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   Welcome to TSLMail #213 - Friday, February 10, 2006    
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Reviewing Some Football Recruiting Misses of the Recent Past 
by Chris Coleman,

Virginia Tech offensive lineman Tripp Carroll recently announced that he had decided to give up football, citing that his heart was no longer in the sport. Carroll suffered through numerous injuries during his short Tech career, which never panned out like he, the coaches or the fans had hoped.

Carroll was one of the most highly-touted recruits to ever sign with Virginia Tech. A member of the 2003 recruiting class, he boasted as many as 80 scholarship offers coming out of Andrew Jackson High School in Jacksonville, FL. Carroll was so highly thought of that he could have signed with any program in the country, but he never really considered any other school, saying Virginia Tech was his dream school.

Carroll was rated the #13 offensive lineman in the country by Super Prep and the #1 offensive lineman in the Atlantic region by PrepStar. He was a high school All-American by virtually every recruiting service. Yet his career at Virginia Tech never panned out, partly because of suffering Compartment Syndrome in both legs and also a concussion.

But Carroll isn’t the only highly-touted recruit who signed with Virginia Tech but did not go on to a productive college career. In 1996 the Hokies signed Robert Adams, who was ranked as the #4 recruit in the state of Virginia by the Roanoke Times. Adams chose Virginia Tech over schools such as Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina. But Adams never even lettered for the Hokies. He spent time at offensive line and tight end, but never found his niche in Blacksburg, finally quitting the team just before the start of his senior season in 1999. (Editor's note: Adams was listed in the media guide for 1999, but not in the Hokie Huddler preseason outlook, nor in the Huddler's season-ending depth chart, showing the number of snaps each player played.)

Tyrone Robertson was rated the #3 recruit in Virginia for the class of 1997. He signed with the Hokies over offers from UVA, Tennessee and Georgia, among others. But unlike the other players mentioned here, Robertson never even enrolled at Virginia Tech. He intentionally failed 12th grade to get out of his Letter of Intent, and went to prep school before signing with the Georgia Bulldogs.

Robertson spent one year in Athens but then transferred to a community college, where he also spent one season before declaring for the NFL Draft. He went to the Buffalo Bills where he started several games as a rookie and looked to have a bright future. Robertson has since had numerous run-ins with the law and is no longer in the NFL.

Fast forward to the class of 1999, when the Hokies signed Andrae Harrison, a wide receiver and #4 prospect in the state of Virginia by the Roanoke Times. Harrison went to Warrick High School, where he was Michael Vick’s favorite target during his sophomore and junior seasons. He was rated as one of the top 10 wide receiver prospects in the nation and chose the Hokies over UVA, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Florida.

But after he redshirted in 1999, Harrison left Virginia Tech and transferred to Norfolk State. He later ended up at Florida A&M, where he caught 26 passes for 507 yards in 2002.

The 2000 recruiting class featured two highly-touted players who never panned out. In fact, both players topped the Hokie Huddler’s player rankings for the 2000 recruiting class. The first was Richard Johnson, who chose Tech over Syracuse, Michigan and Purdue. He was rated the #2 player in the mid-Atlantic by SuperPrep and the #4 wide receiver in the Atlantic region by PrepStar. It’s unfair to label Johnson a bust, because he started a lot of games for the Hokies throughout his career, but his production never matched his lofty ratings coming out of high school.

Chad Cooper was the other highly-touted recruit in the class of 2000. He was rated as the #5 players in the state of Virginia and the #1 defensive back in the Atlantic region by PrepStar. But Cooper’s career never panned out, and many of the reasons why were out of his control. In December of 2001 he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a serious disorder of the nervous system. Cooper made a full recovery, but never got back to his ideal playing weight or strength and spent most of the rest of his career as a special teams player. As a redshirt senior backup mike linebacker in 2004, when he recorded 17 tackles and a sack, Cooper only weighed 189 pounds.

The class of 2001 featured Fred Lee, a highly touted wide receiver prospect from the state of Pennsylvania. Lee went to prep school following his senior year of high school, and eventually enrolled at Virginia Tech in 2002. He never played a down for the Hokies, and eventually transferred to Pasadena City Junior College in California, and then signed with Temple in 2005. Lee, who was once compared by some to FSU great Peter Warrick, is not listed on Temple’s 2005 team roster.

In 2002, the Hokies needed defensive tackles that could play early. They found one in Jimmy Williams, one of the top Junior College players in America. But when Williams first got to Blacksburg, he quickly injured his ankle. He played sparingly in 2002, although his playing time did pick up towards the end of the season. Williams left the team after the season and has gone down as one of Virginia Tech’s most disappointing recruits on record.

These players will not be the last highly-regarded recruits to sign with Virginia Tech and not produce as much as originally expected. There are several players on the current roster that are in danger of falling into this category very soon, but they still have time to get their careers on the right track.

Next week, we'll take a look at some lightly-regarded recruits who went on to have stellar careers at Virginia Tech and even, in some cases, in the NFL. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week
TSL Recruiting Report from "Tech Beat With Mike Harris", for 2/8/06
February 10, 2006
On Wednesday night's show, Chris Horne and Mike Harris continued their review of Tech's 2006 recruiting class. They also looked ahead to some of the top recruits in the upcoming 2007 class, including quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor, Peter Lalich, and Davon Morgan, all top 5 in-state recruits. (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.5 MB, 23:04)

Around the State: 2007 Class 1st Edition
February 9, 2006
With most of the top in-state talent in the 2006 class heading out-of-state, there is no doubt coaches from Virginia and Virginia Tech are looking forward to a stronger in-state performance with the 2007 group. It is too early to tell exactly where the new class of stars will go but, at least initially, the amount of kids intent on leaving the state seems significantly less and I still believe the 2006 exodus is just a one-year wonder. In this first edition of Around the State, I was able to gather info on a number of top kids including, among others, QB Russell Wilson; RB/ATH Max Milien; OL William Alvarez and Khalil Latif; LBs Terance Fells-Danzer, Aaron Taliaferro, J’Courtney Williams; ATHs Savion Frazier and Colin Pehanick.

These Guys Are Taking Years Off My Life
February 9, 2006
Another game, another stressful, down-to-the-wire finish. Virginia Tech has played three straight games decided by one point, and I don't think I can take anymore. Remember when Fred Sanford used to clutch his chest, look to the heavens, and yell, "I'm coming Elizabeth!!" That's me. These guys are killing me.

Hokies Nip Tigers in Overtime Thriller 75-74
February 8, 2006
Virginia Tech traveled to Clemson on Wednesday night and came away with a tough 75-74 overtime victory over the Tigers, winning the game in dramatic fashion. The Hokies trailed for the majority of the game, missed a ton of free throws down the stretch and had to withstand two potential game-winning field goal attempts by Clemson at the end to hang on for the victory. Virginia Tech (13-10, 3-7) has now won three of their last four games. Each of their last three games has been decided by one point. Clemson (14-9, 3-7) has lost four in a row and six of their last seven.

2006 Recruiting Grades: The Offense
February 8, 2006
There have been mixed reviews from fans on Virginia Tech's 2006 football recruiting class. The Hokies were in on a lot of high-caliber prospects but failed to close the deal on the majority of them. But at the same time, Tech signed some good players, and on paper this appears to be a typical Hokie recruiting class. We're back again with an article that always stirs up message board discussion, our grades for the recruiting class. We'll grade each position, then assign overall grades to the offensive and defensive recruiting classes. This article concentrates on the offense.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Clemson
February 7, 2006
Virginia Tech will travel south on Wednesday to take on the Clemson Tigers in an ACC game that both teams need to win. The Hokies (12-10, 2-7) have had a number of close losses this season and badly need a victory to jumpstart the second half of ACC play. The Tigers (14-8, 3-6) are losers of five of their last six games, all of which came against ACC competition. At one point in the season both teams aspired for an NCAA Tournament berth, but right now it appears that an NIT bid is most likely for Clemson. If the Hokies want to reach the NIT, winning this game would be a big step in the right direction.

Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 2/6/06
February 7, 2006
Monday night's show featured Tech head basketball coach Seth Greenberg, who talked about the close loss to Boston College, ACC officiating and recruiting. Greenberg also discussed the upcoming game against Clemson with host Bill Roth.

Comparing VT's Football Recruiting to the Rest of the ACC
February 6, 2006
Despite a slow finish, Virginia Tech's 2006 recruiting class turned out pretty well. In fact, if you go by average star ranking, it was better than three of the last four classes the Hokies signed. The Hokies are still in the process of extending their recruiting throughout the east coast, and they are running into more competition each year. With an expanded recruiting region and more competition from ACC schools, let's see how Tech's class stacks up against the rest of the conference.

#15 Boston College Edges Virginia Tech 74-73
February 4, 2006
Virginia Tech lost another heartbreaker on Saturday night, falling to #15 Boston College 74-73 in Cassell Coliseum. BC's star forward Jared Dudley hit two free throws with 5.2 seconds remaining to give the Eagles the lead, and Zabian Dowdell's three-pointer from the wing bounced off the front of the rim as time expired to condemn the Hokies to yet another close ACC loss. Tech is now 12-10 overall and 2-7 in ACC play, while BC improves to 17-5 and 5-4 in the ACC.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. #15 Boston College
February 3, 2006
The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team has won two games in a row without leading scorer and rebounder Coleman Collins, and they will try to make it three on Saturday night when they host #15 Boston College. With two victories over Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, the Hokies have climbed out of the ACC cellar and hope to continue their climb against a talented BC team.
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