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   Welcome to TSLMail #310 - Friday, December 21, 2007    
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   Tech Sports News

An Early Look at Next Year's Starting Lineup
by Chris Coleman,

It's never to early to start projecting next season's starting lineup, even if we've still got one game left in the 2007 football season. We know the Hokies are losing some talented seniors, and possibly a couple of juniors, but who will get a chance to make a name for themselves by moving into the starting lineup next year? Here are my very early projections for next season's starting lineup.

Quarterback - Seriously, who knows? The Hokies will have a talented, experienced r-senior in Sean Glennon, and a mega-talented true sophomore in Tyrod Taylor. I expect we'll see both. Spring practice will be very interesting.

Tailback - Branden Ore should be back for his senior season. It would be a major mistake for him to declare for the NFL Draft. If for some reason he isn't back next year, as many as four returnees could challenge for the job - Kenny Lewis, Jahre Cheeseman, Josh Oglesby and Darren Evans.

Fullback - The Tech coaching staff called Kenny Jefferson the best fullback they had ever seen on film when they recruited him out of high school. He'll get a chance to live up to that next season as he steps into the starting lineup.

Tight End - Assuming his knee is back up to strength, Sam Wheeler will be Tech's main man at tight end. Greg Boone will have plenty of starting experience as well. Tight end should be a strength for the Hokies next year.

Split End - Zach Luckett is one of Tech's top special teams players. He's done a great job at gunner this year on the punt team. Last year he had a big spring, and if he does that again this March and April, he'll likely lock up one of the starting wide receiver spots.

Flanker - Brandon Dillard is the other gunner on Tech's punt team, and like Luckett, he's done a great job this year. He and Luckett have more game experience than any other returning receivers, though most of that experience has come on special teams.

Left Tackle - Since he'll be Tech's most experienced offensive tackle next year, Ed Wang could potentially move to the left side to protect the blindside of Glennon and Taylor.

Left Guard - Nick Marshman turned into a very quality guard once Ed Wang came back from injury. He should pick up where he left off next year, his senior season, and here's to hoping he returns closer to 330 pounds than 360.

Center - Ryan Shuman has almost never been completely healthy, but nevertheless, he's playing pretty good football right now. He'll be a senior next year.

Right Guard - Sergio Render will be in his third year in the program next season. He should be coming into his own. Render, Shuman and Marshman could be the best interior line trio in the ACC next season.

Right Tackle - Blake DeChristopher nearly played as a true freshman this season. Right now, I don't see any other candidates to take over this position, unless Aaron Brown steps it up this spring.

Stud - Jason Worilds will step into the position vacated by Chris Ellis. Worilds is probably the best natural pass rusher on the team. He'll have big shoes to fill, but he's a talented player.

End - Orion Martin has had a very good junior season. He'll be a senior next year, and the most experienced member of Tech's defensive line.

DT - John Graves will be Tech's most experienced returning tackle. He's talented and capable, but how good will he be as a r-sophomore?

DT - Kwamaine Battle redshirted this year, but could have played had it not been for shoulder problems. He actually started at one of the defensive tackle spots in one of Tech's preseason scrimmages.

Mike - Even though the Hokies lose Vince Hall, this is not a position to worry about. Brett Warren started four games this year and did an excellent job.

Backer - It will be very tough to replace Xavier Adibi, especially in coverage. Purnell Sturdivant will most likely draw that assignment. As a r-senior, he should have a solid year, but it's next to impossible to replace a player like Adibi.

Free Safety - Davon Morgan was the only true freshman defensive player to see the field this year. He's a very talented player, and should step into the starting lineup next season.

Rover - Kam Chancellor has this position locked down. He could be the top strong safety in the ACC next year. He might be already.

Cornerbacks - This is the toughest projection. I'm going to assume Brandon Flowers goes to the NFL, and Macho Harris stays in school for his senior year. Harris is currently a field corner, but he can play boundary corner. If he stays at field corner next year, look for Stephan Virgil to start on the boundary. If the staff thinks Rashad Carmichael is a better option than Virgil, then Harris will move to boundary and Carmichael will start at field corner. Cris Hill is also a guy to watch at field corner.

Where Hokies' Men's Hoops Ranks in the ACC Stats

Virginia Tech begins ACC basketball play this Sunday, when they travel to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest at 5:30. Here's a quick look at where the Hokies rank statistically in the ACC in various categories.

VT's ACC Statistical Ranks
(Through Games of Dec. 18th)
Category Statistic ACC Rank
Scoring Offense 67.8 ppg 11th
Scoring Defense 60.7 ppg 3rd
Scoring Margin +7.1 ppg 8th
FT Percentage 64.3% 11th
FG Percentage 45.8% 5th
FG% Defense 40.6% 7th
3-pt Percentage 40.3% 5th
3-pt% Defense 36.4% 11th
Rebound Margin +5.4 5th
Blocked Shots 5 bpg 6th
Assists 13.2 apg 9th
Steals 5.67 11th
TO Margin +0.44 6th
AST/TO Ratio 1.02 5th
Off. Rebounds 12.8 rpg 8th
Def. Rebounds 23.4 rpg 11th 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

Via Discusses Senior Season, Shrine Bowl

December 20, 2007
Playing offensive guard for most of his senior season, Northeast Guilford (McLeansville, N.C.) star Michael Via turned in an outstanding senior season performance. The 6-6, 265-pound prospect played in the NC/SC Shrine Bowl last Saturday and followed that up by being named to the AP all-state squad this week.

Hokies Beat Liberty 58-46
December 19, 2007
Virginia Tech overcame a sluggish first half to defeat Liberty 58-46 in Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night. The Hokies suffered through a bad shooting night from the outside, but rode their defensive prowess to victory. Tech is now 6-4 heading into their ACC opener against Wake Forest. Liberty fell to 5-6 with the loss.

Basketball Game Preview: Liberty at Virginia Tech
December 19, 2007
Virginia Tech returns home on Wednesday night to take on the Liberty Flames in another out-of-conference matchup in Cassell Coliseum. The Flames enter the game with an even record of 5-5, and they'd like nothing better than to steal a road win from a young ACC team.

Lorenzo Williams Talks Shrine Bowl Experience
December 19, 2007
In his senior season, Westover (Fayetteville, N.C.) star Lorenzo Williams played linebacker and played very well, racking up 102 tackles, two blocked punts, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception. The first-team all-conference selection will play cornerback at Virginia Tech, and he was able to gain valuable experience at the position at last week's Shrine Bowl.

Deep Run Junior Lands First Offer
December 19, 2007
Although the main focus continues to be 2008 recruiting, the Virginia football staff is also looking ahead to the 2009 class and has sent out scholarship offers this fall. Deep Run (Glen Allen, VA) defensive end Jake Snyder, a 6-4, 235-pound prospect, was a recipient of Virginia's latest round of offers.

Massie Set on Virginia Tech
December 18, 2007
6-7, 325-pound offensive lineman/defensive tackle Bobby Massie, one of Virginia Tech's top commitments in the 2008 recruiting class, has decided not to make official visits to other schools. The Liberty Christian Academy (Lynchburg, VA) star will stand by his original decision to attend Virginia Tech, and he is excited about it.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 12/17/07
December 18, 2007
Presented by Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech: Monday night's show from Blacksburg featured Athletic Director Jim Weaver, offensive line coach Curt Newsome, head basketball coach Seth Greenberg, and head football coach Frank Beamer.

Randall Dunn Sets Three January Visits
December 18, 2007
Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA) wide receiver Randall Dunn, now up to five Division 1A scholarship offers, hopes to make at least four official visits before choosing his future school. The 6-3, 212-pound senior has already made one official and has three more planned for the month of January.

Reflections on a Championship Season
December 17, 2007
With 11:51 remaining in the second quarter of an unremarkable October 13th game against Duke, Sean Glennon trotted onto the field to fill in for the injured Tyrod Taylor. It had been an up and down season for Virginia Tech football, to say the least. No one knew it at the time (and a painful home loss in the next game to BC would obscure it for a while), but when Glennon entered the huddle, Tech's season turned on a dime. Seven weeks later, the Hokies would capture the 2007 ACC championship, the result of a coaching job that ranks as one of Frank Beamer's best.

Two Visits in the Books for Davis
December 17, 2007
Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA) QB/ATH Marcus Davis has taken two of his allotted five official visits, but he is not close to making a commitment anywhere. Instead, the 6-5, 215-pound senior plans to make more official visits in January, with a commitment likely coming closer towards Signing Day.

Bad First Half Dooms Hokies at ODU
December 16, 2007
A big second half rally couldn't overcome a poor first half defensive performance, as Virginia Tech fell to Old Dominion 72-69 in Norfolk on Sunday. It was a tale of two halves, and ultimately ODU's first half was better than Tech's second half. The Hokies dropped to 5-4 overall, while the Monarchs improved to 6-4 on the season.

Hokies Score Another Tar Heel State Star
December 16, 2007
New Hanover (Wilmington, N.C.) defensive tackle/offensive lineman Nick Becton has made a college choice, a choice that certainly comes as welcome news for Virginia Tech's coaching staff. Earlier today, the 6-6, 290-pound recruit verbally committed to Virginia Tech over offers from Alabama, Maryland, N.C. State, Penn State and South Carolina.

Tech's Season Ends With 2-0 Loss to Wake Forest
December 15, 2007
The dream season of the Virginia Tech men's soccer team ended on Friday night with a 2-0 loss to Wake Forest in the National Semifinals. The loss ends the Hokies' season. They finished with an overall record of 14-4-5.

Interest Increasing in Western Branch Junior QB
December 14, 2007
Western Branch (Chesapeake, VA) junior Kevin Newsome, one of the top prospects in the 2009 class, now has two Division 1A scholarship offers in the fold. The 6-3, 205-pound quarterback has also received increased Division 1A interest over the past several weeks, so more offers could be on the way soon.
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