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   Welcome to TSLMail #334- Friday, June 13, 2008    
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   Tech Sports News

Top Offensive Players of the Beamer Bowl Era
by Chris Coleman,

For the next two weeks in TSLMail, we'll take a look back and give you our All-VT teams of the Beamer Bowl Era.  Now is an appropriate time to do this, as a terrific senior class just left Blacksburg , and many of them could be included on the list.

 This week we'll look at the offense.  Although Tech's offense generally doesn't have the same impressive numbers as the defense, plenty of very good offensive players have come through Blacksburg .  Here is our list of the best since 1993, the start of the Beamer Bowl Era.  

All-VT Offense, Beamer Bowl Era




Michael Vick


Kevin Jones


Jarrett Ferguson


Jeff King


Ernest Wilford


Andre Davis


Jake Grove


Jim Pyne


Billy Conaty


Duane Brown


Derek Smith

Some choices were easy, and others were more difficult.  Let's take a closer look, position-by-position.  

At quarterback, Michael Vick was the obvious choice.  In just two years, he finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting and lost just one game as a starter.  He guided the Hokies to an undefeated season in 1999 and a berth in the National Championship Game, his only collegiate loss as a starter.  He went on to become the #1 overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft.  Vick could change a game in more ways than any other player in Tech history.  Honorable mention at quarterback are Jim Druckenmiller, Bryan Randall and Maurice DeShazo.  

At tailback, it's tough to decide between Kevin Jones and Lee Suggs.  I think that Jones was better than Suggs ever was, for the last half of the 2003 season.  However, for the rest of his career I didn't think Jones was as good as he could have been.  I went with Jones in the end based on how dominant he was at the end of 2003, but Suggs could easily have been the choice. Honorable mention: Lee Suggs, Shyrone Stith, Branden Ore (the 2006 version).  

Jarrett Ferguson is the last truly "great" fullback at Tech.  He was an excellent lead blocker and he was very good with the ball in his hands.  He was a complete player at the fullback position.  Honorable mention: Brian Edmonds.   

Tech has had some solid tight ends, but none better than Jeff King.  King was a very balanced player, equally good at blocking and catching.  He caught 58 passes for 724 yards and 12 touchdowns in his career.  He was easily the most reliable receiving tight end of the Beamer Bowl Era.  He caught 46 passes in his second year with the Carolina Panthers in 2007.  Honorable mention: John Burke.  

Wide receiver was pretty easy, to me at least.  Ernest Wilford is Tech's all-time leading receiver, and Andre Davis was the best deep threat in school history.  That would be quite a combo of wide receivers.  Both are currently in the NFL, Wilford with the Dolphins and Davis with the Texans.  Honorable mention: Eddie Royal, Josh Morgan.  

When picking the offensive line, I tried to find three interior linemen and two offensive tackles.  Interestingly enough, all three interior linemen that I chose were centers.  Jim Pyne, Jake Grove and Billy Conaty are the best centers to ever play for Tech.  They were easy choices to put on the list.  Grove played guard for part of his career, and Conaty could probably play it as well, with Pyne staying at center.  

At tackle, I went with Duane Brown first.  He had a terrific 2007 season, despite the struggles of the rest of the offensive line.  He was also a first round pick in the NFL Draft this past April.  The other tackle spot was tougher to choose.  I went with Derek Smith, who was a Third Team All-American in 1998.  He was drafted by the Washington Redskins.  I almost went with Jimmy Martin, who I think is probably the most underrated offensive lineman the Hokies have ever had.

Honorable mention offensive linemen include Matt Lehr, Will Montgomery, Todd Washington and Gennaro DiNapoli.  

Next week we'll check back in with the All-VT Defensive Team of the Beamer Bowl Era. 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: June 13, 2008
June 13, 2008
In this week's edition of the Friday Q&A, Raleigh Hokie and TSL recruiting analyst Chris Horne are the participants. Raleigh answers questions about the next Virginia Tech head coach, and what the tight end position has in store for us this year. Horne talks about the impact of early commitments on recruiting and college football.

Gregory Awaits Latest Test Score
June 12, 2008
Tony Gregory, a 2008 signee out of First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, hopes to enroll at Virginia Tech later this summer, but there is a chance he may have to take an alternate route before he gets to Blacksburg. The 6-0, 190-pound running back updated his qualification status, including what his plans may be if he cannot make it to Tech this summer.

Stephens Accepted at Virginia Tech
June 12, 2008
Former Halifax County (South Boston, VA) star Allen Stephens finished out his senior year the way he needed to, meaning that he has been cleared to enroll at Virginia Tech this summer. The top linebacker prospect, who graduated from Halifax County High on May 30th, does not have long before he is due to arrive in Blacksburg.

Hokie Track Update: Harrison Injured
June 12, 2008
The Virginia Tech Women's Track & Field team is currently in Des Moines, IA competing for the National Championship. However, they'll have to do so without their top runner. Queen Harrison pulled her hamstring while running a leg of the 4X400 meter relay on Wednesday and will be out for the remainder of the Championships.

TSL Audio: The Final Word, 6/11/08
June 12, 2008
Free Audio Feature: Wednesday's "Catching Up With Coleman" segment of "The Final Word With George Hunsicker" featured George and Chris discussing VT's latest football recruiting verbal commitments, and the impact of Tech's summer camp strategy on recruiting (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 2.5 MB, 10:32).

Box Performing Well on Camp Circuit
June 11, 2008
Collins Hill (Suwanee, GA) quarterback Michael Box was fresh off an impressive performance at the University South Carolina's camp when he headed to Blacksburg for Virginia Tech's camp on Saturday. The 6-4, 195-pound rising senior had been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to show the Hokies what he could did it go?

2008 Preseason Expectations: Coastal or Bust
June 11, 2008
Right now it seems like the dog days of summer, but in less than two months Virginia Tech will be opening practice for the 2008 football season. There's still a lot of time between now and then, but it will be here before you know it. It's never too early to start talking about football, so let's go ahead and start now.

Johnson Talks VT Camp Experience
June 11, 2008
Dinwiddie (VA) linebacker Bradley Johnson grew up a Virginia Tech fan but had never visited Blacksburg before this past Saturday, when he attended Tech's senior camp. The experience - which included the camp as well as a tour of the campus - met all of Johnson's expectations.

Thomas Enjoys VT's Camp
June 10, 2008
6-6, 220-pound Brookville (Lynchburg, VA) star athlete Logan Thomas, who with recent offers from Notre Dame and Connecticut is now up to 17 official scholarship offers, traveled to Blacksburg this past Saturday for Virginia Tech's first senior camp. Overall, the visit seemed to really impress the Bees star.

Peak Lands Offer, Commits to Hokies
June 10, 2008
A fantastic camp performance resulted in Pulaski (Dublin, VA) standout Nubian Peak receiving a tremendous opportunity, and he is taking advantage. Peak, a 5-11, 190-pound rising senior, displayed tremendous speed and athleticism at Virginia Tech's camp on Saturday. Tech head coach Frank Beamer offered a full scholarship yesterday and Peak has since given his pledge to the Hokies.

Reynolds up to Three Offers
June 9, 2008
Maury (Norfolk, VA) safety/wide receiver recruit Laroy Reynolds entered Virginia Tech's camp on Saturday with high hopes with regard to landing an official scholarship offer. The 6-1, 207-pound rising senior has not picked up an offer from the Hokies just yet, but he hopes to find out more about where he stands later this week.

Journell Commits to Virginia Tech
June 9, 2008
Last Saturday night, hours after receiving an official scholarship offer from head coach Frank Beamer, Giles (Pearisburg, VA) place-kicker Cody Journell made no secret of his all likelihood, he would commit to Virginia Tech and he would do so soon. The 6-0, 175-pound rising senior followed through, giving the staff his pledge last night.

Granby LB Earns VT Offer
June 9, 2008
Coming off an excellent junior season in which he totaled 150-plus tackles including nine sacks, Granby (Norfolk, VA) star Telvion Clark had one thing in mind when it came to his off-season workout, run, run. All of the training - including a stint on the track team - has paid off for the 6-1, 205-pound linebacker prospect, who showed off his speed at Virginia Tech's camp on Saturday.

Tech Lands Top N.C. Athlete
June 8, 2008
Seventy-First High School (Fayetteville, N.C.) defensive back James Hopper turned in a fantastic performance at Virginia Tech's senior camp on Saturday. The 5-10, 180-pound rising senior ran a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash and posted a 39-inch vertical leap, among other things, in earning a scholarship offer from the Hokies. He quickly accepted, joining South Carolina prep standout Jerrodd Williams as Tech's first two commitments from the event.

Tech Off to Big Start to 2010 Class
June 8, 2008
With only one verbal commitment in the fold for the 2009 class prior to Saturday's camp, certainly a major focus of the camp was scoring 2009 class commitments. The Tech staff certainly must have been pleased, though, when one of the top in-state rising juniors decided to make a verbal commitment.

Journell Scores VT Offer
June 7, 2008
Cody Journell's first Division 1A offer turned out to be from his childhood favorite, and the Giles (Pearisburg, VA) star may not wait around to see what other options may come through. Earlier today, the 6-0, 175-pound rising senior place-kicker turned in a terrific performance at Virginia Tech's camp and left with an official scholarship offer.

Hokies Add Commitment #2 to 2009 Class
June 7, 2008
Virginia Tech's summer camp sessions were tremendously successful each of the past two years. The 2008 version looks to be a success as well, as the Tech staff has already picked up a 2009 class verbal commitment from today's camp.
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