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   Welcome to TSLMail #239 - Friday, August 11, 2006    
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All-Time Virginia Tech NFL Offense

by Chris Coleman,

Virginia Tech has put enough players in the NFL throughout the years that we can finally put together an All-Time Hokie football team based on NFL careers and talent. A few of the positions were tough to fill, but overall we found players at almost every position that went on to solid or better NFL careers. Special thanks go out to Phil Martin for his input.

This week, we'll look at the offense, and next week, we'll do the defense.

All-Time VT NFL Offense
Position Player
QB Michael Vick
TB Kevin Jones
FB Tony Paige
WR Antonio Freeman
WR Carroll Dale
TE John Burke
OL Matt Lehr
OL Jim Pyne
OL Jake Grove
OL Anthony Davis
OL Buzz Nutter

At quarterback, there can be no doubt who is the starter. Michael Vick is one of the biggest names in pro sports, and he has been an All-Pro player during his NFL days. He still has a number of years remaining in his career, and it remains to be seen exactly how good he can become.

At tailback, Kevin Jones has more NFL talent than any runner the Hokies have put into the pros. He had an excellent rookie season in 2004 (241 carries, 1,133 yards, 5 TDs), but his production fell off last year. He has the talent to do big things, but he has been limited by a bad Detroit offense and organization.

Tony Paige was one of the finest blocking and receiving fullbacks to ever don a uniform. He was drafted in the sixth round in 1984 by the New York Jets and played nine seasons in the NFL, enjoying his best years as a Miami Dolphin from 1990-92, when he caught a total of 140 passes from Hall of Famer Dan Marino. Paige played in 130 games and ended his career with 272 carries for 853 yards and 20 TDs, plus 197 receptions for 1,515 yards and 9 TDs.

The Hokies have had a couple of good NFL receivers in Antonio Freeman and Carroll Dale. Everyone knows Freeman’s name, as he was Brett Favre’s favorite target in Green Bay for several years, and an All-Pro receiver. He caught 477 passes during his career (1995-2003) for 7,251 yards.

For his day, Carroll Dale was the top receiver the Hokies have ever put in the pros. Despite playing in an era where passing was not nearly as common as it is today, Dale caught 438 passes for 8,277 yards and 52 touchdowns from 1960 to 1973. Dale is just 224 yards shy of making the top 50 in career NFL receiving yards.

From walk-on at Virginia Tech to NFL player, John Burke played for the New England Patriots, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. He was primarily a blocking tight end, but he did his job well. He played five seasons in the NFL, catching 28 passes for 273 yards.

Matt Lehr has played center and guard over the course of his NFL career. He has played in 58 games since 2001, starting 37 of them. He has played for the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams, and is currently a starter for the Atlanta Falcons.

Jim Pyne is possibly the best offensive lineman in Virginia Tech history. He played seven seasons in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles. The lingering effects of a torn ACL ended his career early, after the 2001 campaign with the Eagles.

Jake Grove has only played two seasons in the NFL, but he has already established himself as one of the top linemen for the Oakland Raiders. He is able to play guard and center, which makes him an extremely important member of their offensive line.

Anthony Davis was an undrafted free agent who finally broke into the starting lineup at left tackle last season for Tampa Bay. He was very impressive in his first season as a starter, and has earned the job again heading into 2006. Not bad for a guy who wasn't even drafted. Former Auburn running back Cadillac Williams owes a lot of his rookie year success to Davis and the rest of the offensive line.

Buzz Nutter had the longest career of any Virginia Tech offensive lineman in professional football. He played in 149 games spanning 12 seasons (1954-1965), and had stints with the Baltimore Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week

2006 Virginia Tech Football Season Preview: Offensive Line

August 10, 2006
After losing three full time starters and a backup with starting experience off the 2005 team, the 2006 offensive line is in rebuilding mode. That isn't limited to the players. The Hokies got a new offensive line coach in the offseason as well. Curt Newsome came to Virginia Tech after developing the offensive line at James Madison and helping the Dukes win a national championship.

Andrew Lanier's Road to Committing to VT
August 10, 2006
Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) standout tight end Andrew Lanier received an offer from Virginia Tech “about midway through June.” The 6-5, 230-pound prospect had never visited Virginia Tech before, but, a few days before heading to Blacksburg for the July 8th senior camp, he decided he would commit to the Hokies. TSL caught up with Lanier, who reflected his decision making process and discussed what he will bring to the 2007 recruiting class.

Scouting Report: Basketball Recruit J.T. Thompson
August 10, 2006
Virginia Tech received a commitment from Hope Christian (Marshville, NC) forward J.T. Thompson, a player who will enter Virginia Tech as part of the Hokies' 2008 recruiting class. Respected poster and basketball talent evaluator "Rev. Zeke Vodka" brings us a detailed scouting report and future outlook for Thompson, a player who is in the process of developing an outside game to go with his inside game.

2006 ACC Football Season Preview: Georgia Tech
August 9, 2006
Georgia Tech is a talented football team that could go anywhere from 6-6 to 10-2 this season. They seem to knock off a highly rated team every season, but they also manage to lose games they shouldn't, such as the 2003 loss at the hands of the Duke Blue Devils by the score of 41-17. With Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Miami and Georgia on their schedule this year, they have a chance to continue their tradition.

Football Notes: Position Changes Abound for Hokies
August 9, 2006
Not even a week into preseason camp, the Virginia Tech coaching staff is already moving players around. After displaying impressive athletic ability in freshman testing, Kam Chancellor has been moved from quarterback to cornerback, where his size (6-4, 217), closely resembles that of Jimmy Williams. Chancellor is playing the boundary corner position for the Hokies.
Also: Banged-up Hokies; Glennon Taking Over; Other ACC Injuries.

Jackson Sets First Official Visit
August 9, 2006
Varina DE/LB prospect Jamar Jackson saw his stock rise throughout the May evaluation period and into the summer. The 6-4, 220-pound received scholarship offers from schools including Boston College, Louisville, N.C. State and Virginia Tech, among others. Now, he has set his first official visit.

Tribbey to Visit Tech
August 9, 2006
Varina defensive tackle recruit Bud Tribbey had a fantastic visit to Syracuse this past weekend. In fact, he was close to making a verbal commitment to the Orange. Luckily for the Hokies, the 6-1, 285-pound prospect is giving the Hokies one more look before making a verbal commitment anywhere.

2006 Virginia Tech Football Season Preview: Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
August 8, 2006
It's been well publicized that Virginia Tech is going to be inexperienced at quarterback this year. Sean Glennon is the likely starter, and he has thrown all of 11 passes during live action in college games. His tight ends are even less experienced than he is, not having played a single down in their careers. Fortunately, Tech's wide receivers are among the most experienced and most talented in the nation.

Chris Drager's Road to Committing to VT
August 8, 2006
Chris Drager began rooting for Virginia Tech during the Michael Vick era and continued through the Kevin Jones (a former high school star in Pennsylvania) era. He bought Virginia Tech apparel. He was a fan. And, last month, he became a part of the team when he decided to commit to the Hokies.

2006 Recruiting Analysis: Scouting Report -- Offensive Recruits
August 8, 2006
With Virginia Tech's amazing recruiting run in July, fans that follow recruiting closely are astounded at the Hokies' recent success, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Last year recruiting followers were taken on a roller coaster ride of emotion in Tech's early success on the recruiting trail and optimism for a huge recruiting year, only to be disappointed in the failure to close on several top prospects, particularly on offense. In this first article in a series of recruiting articles, I will break down this class in more detail and provide a scouting report and prediction for success for the offensive recruits. Also, I will introduce you to my unique player rating system (*no stars*) at the end of the article.

New Disciplinary Policies a Step in the Right Direction
August 7, 2006
The most-discussed news over the weekend in Virginia Tech football wasn't Roland Minor's injuries from a car accident or Sean Glennon's increasing grip on the starting quarterback job. It was a set of disciplinary rules put in place by Frank Beamer and his staff that will penalize players for infractions on and off the field. The new policies clearly set expectations for behavior and clearly outline punishments if those expectations are not met. From where I sit, the policies are a big step in the right direction for a football team that is ailing from a discipline problem that isn't just perceived, but real. And Coach Beamer admits that the behavior of the coaching staff needs to change as well, which is another huge step in the right direction.

Tribbey Nearing Decision
August 7, 2006
Varina (VA) defensive tackle Bud Tribbey, fresh off an unofficial visit to Syracuse this past weekend, hopes to make a decision very soon. "It'll probably be before this weekend," Tribbey said. The 6-1, 285-pound prospect is down to Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

Hope Christian SF Second to Commit for '08
August 7, 2006
Last week, Virginia Tech men's basketball coach Seth Greenberg landed his second commitment for the 2008 recruiting class when J.T. Thompson pledged to the Tech program. TSL caught up with Thompson today to talk about his decision and other things.

2006 ACC Football Season Preview: Duke
August 7, 2006
Having finished our previews of the ACC's Atlantic Division, we kick off our previews of the Coastal Division with the team preview you've all been waiting for: the Duke Blue Devils! This year will be pretty typical for Duke, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The defense is good enough that they could probably hold up fairly well if they weren't on the field for the majority of the game, thanks to an inept offense. Points will be hard to come by this year, and Duke will be lucky if they can manage to beat a Division 1-A team.

Practice Report: Glennon Stepping Up
August 6, 2006
TSL caught up with a couple of our insiders who observed parts of football practice over the weekend and got their thoughts on how the quarterbacks are looking so far. Which player is leading the way and which youngster is playing well? Find out inside.

2006 ACC Football Season Preview: Wake Forest
August 4, 2006
Wake Forest will be the most experienced team in the ACC in 2006. They will try to use that experience to their advantage and win the close games in the fourth quarter, rather than losing late like they have done the past few seasons. Wake isn’t blessed with a deep pool of talent, but they do have players that other ACC teams would kill to have.
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