Not ranked in
Top 40
22 Luke Owens, 6-5, 280, OL
14 Tech
23 Lamar Cobb, 6-3, 210, WR-DB
15 Tech
24 Akil Smith, 6-5, 280, OL
Fork Union
Not ranked in
Top 40
UVa, Purdue,
25 Chris Williams, 6-2, 185, WR-DB
Heritage (Newp. News)
Not ranked in
Top 40

I have a few comments, nearly all of which are disagreements with Doug.   Before I get started, let me state that he follows this stuff much more closely than I do, and knows much more about it than I do, but a couple of things in this list need to be called out.

  • #4 Houseright:  Doug shows Michigan in the lead.  I disagree.  Every source I've heard from close to Houseright indicates Tech still leads.
  • #8 Suggs:  Lee had a great season and deserves to be moved up from #12.  Don't argue with Doug on this one.
  • #13 Rodgers, #15 Johnson, #17 Blount:  these players vault into the top 20 from nowheresville, due primarily to their commitments to Tech and UVa, I would guess.
  • #21 Newby, #24 Smith, and #25 Williams:  I don't have a problem with these players leaping into the Top 25 because UVa is recruiting them or has gotten verbals from them - Doug did the same with Richard Rodgers and Emmett Johnson, who verballed to Tech.   And if you're wondering why Smith, a Fork Union player, is on this list, it's because he plays for Fork Union's little-known Prep League high school team, not its more famous post-grad team.
  • In case you didn't notice, only three of these players have verballed to out of state schools to this point.  This is good news, after last year's debacle, in which four of the top five went out of state.  And if Tech lands Vick and Houseright, that will give the Hokies two of the top five players, which I believe will be the first time since 1994 (Oxendine, Tony Morrison) that this has happened.  I've been saying lately that Tech needs to recruit some impact blue-chippers, and Vick and Houseright fit the bill.  If Tech lands them, this will be the best recruiting year ever for the Hokies, and when added to the last two years, will indicate a bright future for Virginia Tech football.
  • The only thing that scares me about this list is the height that UVa is recruiting at WR and DB (yes, I know there's more to life than height, but you can't teach a kid to be tall.  You can teach him to play football).  Check out the following recruits that have verballed to the Hoos at WR and DB:  #10 Rodgers, #17 Blount, #19 Lauzon, #21 Newby, #25 Williams.  All are DB's and WR's who are 6-0 or taller, and only Rodgers is less than 6-2.  He makes up for it by weighing 215.
  • One thing that makes me happy about this list is that UVa has no verbals from offensive linemen to this point (although I think they landed one of the best in the country - Stanley - out of state).  Of the OL's left, UVa only leads for one - #24 Smith.   By contrast, Tech has landed OL's #20 Jake Grove and #22 Luke Owens, and according to Doughty, the Hokies lead for the prize OL in the state, #12 Butch Jefferson.  The game is won in the trenches, folks.

Okay, You're Right - Playing JMU is Better Than Playing Akron

I have received a number of emails concerning my comments that JMU won't put any more fans in the seats than Akron or Arkansas State.  Here is an example:

Will - I have to disagree with your point that JMU won't bring more fans than Akron. My freshman and sophomore years at Tech, we played JMU. Each of those games had about 45,000 people, which was about the biggest crowds (except for UVa and WVU games). Tons of JMU students came down to visit friends at Tech and catch the game. Plus a lot of "fair weather" Tech fans who only come out of the woodwork for the big games also came. I would rather play JMU any day of the year instead of Akron.

Unlike Corso and Herbstreit, I will retract incorrect statements (but come to think of it, if those guys did, they wouldn't have time to talk about anything else).  So here goes:

You're right.  I'm wrong.  Playing JMU is much better than playing Ark. State or Akron.  Call off the dogs.

HokieCentral Makes the Front Page of The Roanoke Times

On Christmas day, The RTWN ran a front page story about our ticket drive, complete with a picture of me surrounded by Gator Bowl tickets (I managed to swipe about 20 of them without anybody noticing - just kidding).  I'll try to keep an eye out and let you know when the article is posted on-line.  It was a good piece, written by Dan Uthman, who's not a bad guy, for a UVa grad.

Thanks for the Christmas Cards

I received about 25 Christmas cards that were sent to me by HokieCentral fans and members, and I wanted to take the opportunity to say thanks to everybody.  I appreciated it, and my wife loves those things.


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