June 25, 1996
All Things Athlon
Boy are you guys lucky. I went to the doctor the other day, and she was an hour late for my appointment. Why does this make you lucky? Because I had my issue of Athlon Sports' National College Football Edition with me, and I got to look it over in great detail (more detail than I planned on, as a matter of fact).
First of all, as I told you before, they ranked us 11th. The fun thing about that ranking was to sit down and look at the teams that were surrounding us. The top 10 were: Tennessee, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Florida State, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, USC, Texas, and Clemson. After the Hokies, numbers 12-20 were: Penn State, Ohio State, Syracuse, Washington, Texas A&M, Alabama, Wisconsin, Miami, and ..... uh, Northwestern.
Up until the "Northwestern" part, you'll notice that the list was a veritable who's-who of college football (with the possible exception of Wisconsin). That's when I get the biggest kick out of the success we're enjoying these days, is when I see us grouped with heavyweights like that. I mean, they ranked us ahead of Penn State and Ohio State! Wow.
Athlon ranks all 111 1-A teams, in order. Here's where the Big East landed: Tech (11), Syracuse (14), Miami (19), WVU (35), BC (60), Pitt (71), Rutgers (87), and Temple (91).
What they had to say about the Hokies was pretty generic. We're awesome, Cornell is the second coming of Bruce Smith, etc., etc. The most interesting stuff (to me, anyway) was the recruiting rankings buried deep in the book, behind pictures of cheerleaders and an ad for a Stanley thermos (which they called a "steel bottle," for some reason, instead of a "thermos." Ten bonus points to anybody who can Email me and tell me why. I'll print your letter).
Anyway, once I finished looking at the cheerleader pictures, I perused Athlon's list of the Top 100 incoming freshmen. They listed DE Robert Adams #48, PK Shayne Graham #84, and DB Andre Kendrick #97. That was curious to me, because I had seen Kendrick, Graham, and DB Lorenzo Ferguson on various Top 100 lists, but never Adams. As a matter of fact, Adams was "only" listed 4th in the state by The Roanoke Times. The way Athlon's rankings fell, he was #2 in the state behind WR Plaxico Burress (#12 in the USA, going to Michigan State). The latest UVa (ugh) savior, RB Thomas Jones, generally regarded as the top recruit in the state, was listed as #60 in the country by Athlon.
Athlon also listed DL recruit Carl Bradley among its "Next 200," so if both Adams and Bradley stay healthy and out of trouble over the next four years, look for the two of them to make nice defensive bookends by the time they're seniors.
Other Tech recruits listed in the Next 200 were Jeremy Kishbaugh (listed at RB, but I look for him to play LB) and DB Donald Harris. Oddly enough, highly regarded DB Lorenzo Ferguson wasn't in Athlon's top 300, although he was listed as the #36 recruit in the Big East.
Yes, I sat there in that doctor's office a loooonng time.....