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   Welcome to TSLMail #10 - Friday December 7, 2001
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   Recruiting - Visit List for 12/7, Plus Recruit Updates

The Hokies couldn't have asked for a better recruiting weekend than the Miami game. The weather was nice, the game was a good one, and the Lane Stadium fans were "off the hook." We've got comments from some recruits that visited last weekend, as well as a list of who's coming this weekend. In the following notes, each player's name is a link to their TSL recruiting database entry.

Recruit Visit List for 12/7/01: 
Uncommitted Recruits/non-VT verbals: DT Jonathan Lewis, DE Darryl Tapp, ATH LaMarr Watkins (Wisconsin verbal).
VT Verbals: DB Brian McPherson, DT Lamar Veney, OL Brandon Gore.

Among the uncommitted recruits, Lewis and Tapp are both important targets. Jonathan Lewis (6-2, 290, 4.8) is the #5 player in the state of Virginia (Doug Doughty) and the #10 defensive tackle in the nation (, and of course, the brother of current VT defensive tackle Kevin Lewis. Jonathan visited Penn State three weeks ago and was unswayed by his visit (he told us curtly Wednesday night, "It was an okay visit. I guess they're about where they were when I started" -- meaning they're in his top five, but did not take over the lead or even move up into a tie). Lewis will visit VT this weekend, Miami on 12/14/01, FSU on 1/11/02, and UVa on 1/18/02. Was he one of the dozens of unofficial visits in the stands for the Miami game? No, but he watched on TV and was impressed with the Hokies effort, especially on defense. "I always knew they had a good defense like that. I always knew they had a defense that could do what they did."

Darryl Tapp (6-2, 225, 4.6) is the #24 player in Virginia (Doug Doughty) and the #34 weakside defensive end in the nation ( His offers are from VT and Florida (visit on January 11th), and they remain his front runners, with the Hokies possibly holding a very slight edge. Maryland, Virginia and Clemson are talking to him but had not offered as of two weeks ago.

LaMarr Watkins (6-1, 210, 4.5) verballed to Wisconsin back in the summer but has set up a visit to Virginia Tech for this weekend. In comments made to other recruiting services, he sounds rock solid on his Badger commitment but wants to do some comparison shopping. We'll let you know what he says after visiting Blacksburg.

Comments from Last Weekend's Visitors

The Hokies received unofficial visits last weekend from DT Levi Brown, DT Brandon Greeson, DE Brian Mattes, TE Laenar Nixon, DB (VT verbal) Aaron Rouse, QB (FSU verbal) Lorne Sam, and ATH (VT verbal) Montavis (Montae) Pitts for last weekend/s Miami game. QB recruit James Banks did not make the trip because he was taking his SAT's.

All of the recruits were favorably impressed, of course -- it's hard not to be on aweekend where they saw a game like that. We spoke with Mattes, Nixon, and Sam Wednesday night, and here's what they had to say.

QB Lorne Sam (6-3, 190, 4.4): Sam, an FSU verbal commitment, sounds like a young man with a lot to figure out. Sam, who was hosted by D.J. Walton, said of his visit, "It went good. I liked it up there a lot. The size of the stadium was kind of small, but they're building on, and it's going to be bigger next year. So it's not that big a deal to me, anyway. The fan support is real good up there. The small town -- where I live now, it's a lot different, because I'm real close to Atlanta, and we have a lot of stuff around us. Up there, it's a bit different, but that kind of stuff really won't affect my decision."

On VT's facilities, specifically the Merryman Center: "Florida State's was a little bit better, but either weight room is more than good enough."

So is his commitment to Florida State solid? Yes, and no. "As of this point, it's still solid, but Virginia Tech's on my mind a lot. They were talking about having a chance to get playing time next year, or during my redshirt freshman year. That's a big deal to me to be able to get in there and play. I just have to weigh my options and look at different situations, and whether I want to go to the league as a receiver or a quarterback."

VT is recruiting Sam as a QB, while Florida State is recruiting him as a WR with a shot at QB. "In terms of quarterback, Virginia Tech would be the school for me. But at the same time, my brother's down at FSU, and it would be a great opportunity for me at receiver, and it might open up later at quarterback. I've got a lot to look at in terms of where I want to be in the future, and what position I'm going to pursue if I'm lucky enough to go to the pros.

Sam doesn't see academics as a big differentiator between VT and FSU. "I'm looking at business or engineering. From what I understand, Virginia Tech is more of a technical school, and Florida State is more liberal arts. Both of them have both degrees that I'm looking at."

"It's a little confusing now. I'll sit on it for a while and talk to different coaches, and make my decision soon. It'll probably be after Christmas, after New Year's, right around there."

DL Brian Mattes (6-6, 245, 4.7): Mattes had an interesting weekend. His third-place team, VT, played an exciting game, and one of his co-leaders, Virginia, knocked off Penn State. His other co-leader, Notre Dame, fired their coach, Bob Davie. The changes at Notre Dame have led Mattes to move his UVa visit from 12/14 to 12/7 and to postpone his Notre Dame visit, originally scheduled for 12/7, until some time in January.

Blake Warren and Jordan Trott hosted Mattes at Virginia Tech. "I had a really good time. Out of my three main schools, Virginia Tech was the one that I didn't know that much about. I really enjoyed myself. I got to know the other recruits, and I had a really good time and thought I fit in very well.

"I knew it was a great place to go and play football. Being in the stadium when they were coming back in the fourth quarter, it was amazing. It was loud. It was really loud."

VT facilities: "Very nice, first class."

Mattes is taking a wait-and-see attitude with Notre Dame, and he readily admits that it's the school, not the coaching staff, that attracts him, so the firing of Davie hasn't turned him away from ND. "I'm going to have to see who they hire, and his interest level in me, and everything else. I'm going to have to re-evaluate."

Possibility of committing to UVa or VT soon: "I don't know. It's a tough call, because I really want to go to Notre Dame. They've been very good to me, and it's still a great place, regardless of who's in charge. From what I understand, there'll be someone (a new head coach) there within 7-10 days."

TE Laenar Nixon (6-3, 210, 4.5): Nixon was all smiles and laughter when talking about his visit to his front-runner, Virginia Tech. He was hosted by Tim Sandidge. "It was swell, man, it was worth it. It was exciting. They (Virginia Tech) take care of their athletes. That's the kind of thing I like. If they take care of me, then I can do what I have to do. It's very homey, a family atmosphere."

VT facilities: "Very impressive. I was mainly impressed with the weight room. It was outstanding."

Nixon described the crowd at the game as: "Electric. Not an empty seat."

On Sunday morning, Nixon met with academic advisors and was "Very impressed. The answers I wanted to know, they gave them to me."

Did VT try to get him to commit on the spot? No. "They told me to go home with my parents and family and talk things over. They didn't put too much pressure on me, and I was kind of glad of that."

Nixon will visit Maryland on December 14th and still does not have a date set yet for Oklahoma. "I'm going to take an unofficial visit to Miami pretty soon, but other than that, there's nobody in the picture."

ATH Montavis (Montae) Pitts (6-1, 180, 4.29): After verbally committing to the Hokies way back in May, Pitts ran a 4.29 at a combine in Birmingham, AL, and suddenly, he was getting several dozen scholarship offers thrown at him. Pitts all but abandoned his Hokie verbal, but the Virginia Tech coaches managed to get him to visit last weekend -- and it paid off. Pitts, the #86 player on the Rivals 100 list of the top 100 players in the country, and the #7-rated ATH by, suddenly has Tech back in his top 2, along with Tennessee (which SuperPrep said leads slightly). Pitts was blown away by the support of the Tech fans at the Miami game. Pitts visited LSU on Oct. 10th and said he is set to also visit Tennessee on Dec. 14, Auburn on Jan. 11 and Florida on Jan. 18.

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   News Items From the Past Week

The Hokie football team closed out the season 8-3 (4-3 Big East) by fighting the #1 Miami Hurricanes to a near standstill and losing just 26-24.
TSL Game Recap: click here
TSL Game Analysis: click here

Here are some other items of note:

-- Tech tailback Kevin Jones was named the Big East Rookie of the Year, and Hokies Ben Taylor, David Pugh, Andre Davis, and Ronyell Whitaker were all named First Team All-Big East. Chad Beasley was named to the second team. For a complete run-down of the All-Big East teams, see TSL's News and Notes from December 5th.

-- The Hokie men's basketball team went 1-1 this week, losing at #9 Virginia last Saturday, 69-61, and defeating VMI Monday night on a last second shot by point guard Eric Branham, 74-73. They are now 5-2 overall, 0-0 in the Big East. Some bad news: shooting guard Carlos Dixon, the Hokies' leading scorer and arguably best player, developed a stress fracture in his foot. It is not known how long he will be out.

-- The women's basketball team defeated Pittsburgh 83-62 on Thursday to run their record to 4-2 overall, 1-0 in the Big East.

TSL Features This Week:
Hokie Hotline Notes -- 12/5/01
A Fan's Dream -- by Andy Turnbull, 12/6/01
Beerman's Picks -- by Ben Shapiro, 12/6/01

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