April 30, 1996

Hokies Get Commitment from Pre-Schooler (David Pugh)

No kidding, folks, this thing of signing football prospects early, which hurt the Hokies so badly two years ago because they didn't do it and everybody else did, is really taking off.

This past week, the Hokies got a verbal commitment from an offensive lineman from Amherst High School, a kid whose first name escapes me (I lost the newspaper article), but whose last name is Pugh, if memory serves correctly. What I didn't forget are his stats: 6'3", 260, and -- get this -- he runs a 4.7 forty. Ouch, babe! How'd you like to have that much bulk hitting you that fast? Pugh was second-team All-State AA this year, and is a two-year starter and a three-year letterman.

Pugh's key stat, though, is his age. He's only 16. And he's only a junior. That's right -- he won't play for the Hokies until the fall of 1997. Now is that an early commitment, or what? Way to go, Hokies!

Two points: number one, although Amherst is "only" a double-A school, they are a very powerful AA school. I can't spout their record or accomplishments to you right off the top of my head, but suffice it to say, they've been a dominant force at that level for at least the last two years.

Point number two is a trend that is occurring in Hokie football that I like. Namely, we seem to be establishing pipelines to certain high schools, in much the same way that UVa (ugh) has established a pipeline to Tabb High School, alma mater of Terry Kirby and Chris Slade. Not only has Pugh committed to Tech, but there are a couple of other great players at Amherst, one of whom is a linebacker, that are leaning towards the Hokies. Couple that with the players that have come out of E.C. Glass in Lynchburg in recent years (Cornell Brown, and this year Andre Kendrick and Carl Bradley), and Tech has the inside track on two of the better programs in the state.

Out of state, something even more exciting is going on. Tech recently received letters of intent for next year from two players from the number one high school in the country: Berwick High School in Pennsylvania. And the Berwick coach was among many high school coaches who will attend (or did attend) a coaches clinic at Tech for high school coaches. So it appears that the Hokies are establishing good relationships with some of the premier high school programs not just in the state, but in the country!

Del Ricco Parties and Brings Down the House - Literally

Admittedly, that headline is in bad taste, but I couldn't resist.

Those of you with mid-80's ties to VT will remember the balcony that collapsed during a party at Foxridge in 1985. It was a second floor balcony, and fortunately, nobody was seriously hurt. After that incident, the management company of Foxridge, who also managed Terrace View, strengthened the balconies at those two apartment complexes, even though they already met code.

Well, last Saturday night, George Del Ricco was having a party at his Terrace View apartment to celebrate his free-agent signing with the Bengals (see the next story), and history repeated itself. The third-floor balcony of Del Ricco's apartment, which was loaded with approximately 20 people and a keg full of beer in a trash can full of ice, collapsed onto the balcony below. Unfortunately, the party was also going on at the second floor level as well, with people on that balcony, too. Both balconies then collapsed and fell to the ground.

No one was killed or very seriously injured, although as of this writing, three people still remain in the hospital, in serious condition. As far as I know, everyone is expected to recover fully.

For those of you with inquisitive minds, Terrace View was built in 1973, and at the time, the code was that the balconies must support 40 pounds per square foot. The Terrace View balconies are 70 square feet, so the total rated weight was only 2800 pounds. If you take 20 people, at 150 pounds apiece, and add a full keg of beer at approximately another 150 pounds, well... you do the math. The balcony was inspected after the crash, and no structural flaws were found, so it was just the sheer weight that did it.

Far be it from me to comment on the party habits of college kids. Thankfully, no one was killed.

Hokie Free Agents Galore

Speaking of Big George, he and a passel of other Hokies signed free agent contracts after the draft last week. Here's the list I have:

  1. Jermaine Holmes - Tampa Bay
  2. Dwayne Thomas - Tampa Bay
  3. Atle Larsen - Arizona
  4. George Del Ricco - Cincinnati
  5. William Yarborough - Miami
  6. Mike Bianchin - New York Jets

I think I also heard that Hank Coleman signed with somebody. Geez, see what winning the Sugar Bowl will get your players? Tech has had similar talent graduate in past years and not even get a sniff from the NFL. Good luck, guys. You all deserve it!

And let me take this chance to apologize for saying that Rhonda "Toast" Barber of UVa (ugh) got drafted last week. Somebody told me that last week, and I regurgitated here without checking my facts. Apparently, Toast is only a junior, and since he didn't declare himself eligible, he couldn't get drafted!

Then again, who cares?


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