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The ACC Area Sports Journal recently compiled its list of the Top 200 prospects in the Atlantic Coast Conference region (comprising MD, DC, VA, NC, SC, GA, and FL) for the class of 2005. Now that all the chips have fallen into place, it is interesting to look at the spectrum of destinations for the areaís top talent and how the Hokies did in their own back yard.
Only one of the top 200 prospects did not sign with a school, running back Tony Wright from Georgia. Therefore out of the Top 199 area prospects, the Hokies nabbed nearly 10 percent of that bunch. Virginia Tech signed 19 players, which shows the strength Tech has in the region that stretches from Maryland to Florida (even though Tech has not recruited anyone from the state of Florida since 2003).
The Hokies walked right into the ACC and recruited with the best of them, and arguably won the region outright. The other powerhouses in the area that did well were Florida State (15), Georgia (15), Florida (13), Virginia (13) and Miami (12). For the Hokies to come in and recruit with the likes of these schools shows the kind of weight the Virginia Tech name carries on the eastern seaboard.
Overall, the breakdown among conferences is interesting, but not all too surprising. As expected, the ACC dominates the region with the South Eastern Conference (SEC) coming in right behind.
Interestingly enough, the Big East mustered just 11 of the 200 (about five percent). It is safe to say the Atlantic Coast Conference is much more highly revered than the Big East from Maryland on down. The Big 10, whose closest school to the area is Penn State, was able to obtain the same amount of players from the region as the Big East, who has schools such as West Virginia and South Florida in the areaís neck of the woods.
Recruiting powerhouse Tennessee pulled in nine recruits from the region, not one coming from Virginia. Since 2002, the only players to leave the Commonwealth after their senior year for Knoxville have been Jerod Mayo (2004) and Antwan Stewart (2002). The Volunteers, who once made their presence felt in Virginia, seemed to be looking elsewhere for regional talent (North Carolina, Florida, Georgia).
Within the ACC, it total of 106 recruits signed is very top heavy, with the Hokies, Seminoles, Cavaliers, Hurricanes and Tar Heels taking in two-thirds of that total.
What happened to North Carolina State this year? The fact that the Wolfpack brought in the same amount of top recruits in the region as Wake Forest is almost stunning. According to the ACC Area Sports Journal, the Wolfpack signed 16 players from the region, and only six were in the top 200. The Journal ranked the Wolfpackís class seventh in the conference, a number that Wolfpack faithful must be disgruntled with.
While the Hokies snagged 19 recruits to Florida Stateís 15, a quick glance at the two shows that the Seminoles made a really late push to get the areaís top talent. FSU wound up with Antone Smith (regionís top running back, perhaps the nationís best), Fred Rouse (regionís top wide receiver, perhaps the nationís best), Matt Hardick (No. 2 offensive lineman in the region), Graham Gano (regionís top PK/P), Kendrik Stewart (No. 3 defensive tackle in the region) and Justin Mincey (regionís No. 2 defensive end). If that wasnít enough, the íNoles also signed the areaís No. 2, 4, 5, 6 and 10 linebackers. Thatís an impressive list.
While the numbers may look one way, the strength in the area may show another. We have already seen that NC State focuses on the region but could not pull in the top talent. On the other hand, schools like Virginia and Miami, who pulled in a solid amount of top regional talent, extend their recruiting bounds outside of the ACC region. Virginia recruited several players from the northeast region, while Miami can go to any corner of the country and find top talent. A school like Virginia Tech chooses to stay in its own backyard, and the numbers show the Hokies can do very well close to home.
Boston College has just one recruit from the region's top 200 (OL Pat Sheil from the Commonwealth). Out of the Eaglesí 15 recruits, Five players came from the Maryland-to-Florida area, but only one (Shiel) was worthy of a spot on the list. These numbers could potentially change with more television exposure coming this fall.
Next to the cellar stands Georgia Tech, who seems to be in prime location to recruit. Atlanta is a big city that is stoneís throw from South Carolina and is close enough to Florida and has a relatively mild climate (when compared to Blacksburg, Boston, or College Park), so why all the trouble? The Jackets had 12 players commit from the region, but only three made the list. Chan Gaileyís staff did pick up talent in Alabama and Texas, therefore it is tough to judge the Rambliní Wreckís class.
What about the Hokies Ė how does their class stack up against the regionís top talent?
The table lists the 19 Tech recruits players that are in the region's top 200. The Hokies signed 25 players last month, 24 of them coming from the region. The ACC Area Sports Journal does not include players who prepped in the top 200, so you can remove Brandon Holland, Sam Wheeler and William Wall from that list. That leaves just athlete Jahre Cheeseman, fullback Kenneth Jefferson and punter Brent Bowden not included. Cheeseman is from New Jersey, so he is not regional. Out of the 21 eligible players for the top 200 list, Tech had 19 players appear in their respective categories (remember, for comparison's sake, NC State had six out of 16 eligible).
Much like the Hokies, the Cavaliers had 13 players eligible for the top 200 list, and 12 of the players had a spot on the list. The two in-state schools are recruiting well close to home.
The Virginia Tech coaching
staff has to be pleased with what it was able to accomplish in Maryland,
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, because this class ranks
among the areaís best in terms of local talent.
Brain Injury Services of SWVA and Brain Injury Services, Inc. in Northern Virginia are offering Hokie fans a chance to win a truly unique prize: a "game-winning" football signed by the Virginia Tech football coaching staff and players.
The football up for grabs is the football being carried by Cedric Humes in the picture above, during Cedric's game-clinching 37-yard TD run against Virginia this past season. The ball was taken from the field -- "It still has dirt on it," yours truly was recently told -- and later signed by Virginia Tech coaches and players.
The ball is now being raffled off. Only 600 raffle tickets are being sold, and each ticket costs $100. To make things even better, the cost of your raffle ticket is tax-deductible as a charitable donation to Brain Injury Services of SWVA and Brain Injury Services, Inc.
These two organizations are the only two case management programs serving kids with brain injuries in the state of Virginia. The services needed by brain injury survivors are scarce, and these two programs make a difference in people's lives. Proceeds from the raffle will be used to fund desperately-needed case managers at these two organizations.
Interested? Here are the details:
The Virginia Tech football
program and head coach Frank
Beamer (click the link to see a letter written by Beamer) are behind this effort to raise much-needed funds. Buy your ticket
and get your chance at winning the football pictured above!
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
Look No Further Than Your Own Back Yard
A Gym Rat's Notebook: Seth's Kingdom for a Big Man (or Two)
Finish Ends in Heartbreaking Loss for Hokies, 66-64
Preview: Virginia Tech at Clemson
Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 2/28/05
Sometimes You're the Windshield ... Sometimes You're the Bug
Lay an Egg at NC State, 74-54
TechSideline.com Recruiting Report, 2/24/05 (MP3 Audio)
Preview: Virginia Tech at NC State
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