Thoughts on Drew Harris Prepping at Fork Union

And now it's official.

Harris will attend Fork Union Military Academy for a year to improve his academics before attempting to enroll again in college, a long-rumored decision that was finalized in the last week.

"He's got a really good test score, but he didn't have a great semester in the classroom, so he came up a little short," said Hokies running backs coach Shane Beamer, who was Harris' primary recruiter.

Back in March I was giddy when 6-foot-1-inch Harris said he was "small" at 210 and wanted to play at 220. A big bodied back with a patient running style might be able to win the starting job in August. At the very least he'd push the competition. Of course that was assuming his knee is 100%, which by all accounts it is, but you never know.  Even though I mentally projected him as a key contributer this fall, I'm not freaking out that he won't be here.

My reasoning:

Three Red Shells

So there is a race in the ACC to see who can become the league's premier quarterback. Ten-and-a-half teams are returning their starter (pouring some out for Jacory, Jacory's interceptions, and Danny O'Brien), and are coming off seasons ranging from solid to career changing.

And so, I want to take a look at this race before Dinich writes a 12-part series of posts titled "A Countdown of ACC QB's". To appropriately analyze, I'm bringing together two parts of my life that I love: college football, and Mario Kart '64.

Oh yeah, that's right. Over the last 12 years, I think I've devoted more hours to these subjects, than my studies. Naturally, I’m comparing the two. Before you can watch the "race" for the ACC's top quarterback unfold, you need to know who the participants are.

As you (should) know, there are 8 characters in Kart, so naturally I had to leave four quarterbacks off the big board. Condolences to C.J. Brown, Chase Rettig, Bryn Renner and Tanner Price, each of you were close to making the cut but were beat out in the end.

So without further ado... start your engines (yep... I'm that lame).

Mario– Logan Thomas

Hokie Tracks are on the West Coast

Bruce Feldman profiled Logan Thomas. By now, most of you know Thomas' story: tight end to quick learning, sucessful quarterback. Even though the narrative remains unchanged, it's great to see LT3 get national attention.

Mike Barber wrote a nice Father's Day piece on Frank and Shane Beamer. Both Beamers seem to hint that the next coach is already on the current staff. That doesn't surprise me considering the Frankinator's loyalty to his staff and the family-like atmosphere of the program. When the time comes, I'm in favor of a national search. That effort may find Shane or Torrian, my one and two respectively from the current staff, as the best candidate. Keep in mind, this will probably be Jim Weaver's replacement's hire.

Linebacker Jamieon Moss Commits to Virginia Tech

Here's a bit of a surprise tonight. As first reported by HokieHaven.com, linebacker Jamieon Moss (Northeastern / Elizabeth City, NC), a former ECU commit, verbaled to the Hokies late Friday evening.

Moss making an open field tackle. Photo Credit: The Daily Advance

Sammy Batten of Bonesville.net posted an informative article about Moss.

Moss stands 6-foot-3, weighs about 217 pounds and has been timed at 4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He used those skills to collect 107 tackles, eight tackles for loss and three sacks to earn All-Northeastern Coastal 2-A/3-A Conference honors last season.

The 2011 season was Moss' second as a varsity starter at Northeastern. He helped the 2010 squad reach the state 2-AA championship game as a sophomore.

This is Moss' high school coach Antonio Moore on his star.

Moss plays the "Stabber" position in Northeastern's 4-4 defensive alignment. "We put him on the outside and just let him make plays for us," Moore said.

IMPORTANT: 80 Days Until Kickoff

The sun kisses Lane goodnight.

Photo Credit: Max Esterhuizen

By uniform number, it's Demitri Knowles. Last season Knowles dressed for a couple of games because of injuries, but didn't play a snap his freshman year. However, there's an opportunity for playing time in 2012 at both kick returner and receiver. Finding a reliable 4th, OK and 5th and 6th, receiver in August will be a top priority. If you know one factoid about Knowles, likely it's that he's fast. He ran the fastest 40 in March, a 4.28. He was a raw talent out of high school, but is working on polishing his game. He's another diamond in the rough prospect that has the potential to thrive at Tech. If he can run solid routes, and read coverage better, he'll be counted on to stretch the field. If he takes another year develop, he'll likely have more of an impact shagging balls on special teams.

Hokie Tracks Played Super Smash Bros. Melee over their Summers

Mike Goforth updated BeamerBall.com on injuries. ACL Bros Michael Via, Tony Gregory and Antoine Hopkins are fully cleared for participation. That's fantastic news. D.J. Coles (PCL) is "coming along slowly", but he started jogging and Goforth said, "I have my fingers crossed that we can have him ready to go by the time camp opens." If Coles isn't ready by camp, then it's concerning. We're already extremely thin at receiver, and Coles may be the best we have. Tariq Edwards is jogging, and his rehab is on schedule to be ready by the start of the season. G-W is running and, "pretty much beating everybody at his position." Competition at Whip this summer is going to be the best it's been in three years. Bruce Taylor is rehabbing his right foot at home in Myrtle Beach. Goforth said, "I think Bruce is doing fine." And, "Something tells me that when it matters he'll be ready to go." Is that a vote of confidence?

Preseason practice starts August 7th in Blacksburg.

Oh Hello Again Sue Estroff

A little over a month ago an internal investigation revealed evidence of academic fraud (unauthorized grade changes, no-show professors, forged certification documents) in UNC's Department of African and Afro-American Studies. However, the findings of that report didn't suggest that only student athletes were the beneficiaries of the cheating.

The report, released Friday, evolved from the athletic and academic scandal that engulfed UNC's football team, but it said there is no evidence that student-athletes received more favorable treatment than students who were not athletes. It also said that no student received a grade without doing course work. The report has been shared with the NCAA, which could not be reached for immediate comment.

That may no longer be the case. The following was published by NewsObserver.com Friday.

A summer class at UNC-Chapel Hill that lacked any instruction was enrolled exclusively with football players – and it landed on the school calendar just days before the semester started, university records show.

Good Job, Good Effort Hokie Tracks

89 days until Hokies football. So more teasing. This time big hits featuring Eddie Whitley foaming at the mouth. Who doles out Tech's biggest hit this year? The smart money is on Exum, but LT3 is going to have a lot of chances to lower his shoulder. Vinston Painter tilling Worsham Field with defensive ends' heels ten yards at a time won't produce a boom, but it'll make me feel all warm inside.

As long as it is reasonably close to Lane/practice field/football office, it probably doesn't matter where the new practice facility goes as long as the Frankinator can hold a 60 minute practice punting indoors when it's lightning out. Also, TIL Tech had a roller hockey rink on campus.

Montrezl Harrell committed to Louisville. Best of luck to him.

Welcome: Hampton (2014) RB Marshawn Williams commits to the Hokies

Sophomore (2014) running back from Hampton Marshawn Williams gave a verbal commitment to Virginia Tech this evening. He was in attendance for Tech's June 3rd camp and came away impressed.

"I loved it," said Marshawn. "I met all the coaches and the campus was great. I love the school."

He's a two-way player for Hampton coach Mike Smith, but the Hokies recruited him as a running back.

"I think size, speed, intensity," said Smith, who compared Williams to fast, powerful running backs of the past like Marcus Dupree and Ricky Williams. "He's a tremendous looking kid for a sophomore. ... He's quite a specimen.

"Tremendous kid. Great character. Great study habits. A real team person. You just couldn't give him enough accolades."

The Hokies were his first offer in February. Asked who else the running back considered, Smith laughed, before responding, "No one. That's been his dream. He just loved Virginia Tech.

The ACC Football-Mad Men Mashup

The Mad Men Season 5 finale is Sunday and we're still (glances at watch) WAY too far away from the beginning of football season. So, to help pass some of that time and welcome the finale, enjoy this half-baked, fragment-heavy ACC football-Mad Men mashup.

Virginia Tech:  Don Draper

Easily the most consistently successful character in the bunch. Emerged from obscurity. Underlying the attention and attractive exterior, nagging flaws. Despite regular success, can never quite get what they desire most.

Florida State: Pete Campbell

Obstacles to Overcome in the SEC

So Clay Travis says that Tech fans have "SEC fever", something that I didn't think needed an article written about it...I mean it's not like it's a secret.

I want to move to the SEC more than Ralph Friedgen wants a new plate of waffles (and/or Randy Edsall to crash and burn during his Maryland tenure). I want to move to the SEC more than Florida State wants to leave the ACC (okay, probably not).

You get my point.

Regardless of that, I really think that we need to, as fans, embrace what could potentially be around the corner. Now I'm not trying to be a Debbie downer, or hit the brakes on the collective enthusiasm of starting in a new conference, but a move of this size is going to bring repercussions, whether we like it/expect it or not.

So what might we see? Here are some things that I expect to see with a move Southeast:

Hokie Tracks Don't Want to Share Bowl Revenues Equally

An uneven split of bowl (and NCAA tournament) revenues would be a fair compromise among the "football" and "basketball" ACC schools. Teel crunched the numbers and the top three earners since 2004 are: 1) Virginia Tech $83.4M 2) Clemson $33.7M 3) FSU $29.3M. I think it's bad business to chop up the television dollars, but post-season money is fair game. Each team gets a percentage of their payout, the rest goes into a pot to split. It's an incentive to get better at football and basketball too.

Blue-chip corner Kendall Fuller Tweeted his top four schools.

Hokie Tracks Aren't Talking about the Hokies

97 more days...

So yeah, that was kind of a tease.

Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich confirmed the ACC is trying to develop a bowl game similar to the one recently announced by the SEC–Big 12. It's a move that might be too little to late because the options are extremely limited. The ACC Champion playing Notre Dame every year might draw the most ratings and generate the most buzz, but could it consistently be the best annual matchup, and how long before it becomes stale? The Big East could offer up Louisville and Boise State. Woo? Playing the next best SEC, Big 12 or even Big Ten team after their playoff and respective bowl participants may be the best option in terms of allure and money. However, scheduling a game against sloppy seconds (or thirds) would be another public relations hit for the ACC. Isn't the little kids table fun.

This is the last thing I'll write about Heather Dinich

I no longer read Heather Dinich's blog with any regularity. I don't find her writing to be insightful or analytical. She breaks no news. In no way do her words better my understanding of the game of football. The user commentary on each post is usually a flame war set off by subject matter written to troll for page views. Sometimes her name is attached to the byline of useful posts, but that information is either regurgitated from elsewhere on ESPN.com, part of a release, or quotes from an interview or media session. Anything relevant to Virginia Tech football or the ACC I can get, and get it better, from hundreds of other places on the Internet. Unfortunately Dinich is unavoidable. She stands on ESPN's pulpit and has a hand delivered national audience.

Here's how I usually succumb to reading one of her posts.

/checks Twitter
//lots of unhappy Hokies retweeting @ESPN_ACC
///clicks link

No one has ever tweeted, emailed or Gchated me a link to a post of hers that they endorse. Nope, the only time she pops up on my radar is when she blogs something outrageous. And I bet this holds true across the board for the rest of the fans in the ACC.

99 Days til Kickoff and the #VT4SEC Argument

Hey, y'all! Only ninety-nine days till the 2012 season kicks off! In reality, that means really only a little more than two months until camp opens, and it actually starts to FEEL like football season. Y'know, it'll be nice to see players in pads again, running through drills. This off-season has been so quiet, amiright?

Late Night Expansion Updates

College football's high stakes game of chicken continues. To keep everyone up to date. BearsTruth.com (part of the 247Sports network) reported FSU and Clemson will let the ACC know they're looking around.

Sources out of South Carolina and Florida have indicated the deals have been agreed upon for Clemson and Florida State to notify the ACC of their intent to explore other conferences. Then the two universities will need to submit an application to the Big 12. Big 12 presidents will need to approve the applications and welcome the two newest members.

Then the dominos fall.

They also report Virginia Tech is among Georgia Tech, Louisville, Pitt, and Notre Dame as, "looking at the two seats to 14 to match the SEC in conference size."

Then there's this quote (full audio here) from ESPN's Chris Low on the Paul Finebaum radio show.

Can Virginia Tech be a part of college football's future in the ACC?

Last Friday the SEC and Big 12 announced a new bowl partnership.

The Big 12 and Southeastern Conferences have announced a five-year agreement for their football champions to meet in a postseason bowl game following the 2014 season.

The champions of the two conferences will be in the matchup unless one or both are selected to play in the new four-team model to determine the national championship. Should that occur, another deserving team from the conference(s) would be selected for the game.

On the surface it looks innocent enough. It's highly unlikely that both the SEC and Big 12 champions will be left out any realistic four-team playoff model. So it's a potential blockbuster bowl who's best matchups will probably only be played on Xboxes and PS3s. However, what's more important is that the Big 12 and SEC are holding hands, and kissing on each other in public. Not only that, but this is their game that's going to fetch free market value. It's innovative, and sexy. Until now, those were types of PDA reserved only for the Pac-12 and B1G (Rose Bowl). Now all four of these conferences have a postseason contingency plan if any of their champions are left out of the playoff, as well as the most attractive non-playoff pairings.

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