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   Welcome to TSLMail #289 - Friday, July 27, 2007    
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The Rivals Top 100, Present and Past
by Will Stewart,

Roughly one month before the season starts, over half of the Rivals 100 -- 55 players -- are committed. That number reflects the trend of earlier commitments in college football recruiting, and as usual, the Top 100 players are committing to the heavyweights of college football.

Rivals Top 100 Commits, as of 7/27/07


# Commits

Top Player

Ohio State


#8 Michael Brewster, OL

Notre Dame


#22 Kyle Rudolph, TE



#4 A.J. Green, WR

Miami (FL)


#23 Patrick Johnson, DB



#36 D.J. Monroe, DB

Southern Cal


#11 Tyron Smith, OL



#49 Boubacar Cissoko, DB

Florida State


#5 Nigel Bradham, LB



#10 Jermie Calhoun, RB



#42 Rahim Moore, DB



#9 DaQuan Bowers, DE



#19 Baker Steinkuhler, OL



#84 Gerell Robinson, ATH

NC State


#25 Brandon Barnes, ATH



#26 Lucas Nix , OL



#59 Andrew Luck, QB



#79 Dee Finley, DB



#99 Matt Branch, TE

The list of teams recruiting the top players is jammed with the usual suspects, like Ohio State, Notre Dame, Miami, Texas, and USC. There aren't any big surprises in the table, except for maybe Arizona, which doesn't usually land multiple Top 100 players. It's worth noting, though, that their highest-ranked commit is only #84. UCLA, who has never landed more than two Top 100 players in the history of Rivals' rankings, which go back to 2002, already has three.

The Hokies don't have any Top 100 commits yet, and they are only on the list of three Top 100 players (by my count): #55 Ryan Williams (RB, VA), #72 Vinston Painter (OL, VA), and #78 Terrell Manning (LB, NC). The Hokies have an excellent shot at landing Williams and Painter, and they're in the final three for Manning (VT, Clemson, and NC State), who will announce his choice next week, according to recent reports.

VT has never landed more than two of the Rivals Top 100. Here's a look at Hokie signings from the lists:

VT Signees from Rivals Top 100




#27 QB Tyrod Taylor, 5-star




#28 CB Victor Harris, 5-star
#93 LB Deveon Simmons, 4-star






#8 QB Marcus Vick, 5-star


#1 RB Kevin Jones, 5-star

That's only five Top 100 players in the last seven years of the rankings, and never more than two in one season, so landing three this year would be unprecedented for the Hokies. The one year in which VT landed two, 2005, comes with a big asterisk, because Deveon Simmons, who was a great high school player, wasn't fit to play college football. Simmons never made it to Tech, and as a matter of fact, never even made it to junior college.

Marcus Vick, of course, had one good season before flaming out in a sea of bad publicity. Vick was released by the Miami Dolphins on May 1st, 2007 and is currently a free agent.

Macho Harris' career appears to be on track, and Tyrod Taylor's praises are being sung by anyone who has ever seen him or met him. But the bottom line is, Virginia Tech's program hasn't been built via the Rivals Top 100, as we all know.

There is one glaring exception to this discussion, though: Kevin Jones. KJ and his 2001 recruiting classmates aren't listed on anymore, because Rivals' current online recruiting archives only go back to 2002. Rivals was in existence before then (they launched in August of 1999), but the turmoil in the industry in its early years apparently led to Rivals losing some data as the technology industry melted down after its late-90s heyday.

Jones was the #1 recruit in the country in 2001 per, not to mention almost everyone else, and no one can argue that he had a great career for the Hokies. The team wasn't very successful during KJ's three-year career, going 26-13, but Jones rushed for 3,475 yards, second all-time at Virginia Tech, even though he left early. Had KJ stayed a fourth year, he might have reached 5,000 yards rushing. Jones finished with 35 touchdowns, second all-time in Tech history to Lee Suggs' unapproachable 56.

Moving on, under the current star ratings, 27 of the top 100 are five-star players. This is an average number. One thing's for sure, Rivals generally doesn't mess up when ranking the #1 player in the nation. There are some superstars in this list, and beyond the superstars, some very good players. Top Recruits, 2001-2007


5-Star Players

Top Recruit



Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame



Percy Harvin, Florida



Derrick Williams, PSU



Adrian Peterson, OK



Ernie Sims, FSU



Vince Young, Texas



Kevin Jones, Virginia Tech

Hate on Notre Dame all you want, but Jimmy Clausen is in good company. It's going to be interesting to see how his career shakes out, because he's going to a school with a great offensive coach, so he might excel. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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

TSL Audio: The Len Martez Show, 7/25/07

July 27, 2007
Wednesday evening,'s Chris Coleman and Len Martez talked about topics ranging from an early signing date for football recruiting, to the new ACC coaching staffs at NC State and UNC, and who's going to fill the void at point guard after Nigel Munson's transfer (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 2.9 MB, 12:09).

2007 Virginia Tech Football Season Preview: Defensive Line
July 26, 2007
Three keys to winning football games: Talent, depth and experience. Virginia Tech will have all three of those things on their defensive line in 2007. In fact, this could be Tech's deepest defensive line in quite some time. The Hokies could possibly go as many as ten deep, and they won't face many, if any, offensive lines that will be able to block them.

Five Hokies Selected Preseason All-ACC
July 26, 2007
The 2007 Preseason All-ACC selections were announced yesterday, and Virginia Tech led the way with five players on the list. The Hokies placed two offensive starters on the team, while three defenders made the cut.
Also: Munson Officially Gone.

2007 ACC Football Season Preview: Clemson
July 25, 2007
Clemson had yet another disappointing season last year, finishing 8-5 with a loss to Kentucky in the Music City Bowl. They return just five starters on offense, don't have an experienced quarterback, and All-American defensive end Gaines Adams is off to the NFL.

2007 Virginia Tech Football Season Preview: Special Teams
July 24, 2007
One thing you've heard all offseason is how experienced the Hokies are. Tech has a wealth of talent and experience returning on offense and defense. But what's gotten lost in all the hoopla is the fact that Frank Beamer is in the middle of overhauling his kicking game. Most of the players who gave Virginia Tech some of the best special teams in the country last year are gone.

ACC Football Kickoff 2007: Day Two
July 24, 2007
PINEHURST, N.C. - Last season, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest rose to the top in the Atlantic Coast Conference, winning division titles. The Demon Deacons claimed the ACC Championship and received a spot in the Orange Bowl. All of that success earned the duo plenty of media respect at the annual ACC Football Kickoff event, right? Not really. GT and Wake were picked no better than second in their respective divisions. ESPN 840 AM's (Charlottesville) Wes McElroy checks in from the Tar Heel State with a report from around the ACC.

Allen Stephens Commits to VT
July 24, 2007
Halifax County (South Boston, VA) linebacker Allen Stephens became the 15th member of Virginia Tech's 2008 recruiting class when he made his verbal pledge to the Hokies on Monday afternoon. Stephens committed at approximately the same time as cornerback Eddie Whitley on Monday, and he helps fill out a very strong class of linebackers.

Whitley Stuns Many by Choosing Hokies
July 23, 2007
Cornerback Eddie Whitley out of Butler High School in Matthews, North Carolina surprised many followers of Virginia Tech and NC State football recruiting by picking the Hokies today over the home state Wolfpack. In his comments on his commitment, Whitley hit upon a theme common to many Virginia Tech recruits: the people at Virginia Tech and the family atmosphere on campus.

Media Picks Hokies to Win the ACC
July 23, 2007
The media attending the 2007 ACC Football kickoff submitted their ballots for their preseason poll, and as expected, Virginia Tech is the heavy favorite to win the ACC this season. Florida State is expected to win the Atlantic Division, but the majority of the people who cover ACC athletics for a living think the Hokies are going to the BCS.

2007 ACC Football Season Preview: Boston College
July 23, 2007
The Eagles return a lot of very experienced starters for this season, and many people think they can challenge for the Atlantic Division championship and play in the ACC Championship Game in December. BC has won seven straight bowl games, which is the longest streak in college football.

ACC Football Kickoff 2007: Day One
July 23, 2007
PINEHURST, N.C. - August is just days away and football fans are anxiously - to say the least - awaiting the start of fall practice. The Atlantic Coast Conference is getting a jumpstart on the upcoming season this weekend with the annual ACC Football Kickoff event for all 12 league teams. ESPN 840 AM's (Charlottesville) Wes McElroy trekked to the Tar Heel State for the festivities and he checks in with a report from around the ACC.

Whitley Decision Coming Monday
July 20, 2007
Butler (Matthews, N.C.) defensive back Eddie Whitley will announce his decision on Monday on ESPNU. The 6-1, 175-pound prospect is not sure of the time just yet, but he knows Monday will be the day. He will commit to either N.C. State or Virginia Tech.

Hokies Finish 48th in Directors' Cup Standings
July 20, 2007
The 2006-07 athletic year ended with the conclusion of the College World Series back in June, and the annual Directors' Cup Standings were released shortly thereafter. The ACC as a whole was impressive as usual, although Virginia Tech stayed in almost the same position as the previous year, finishing 48th.
Also: Munson to Transfer; TSL Begins Preseason Football Coverage Next Week.
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