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  TSLMail #382- May 22, 2009    
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 Tech Sports News

ACC Wide Receivers are Inexperienced, but Talented
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com

We've established that the ACC has a lot of good running backs returning, and there will be plenty of experience at the quarterback position as well. This week we'll move on to the wide receivers, where the ACC certainly did not lack for talent last season.

10 ACC wide receivers caught 40 or more passes a year ago, and eight of them won't be returning for the 2009 season.

Top ACC Wide Receivers
Name Team Catches Status

D.J. Boldin

Wake Forest

81 Gone

Hakeem Nicks

UNC

68 Gone

Aaron Kelly

Clemson

67 Gone

Eron Riley

Duke

61 Gone

Kevin Ogletree

UVA

58 Gone

Jacoby Ford

Clemson

55 Back

Rich Gunnell

BC

49 Back

Darrius Heyward-Bey

Maryland

42 Gone

Brandon Robinson

BC

42 Gone

Preston Parker

FSU

40 Gone

 

The top two returning receivers are Clemson's Jacoby Ford and BC's Rich Gunnell. It will be interesting to see how Ford fares without Aaron Kelly in the lineup. Ford is more of a slot receiver who plays well in space. How will be handle being the #1 option in the passing game for the Tigers?

As a result of so much player turnover, Virginia Tech returns two of the ACC's more prolific wide receivers.

ACC's Top Returning Receivers
Player Team Catches

Jacoby Ford

Clemson 55

Rich Gunnell

BC 49

Demaryius Thomas

GT 39

Danny Coale

VT 36

Aldarius Johnson

Miami 31

Owen Spencer

NC State 31

Jarrett Boykin

VT 30

Johnny Williams

Duke 30

Taiwan Easterling

FSU 30

 

Only three returning wide receivers had more receptions last season than Danny Coale, while Jarrett Boykin also cracks the list with 30 receptions. Because of all the wide receiver losses, the Hokies will go from having the most inexperienced group of wide receivers in college football to having one of the more experienced in the ACC.

Virginia Tech wasn't the only team in the conference playing young wide receivers last year. Aldarius Johnson, Johnny Williams and Taiwan Easterling were all freshmen last season, and Demaryius Thomas was a sophomore.

Speaking of Demaryius Thomas, he caught 39 passes last season in Georgia Tech's option-heavy offense. The #2 receiver on the team was B-back Jonathan Dwyer, who caught eight passes. Catching 39 passes in Georgia Tech's offense is like catching 100 passes in other offenses. Thomas might not be a household name because of the team he plays for, but he's a very talented wide receiver.

Two players on that list will be called on to step up quite a bit this season. Johnny Williams of Duke must replace Eron Riley, who was one of the top wide receivers in the ACC over the last two seasons. Williams had a very good freshman season with 30 catches, but he could be the top target on the team this year.

At Florida State, Taiwan Easterling is the leading returning receiver. He must replace Preston Parker and Greg Carr. Parker was dismissed from the team in the offseason, otherwise he would be returning for his senior season.

Of the freshman wide receivers who made their mark in the ACC last season, most weren't highly-recruited coming out of high school. Danny Coale was the leading freshman receiver in the conference, and he was 2-star recruit coming out of high school. Taiwan Easterling was a typical 3-star recruit, as was Jarrett Boykin. Johnny Williams chose Duke over Memphis and UAB, but his excellent speed will make him a threat over the next three seasons.

Aldarius Johnson of Miami was the only highly-touted player in the group. He was a 4-star recruit, a national Top 100 prospect, and he had offers from a number of very good programs.

While ACC wide receivers don't quite have the experience that they had entering the 2008 season, there does look to be plenty of talent to go around.

 

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   TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week
VT FB Recruiting Notes
May 22, 2009
In this edition of "Notes," we check in with Mount St. Joseph's (Baltimore, MD) standout cornerback Kyle Fuller, several rising senior -and one rising junior - prospects from the state of Virginia and Tech 2009 recruit Tariq Edwards, who was recently selected to the USA junior national team to play in the inaugural IFAF Junior World Championship.
more

State of the Program, Part One: The Seth Greenberg Era Thus Far
May 22, 2009
Virginia Tech has now spent five seasons in the ACC, and head coach Seth Greenberg has been in Blacksburg for a total of six years. It's about time for a State of the Program series that focuses on basketball. It's no secret that Virginia Tech basketball has improved tremendously since Greenberg's arrival, however, he still has his critics. In Part One of the series, we'll take a look at the Seth Greenberg Era at Virginia Tech.
more

Tech and Alabama to Kickoff at 8pm on ABC
May 21, 2009
The Chick-fil-A College Kickoff featuring Virginia Tech and Alabama will kickoff at 8pm on September 5, and it will be televised nationally by ABC. Both teams are expected to begin the season ranked in the Top 10, and this game will be the biggest of the opening weekend.
more

Four Known Finalists for McCray
May 21, 2009
Brookville (Lynchburg, VA) defensive end Zack McCray, one of the top overall prospects in the state of Virginia's class of 2010, is in the process of narrowing down his list of schools to single digits. He knows a majority of the programs that will make the cut already but is leaving a few spots open, perhaps for schools that have yet to offer.
more

2011 Chantilly Standout Receiving ACC Interest
May 21, 2009
6-11, 215-pound center John Manning turned in a solid sophomore season in 2008/2009, averaging 13 points, 10 rebounds and over three blocks per game for Chantilly High School's (VA) varsity basketball squad. Manning, who boasts a 7'1" wing span, is pleased with how he developed as a sophomore.
more

Catching Up with Jake Grove
May 20, 2009
Time really does fly, doesn't it? It doesn't seem all that long ago that Jake Grove was suiting up for the Virginia Tech Hokies and giving the team a reliably strong performance at center every game.
more

Bodine Now Eyeing June Decision
May 20, 2009
Fork Union Military Academy (VA) offensive lineman Russell Bodine had targeted the end of May as a possible time for making a college commitment. A May decision no longer appears likely, but don't expect the 6-4, 285-pound center prospect to wait too long to decide his college future.
more

Post Spring: 2010 Class Needs
May 19, 2009
Virginia Tech is off and running in the 2010 recruiting class, having earned commitments from seven rising senior prospects heading into its senior camps, which have proven to be successful events over the past several years in terms of commitments. For now, let's break down Tech's projected 2010 season roster for a closer look at which positions will be most important for the staff to recruit.
more

A Look Ahead to Alabama: The Offensive Line
May 18, 2009
Alabama will face Virginia Tech with a relatively inexperienced offensive line. The Crimson Tide lost All-American left tackle Andre Smith, a first round draft pick. Also gone is their outstanding center, Antoine Caldwell, a third round pick of the Houston Texans.
more

Dew Updates Recruitment
May 18, 2009
Nick Dew's last two scholarship offers, from Arkansas and UVa, respectively, put him into double-digits as far as official Division 1 offers are concerned. "Everything has been great" says the 6-2, 195-pound First Colonial (Virginia Beach, VA) standout linebacker/strong safety, who has been selected to play in the Under Armour All-American game.
more
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