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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday, February 7, 2005
by Phil Noftsinger

Tonightís show was broadcast live from Attitudes Bar inside the Blacksburg Holiday Inn. With the completion of the 2004-2005 football recruiting season, it was time for the annual recruiting roundup on the Hokie Hotline. Bill Roth welcomed Hokies recruiting coordinator Jim Cavanaugh on tonightís show to give Hokie fans a review of the recruiting process and recruiting class.

For VT's complete 2005 recruiting class, click here.

Jim Cavanaugh

Roth opened the show by asking the coach if the recruiting process is bound by what players at what positions are coming out of high school, or more by what the current position needs are for the team. Coach said that occasionally an assistant coach will find himself recruiting a certain player, and another player at that position will commit and meet the needs for the team, causing the staff to decide to discontinue the effort with the first player. The exception is those outstanding in-state players who may represent additional bodies at a certain position, those are still on the board. The quarterbacks we received commitments from this season give us five in the program which is about what you want to have.

Roth asked about Greg Boone, noting that the coach said he reminds him of Daunte Culpepper. Coach said that both he and Ike Whitaker are talented football players.

Roth asked about Ike Whitaker. Coach said that Ike has been in the camp at Tech, and he can run, is tall, and has a whip for an arm. He said that both Boone and Whitaker are really talented and both are really great kids. Jim said that the entire class is a good bunch of guys and they are a pleasure to be around.

Roth pointed out that the Hokies signed four of the top five in the state of Virginia, per the Roanoke Times. Coach said that the list is put out by Doug Doughty, and he talks to Tech recruiters and other schools, as well has high school coaches. He gets a feel for who these kids are. He also does it by the number of offers a kid receives to a degree. So it is somewhat subjective, but Cavanaugh thinks Doughty does at good job. Coach Cav said heís not sure there is much difference between whoís #1 and whoís #5 though. With regard to Harris, he visited a number of schools who were high profile schools, and coach felt that the high profile nature of the schools recruiting Macho probably made him #1 as opposed to a Simmons or a Boone or Elan Lewis.

Roth asked about the fire at the Harris house the night Cavanaugh and Beamer were visiting. Coach said that it was a little unnerving, that they drove up about 7 pm and his aunt was out front with the two little ones on the front porch. You could see smoke curling underneath the door, and he and Coach Beamer ran into the kitchen and saw Macho with an exasperated look on his face. The fire had started in the kitchen and Macho had thrown the two pans, one out the door and one into the laundry room.

Coach said when he got there he could see that Macho had been burned. Coach Beamer, who has been through a similar situation as a child, went to MCV with Macho and some of the family, while Cav stayed behind to help clean up. Coach Cav said that he ripped his lucky recruiting slacks when he bent down to clean up the floor, and Machoís mother got a real kick out of that.

Coach Cav also spoke about the tragic passing of Machoís mother on Christmas Day. Overall the coach felt like Harris had been through some real tragic events, but was handling everything with a great deal of maturity. Roth asked what makes him such a great defensive back. Coach Cav said heís really a great offensive talent, rushing for 5,500 yards in two and a half years. He has great hands, very fluid, moves backwards as well as he does forwards; heís just a very good athlete. He realizes what can be done at corner, and Coach has told him that as years go on we will try to piecemeal some offense at him, in an orderly fashion. Coach said that this is not until he gets his feet on the ground as a defensive player.

Barek in Blacksburg called in and asked what positions needed the most attention during this season. Coach said that when we started Beamer said we needed X amount of offensive lineman, and they were looking for defensive ends and defensive backs. You're always looking for quarterbacks and tailbacks, and they havenít signed a receiver. Those were the areas they were looking for and filled them pretty well.

Roth asked about linebacker position, and how Adibi and Hall were grouped together, and that Simmons and Taylor will be, too. Coach said that Simmons and Taylor are good sized kids that can hit you, and they have a knack for the ball. When they get there they get there angry. Taylor is a young buck who committed early and didnít get as much publicity as Simmons.

Nick in Covington called in and asked that this year it seems like we got our first choices real quick, did we do better off the bat? Coach said thatís hard to say. Both Robert Norris and Kenny Jefferson, who committed in May of 2004, are from programs that know Virginia Tech, and they knew what they were looking for. They saw what Tech had and liked it. Both young men saw a chance at a great football program which had everything they were looking for. He thought both coaches at those schools understand the world of recruiting and probably told their players that what the Tech coaches tell you, you can take to the bank.

The subject of former Blacksburg High player Sam Wheeler, who prepped at Hargrave, came up. Coach said that Wheeler, who can play tight end, might play a little earlier than expected.

Roth asked about punter Brent Bowden. Coach said that he is a very good punter, and now we were looking for a good punter. We have a young man who can possibly make an impact. Coach qualified that statement by saying that you still have to play on the field, so nothing is a lock at this point. Competition makes for a better team, and we have a lot of guys sitting in dorm rooms right now who are working with Coach Gentry getting ready to challenge for positions as well.

Roth said this is only the second time under Coach Beamer where Virginia Tech failed to sign a player out of the state of Florida. However, it was quite clear that the focus in the Carolinas and Georgia went well. Coach said that where we are playing our games and the travel possibilities, most of the parents want to see their kids play. So in this situation, our away games are just as close as our home games. So now those parents want to see their kids play, that was one emphasis we put on those states. Green, who we got out of South Carolina, Virgil from North Carolina and Porch and Render from Georgia, these are kids who are highly recruited. We also didnít get a couple kids who went to Florida State, NC State, and North Carolina. However, the reception to the recruiting message in those states has been great. Coach said that he gets very turned off by a kid who doesnít want to compete for a position, speaking of the quarterback Sexton who went to UNC partly because of the stable of people at that position at VT.

Roth mentioned that he has read a lot of articles on Porch. Coach said that heís a neat guy and a good guy.

Coach Cav mentioned Antonio North, an offensive lineman, who is a heck of a player, and probably will be a surprise. He will drive you off the ball. He spoke very well at the pre-game in Richmond and made the Hokies very proud with his comments and his play.

Coach Cav said that we talked about going south, but you know we also still hit our Maryland and New Jersey contacts as well, pointing out Jahre Cheeseman. Heís a young man who is athletic and can really play. Roth asked where he is likely to play. Coach said that he mentioned Wheeler before, and his ability to play different positions based upon need. These kids that are multi-position kids, you have the freedom to move them around. Coach said that Coach Beamer will define where they are going to play.

Roth mentioned that Coach Stinespring said that there is a need to get more offensive lineman in the program, indicating that the Hokies certainly addressed that need. Coach said that he thought they did, and that the O-Line is a tough spot to recruit. Nobody knows who you are until you give up a sack. It takes a real cerebral guy, who can make all those adjustments based upon the protection changes at the line. Coach said specifically itís tough to find offensive tackles. The team took a couple kids in January, that some people didnít know about. Eric Davis is 6-8 and then Richard Graham is a guy who was a tight end in high school. Coaches asked him if he would play offensive lineman, but heís a tough kid, all-state as a tight end. Heís only 17, so heís got a lot of room to grow.

Mike in Blacksburg called in and asked the coach to talk more about Elan Lewis. Coach said that heís about 5 foot 8, and heís not a blazer in what you normally think about as tailbacks. He has great vision and can find holes, very tough, and has great hands, comparing him to Natron Means who played at North Carolina.

Roth asked about defensive lineman. Coach said that we mentioned William Wall as potentially a great defensive player. Friday, who is a teammate of Elan Lewis, is a kid who can really run, is 6-5 and 215 lbs, he had 17.5 sacks in 8 games. Cordarrow Thompson was the defensive player of the year in the DC area, good sized kid that can run as a defensive tackle. With Render and this kid we should be able to plug up the line pretty well. Roth asked if there was no coaching change at Syracuse, does Thompson end up there as opposed to Tech. Coach said that he didnít know, but that the young man may have committed just to have a spot somewhere. Coach said that he felt like Thompson was probably a little better prepared to make a decision later in the process.

Roth asked about Cam Martin out of Danville. Coach said heís a great student and athlete, and he comes from a family who has a Virginia Tech background. He is a heck of a free safety, and heís another one who committed early and didn't get the press as some of the other recruits.

Roth said if all the kids qualified or if some of them end up at prep schools. Coach said that there is a chance that some may have to go to prep schools, but thatís difficult to tell at this point.

Roth asked about the decommit that the Hokies received (Jonathan Hannah). Coach said that heís a great kid, and things are not as cut and dried as you may think. Coach said he comes from great parents, things have just gotten a little bit out of hand, and we will just see how that plays out.

Coach said that the staff of the football program really does a great job at this process.

  • Monday was day 74 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup, day 129 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy, and day 67 of Virginia Tech's possession of the ACC football championship.

-- Phil

          

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