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   Welcome to TSLMail #171 - Friday, April 15, 2005    
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   Featured Items!

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   Tech Sports News

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by Stefan Adams,

Every year, the Virginia Tech Athletic Department produces its football schedule poster that lists all of the seniors who are making their final go-rounds as Hokie football players. This year’s poster will include names such as Jimmy Williams, Mike Imoh, Justin Hamilton, Cedric Humes, James Anderson, Jimmy Martin, Darryl Tapp, etc. Virginia Tech faithful will look down the list of the 2005 seniors and reminisce about the great games these players had the big shoes they leave behind to fill.

Looking at the 1996 schedule poster on the wall of the TSL office, that poster listed a group of names that put together solid years at Virginia Tech and left enormous holes to be filled after graduation. After going 10-2 in 1995 and beating up on Texas in the Sugar Bowl, the group of seniors who returned for ’96 to post the same record, with loses coming to only Syracuse and Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

The faces on the 1996 poster are:

1996 VT Seniors
Player Position

Torrian Gray

Free Safety

Myron Newsome


Jim Druckenmiller


Cornelius White


Brian Edmonds


Shaine Miles

Tight End

Jay Hagood

Offensive Tackle

Brandon Semones


Chad Vaughn


Cornell Brown

Defensive End

Larry Green **


Waverly Jackson

Defensive Tackle

Billy Conaty


T.J. Washington

Offensive Tackle

Bryan Jennings

Tight End

Antonio Banks


Tim Wade


Okesa Smith


**Larry Green is listed on the poster, but he did not
play during the 1996 campaign due to academic
issues. However, he did return for the 1997 season,
but ironically was not on the poster that year.

Many of the names listed above are still involved with football today after productive and memorable years at Virginia Tech. A look back on the senior class of 1996 really shows the impact that class had on the football field.

First and foremost, the class produced on the field. With the exception of Chad Vaughn and Okesa Smith, every senior listed on the poster made a significant contribution. In the following table, the numbers listed are the snaps each player took from scrimmage (their position), with special teams snaps excluded:

Number of Plays from Scrimmage
for 1996 Seniors, During 1996 Season
Player, Position # of Plays
Torrian Gray, FS 731
Myron Newsome, LB 668
Jim Druckenmiller, QB 737
Cornelius White, FL 501
Brian Edmonds, FB 511
Shaine Miles, TE 105
Jay Hagood, OT 604
Brandon Semones, LB 733
Chad Vaughn, CB 0
Cornell Brown, DE 556
Waverly Jackson, DT 561
Bily Conaty, C 759
T.J. Washington, OT 714
Bryan Jennings, TE 593
Antonio Banks, CB 465
Tim Wade, C 26
Okesa Smith, CB 0

Many of the seniors from the 1996 season went on to play some form of professional football and several players are still involved with the game in some respect. Here is a quick look at the past accomplishments and current goings-on of the ’96 Hokies.

Torrian Gray

Much like this past season, the Hokie defense did not have any certain player dominate and take over football games for the length of the season. Cornerback Torrian Gray was one of several standouts who carried his share of the load during his final year. He finished third on the team in tackles with 76 and picked off two passes.

His production on the field did not go unnoticed. Gray was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the draft after his senior year in the second round (49th pick overall). He was the second Hokie taken that year and played with the Vikings in 1997 and 1998, amassing 48 career tackles and an interception.

From there, Gray tried his hand at coaching and has been successful thus far. He began at the University of Maine before heading to the University of Connecticut. Gray is now the Assistant Defensive Backs Coach for the Chicago Bears, and the 2005 season will be his second with the club.

Myron Newsome

A junior college transfer, Newsome was very of productive for the Hokies during his two seasons in Blacksburg. He finished second on the team in tackles with 84 in 1996 (he missed one game). Undersized at 5-9, 216, Newsome was never drafted after leaving Tech.

He camped with the Carolina Panthers as a free agent, but was waived in August, just before the season began. Newsome then bounced around playing in the CFL. He was signed by Kansas City in 1999 after playing for the Montreal Alouettes, but never saw the field for the Chiefs. He ended up with the Alouettes in 2000 again.

Jim Druckenmiller

The fearless leader of the offense at Virginia Tech, Druckenmiller threw for 2,071 yards and 17 touchdowns in his final year for the Hokies (with just five interceptions). He and Cornell Brown were the two most noticeable names on the Hokies that year, and as Will Stewart puts it "Druckenmiller was the guy, he was universally beloved by the fans."

Druckenmiller was a first-round draft pick in 1997 by the San Francisco 49ers. His name popped up in the headlines for several off-field issues, most notably a 1999 rape charge for which he was acquitted, and he bounced around the league, stopping in Miami and Indianapolis. Druck played a full season in the XFL and for a couple of weeks once in the Arena Football League.

Cornelius White

After finishing second on the team with 30 catches for 449 yards in his senior campaign, White tried his hand in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent. The six-foot speedster never made it with the Buccaneers, so he moved on to the Arena Football League where he found great success.

White plays for the Columbus Destroyers as a wide receiver/linebacker and is the team’s all-time leading receiver. During his seven year career, he has played for Albany, Carolina and Chicago.

Brian Edmonds

Edmonds was a blue collar Hokie, the prototypical fullback, who carried the ball 67 times and had 15 catches in his senior season. He compiled six total touchdowns and averaged 4.4 yards per carry and 14.9 yards per catch. He was also an effective run blocker who paved the way for Ken Oxendine to average 5.9 yards per carry during the season (Shyrone Stith averaged 5.3 and Marcus Parker averaged 5.7--all pretty impressive).

Edmonds did not start out on the right foot after his senior year, as he was accused of rape shortly after graduating. He went undrafted, but did camp with the Seattle Seahawks and the Carolina Panthers. Edmonds too played in the AFL and was once named Ironman of the Week for the Richmond Speed in 2002. In 2003, he was the defensive line coach for the Speed, a team no longer in existence.

Shaine Miles

Miles took the field just 105 times his senior year at the tight end spot (the Hokies had four options for the position, with Bryan Jennings being the load bearer). Miles did make a significant contribution on special teams and recorded nine tackles on special teams his senior year.

Miles is now the Tight Ends Coach for the Marshall football team. In addition to coaching at Marshall, Miles was the defensive ends coach at the Naval Academy in 2003.

Jay Hagood

The mammoth offensive tackle was very dependable for the Hokies, playing in every game he dressed for in his four years and starting all of his games in his final three years for the Hokies. He earned second-team All Big East honors in both 1995 and 1996.

Hagood camped with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent and also spent some time with the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. He also played in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts before heading to NFL Europe, where he played tackle for three seasons, two with Frankfurt and one with Berlin in 2001. He now is part of the NFL Europe Coaching Program and serves as the offensive line coach for the Cologne Centurions.

Brandon Semones

Tech’s leading tackler in 1996 was also a second team All-Big East member for ’95 and ’96. He racked up 88 tackles in 11 games and hauled in an interception to go along with five sacks. The whip linebacker was also a little undersized at 6’0 202 (James Anderson, Tech’s current whip is listed at 6’3, 224).

Semones never tried his hand in professional football, but his name surfaced around Blacksburg not long after graduation. Working with the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund, he was instrumental in setting up the Eddie Ferrell Scholarship, which awards a full scholarship to a student trainer. He now works as an insurance agent in Christiansburg.

Cornell Brown

The 1995 All-American missed a few games his senior year, but came back to compile 58 tackles in eight games. Brown was drafted in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens (194th overall) and was the last Hokie to be drafted that year. After playing as an undersized defensive end for the Hokies, he made the switch to outside linebacker in the NFL, which allowed him to succeed on the professional level.

Brown played in the 1997-2000 seasons for the Ravens before being released and sitting out the 2001 season. He was picked up by the Raiders for four months, but was resigned by the Ravens and has started 17 games since.

Waverly Jackson

Tech’s big time defensive tackle stepped up to post 57 tackles during his senior season (this past year’s top tackling defensive tackle was Jonathan Lewis with 40). Jackson signed with Carolina in 1997 but only spent one year there before heading over to the Indianapolis Colts. Jackson made the transition from defensive tackle to the offensive line on the professional level and only made two more tackles in his career.

Billy Conaty

Another dependable Hokie, Conaty was named an All-American his senior year after registering 65 knockdown blocks. He left Virginia Tech with a then-record of 48 consecutive starts and played on 98 percent of Tech’s offensive snaps.

Conaty was undrafted out of college but had stints with the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots, and the Dallas Cowboys. Most recently, Conaty was with the Minnesota Vikings where he was signed, released, signed and finally released for good last November. He is now an unrestricted free agent.

T.J. Washington

Tech’s other offensive tackle that season was Washington who, like Hagood, was named to the All-Big East second team. Washington checked in at 6’4, 338 pounds and had enough skill to remain at the position on the professional level.

He was undrafted coming out of college, but worked with the Dallas Cowboys and signed with the Carolina Panthers until he was released in 2002. Washington also played in NFL Europe and won the World Bowl with the Berlin Thunder. During the 2001 season, he helped the Thunder have the second ranked offense by starting in eight of the team’s 10 games.

Bryan Jennings

Jennings was Virginia Tech’s extremely talented, underused tight end that hauled in just 12 passes his senior year. Many Hokies remember his Sugar Bowl performance against Texas where he caught six passes for 77 yards.

Despite not being drafted, Jennings went on to play in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots and Houston Oilers. He has a younger brother, Rashad Jennings, who plays running back for the University of Pittsburgh.

Antonio Banks

The 5’10 corner played in nine games for the Hokies in 1996 and put together 49 tackles. He was the team leader in interceptions with four, returning one for 45 yards in the 38-0 home win over Temple.

Banks was one of the four Hokies drafted in 1997. His name was called in the fourth round by the Minnesota Vikings (113th overall pick) as a free safety. Banks has been well-traveled since his days in Blacksburg. He played with the Vikings until 2000 and had a short stint with the Raiders in 2002. During some of those years, he played in NFL Europe, compiling 67 tackles, 9.5 sacks and two interceptions with Amsterdam. He also spent a year in Winnipeg playing in the CFL in 2003.

He has since stopped playing and taken up coaching. He spent a season as the secondary coach at Averett University before spending a summer with the Minnesota Vikings during their training camp. He now is back in NFL Europe with Amsterdam as a defensive assistant.

Tim Wade

Center Tim Wade only played 26 snaps on offense, but was the team’s long snapper and logged 117 plays fulfilling that duty. Wade is perhaps best known for filling in for the injured Billy Conaty for 36 plays in the 1995 Virginia game in Charlottesville. Wade did not pursue football after his time at Virginia Tech.

Chad Vaughn

A transfer from Southeast Missouri State, Vaughn rarely saw the field at Tech. In VT's 77-27 blowout of Akron in 1995, he played nine snaps at cornerback, but that was the only time he logged anything other than the occasional special teams snap.

Okesa Smith

Smith is shown on the 1996 poster but is not listed in the 1996 media guide and didn't play for the Hokies that season. It is unknown if he left the team before the 1996 season, and if so, why.

The 2005 (Fourth Annual) Spring Game Tailgate Party
Sponsored by, Original Frameworks and Chick-fil-A of Christiansburg.

TSL is once again pleased to be putting on our spring game tailgate party, which last year drew approximately 200 attendees. Your hosts this year will be message board posters F4EHokie, CFA Hokie, knucklejunction, hokiebred, Techstudent, and ACCFootballChamps2004.

Date: Saturday, April 16th
Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Here's what will be provided:

  • BBQ Pork…yes another pig pickin'!
  • Chick-fil-A platters
  • Plates, napkins, cups, and utensils
  • Buns and condiments
  • Ice
  • Grills

Here's what you need to bring:

  • Your favorite beverage, adult or otherwise
  • Hamburger, sausages, hot dogs, or anything else you want to grill
  • Chips, salsa, veggie trays, chicken, side dishes, etc., basically
  • Whatever else you want to eat (But plan on sharing!)
  • Anything else you think fellow Hokies might enjoy.

We have ordered a 125# pig and it will be first come, first served.

Tailgating begins at 10:00 AM. Look for an orange and maroon Hokie tent in the east end of lot 2, behind the South end zone. (Approximately the same place as last year).

New This Year! A Raffle

The sponsors are partially underwriting the cost of the tailgate party, so we will be raffling off several items to raise the additional funds needed to cover the cost of the tailgate. Raffle prizes are:

Raffle tickets will be $2 each or three for $5. The drawing will be at 1:30 PM, and you do not have to be present to win.

Any money raised over and above our costs will be donated to the VTCC’s Memorial Scholarship Funds for U.S. Army 1st Lt. Jeffrey Kaylor, of Clifton, Va., and Army 1st Lt. Timothy Price, of Midlothian, Va., both of whom were killed in action in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 respectively.

We're looking forward to it, and hope you are as well!

Questions? Email F4EHokie at [email protected]. (No, he's not a relative of Frank Beamer's.)

Win an Actual VT Game Football, Signed by the Coaches and Players!

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:

  • Prize: One Signed Game-Winning Virginia Tech football from the 2004 Virginia Tech/UVa football game.

  • Raffle Ticket Cost: $100

  • Drawing Date: April 16th 2005 (you do not need to be present to win)

  • Tax-Deductible Amount of Raffle Ticket Purchase: $100 (unless you win, of course!)

  • How to Purchase: Call or email Brain Injury Services Inc. of Northern Virginia (703-451-8881, email [email protected]) or The Jason Foundation in Radford, Virginia (540-633-2225, email [email protected]) for details on how to purchase a ticket. When you purchase a ticket, you'll receive a ticket stub and a receipt for tax purposes.

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! Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

TechSideline Pass - Only $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year!

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  • Interviews with recruits
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  • A subscribers-only Recruiting message board (only accessible to subscribers)
  • A subscribers-only message board for general discussion

As an additional bonus, all subscribers will receive a 10% discount on all purchases made at, our online store providing Hokie-related apparel and gift items. If that's not enough, you should know that your subscription will help support your favorite website,

For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here.

-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Wednesday Practice Notes: Miller and Booker
by, 4/14/05, 3:00 pm
One of our insiders was only able to take a brief look at Wednesday's practice, which took place in Lane Stadium, but that was enough time for him to give us some impressions regarding a couple of players we were interested in. Namely, how does Theo Miller, the #4 cornerback, look, and what about Barry Booker? Is Booker ready to contribute on the two-deep at defensive tackle?
in TSL Pass

And Now, the Spring Game
by Jim Alderson, 4/13/05, 4:00 pm
With the NCAA Tournament out of the way and all losing bracket sheets consigned to the waste basket, we can now turn our undivided attention to that annual rite of spring, the spring football game. It certainly is obliging of the NCAA to take Tech’s spring practice into account when scheduling their tournament. It is a testament to the power of Tech football and the clout of our athletic director that Myles Brand will call to find out the date of Tech’s spring game and then ensure that the Final four is done in time for fans to watch some Tech football. Or at least something closely approximating football.
in TSL Pass

Basketball Recruiting Primer
by Chris James and Will Stewart,, 4/12/05, 3:05 pm
By now, you know enough about football recruiting to fill an oil tanker. But what about basketball recruiting? When is national signing day? Who have the Hokies signed for this year, and can they play in the ACC? How many scholarships does VT have for this year and next? Who are the hot prospects for 2005 and beyond? (Hint: Shamari Spears, shown at right, is one of them.) All that and more is answered here, in our basketball recruiting primer, to bring you up to speed on Hokie hoops recruiting. Read it now, because this information changes every 15 minutes!
in TSL Pass

Spring Football: Ellis, Flowers, and Depth
by Will Stewart,, 4/11/05, 1:05 am
Spring practice is winding down, and the Hokies held another scrimmage in Lane Stadium Saturday. As detailed in last Friday's News and Notes, the depth chart has pretty much been set for the remainder of the spring, and the two-deep players are getting a lot of reps as the coaching staff works with the guys who will be the frontrunners going into the fall. Here's the latest on who's looking good, who's not, and what the feeling is about the team's depth.
in TSL Pass

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