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   Welcome to TSLMail #280 - Friday, May 25, 2007    
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TSL Welcomes New Sponsor CarMax

In the last couple of months, we have told you about some pilot sponsor campaigns that will help us sign long-term sponsorship deals that will shape the future of our web site, its success, and our ability to improve the site for you. (Click here to read that announcement.) You'll recall that we need your help to make these pilot campaigns succeed. We've rolled out three of these campaigns so far, and we proudly introduce a fourth: CarMax, the way car buying should be. Please read on for more information about CarMax, and how you can help

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   Tech Sports News

ACC Returning an Impressive Group of Tailbacks in 2007
by Chris Coleman,

Last week we took a look at the ACC's top returning quarterbacks and found out that most of the conference's top signal callers will be back for 2007. This time we'll look at the running backs, and like the quarterbacks, most of the top runners from 2006 will be back and looking to put up even bigger numbers in 2007.

The ACC wasn't known as an offensive conference last season, but they do have several high-quality runners, as well as other backfields where the ball carrying duties were shared by more than one capable back. With most of the talent returning this year, we should see improved rushing numbers in 2007.

Top Returning ACC Running Backs and Their 2006 Stats
Name Team Yards YPC YPG

Tashard Choice

Georgia Tech

1,473 5.0 105.2

Branden Ore

Virginia Tech

1,137 4.7 94.8

James Davis


1,187 5.8 91.3

C.J. Spiller


938 7.3 72.2

Lance Ball


815 4.7 62.7

Javarris James


802 4.6 61.7

L.V. Whitworth

Boston College

791 4.5 60.8

Toney Baker

NC State

688 4.4 57.3

Who's the best running back in the ACC? You can make an argument for as many as four players.

Tashard Choice (Georgia Tech) led the ACC in rushing last season. He didn't have to share the backfield with anyone, he played in an offense that was set up perfectly for his running style, and he ran behind one of the few good offensive lines in the ACC. No one had really heard of Choice until last season, but everyone knows who he is now. With star receiver Calvin Johnson off to the NFL, Choice will have to carry the load for Georgia Tech in 2007.

Branden Ore (Virginia Tech) proved he was one of the top backs in the nation when he had back-to-back 200 yard games against Southern Miss and Clemson in October. However he badly sprained his ankle in his first carry against Wake Forest in November and missed the remainder of that game, as well as all of the next game against UVA. Despite missing almost two full games and having questionable blocking, Ore ran for 1,137 yards. With a better line in 2007, he should have a big year, if he can stay healthy.

Clemson had two of the top backs in the ACC last season. James Davis was a sophomore who ran for almost 1,200 yards and averaged 5.8 yards per carry. He was expected to have a breakout season in 2006, and he didn't disappoint.

Of course, Davis would have had an even more impressive season had he not been forced to share time with impressive freshman C.J. Spiller. Spiller ran for almost 1,000 yards and averaged 7.3 yards per carry. Many people expect Spiller to displace Davis as the starting running back in 2007, though Davis has done nothing to deserve a demotion.

Other ACC running backs are hoping to break the 1,000 yard barrier this year. Maryland's Lance Ball is one of them, though his chances may not be great. He ran for 815 yards last season, but he split time with Keon Lattimore, who ran for 743 yards. Both backs were relatively even in all statistical categories last year, and they'll likely split carries again in 2007.

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Miami's Javarris James led the Canes in rushing with 802 yards last season. However, he shared time with three other backs. Tyrone Moss ran for 285 yards, Charlie Jones had 193 and Derron Thomas had 159. Now that James has established himself as the starter, he has a chance to become one of the top backs in the conference, if his offensive line can improve.

NC State and Boston College each have too many good running backs not to have a 1,000 yard rusher, unless someone gets hurt. The Wolfpack play Toney Baker and Andre Brown. Baker ran for 688 yards last season, while Brown added 658. They should be the strength of NC State's offense again this year under new head coach Tom O'Brien.

O'Brien left a similar situation at Boston College, where L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender got roughly the same amount of work at tailback. Whitworth gained 791 on the ground, while Callender had 633. No one else on the team had more than 66 yards rushing in 2006.

The sleeper at tailback this year is Micah Andrews at Wake Forest. In 2005, Andrews rushed for 621 yards in a backup role, and his 5.6 yards per carry were the most by any ACC running back with over 100 carries. He had 254 yards on the ground in one game against Vanderbilt that year, and he was set to have a breakout year in 2006.

Unfortunately for Andrews, he blew out his knee in the third game of the season. In 2+ games he had rushed for 256 yards. Wake had no one who could replace him, yet they still went on to win the ACC. Getting a healthy Andrews back will be huge for the Demon Deacons in 2007. 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

Top DB Sets Camp Visits

May 24, 2007
6-1, 175-pound CB/S Eddie Whitley has a busy month of June planned. The Butler (Matthews, N.C.) standout junior already has three camps on his schedule, with all three camps being at ACC schools. Whitley is anxious to make many visits this summer, as he hopes to make a commitment by the middle of his senior season.

The OL: Ranking the Best, and Examining a Weighty Issue
May 23, 2007
On February 24, 2006, Frank Beamer hired Curt Newsome away from James Madison to serve as Virginia Tech's new offensive line coach. The Hokies' offensive line was once one of the top units in the nation, but had fallen upon hard times. The talent level was down, and of the players that were in the program, not many were prototypical Curt Newsome players.

Ruff's Summer Plans Taking Shape
May 23, 2007
Virginia's Al Groh and Mike London have stopped by Norview High School (Norfolk, VA) this month. As have Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, Curt Newsome and Charley Wiles. Both programs are putting the full-court press on for 6-4, 290-pound defensive line recruit Buddy Ruff, whose recruitment is turning into one of the top in-state battles in the 2008 class.

Fitzgerald to Narrow List Soon
May 23, 2007
With 18 Division 1A scholarship offers in the fold, West Windsor Plainsboro South (Princeton Junction, N.J.) linebacker J.B. Fitzgerald has plenty of options for the next level. He plans to narrow his list very soon, though, to a more manageable number of schools.

George Bell, Branden Barden to Transfer
May 22, 2007
In just two days, Virginia Tech has lost the services of two offensive players. True freshman tight end Branden Barden decided to transfer to Vanderbilt after spending Spring semester in Blacksburg, while rising r-junior running back George Bell is moving on to Catawba College after recurring knee problems limited his playing time at Virginia Tech.

Star LB Updates Recruitment
May 22, 2007
6-3, 220-pound linebacker Shayne Hale, one of the top defensive recruits in the country, has received close to 40 Division 1A scholarship offers. All of those options are a lot to consider, but the Gateway (Monroeville, PA) junior is not focused too much on recruiting right now.

Gee Working Towards Virginia Tech
May 22, 2007
New Jersey product Mike Gee signed with Virginia Tech in 2006, but due to an issue with his transcripts he was forced to go the junior college route to get to Blacksburg. The talented defensive end prospect still hopes to enroll at Virginia Tech and is working hard to do so.

TSL Welcomes New Sponsor CarMax
May 21, 2007
In the last couple of months, we have told you about some pilot sponsor campaigns that will help us sign long-term sponsorship deals that will shape the future of our web site, its success, and our ability to improve the site for you. You'll recall that we need your help to make these pilot campaigns succeed. We've rolled out three of these campaigns so far, and we proudly introduce a fourth: CarMax, the way car buying should be. Please read on for more information about CarMax, and how you can help

Ocean Lakes Star Adds Four Offers
May 21, 2007
Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA) ATH Marcus Davis, a junior fast on the rise in the recruiting ranks, showed off his abilities at two camps this month and his performances have been well received by college coaches. The 6-5, 215-pound Davis has added four offers this month alone, raising his offer total from three to seven.

Hokies Eliminated from NCAA Tourney
May 19, 2007
Virginia Tech had hoped to ride the considerable skill of pitching ace Angela Tincher to a regional championship, but it was not to be, not this year. Tincher lost twice on Saturday, falling first to Ohio State 2-1 and then to Cal State Fullerton 1-0 in the nightcap. Tincher struck out 18 batters Saturday to up her season total to 617, currently tied with Tennessee's Monica Abbott for the third-highest single-season total in NCAA history.

Tincher Dominates, Hokies Win 5-0
May 18, 2007
Virginia Tech softball pitcher Angela Tincher nearly pitched a perfect game against Canisius, recording 18 strikeouts (out of 21 total outs) and facing just 22 batters. Tincher no-hit Canisius and surrendered one walk to spoil a near-perfect game. The Hokies only got four hits, but they were timely and led to five total runs. VT will next face host Ohio State, who defeated Cal State Fullerton. The Hokies and Buckeyes will square off at 1 p.m. Saturday in Columbus.
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