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|Welcome to TSLMail #179 - Friday, June 10, 2005||
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With summer here, the countdown to preseason practice is growing shorter and August is but two months away. The anticipation to the 2005 season is growing by the day, and Hokie fans are exited about their team. Virginia Tech is expected to do big things this year, and the general consensus is that the Hokies are very talented. Bud Foster is fortunate enough to have a couple of big-time playmakers on the defensive side of the ball this season in Darryl Tapp and Jimmy Williams.
Both Tapp and Williams have been dubbed Preseason All-Americans by some prestigious publications. Darryl Tapp has been named a First Team All-American by the Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, as well as Athlon Sports. Tapp led the Hokies in sacks in 2004 with 8.5 and is expected to be one of Tech’s team leaders this fall.
As good as Tapp is, Jimmy Williams has one-upped him, at least as far as All-American honors go. Besides being named First Team All-American by the Blue Ribbon Yearbook and Athlon Sports, Williams was also named to the prestigious Playboy All-American team. Williams led the Hokies in interceptions in 2004 and is regarded by many as the best cornerback in America. Expect both Tapp and Williams to increase their tally of All-American teams as more lists are released during the summer.
Besides Tapp and Williams, the ACC as a conference is very well-represented on the various All-American teams. The ACC has eight First Team All-Americans as named by Athlon, including six on the defensive side of the ball. To narrow it down even further, three of the four starters on the defensive line are from the ACC, namely Mathias Kiwanuka of Boston College, Mario Williams of NC State and VT’s Tapp.
Also included on Athlon’s First Team Defense are linebackers Ahmad Brooks of Virginia and D’Qwell Jackson of Maryland, making five of Athlon’s front seven from the ACC. The 2005 talent level of the ACC is very high, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
The ACC packs some punch on the offensive side of the ball as well, with Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, as well as Miami Hurricane offensive tackle Eric Winston. Winston is considered by many to be the best offensive tackle in the nation.
The Blue Ribbon Yearbook was even kinder to the ACC, naming nine players to its All-American Team. For the offense, the ACC is represented by Calvin Johnson, Eric Winston and UVA offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Rounding out the offensive team is return specialist Devin Hester from Miami.
Defensively, Mathias Kiwanuka, Mario Williams and Darryl Tapp anchor the defensive line once again. Ahmad Brooks makes the list at linebacker, and Jimmy Williams rounds out the ACC defensive players.
The ACC was well-represented on the Playboy All-America Team as well, with Jimmy Williams, Mathias Kiwanuka, Ahmad Brooks, Eric Winston, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Devin Hester and Florida State cornerback Antonio Cromartie making the cut.
In Street and Smith’s, Jimmy Williams is a preseason First Team selection, along with other ACC players including D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Eric Winston, Devin Hester, Mario Williams, Mathias Kiwanuka and Ahmad Brooks. The Hokies are represented on the Second Team as well, with Tapp and kicker Brandon Pace earning spots. They join Maryland linebacker D’Qwell Jackson as the only ACC players on the Second Team. Antonio Cromartie and Ernie Sims of Florida State represent the ACC on the Third Team.
Phil Steele’s All-American Team is full of ACC players as well. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Mario Williams, Mathias Kiwanuka, Ahmad Brooks and Jimmy Williams are on the First Team. Eric Winston, UVA kicker Connor Hughes, BC return man Will Blackmon, NC State defensive end Manny Lawson, D’Qwell Jackson, Antonio Cromartie, Florida State safety Pat Watkins and Devin Hester represent the ACC on the Second Team. The Third Team includes Calvin Johnson, BC offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood, Miami defensive tackle Orien Harris, Darryl Tapp and Ernie Sims. Steele even has a Fourth Team, with FSU running back Leon Washington, Georgia Tech defensive end Eric Henderson, UVA linebacker Kai Parham and Miami defensive backs Kelly Jennings and Greg Threat making the list. Steele also lists Jimmy Williams as the #1 cornerback in America.
As you can see, the ACC is high on talent in 2005.
While the ACC appears to be a very talented football conference in 2005, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team appears to be gaining talent as well. Last week’s TSLMail discussing the low rankings of VT's 2005 recruiting class was a bit of a downer, but the good news is coming in this week’s version. Rivals.com recently released their revised Top 150 from the Class of 2006 basketball rankings, and Virginia Tech's two commitments find themselves highly ranked.
Rocky Mount, VA power forward Lewis Witcher is ranked by Rivals as the #63 player in the nation. Witcher has seen his stock skyrocket since late spring. He joined Boo Williams’ AAU team and has had the chance to match up with other highly ranked inside players, such as Vernon Macklin and Duke Crews. Apparently Witcher has been very impressive, considering he wasn't even ranked in the Top 100 previously. Witcher chose Virginia Tech over scholarship offers from Wake Forest and Maryland.
Hyattsville, MD point guard Nigel Munson was ranked the #109 player in the country by Rivals. Munson is a very good shooter and excellent passer who chose Tech over offers from Miami, Clemson and Xavier.
The 2005 class excepted, the Hokies recruiting has really taken off. When you look at a list of the Rivals Top 150 and see that some of the players ranked below Witcher and Munson have committed to programs such as Arizona, Maryland, Stanford, NC State, Villanova and Michigan, and you compare it to Tech’s recruiting in the Big East when Ricky Stokes was competing against Wofford and East Tennessee State for recruits, then one thought should come to your mind…the ACC is great.
The ACC recently released a limited schedule of televised football games for this fall. It was announced that Tech’s September 10th road game at Duke would be televised by Jefferson Pilot/Raycom. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.
Other known televised games for the Hokies are the season opener at NC State (Sun. Sept. 4, 7:15 p.m., ESPN2), at Maryland (Thu. Oct. 20, 7:45 p.m., ESPN) and Boston College (Thu. Oct. 27, 7:45 p.m., ESPN).
The rest of Virginia Tech’s games, with the exception of Ohio, stand a decent-to-great chance to be televised. Some are definite, such as Miami. A couple of others, Marshall and North Carolina, will depend on how each team is faring at that point in the season. Overall, look to see the Hokies on TV almost every week.
Should the Hokies be good enough and lucky enough to advance to the ACC Championship Game in Jacksonville, it will be televised by ABC at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3rd.
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|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
30 In-State Recruits for 2006 (Pre-Summer List)
A Gym Rat's Notebook: A Look Ahead to the ACC, Part 1
Revisiting the State's Class of 2002
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