Look into King's relative potential based on historic recruiting rankings.

So after years of disappointment and resigned to the fact that the lack of distribution of wealth in college football caps our (and 90% of other teams) potential I haven't been into recruiting much recently. However after reading about King in the Hokie Tracks article and other rumors of his hopeful breakout, I looked into the recruiting rankings of our most recent 4 star RBs and a couple of high 3 honorable mentions since David Wilson.

Keshawn King: .8925 Composite, No stats yet.

Shai McKenzie: .9045 Composite, 86 att, 395 yards, 4.6 avg, 4 TDs. Overall a bust but not his fault due to injury.

Travon McMillian: .8921 Composite, 449 att, 2158 yards, 4.8 avg, 16 TDs. I think he was a good to great RB but didn't fit once the regime changed.

J.C. Coleman: .9114 Composite, 348 att, 1519 yards, 4.4 avg, 7 TDs. One of my personal favorite Hokies, so I am a super biased. I think he would have done extremely well in our current offense but didn't quite fit the old style and had an up and down career because of it.

David Wilson: .9585 Composite, 462 att, 2662 yards, 5.8 avg, 18 TDs. One of the best to ever play the position for us. Stud. The dream.

High 3 star honorable mentions:

Deswhan McClease: .8711 Composite: 212 att, 990 yards, 4.7 avg, 5 TDs. I think a solid player but not a stud feature back.

Marshawn Williams: .8778 Composite: 183 att, 719 yards, 3.9 avg, 6 TDs. Like Shai, had a great start to his career and it sadly got derailed by injury.

Honestly this makes me really excited for King. Obviously there is a stark difference between the high .8's and mid .9's and he won't be David Wilson. But, if he performs better than McClease and is a better fit than McMillian, I have high hopes he could be a solid player for us and really help our offense. The season can't get here soon enough because I never want to look at recruiting again.

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Crown the King...Lets go Hokies

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I'm glad we're willing to play true freshmen at the position these days, I remember back when we'd redshirt guys like Ru because of blocking ability.

Not saying blocking ability isn't needed, but you can get those guys in packages where they can just get the ball in their hands and develop along the way.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

My guess is the continued growth and development of our O-line has a great deal to do with starting younger backs. Bigger holes and less need to pick up blitzes missed at the line have to help a great deal!

The only issue with that was in our old offense, if you subbed in a RB and the defensive coordinator knows you aren't going to call a play where he has to pass protect, then the offense is screwed before the play even starts. Thats why a lot of times you would see what we called our "stallions" package. We'd put 2 running backs out there so the threat of passing and running the ball was still there.

With how offenses have developed over the past 10 years, its a little bit easier to try and disguise that.

Gobble Till You Wobble

It really is not productive to question the process of Billy Hite. You coach blocking and let natural ability shine with ball in the running back's hand.

This worked almost 800% of the time.

King reminds me a lot of a healthy Shai McKenzie- who would have been an all ACC back had he not gotten injured IMO. He had vision and a burst- which is what makes a great RB. McMillian had a burst- a good top end gear, but lacked vision. Ryan Williams had both. Lee Suggs had both. David Wilson had both and insane quickness too. King has a shot to be dynamic if he can pack on a few pounds and play 3 downs. You can't play for Fuente/Corn if you can't block or bounce off contact. The offense is designed to have both RB's and WRs win one on one battles. That's why Rogers and Peoples- two walk on's with average speed- got a lot of burn- they could block and bounce off a tackle. If King is just speed, you will only see him on 1st down running the jet sweep. I think he is more than that though. I'm excited to see him this year.

Shai was a 220lb back with limited quickness. King is the opposite of Shai in most ways.

I think King's comparable is Steve Slaton from WVU. Very similar in both their quickness, size, and straight line speed. Slaton was a monster in the spread offense and a big-play machine.

"Dick to Hyman? DICK TO HYMAN!" - Guy in Lane Stadium crowd when Richard Johnson hit Josh Hyman on reverse pass in 2004.

I disagree about Wilson, vision was the one thing he lacked. He was likely always faster than his competition and he would bounce a run outside or try to switch the field if there wasn't a truck sized hole for him. If he had vision he would have been a faster Saquon Barkley.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

I agree. It wasnt that he lacked vision though as much as he knew he was fast and leaned on that first and foremost. Not unlike a scrambling qb running instead of progressing through reads. He did have balance that was off the charts though.

"I am probably too rational to be here"

The way Lee Suggs used to hit a hole was orgasmic.

I'll just leave this here for you pervs.

But was it...


β€œYou got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

I love me some David Wilson, but give me Ryan Williams over Wilson every day and twice on Sunday. Vision, speed, and a killer stiff arm to boot. David Wilson could, and did, run circles around everyone on the field, but that bit us too often for me to put him at the top of the VT RB totem pole.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

I agree wholeheartedly. Ryan Williams is my favorite Hokie and player of all time. It also helps that I met him in elementary school (mom taught him 5th grade) and played against him in middle/high school. #brag

Agree. Suggs is the best, Williams is a close second, IMO. Sick talent and attitude- beast. Suggs just did it longer, and more consistent.

Oh man I think KJ was better than Suggs. Suggs was a TD machine but KJ got yards outside the tackles.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

that's a good point. KJ was a beast, I'm just biased.. When Suggs was on the field, people in Lane went to the bathroom on 3rd and short. It was money/done. Now, we pray to get the first down in those scenarios. LOL. KJ was a grown man though- no arguing.

KJ was a bigger, more natural David Wilson in my opinion. When I was a sports reporter for the Fairfax Journal in 2001, I went to VT's media day to do a feature story on NoVa products Willie Pile (West Potomac) and Brian Welch (Oakton). The players were all in full uniform because it was picture day, and at one point I looked down on the field and I did a double take because I saw Jones in #7 looking like a MAN, and forgot for a second that it wasn't Michael Vick. I had to check the roster, and then I was like "Oh, THAT'S the guy who was the No. 1 recruit in the country. Well there you go." He was jacked as an 18-year-old freshman.

All that said, Suggs is the all-time VT RB for me. Dude had 56 TDs in his career (56!), and he did that in essentially two seasons. Like you said he was money on 3rd down, and he almost never fumbled or had any negative yardage. He also had elite speed (he and Vick were the only two Hokies clocked at 4.2 in the 40 in 2000, if I remember right). He was basically the perfect running back.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Lee Suggs was guaranteed money. We had plenty of great backs in the past 20 years, but no one questioned that Suggs was good for a first down or a touchdown.

From the NCAA FBS record book, page 14

Most Consecutive Games Scoring a Touchdown
27β€”Lee Suggs, Virginia Tech (from Sept. 2, 2000, through Dec. 31, 2002;
57 touchdowns)

I was trying to remember what NCAA record he set, and that was it! I also want to say that he had the single-season TD record for a short time, but I could be wrong about that. And at one point he had like 300 or 400 consecutive carries without a fumble, which is amazing.

When people talk about how Virginia Tech has always had bad-to-mediocre offenses, I say "no way man." In the late-90s and early 2000s we had very good (albeit usually run-heavy) offenses. When you have one RB with almost 30 TDs in a season, your offense is GOOD.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

I realize recruiting was a different time then, but people forget Lee Suggs was a very under-recruited player out of William Fleming. He was skinny and fast in HS with great vision, but he kept the speed when he bulked up.

With his natural instincts and vision this made him a force as everyone has mentioned. I actually think Suggs is the best prospect comparison when viewing King's Potential.

The way I remember it, Suggs rode the pine for a couple of years. Yes, he needed bulking up, but word was that he hadn't really bought in to the coaching. When he did, it showed up and he became the force that he was for us his last two years. Those closer to the program may have a different take, but this is what I was hearing around town in those days.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Lee was bought in - he was a worker and just made himself a player. He only sat in 1999 as a true freshman (got a few carries and was behind Stith and Kendrick both ballers) but had a huge season in 2000, got hurt in 2001 first game with a non contact ACL, but worked his way back to a huge season in 2002.

His best season, and the best season in history for a VT RB without any question, was as a sophomore when he scored 28 TDs in 11 games. He blew out his ACL in his first game as a junior (still scored 2 TDs before going down, because of course he did), and then he shared the carries with Kevin Jones his senior year and still scored 24 TDs while rushing for 1325 yards.

It can't be overstated how awesome Suggs was.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Yeah, I seldom rely on any memory older than yesterday, since my brain is so full of games and impressions of Hokie sports over the 51 years I've been a Hokie that I get them all mixed up, misremembering as much as remembering. Getting old sucks, but I've never been good with details of the past. I do remember how awesome Suggs was, and I saw every home game he played in, so I at least can say I was there, regardless of my faulty perceptions.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

He set the BE record for TDs in a season. Which is really impressive when you realize the backs that came from Miami, Cuse, and WVU. But no one is touching Barry's 37 TDs in a season any time soon.

Those offenses were good and part of that was Ricky Bustle the offense we ran was very simple but they executed.
When we got in the red zone we were lethal with the heavy set run formation and that was were those RBs got touchdowns . VT offenses under Bustle complimented the Defense and special teams perfectly .I know a lot of people did not like Bustle but the numbers speak for themselves . When Bustle left the the slow decline started on the VT offense we still had some good ones to decent ones but they were not consistent like they were from mid 90s to 2002 . VT defense would suffocate teams or get turnovers we would get field position and then the O would slam the game shut . The game has changed and you have to put up points just hard to win 17 -13 type games against good teams

Coastal 1

I always felt like Bustle's was "Hey opponents, heres what we are going to do, try and stop us".

I mean it was guaranteed sometime in the 3rd quarter Jared Ferguson was going to sneak out of the backfield straight up the middle and catch a pass for 15 yards minimum. You could see VT setting that play up all first half.

When everyone was shitting on Stiney, Beamer came to his defense that he was the best X's and O's coach he had met, and I am not doubting that, but Bustle could call a game that kept the offense moving and has sorely been missed since he left.

Will never forget the "Ricky Bustle Special". After every turnover it was almost guaranteed that he was calling a deep pass. He went for the throat after turnovers when the defense wasn't going to be ready.

I liked Rickey Bustle's offense. The real lethal simplicity

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

Also would call that back side sceen to the RB at the right time the dagger that put away Texas in the SB . I am biased but the biggest win of all at UVA in 1995 the great call pump and go . The game that put VT in the mainstream beating the best UVA team on their field that was one shocked crowd in Cville that day .

Coastal 1

Ryan Williams is the best Hokie RB I've ever seen. I'd put him just ahead of Suggs

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

Vick is the best Hokie RB ever.

/s kinda?

Gobble Till You Wobble

I'm on this train. Ryan Williams was just blatantly consistent. Love DW, KJ, and Suggs, and I can't even possibly rank them, but I do believe RMFW was just an absolutely COMPLETE back ahead of some of the nuance qualities the other three had

David Wilson did so many things in 2011 that just made me gasp. The run against Clemson where he reversed his field twice after getting thrown by a Clemson defensive lineman, doing a cartwheel over a Miami player, stiff arming that UVA player through the ground, etc. He was a walking highlight reel. He just happened to be the last great running back after a string of so many, so I think a lot of people don't really appreciate him for how unbelievable he was. After all, he does have the record for most rushing yards in a season (albeit in 14 games whereas Ru and KJ only got 13).

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

The one where RW dragged an NC St. player 12 yards to the endzone is the most highlight reel run I saw as a student between 2008-2012.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

For me, it was Darren Evans demolishing the entire Maryland defense for 253 yards in 2008. That's the last truly dominant game I can remember from a VT running back.

Little Bobby Tables told me my signature was false

Him trucking the MD safety was probably the 2nd run to come to my mind, actually. That was my first night game in Lane and I remember it fondly.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

first night game in Lane and I remember it fondly

You did it wrong - jus' sayin'.

I was in the East Stands for that truck stick.... glorious

VT Marketing Class of 2009
Current Roanoke-Hokie
Go Hokies!

What makes that even more impressive is that the player being dragged on that play Earl Wolff had a decent NFL career.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

It happens ...

Oh yeah, I remember that. I was there with my dad and asked him how far Ru dragged that guy. My dad said "I think 5 yards." Turns out it was over twice as much. It's too bad 2010 wasn't as good for Ru. He got unlucky with injuries and also shared time with Evans and Wilson which I think never really allowed him to get into a rhythm.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

The run in 2009 against Alabama, were Ryan bounced an inside zone to the outside and then outran the whole Bama defense and barely stretched the ball into the endzone is one of the most underrated runs in tech football. That was an insane run against an all time elite defense.

Gobble Till You Wobble

I was there. It was beautiful. I married a Bama girl and I took her whole family to that game - they wore Crimson and my buddies and I wore O&M. That was one intense scene and great football game. We were in it into the 4th W, which is saying something against the eventual national champs.

Virginian by Birth, Hokie by Choice

Agree, Ryan Williams and IMO KJ are the best all-around backs we've had at VT. And that's not to disparage anyone else but we have had a lot of really good backs. But I will always hold Lee Suggs in special esteem. The guy was literally a touchdown machine, and as mentioned earlier in the thread, TD Lee was money in the red zone.

Hot take I loved Darren Evans just as much as Ryan Williams. The absolute domination and ability to crush guys especially in the red zone we just haven't seen since those two

but that bit us too often for me to put him at the top of the VT

It bit us literally one time in the bowl game and people act like it happened on a regular basis for some reason.

I mean it did happen more than that one time. It wasn't like a regular thing, but that one in the bowl definitely stands out because it hurt, bad.

That doesn't tarnish him as a player for me. I still like RW a little more.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

It would be interesting to see the career numbers for Suggs, KJ, Ore, and the other mentioned in the comments above added to that comparison.

Adjusted to account for the number of games played, no doubt.

Someone here is probably enough of a "numbers guy" to not only do this but also enjoy it. At least I hope someone is.

Yeah I stopped at Wilson because he was the last in a LONG run of stud running backs.

RMFW: 403 att, 2132 yards, 5.3 avg, 30 TDs

Evans: 438 att, 2119 yards, 4.8 avg, 22 TDs

Ore: 617 att, 2776 yards, 4.5 avg, 31 TDs

Humes: 373 att, 1805 yards, 4.8 avg, 21 TDs

KJ: 616 att, 3475 yards, 5.6 avg, 35 TDs

Suggs: 535 att, 2767 yards, 5.2 avg, 53 TDs

That YPC line is great for every last one of those backs.

I mean, that's really something special.

Ah, back when we had an O line coach that was dependable. But those are great YPC averages.

Thanks for grabbing that information!

What about Imoh? He had decent numbers for his limited time, IIRC.

uva - the taint of the ACC
XL Jockstraps 34 - Ascots 31
#15 Straight

Imoh had 1263 yards, 4.3 ypc and only 10 TDs
Coleman had 1519 yards, 4.4 ypc and 7 tds
Mcmillian had 2158 yards, 4.8 ypc and 16 TDs at VT
McClease 990 yards, 4.7 you and 5 TDs

Our backs can get yards but they aren't finding the endzone

Lee suggs was the man, he moved the chains. Third down money and the end zone was his biotch

All those guys are great, let's hope one of the newer guys can surpass those stats

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

For anyone who follows coach Burden on Instagram, his story today has a bunch of clips of King from practice. My guess is he will be featured some on the next all access video. Two of the clips are him blocking Hunter and what looks like charmarri in one on ones. Not much stuff out there but a few nuggets if you go digging.

So, I'll admit I'm a little biased towards Evans, Ru, and DW because they were there while I was at VT for undergrad. Those guys put up pretty gaudy numbers for having to share carries with each other part of the time. It reminds me of that saying about wishing you knew you were in the good old times while you were in them rather than after they're gone.

Darren was just a beast and I somehow remember him torching Maryland for that night game and how Lane erupted when he trucked the poor guy trying to tackle him. My liver is still recovering.

Ryan Williams and I share the same birthday down to the year and I followed his recruiting and watched his high school highlights pretty closely. I remember being at the spring game his first year and telling one of my friends that this guy was gonna be good and he took the very first ball he touched ~70 yards to the house, hahaha. Ru was probably the most complete back out of these 3; just an insane combination of speed, agility, and power. I think it was his lateral quickness that was really next level - it's a shame he got hurt because I think he could have had a great NFL career.

David Wilson was a freak athlete. I will never forget the kick off he returned against GT to put us back on top after they tied it. The guy was all class, too, which is probably why I'd consider him my favorite of the bunch even though I liked Ryan Williams the player more. That's not to say anything bad about RW but DW was just an all-around good guy. Another one that could have had an amazing NFL career if not for a freak injury.

It might be a little premature to start anointing KK as one of the greats, but I'm definitely rooting for the guy. I'm a little worried if we throw him in there too quickly he might flame out, but they say you're not too young if you're ready.

We had a great stretch of backs during the Beamer era...it sucks that we don't have the running game as our "identity" anymore as it made a ton of sense to marry it with a typical Bud Foster defense.

If it was up to me, I'd love to see a Wisconsin-type offense with a Bud Foster-inspired defense moving forward.

I don't know how anyone can claim that anyone other than Kevin Jones has been out best back. Who knows what his numbers would have looked like if he had stayed his senior year. I remember sitting in the stands and it was like he would just glide down the field without effort.

I always also thought that Marshawn was a better back than Shai.

I remember one of Jones' first long runs, it looked like he was jogging and everyone else sprinting and falling behind. He made running look effortless.

My favorite KJ moment was against WVU. He ran to the right behind the line of scrimmage and had virtually no room, so ran to the left, no room, but the defense overpursued, so he ran back around to the right, and then another 50ish yards for the TD.

Granted, I don't watch a whole lot of other teams in college football (unless the game is relevant to VT standings), but I can't say I've ever seen another RB run around an entire defense twice and proceed to get a TD.

See Barry Sanders highlights, college or pro.

I know y'all were talking college or pro level but it reminded me of all of Reggie Bush high school highlight tape

Can't spell DBU without Bud

Jones was an absolute stud, but I think the consensus that Suggs is the best RB in VT history is correct. For one thing, they are the only two candidates that you can directly compare, because they played on the same team in 2002 (so same coaching, O Line, QB, etc).

That year, Suggs was the better back for the Hokies. They had very similar yards per carry (5.2 for Suggs, 5.4 for Jones). And while Suggs had more carries (257 to 160), he was a much more prolific scorer (a TD every 11.7 touches to Jones' TD every 17.8 carries). He was also a slightly better receiver out of the back field (11 catches for 126 yards, 2 TDs compared to Jones with 4 catches for 21 yards), although neither were serious receiving threats.

Jones was an absolute monster when he had the ball to himself in 2003 though.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Very good runnning backs = Billy hite

With all this talk about Suggs, any chance we see him coaching for VT in the future? He's coached at Oberlin and Catholic University, but I'm not sure what he's up to now.

I wouldn't bank on seeing a heavy trend of former players getting brought back to the coaching staff. With Frank, Bud, Hite, and Stiney gone, Suggs really wouldn't have any connection to the current staff except for Jham.

Gobble Till You Wobble

Only saw one mention of Branden Ore, who gets overlooked because he did some dumb shit and got kicked off the team. He put up decent numbers, had great vision and followed his blockers beautifully, and had the misfortune of running primarily in a Sean Glennon offense. A lot of these other guys had a Vick, Tyrod or Bryan Randall as a running threat the defense had to account for to help them out. Not to take anything away from Ru or Lee Suggs, who were top of the heap in my opinion (only because none of the Fullers played tailback).

It shocked me also to not see Ore at least mentioned more. I know he isn't top 5 but he deserves mentioning.....

Ore was super talented, and I loved watching him play. His vision, instincts and balance were fantastic.

But doing dumb shit and getting kicked off the team does tend to lower a fan base's opinion of a player. :)

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

While I'm excited for any new Hokie, that list doesn't exactly enlist much excitement lol. In fact, it seems to do the opposite if you are looking for some sort of trend, which I think does not exist honestly.

If anything every recruit comparable to King had a completely mediocre-to-bad career here and the only one to have real success was a clear level above the rest as a recruit.

And as for the guys that got injured, sure they missed out on their potential, but it's hard to get excited about missed potential.

This is a pessimistic take with a capital P. All were decent backs and I think the hope that the potential is reached with King vs Shai or Williams is objectively something to be excited about.

No it isn't. If it were pessimistic I would have said that King is going to follow in their disappointing footsteps. However, what I actually said was that the list isn't really a reason to be excited by King. I don't know about you but I'm not going to get excited if the goal is to be a "decent back." You should be excited by King based on his own football skills and potential.

His senior year tape is better than Ford IMO.

And I would say that that is a reason to be excited.

Not David Wilson, so no catching rabbits, scaling cassel or running 30 yds backwards on 3rd and goal?

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
β€œI served in the United States Navy"