Virginia Tech will open 2014 spring practice with only three scholarship defensive tackles on the roster (Luther Maddy, Nigel Williams, and Woody Baron). Former Division 3 transfer Wade Hansen will be eligible and get some second team repetitions, and perhaps a defensive end will move inside. Either way, it is not a deep group, and Maddy is by far the biggest guy. I am sure that Maddy and Williams will be an excellent starting pair, and despite his small size, Baron did an excellent job of holding up against much bigger blockers in a limited role, but the lack of size and depth is deeply worrisome. For the 2014 Hokies to be successful, they will need immediate contributions from one or both of their freshman defensive tackles, Ricky Walker and Steve Sobczak.
They won? Yes, the Virginia Tech men's basketball team won a game this weekend, ending their losing streak at ten games. Despite it being their second ACC win, the strain of the last 10 losses made their first win (against Miami in early December) feel like three lifetimes and a thousand Jarell Eddie misses ago. What's worse is that the win was during that random period of conference games before the bulk of ACC play had actually started. While they may count all the same, picking up a conference win between games against Winthrop and VCU took some of the magic away from it.
Let's just not dwell on the negative though.
Last night I spoke with Michael Barnett (Woodland High School in Dorchester, South Carolina) about his recruitment, which he opened back up last Thursday. Barnett is a 6-5, 248 pound, 4-star prospect as rated by both Rivals.com and 247Sports. He's being recruited to play defensive end, but also plays left tackle and is the center on Woodland's basketball team. He had been committed to Virginia Tech since late last November.
"They were on me from the get go. They were the first ones to offer me. They've been there the whole process."
Barnett received an offer from Nick Saban and Alabama last Wednesday, which had many fans incorrectly concluding that was the catalyst for decommitting from Virginia Tech.
While most of HokieNation's attention to replace Logan Thomas has been focused on Andrew Ford and Chris Durkin, Scot Loeffler's first quarterback commitment of the 2014 cycle was Travon McMillian (6-0, 200, C.D. Hylton Woodbridge, Virginia).
McMillian is a prospective engineering student who had offers from several ACC schools along withTennessee and Auburn. In 2013 he completed 97 of 169 passes for 1,472 yards and 17 scores, and also rushed for 1,537 yards on 166 attempts and 20 scores. In 2012 he racked up 1,326 yards and 12 touchdowns, and ran for 1,242 yards and 16 scores.
Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at Thekeyplay.com.
For the third year in a row, it's been a tough winter for Hokie hoops. However, these past few months have not only been a trying time for the Virginia Tech men's basketball team, but for its fans as well. As the losses mount, frustration builds, and as frustration builds, things are said. It starts with just a few people throwing out something in the middle of a twenty point loss, but all of a sudden a LOT of people are saying it and it becomes one of those things that just become "common knowledge".
Twitter is a vehicle for "common knowledge"—things like facts and thinking things through are checked at the door in favor of quick wit and #hotsportstakes. After a while, those half baked conclusions seem to become the indisputable narrative. Topics ranging from complaining about Jarell Eddie to questioning James Johnson's tactical ability are topics brought up game in and game out.
Today I want to address four myths and common commentaries that are tossed around during games.
HokieNation was surprised when, late in the recruiting process, quarterback Chris Durkin switched his commitment from Michigan State to the Hokies. Durkin is a 6-foot-3-inch, 230 pound quarterback prospect who played high school ball at Ursuline in Youngstown, Ohio. He was a late target for Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler. Without stepping foot in Blacksburg, Durkin changed his commitment because Loeffler indicated he would have the opportunity to compete for playing time early in his career.
At points throughout the 2013 season, the Hokies were dangerously thin on the offensive line. Against Alabama, Virginia Tech only dressed six offensive linemen with any collegiate game experience, along with true freshman Jonathan McLaughlin. Depth improved with the return of Mark Shuman, and the transition of Alston Smith and Wyatt Teller from defensive to offensive line. However, the Hokies never needed to test those new guys when the game was on the line as none of the starters suffered an injuries serious enough to miss a game.
The safety position in Bud Foster's defense has a storied history, filled with unique athletes that could both cover man-to-man and play close to the line of scrimmage in run support. Since the graduation of Willie Pile, the Hokies have had a series of heady safeties that were solid in coverage, but didn't produce the interceptions and turnovers that some of the great Hokie safeties of the 90's had a reputation for producing. Even Kam Chancellor, who dominated the Super Bowl with his run support, did not generate many interceptions while a Hokie. The current pairing of Kyshoen Jarrett and Detrick Bonner had a tremendous season serving as a safety net for the Hokies young corners. Jarrett also excelled in run support, while Bonner functioned well as a deep centerfield player and a serviceable cover man on the opponents third and fourth receivers. Both have operated essentially without competition as a series of recruiting failures left Torrian Gray with only inexperienced freshmen to spell both players. While Jarrett likely has an NFL future at free safety, the safety group as a whole lacks elite playmaking ability.
It seems like HokieHaven.com is backing off their report a bit; the one I originally cited in my post below. The first report of his commitment remains on the front-page of their website, although they've posted a second update behind their paywall. The teaser is, "Today, VT got a commitment from 2015 CB Mook Reynolds (right) after its junior day, though as he explains to HokieHaven.com, his recruitment might not quite be over."