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TSLMail #348- September 19, 2008    
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Let the Games Begin!

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 Tech Sports News

LB Tyrel Wilson Commits to VT
by Chris Coleman,

On Thursday, Hampton High School linebacker Tyrel Wilson became the 14th player to commit to Virginia Tech's recruiting class of 2009. He chose the Hokies over a scholarship offer from Tennessee.

Wilson, who is 6-3, 215-lbs, moved from defensive end to linebacker for this season. That is the position he is being recruited to play at Virginia Tech, according to what Hampton head coach Mike Smith told the Newport News Daily Press.

"He's playing linebacker and that's where he's going to play (at Tech)," Smith told Daily Press writer Norm Wood.

Wilson's father is James Wilson, who played at Tennessee in the 1980's. He finished #3 in Tennessee history in sacks. In the end, Tyrel Wilson decided to be a Hokie rather than attend his father's alma mater. He reportedly also had offers from Penn State, UNC and UVA.

Wilson is ranked the #38 player in the state by

Click here for VT's 2009 Verbal Commitments
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Hokies Successful in Road Conference Openers
by Chris Coleman,

Virginia Tech will take their first conference road trip of the season tomorrow when they travel to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina. If the previous 15 seasons are to be believed, the Hokies have a good shot to win the football game this weekend.

Since Big East round robin play began in 1993, the Hokies are 15-0 in their first conference road game of the season. Granted, many of those wins came against hapless teams such as Rutgers, but 15-0 is 15-0.

Here is a quick look at who Virginia Tech has defeated in their first conference road game of the season, year by year since 1993.

VT Conference Road Openers
Under Frank Beamer
Year Opponent Result
1993 Pitt 63-21 W
1994 Boston College 12-7 W
1995 Pitt 26-16 W
1996 Boston College 45-7 W
1997 Rutgers 59-19 W
1998 Miami 27-20 W
1999 Rutgers 58-20 W
2000 Boston College 48-34 W
2001 Rutgers 50-0 W
2002 Boston College 28-23 W
2003 Rutgers 48-22 W
2004 Wake Forest 17-10 W
2005 NC State 20-16 W
2006 UNC 35-10 W
2007 Clemson 41-23 W
Average Score 38.5-16.5

The closest score in there was the 20-16 win at NC State to begin the 2005 season. The Hokies also narrowly knocked off Boston College 12-7 in 1994, beat Miami 27-20 in overtime in 1998, beat BC 28-23 in 2002 and beat Wake 17-10 in 2004. Tech won the other 10 games by double digits.

That's a gaudy record and an impressive margin of victory, but it should also be noted that only six of those 15 teams went on to finish the season with a winning record. Here is how the Hokies fared against those six teams.

Hokies vs. Teams with Winning Records
in Conference Road Openers
Year Team Record Score
1994 Boston College 7-4-1 12-7
1998 Miami 9-3 27-20
2000 Boston College 7-5 48-34
2002 Boston College 9-4 28-23
2005 NC State 7-5 20-16
2007 Clemson 9-4 41-23
Average Score 29.3-20.5

While the Hokies' average win in conference road openers comes by 22 points, Tech only beats teams that go on to a winning record by an average of 8.8 points per game. North Carolina is expected to go bowling this year, so we have to expect this game to be a battle, just like past games against Miami, Boston College and NC State.

I'm looking for a tough battle that is similar to the 1998 Miami game, if the Hokies can pull it out. I don't think anyone foresees Virginia Tech running Carolina off their own home field, not this year at least.

The game is obviously huge in the ACC standings. The Hokies are already 1-0, with a win over Georgia Tech. At this point it appears that four teams from the Coastal could challenge for the division title. UNC, Miami, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech look like the top contenders, while Duke and Virginia will fight it out to not finish last. It will be important for Tech to grab head-to-head victories over as many of those teams as possible.

The Hokies already have a head-to-head win over Georgia Tech, which in effect puts VT two games ahead of GT in the standings. If the two teams tie at the top of the standings, the Hokies would get the nod. That's why it will be important to beat UNC on Saturday. If the Hokies can get out to a 2-0 start in ACC play, and hold the tiebreaker over two other Coastal contenders, their chances of going to the ACC Championship Game increase greatly.

In a year where 6-2 will probably win the Coastal, or at least tie for it, the Hokies would only have to go 4-2 in the ACC down the stretch. They would have to win three home games against Maryland, Duke and UVA, as well as pick up one road win against Boston College, Florida State or Miami. If Tech loses to Carolina, they'd have to go 5-1 against those teams to hit the magic 6-2 mark, as well as win two of three tough road games.

You've got to like Tech's chances of winning those three home games, which would give them four ACC wins at the worst. Tough road games against the Tar Heels, Eagles, Seminoles and Hurricanes will tell the tale of the season. 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

VT Commitment Notes

September 19, 2008
In this week's "Notes," be sure to check out a "Q&A" with future Virginia Tech place-kicker Cody Journell. The 6-0, 175-pound prospect is proving that he is more than just a place-kicker for Giles High School. Also, cornerback recruit James Hopper continues his excellent senior season and top running back commit David Wilson turns in a fantastic performance.

Class of 2010 Profile: Miller School G/F Mychal Parker
September 19, 2008
Clemson, Florida, Virginia and Virginia Tech were all represented at the Miller School (Charlottesville, VA) last week, which was the beginning of the fall contact period for Division 1 men's basketball. Drawing interest from these schools is a newcomer to Miller, 6-6, 180-pound guard/forward Mychal Parker, a prospect out of Little Washington, North Carolina. One of the top ranked juniors in the country, Parker is in his first year at the Miller School.

Keys to the Game, Matchups to Watch, and Game Prediction: Virginia Tech at North Carolina
September 18, 2008
The Hokies face a huge test this weekend in traveling to Chapel Hill to face the resurgent Tar Heels. UNC looked impressive against Rutgers last week, destroying the Scarlet Knights 44-12 before a national audience on Thursday night. Virginia Tech continues to struggle to find an identity offensively and defensively, but the Hokies survived a difficult Georgia Tech squad 20-17 last week. So, what should we expect when the top two preseason picks in the Coastal Division face off on Saturday?

Hampton Star Commits to Virginia Tech
September 18, 2008
Virginia Tech's success in the Tidewater region continued today, when Hampton (VA) linebacker/defensive end Tyrel Wilson pledged to the Hokies. Wilson, a VHSCA first-team all-state performer last season as a junior, verbally committed this morning according to Crabbers head coach Mike Smith.

Exum Visits Virginia, Virginia Tech
September 18, 2008
Deep Run (Glen Allen, VA) athlete Antone Exum recently visited each of the two Division 1A college football programs in the state of Virginia, including taking in Virginia's season-opening loss to USC and Virginia Tech's victory over Georgia Tech last weekend. Deep Run head coach Greg Kendall commented on Exum's experiences at both schools as well as the latest on his standout senior's recruitment.

Football Game Preview: Virginia Tech at North Carolina
September 17, 2008
Virginia Tech's recent victory over Georgia Tech makes this weekend's game even more critical. The Hokies will travel to Chapel Hill to take on a resurgent North Carolina team with dreams of winning the ACC this year. Just like last week, Tech will have to scratch and claw to the end if they want to leave with a victory.

TSL Audio: The Jerry Miller Show, 9/16/08
September 17, 2008
Yesterday on The Jerry Miller Show, Chris Coleman and Jerry Miller reviewed VT's win over Georgia Tech, discussed the state of the VT offense, and talked about the in-state recruiting wars between the Hokies and Hoos. The Jerry Miller Show appears on The Sports Addict Radio Network every afternoon from 1:00-3:00 pm in Blacksburg (1430 AM), Charlottesville (840 AM), and Bluefield (1050 AM), and from 2:00-4:00 in Martinsville (1160 AM) (WMA format, 3.0 MB, 12:54).

Mallard Creek Star Josh Hunter Considering VT
September 17, 2008
Mallard Creek (Charlotte, N.C.) defensive back Josh Hunter, one of the top overall defensive prospects in the state of North Carolina's 2009 class, has significant interest in Virginia Tech and may schedule a visit to Blacksburg for some time this fall. Nothing has been set yet, although the 6-2, 180-pound standout hopes to be in touch with primary recruiter Kevin Sherman soon.

Georgia Tech Game Analysis
September 16, 2008
I took some liberties this week and went for part game analysis, part season assessment. That seemed appropriate since this game likely represented a snapshot of what we can expect from here on out -- close, tough, hard-fought battles decided late by a big play here or a key mistake there. In this one, the Hokies survived a turn-back-the-clock offense and a tough defense to outlast a very good Georgia Tech team 20-17. It was one of those "must wins" against a key ACC Coastal division rival, and one that gives the Hokies a base to build from as they get ready to hit the road for four of the next five games.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 9/15/08
September 16, 2008
The guests for Monday night's show were offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring, athletic director Jim Weaver and head football coach Frank Beamer.

McCray Talks Official Offers, Recent Visits
September 16, 2008
Brookville (Lynchburg, VA) defensive end/tight end Zack McCray will be one of the most highly recruited prospects in the state of Virginia's 2010 class. The 6-5, 235-pound prospect has enjoyed substantial success already, having raked in official scholarship offers from Connecticut, Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia just two weeks into September of his junior year.

Monday Thoughts: Georgia Tech
September 15, 2008
The Hokies grabbed a much needed win Saturday, in a back and forth battle with Georgia Tech that was as close to a must-win game as you can get in mid-September. The offense has been handed over to Tyrod Taylor for the time being, and in this game we learned a lot about where the Hokies are, not just offensively, but defensively. Every game's going to be an effort for these guys.

Around the ACC: Week 3
September 15, 2008
Overall, this was a much better week for the ACC. UNC blew out Rutgers on the road on Thursday night, while Maryland upset #23 Cal in College Park. From a conference standpoint, the only negative of the weekend was UVA's dismantling at the hands of UConn.

VT-Nebraska Kickoff Time Announced
September 15, 2008
Kickoff time for Virginia Tech's September 27th game at Nebraska has been set. The Hokies and Cornhuskers will kickoff at 8pm EST and the game will be a split national telecast on ABC, according to Nebraska's official athletics website.

VT Pursuing Liberty's Gough
September 15, 2008
In the middle of last week, Virginia Tech, led by primary recruiter Torrian Gray, expressed to Liberty (Bealeton, VA) head coach Tommy Buzzo an interest in 6-6, 262-pound senior offensive lineman recruit Kory Gough. Originally scheduled to make an unofficial visit to Marshall this past Saturday, Gough decided to postpone that trip and instead visited Blacksburg.

New Interest in Bolling
September 15, 2008
A new school has entered the race for Brookville (Lynchburg, VA) offensive lineman Devin Bolling. Virginia Tech, which just increased its interest level in the 6-5, 270-pound senior, is reviewing film and could be on the verge of offering the talented recruit.

TSL Poll: How will the Hokies do in their next five games?
September 15, 2008
With Saturday's big win behind them, Virginia Tech's young football team now goes on the road for four of the next five games. It's going to be a tough stretch. To vote on what you think the Hokies' record over the next five games will be, head over to our blog section by clicking here. Anyone can vote, so tell us your opinion!

Hokies and Tar Heels to Kickoff at 3:30
September 14, 2008
The game time for next Saturday's big Coastal Division showdown between Virginia Tech and North Carolina has been set. The Hokies and Tar Heels will kickoff at 3:30pm, and the game will be televised regionally by ABC.

Hokies Knock Off Jackets 20-17
September 13, 2008
Blacksburg, VA - It was ugly, but Virginia Tech got it done. The Hokies took advantage of three Georgia Tech turnovers and defeated the Yellow Jackets 20-17 in Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The win puts Virginia Tech at 2-1 overall, and they are now 1-0 in ACC play. Georgia Tech drops to 2-1 and 1-1 in conference play.

VT Recruiting Notes
September 12, 2008
While there are limited scholarships remaining in Tech's 2009 recruiting class, there remains work to be done. Tomorrow, the staff is expected to host some top remaining senior targets including Brookville (Lynchburg, VA) tight end/wide receiver Logan Thomas.

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