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   Welcome to TSLMail #236 - Friday, July 21, 2006    
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Hokies off to Hot Start Recruiting Offense

by Chris Coleman,

Virginia Tech is off to a hot start on the recruiting trail, already picking up 11 commitments for the 2007 recruiting class. Most have come on the offensive side of the ball, where the Hokies are in the process of putting together their most complete class in years.

The Hokies started the evaluation period in May knowing they needed players at basically every offensive position. So far they have landed commitments from quality players at almost every position, and continue to recruit some highly regarded prospects.

Perhaps the most important position of need this year is offensive line. Virginia Tech has received verbal commitments from the top two linemen in the state, William Alvarez (#6 player in VA) and Blake DeChristopher (#10). Alvarez will probably end up at guard, while DeChristopher will play offensive tackle. Alvarez chose the Hokies over offers from schools such as Miami and Penn State, while DeChristopher had an offer from Ohio State.

Tech continues to recruit other highly touted linemen as well. The #11 recruit in the state, Jaymes Brooks, also has an offer from the Hokies. He will play offensive guard at the college level, and his other offers include Florida, Tennessee, Maryland and South Carolina, among others. Virginia Tech is his current favorite. Khalil Latif, the #13 player in the state and projected offensive guard, also has an offer from Tech. Qualifying could be an issue with Latif.

It was widely reported earlier in the week that Tech received a commitment from South Carolina offensive tackle Kyle Nunn, but that turned out to be false. He is in the process of setting up a press conference to announce his decision, and he is expected to choose between Virginia Tech, UNC and NC State.

The Hokies also needed a couple of running backs in this class, and they found them both out of state. Last Saturday, Virginia Tech got a verbal from North Carolina’s Josh Oglesby. Oglesby has been timed at 4.34 in the 40 and 4.04 in the shuttle at the North Carolina Shrine Bowl Combine. Running backs with his size (5-10, 207) and athletic ability don’t come around very often. He is a good fit for Tech’s system.

Perhaps even a better fit for the Tech system is Indiana running back Darren Evans, who verbally committed to the Hokies last weekend as well. Evans is a prototypical Big 10 power back who has deceptive speed for his size. He chose the Hokies over teams such as Colorado, Louisville, Indiana, Purdue and Wisconsin.

At wide receiver, Tech has commitments from two players who impressed at their prospects camp. Patrick Terry is a speed demon who ran a 4.39 at Tech’s camp. He has also run a 10.4 in the 100 meters. Danny Coale has joined him in committing to Tech. Coale ran a 4.42 in the 40 at Tech’s camp. He caught 27 passes for an amazing 720 yards (almost 27 yards per catch) and 14 touchdowns last season.

The Hokies also have verbal commitments from three tight ends, although two of them could end up playing other positions. Chris Drager, from Pennsylvania, is rated the #16 player in his state. He is listed as a tight end by most recruiting publications, but could end up a defensive end at Tech. Andrew Lanier, from South Carolina, could play a number of positions on the offensive line.

The third tight end commitment is Brandon Barden, from Georgia. Barden is an excellent athlete who plays quarterback in high school. He was Tech’s second verbal commitment. (Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?)

Virginia Tech’s #1 recruiting target is Hampton quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is the #18 player in the nation by, and easily the top prospect in the state of Virginia. He is reportedly down to Virginia Tech and Florida, and most experts believe he will choose Virginia Tech on Friday evening.

If Taylor commits to the Hokies, he will try to recruit several wide receivers to come with him, including Jay Smith, the #3 player in the state of Virginia and the #95 player nationally by Rivals. Smith has been offered by schools such as Miami, Notre Dame, Clemson and Tennessee. He is close to Tyrod Taylor, and there is a chance that Taylor’s decision to could influence Smith.

The same can be said for Mark Barnes. Barnes hails from South Carolina and he is rated the #44 player in the nation by Rivals, and the #7 wide receiver. He and Tyrod Taylor also communicate, and the chance to play with Taylor intrigues Barnes. The Hokies are heavily involved. Barnes has offers from Southern Cal, Florida State, Louisville, South Carolina and others.

Virginia Tech has already put together a very good offensive class. If Tyrod Taylor jumps onboard, it could conceivably be the best the Hokies have ever had. If he can bring some other superstars with him, it would be icing on the cake.

Click here for VT's 2007 Verbal Commitments
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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week

ABCs of the ACC, Part 2: N Through Z

July 20, 2006
With the Hokies set to start practice in a little more than two weeks and kickoff less than 45 days away, football season is ready to roll. So what does the ACC have to offer this year? How many teams are facing quarterback questions? Who are the rookies to watch for? Who wins some superlatives? Here's Part II of a quick-hitting look at the conference from A to Z.

ABCs of the ACC, Part 1: A Through M
July 19, 2006
With the Hokies set to start practice in a little more than two weeks and kickoff just 45 days away, football season is ready to roll. So what does the ACC have to offer this year? What happened to the Peach Bowl? Who were the freshmen foursome? What record is Jim Grobe chasing? Which games are critical on the ACC schedule? Here's Part I of a quick-hitting look at the conference from A to Z.

Nunn Says He Didn't Commit to VT
July 19, 2006
Offensive lineman Kyle Nunn, who was widely reported to have committed to Virginia Tech earlier this week, told The Item (a Sumter, South Carolina newspaper) that he has not committed to the Hokies. Nunn said he will make his decision in the next two weeks.

Plans Set for Tyrod Taylor's Announcement
July 19, 2006
Quarterback recruit Tyrod Taylor of Hampton High School will announce his college decision this Friday in Hampton, and has learned the specifics of the time and location of Taylor's announcement. Taylor will make his declaration at Crabber's Restaurant in Hampton, and the announcement will be carried live on Hampton Roads NBC-TV affiliate WAVY-TV channel 10.

2006 Recruiting Class Update
July 18, 2006
Summer Session II began at Virginia Tech on July 5, and the good news is that most of the 2006 Virginia Tech recruiting class has successfully qualified and passed the NCAA Clearinghouse. The bad news is that, as usual, there are some who did not make the grades and will not be enrolling at Virginia Tech for this season.
Also: New College Football Rules in Place for 2006 Season

VHSCA All-Star Game Recap and Scouting Reports
July 17, 2006
In a tough, hard-fought game, the East overcame a scrappy West squad to win a defensive struggle 7-0. In stark contrast to the higher scoring affairs in recent years, this game was a battle of turnovers and field position. Neither team managed more than three first downs on a possession and the end result was decided by one big play, a 65-yard pass from Kam Chancellor (Virginia Tech via Maury HS) to Brent Vinson (Hargrave/Tennessee via Phoebus HS) which set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Brandon Minor (Michigan via Varina HS).

Kyle Nunn Commits to Virginia Tech
July 17, 2006
Virginia Tech received their 12th verbal commitment for the 2007 recruiting class on Monday morning when South Carolina offensive lineman Kyle Nunn announced that he would be a Hokie. Nunn is the third offensive lineman to commit to Tech so far, and the seventh player from out of state.

Indiana Tailback Picks the Hokies
July 16, 2006
The Indianapolis Star is reporting that Warren Central High School tailback Darren Evans has given his verbal commitment to Virginia Tech. He is the Hokies’ fourth commitment since Friday evening, the others being wide receiver Danny Coale, tailback Josh Oglesby and offensive lineman William Alvarez.

Josh Oglesby Comments on Decision
July 15, 2006
Running back is considered a big position of need for the 2007 Virginia Tech recruiting class. Early Saturday afternoon the Hokies received a verbal commitment from one of the top targets on their board at running back, Garner (NC) star Josh Oglesby. With Oglesby’s commitment, Virginia Tech has secured a quality runner, and a quality person as well.

North Carolina Tailback Picks Tech
July 15, 2006
Virginia Tech received a commitment today from running back Josh Oglesby, a 5-11, 205-pound standout out of Garner High School in North Carolina. Oglesby announced for the Hokies today during a 1:00 p.m. press conference at his high school. He chose Tech over offers from North Carolina State, Wake Forest and, most recently, UNC.

Hylton Lineman Chooses Virginia Tech
July 15, 2006
Virginia Tech received some good news on Saturday morning when the state of Virginia’s top offensive lineman gave Frank Beamer his verbal commitment. William Alvarez becomes the ninth commitment for the Hokies’ 2007 recruiting class.

Coale Commits to Tech
July 14, 2006
Less than a week after landing an offer from Virginia Tech, Episcopal (VA) wide receiver Danny Coale verbally committed to the Hokies. Coale becomes the fifth player to commit from last weekend’s camp and is the eighth overall commitment for Virginia Tech’s 2007 recruiting class.

The Road to Signing Day 2007: Early VT Recruiting Strategies Becoming Clearer
July 14, 2006
As I write this, Virginia Tech has seven football commitments, and most of them share common characteristics: they don't have a lot of offers and aren't well-known around recruiting circles, some of them weren't even listed as Tech targets before they surprisingly verbaled, and many of them verbaled after receiving an offer from Tech's one-day football camp. The early commitments and the success of Tech's one-day camp illuminate some interesting recruiting strategies being put in play by the Virginia Tech coaches.
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