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   Welcome to TSLMail #339- Friday, July 18, 2008    
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   Tech Sports News

David Wilson Commits to Virginia Tech
by Chris Coleman,

Virginia Tech received their eighth commitment of the 2009 recruiting class on Friday when GW-Danville (VA) star running back David Wilson verballed to the coaching staff.

Wilson (5-11, 190) is TSL's #3 recruit in the state of Virginia for the class of 2009.  As a junior last season at GW, Wilson ran for 1,557 yards and averaged 11 yards per carry, while scoring 17 touchdowns.  He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, flashing his versatility on special teams.

Wilson is blessed with a lot of speed, and he has more power than people expect.  He is also one of the top track athletes in the nation.  He'll have a press conference on Monday morning to confirm his decision and answer questions with the media. 

Hokies Tops in Returning OL Starts

In the coming weeks, you'll be reading a lot in our preseason coverage (more on that later) about how much experience different teams have coming back at certain positions. Today we'll get a jumpstart to the previews by taking a look at the most experienced offensive lines in the ACC, by number of starts.

Statistics for this portion of TSLMail are from Phil Steele's 2008 Preview magazine.

Number of Starts by OL
Team Starts



Virginia Tech








Georgia Tech




NC State


Boston College


Wake Forest


Florida State




Miami and Virginia Tech top the list with 79 starts by returning offensive linemen. However, projected Miami center Xavier Shannon has 29 starts, all of which came at Florida International. He transferred into Miami, and is the son of coach Randy Shannon. He hasn't started a game for the 'Canes, as of yet.

If you throw away Shannon's 29 starts, it's clearly a contest between Virginia Tech and Maryland, with the Hokies getting the edge by a mere one start. Both teams lost their top lineman (Duane Brown for Tech, Andrew Crummey for Maryland), but still return experienced players. The Hokies could have the best interior line in the ACC this year, with the G-C-G combo of Nick Marshman, Ryan Shuman and Sergio Render.

North Carolina has the potential to have a solid line, though they were never a physical group last year. The Tar Heels' running game struggled all season. Duke has some experienced players returning, but they only have experience losing games. Georgia Tech returns 58 starts, but 39 of them come from one player (Andrew Gardner).

What's interesting is the three teams at the bottom of that table. Clemson, Florida State and Wake Forest are projected to compete with each other for the Atlantic Division Championship. However, they have the least experience returning up front of any schools in the ACC!

Wake Forest took a big blow when Chris DeGeare was ruled academically ineligible. DeGeare has 24 career starts. Florida State has lost two projected starters for the season. Clemson hasn't suffered any attrition or injuries, they are just thin, so thin that they moved senior defensive tackle Jock McKissic to offensive tackle. McKissic was a good defensive player, with 13 career starts. How concerned is Clemson about their offensive line if they are moving senior defensive tackles to plug the gaps?

I believe one of Clemson, FSU or Wake will still win the division despite their offensive line woes. However, I expect there is a very good chance that at least one of these teams finishes worse than expected thanks to a thin offensive front, a fact that many analysts seem to be completely ignoring.

TSL Preseason Football Content to Begin Next Week

In case you didn't notice, it's about that time of year again. We have reached the second half of July, which means football practice is just a couple of weeks away, and the season opener against East Carolina is rapidly approaching.

As usual, will bring you preseason content on not only the Hokies, but the ACC as well. Team previews for all ACC schools will begin on Monday. We'll go in alphabetical order, starting with the Atlantic Division. When the Atlantic Division is done, we'll start with the Coastal Division. ACC team previews will run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Virginia Tech positional previews will begin on Tuesday, and will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We'll have some sort of preview content up on the site just about every weekday between Monday and the start of the season.

TSL Preseason Content Schedule


Mon., Wed., Fri.

ACC Team Previews

Tues., Thurs.

VT Positional Previews

Fri., Aug. 15

VT Team Preview

Mon., Aug 18

ACC Unit Rankings

Wed., Aug. 20

Preseason All-ACC

Fri., Aug. 22

Projected ACC Standings

Mon. Aug. 25

ACC Game-by-Game Predictions

All dates are subject to change, but that's a general outline of what our preseason content will look like. Following the ACC Game-by-Game predictions on August 25, we'll begin our normal game week content for East Carolina. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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  • Feature Articles
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  • A subscribers-only Recruiting message board (only accessible to subscribers)
  • A subscribers-only message board for general discussion

For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week
Top in-state RB David Wilson Commits to VT
July 18, 2008
Friday, the Hokies took a commitment from one of the top players in the state of Virginia, and one of the top players on Tech's board. GW-Danville running back David Wilson, ranked #3 in the state by TSL, verbaled to the Hokies.

Friday Football Q&A: July 18, 2008
July 18, 2008
This week in the Friday Q&A, Raleigh Hokie discusses what a player can accomplish in offseason conditioning. Chris Coleman talks about how Brandon Dillard's injury could open the door for some young wide receivers, and also answers a question about the possibility of expanding Lane Stadium yet again.

Revisiting the 2009 Class Needs: Offense
July 17, 2008
The Virginia Tech staff wasn't expected to emphasize the offensive side of the ball as heavily as the defensive side in recruiting this 2009 class, and that opinion hasn't changed as we head into preseason practice. Still, there are some areas that can be addressed and some interesting situations to monitor from here on out.

TSL Audio: The Final Word, 7/16/08
July 17, 2008
This week's "Catching Up With Coleman" segment of "The Final Word With George Hunsicker" on ESPN Radio 1430AM in Blacksburg dealt with the topic on everyone's mind: Tech's 2009 date in the Georgia Dome with a to-be-named, hopefully-SEC opponent. Chris and George also talked about last Saturday's one-day football camp at VT (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 2.5 MB, 10:49).

Shamarko Thomas Impresses at Tech's Camp
July 17, 2008
5-10 1/2, 198-pound Shamarko Thomas turned in a fantastic junior season performance in 2007, breaking the Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA) school record for tackles in a single season with 77. A safety in high school, he was hoping to show the Tech coaches at last Saturday's camp that he has the ability to play cornerback as well. Did he accomplish his goal?

Hokies to Open 2009 Season in the Georgia Dome
July 16, 2008
Virginia Tech has agreed to play their season opener in 2009 at the Georgia Dome in a made-for-TV football game, likely against an SEC opponent. The matchup is being arranged by the Atlanta Sports Council, and the game will be played on either ESPN or ABC. To accommodate the game, the Hokies moved their September 5th, 2009 opener at Cincinnati to 2012.

Hokie "Fantasy Football" Draft, Rounds 11-20
July 16, 2008
We're back with rounds 11-20 of our 30-round Hokie football fantasy draft. TSL staffers Will Stewart and Chris Coleman are assembling the Hokie teams of your dreams, selecting from players who played in the Beamer Bowl Era (1993-present).

Norman Talks Senior Season, Recruitment
July 16, 2008
6-3, 185-pound athlete Theron Norman has yet to narrow his list of schools and he doesn't seem to be in a rush to make a college decision. Instead, the Hermitage (Richmond, VA) standout has spent the majority of his summer preparing for his senior season and his new role as the full-time Panthers starting quarterback.

Charlotte TE Scores Tech Offer
July 15, 2008
6-3, 234-pound tight end prospect Zico Pasut did not feel confident that his camp performance would impress the Virginia Tech coaches enough to earn a scholarship offer. Fortunately for the Ardrey Kell High School (Charlotte, N.C.) standout rising senior, he was wrong and came away from Saturday's camp with an offer.

Exum Impressed with Virginia Tech
July 15, 2008
Deep Run (Glen Allen, VA) defensive back Antone Exum spent all day in Blacksburg last Friday visiting Virginia Tech. The 6-0, 210-pound rising senior had never visited Tech before, but last week's visit appears to have met all expectations according to Deep Run head coach Greg Kendall.

Edwards Brothers Leave Tech with Good News
July 14, 2008
The first time Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer pulled aside Tariq and Tyrell Edwards following a camp, it was after Tech's June senior camp and it was to inform the Marlboro County (Bennettsville, S.C.) standouts that he was interested but wanted to see more. The brothers returned to Blacksburg on Saturday for Tech's second senior camp and this time the results were much better.

Top WR Reviews VT Visit
July 14, 2008
One of the top wide receiver recruits in the 2009 class was in Blacksburg on Saturday, not to participate in the camp but to get a feel for Virginia Tech, which is one of the programs he is still considering. Ashbrook (Gastonia, N.C.) star Jheranie Boyd came away with a positive feeling from Saturday's visit, in particular about Virginia Tech's coaches and campus.

Hokie "Fantasy Football" Draft, Rounds 1-10
July 14, 2008
Inspired by the fantasy football model of drafting a team of players from all over the NFL, we decided to conduct our own Virginia Tech fantasy football draft, selecting players from the Beamer Bowl Era. We're stockpiling our teams with classic Hokie talent, and we're even checking in with the ESPN College Gameday crew to get their thoughts.

Foxx Pleased with Performance, Experience at Virginia Tech
July 14, 2008
Victory Christian (Charlotte, N.C.) defensive end Justin Foxx came away from Virginia Tech's second summer camp with a big smile on his face. The 6-4, 220-pound prospect had already been offered prior to the camp, but he was very pleased with his camp performance and excited about the time he had on Saturday.

After Strong Performance, Gayle Earns VT Offer
July 14, 2008
One of the most impressive performers at Tech's camp, 6-4, 220-pound Bethel (Hampton, VA) defensive end James Gayle left Blacksburg on Saturday with a scholarship offer from head coach Frank Beamer. Virginia Tech is the latest program to offer the talented athlete, who also boasts offers from Central Florida, East Carolina, Marshall, N.C. State, Purdue and Syracuse, among others.
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