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   Welcome to TSLMail #332- Friday, May 30, 2008    
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   Tech Sports News

Returning ACC Wide Receivers Look Solid
by Chris Coleman,

While the Hokies lost their top five receivers off the 2007 team, other programs are bringing back plenty of experienced talent in the ACC. If the conference can get more consistent quarterback and offensive line play, the talent is there for some receivers to put up some big numbers in 2008.

Here is a look at the top returning receiver for each team heading into the 2008 season.

Leading Returning Receivers
Team Player Catches Yards
Boston College Rich Gunnell 64 931
Clemson Aaron Kelly 88 1,081
Duke Eron Riley 40 830
Florida State Preston Parker 62 791
Georgia Tech Greg Smith 37 588
Maryland Darrius Heyward-Bey 51 786
Miami Sam Shields 27 346
North Carolina Hakeem Nicks 74 958
NC State Jamelle Eugene 42 263
Virginia Kevin Ogletree* 52 582
Virginia Tech Sam Wheeler 15 211
Wake Forest Josh Adams 34 123
* Ogletree missed 2007 with a knee injury. These stats are from 2006.

Matt Ryan made a lot of Boston College receivers happy last season. Although tailback Andre Callender was the team's leading receiver, the wideouts got plenty of action as well. Last year it wasn't clear how talented the group was as a whole, with a great player like Ryan throwing them the ball. We should have a better indication this year. Rich Gunnell, who plays a lot of slot receiver, should be BC's primary target this season.

It makes sense that the receivers with the best quarterbacks catch the most passes. Clemson's Aaron Kelly is the ACC's leading returning receiver with 88 grabs, and he was one of two receivers to have over 1,000 yards receiving last year. Kelly has developed from an athlete playing wide receiver to a complete wide receiver. It also helps that he has Cullen Harper, probably the top quarterback in the conference, throwing him the ball.

If Duke has anything good offensively, they do have a solid passing game. Although they lost leading receiver Jomar Wright, they return big play receiver Eron Riley, who averaged over 20 yards per catch last year. Riley needs to touch the ball early and often for the Blue Devils to have a decent offense.

Florida State returns leading receiver Preston Parker, though he is suspended for the first two games of the season. They lost second leading receiver De'Cody Fagg, but the 'Noles will still be fine at wideout this year. They don't quite have the talent there that they used to, but they still have some good players. They'll also have a senior quarterback in Drew Weatherford throwing them the ball.

Georgia Tech's leading returning receiver, Greg Smith, has been moved to "B-back", according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. That's how it's going to be under new coach Paul Johnson. Either way, the Yellow Jacket receivers aren't going to be scaring many defensive backs this year, unless they become dominant blockers.

Maryland has one of the ACC's best receivers in Darrius Heyward-Bey. His only drawback is that he doesn't have a good quarterback throwing him the ball. If either Chris Turner or Jordan Steffy can step up and have a good season, Heyward-Bey could have a breakout year.

If you want proof that Miami's talent level has dropped off quite a bit, you don't need to look anywhere but the wide receiver position. The 'Canes had two senior receivers this past year, and neither player was drafted. Nobody caught more than 31 passes for Miami last year, and it's unlikely that any of their wideouts would have made Tech's 2-deep in 2007.

The 'Canes have a solid player returning in Sam Shields. He looks like he has the potential to be a good one, but you could have said the same thing about Lance Leggett, who ended his career with 15 catches as a senior in 2007. The 'Canes need help everywhere, wide receiver being perhaps the worst position on the team.

UNC wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is arguably the best wideout in the ACC. He's got the size of a Josh Morgan type receiver. He set a UNC record with 74 catches last year, and that was with a freshman quarterback, T.J. Yates, throwing him the ball. Yates should be a lot better in 2008, so Nicks has the potential to have an even bigger year.

NC State isn't scary at wide receiver. In fact, their leading returning receiver is tailback Jamelle Eugene, who might be the third string tailback this coming season. Of course, it doesn't help the Wolfpack wideouts that they don't have a good quarterback throwing them the ball. Quarterback is still an issue heading into 2008 as well.

Virginia's biggest problem offensively last season was the lack of good wide receivers. This year they'll return Kevin Ogletree, who caught 52 passes in 2006. He tore his ACL and did not play in 2007. He should be able to help out their passing game quite a bit. Still, Ogletree is more of a possession receiver, and is not the big play threat that the Hoos need right now.

The Hokies lost their top four wide receivers, as well as Branden Ore, who was fifth on the team in receiving. Their top returning receiver is tight end Sam Wheeler, who tore his ACL in November of 2007 and may not be 100% to start 2008. That leaves Greg Boone, who is 100% healthy, as Tech's top receiving threat. The Hokies' returning wide receivers have combined for five career receptions. The Hokie running game better be good in 2008.

Wake Forest lost a major receiver in Kenneth Moore, who led the ACC with 98 receptions last year. However, the Demon Deacons generally don't have a true dominant wide receiver. Moore wasn't a wideout in the true sense of the word. He'd line up in the backfield, in the slot, essentially everywhere. He was Wake Forest's Percy Harvin. Wide receiver Chip Brinkman and tailback Josh Adams have a chance to be major factors in the passing game in 2008. 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
Friday Football Q&A: May 30, 2008
May 30, 2008
We are back with another session of Friday Q&A! This week, Raleigh Hokie and Chris Coleman talk about Cam Martin at whip linebacker, team chemistry heading into the 2008 season, and the possible roles of Ryan Williams.

Askew Likely to Make Five Official Visits
May 30, 2008
The state's most highly recruited 2009 class linebacker, Oscar Smith's (Chesapeake, VA) Jerod Askew, narrowed his long list of schools to seven but likely will not be able to make any college visits this summer. Therefore, do not expect the 6-0, 230-pound prospect to make a college decision before the start of his senior season.

Aggies Squeak by Hokies 1-0
May 29, 2008
Virginia Tech out-hit Texas A&M and committed one less error. Unfortunately for the Hokies, the Aggies had the upper hand in runs, downing Tech 1-0 in the Women's College World Series on Thursday afternoon. The Hokies will now face #1 Florida in an elimination game. Florida was upset by unseeded Louisiana Lafayette in the first game of the day.

TSL Audio: The Final Word, 5/28/08
May 29, 2008
Free Audio Feature: This week's "Catching Up With Coleman" segment of "The Final Word With George Hunsicker" featured George and Chris talking about VT softball and the Hokies' chances in the Women's College World Series (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.5 MB, 14:52).

Beamer's Best Seasons
May 29, 2008
Virginia Tech has gone to 15 bowl games in a row. It's gotten to the point that a trip to the Gator Bowl is somewhat disappointing for many people, whereas in 1994 it was considered a huge success. Some years have been better than others, and different people hold certain seasons in higher regard than others for their own personal reasons.

Reynolds Emerging on Recruiting Scene
May 29, 2008
Maury (Norfolk, VA) has produced one of the more talented varsity football programs in recent years, headlined by a handful of college prospects including current Virginia Tech standout Kam Chancellor and incoming Virginia Tech recruit Vinston Painter. Maury will continue its Division 1A prospect run in 2009 with top safety/wide receiver recruit Laroy Reynolds.

The Latest on QB Clayton Moore
May 28, 2008
6-2, 205-pound Louisville (MS) quarterback Clayton Moore indicated in early May that Virginia Tech had verbally offered a scholarship with the official one perhaps coming later in the month. Virginia Tech quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain did make the trip to Louisville to see a spring practice, but does Moore now have an offer?

2008 Women's College World Series (WCWS) Preview
May 28, 2008
The Virginia Tech Hokies are an unseeded team making their inaugural trip to the Women's College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City. The Hokies advanced to this point by winning the Knoxville Regional and Ann Arbor Super Regional. Both times Tech had to take two of three games from powerful foes Tennessee and Michigan to advance. This postseason road had been difficult for the Hokies, but it has made this team better and stronger.

TSL Poll: Do You Think Tech Can Win the WCWS?
May 28, 2008
The latest TSL Poll probably won't spark the amount of discussion the last one did, but it brings you a question centering on the hottest topic of the week: What chance do you give the Hokie softball team of winning the WCWS?

Rhodes Enjoys Successful Month
May 28, 2008
Varina (VA) star defensive lineman DeAntre Rhodes enjoyed a successful Evaluation Period, adding four Division 1A scholarship offers. The 6-3, 265-pound prospect, a VHSCA Group AAA second-team all-state selection on offense and defense last season, plans to make several college visits this summer...but will a summer decision come?

Tincher Wins Two Major Awards
May 28, 2008
The awards are coming in for Virginia Tech softball pitcher Angela Tincher. On Tuesday night, she swept two major national awards that were announced in Oklahoma City, the site of the Women's College World Series.

Hokies Open WCWS Thursday Against Texas A&M
May 27, 2008
As previously noted, the Virginia Tech softball team will be playing in the Women's College World Series. Their first game is Thursday, May 29 against #5 Texas A&M. The game will be televised on ESPN at 3:30 in high definition.

Target Profile: Oak Hill SF Brian Oliver
May 27, 2008
6-7, 205-pound guard/forward Brian Oliver transferred from William Penn High School (New Castle, DE) to prestigious Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA) mid-way through his junior year. The transfer was well worth it, from a basketball development standpoint as well as from a personal growth standpoint, but Oliver admits that initial times were a little on the trying side.

Brookville H.S. Recruiting Notes
May 26, 2008
Brookville High School's (Lynchburg, VA) varsity football program returns a wealth of experience from last year's region championship squad, including 18 starters. Head coach Jeff Woody's most talented players, including top rising senior Logan Thomas, aren't resting on last year's success, however, and are working hard to match and exceed last year's success.

Tincher and Crew Grab Hokie Nation's Attention
May 26, 2008
Hardly anybody -- certainly not those of us at -- saw this coming. When it came to Tech softball, many of us knew Angela Tincher was a great pitcher, even one of the best in NCAA history, but almost nobody foresaw this. It's almost June, graduation was over two weeks ago, and first summer session has started, but softball, of all things, has drawn the interest of Hokie fans around the nation and the world. Virginia Tech is on their way to the Women's College World Series ("softball" is implied), and Hokie Nation is abuzz.

World Series Bound
May 25, 2008
It didn't seem likely, but the Hokies got it done. Needing to win two games in one day at #4 Michigan, Virginia Tech did just that. The first game was a 1-0 nail biter, but the second was a 6-1 blowout, and the Hokies are going to the Women's College World Series for the first time in school history.

Hokies Force Game Three
May 25, 2008
Virginia Tech evened the series against Michigan on Sunday afternoon with a 1-0 victory. The teams will now play Game Three, which is about to get underway at the time of this writing. The winner will advance to the Women's College World Series.

Hokies Fall to Michigan 1-0
May 24, 2008
Despite a great pitching performance by Angela Tincher, Virginia Tech fell to Michigan 1-0 in Game One of the Ann Arbor Super Regional on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies now must win two games on Sunday to advance.
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