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Several Hokies Return to Home State

by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #501, September 9, 2011

Since Virginia Tech joined the ACC, the state of North Carolina has opened up as a new recruiting territory for the Hokies. Tech has numerous players on the current roster from the Tar Heel State, and seven of them are on the traveling squad. They'll return to their home state on Saturday hoping to pick up a big road win.

Hokies from North Carolina
Player Pos. Year Hometown
Jarrett Boykin WR Sr. Charlotte
Eddie Whitley ROV Sr. Charlotte
James Hopper RS r-So. Fayetteville
Josh Oglesby RB r-Sr. Garner
Michael Via OL r-Jr. McLeansville
Barquell Rivers LB r-Sr. Wadesboro
Nick Becton OT r-Jr. Wilmington

Senior wide receiver Jarrett Boykin had two receptions last week against Appalachian State. He now has 125 catches for his career, and he needs just one more to tie Ernest Wilford atop Tech's record book. Two more catches will break Wilford's mark, and it's likely he'll do that on Saturday in his home state.

Eddie Whitley will also play a critical role. Playing the rover position, his tackling ability will be critical against East Carolina's short passing game. Whitley is also partly responsible for calling defensive signals to the rest of the secondary. An experienced veteran, he won't have any problems doing this in a hostile environment.

The rest of Tech's North Carolina natives don't start, but they play key roles.

James Hopper: A special teams standout, Hopper is one play away from being Virginia Tech's starter at free safety or rover.

Josh Oglesby: Oglesby is a solid tailback who is a good complementary runner to David Wilson.

Michael Via: Via is a top backup at center and right tackle. After missing the Appalachian State game, he has practiced this week and should be ready to go on Saturday.

Barquell Rivers: Rivers is the top backup to Bruce Taylor at the mike position.

Nick Becton: Becton backs up Andrew Lanier at left tackle, and the two players will split reps during the game.

Virginia Tech has had other successful players come out of the Tar Heel State since joining the ACC, including Kwamaine Battle (ACL injuries doomed his career), former starting cornerback Stephan Virgil, and former starting wide receiver Justin Harper.

The Tech coaching staff is still hitting the state of North Carolina hard on the recruiting trail. Two players in the 2012 recruiting class are from North Carolina. Dahman McKinnon, a Hope Mills native, is expected to play the whip linebacker position for the Hokies. Raleigh tailback Chris Mangus verballed to Virginia Tech just last week.

The Hokies are still pursuing other North Carolina recruits, such as tailbacks Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. Expect Virginia Tech to continue their recruiting efforts in the state of North Carolina, particularly if UNC goes on probation thanks to their recent violations.


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