Sunday, April 20th, 1997
Druck to the Niners, Torrian to the Vikings
When the 49ers picked Tech legend and former QB Jim Druckenmiller with the 26th pick in Saturday's NFL draft, they made him do something that the Miami Hurricanes, the Syracuse Orangemen, the West Virginia Moutaineers, the Virginia Cavaliers, and the Texas Longhorns could never make him do.
They made the big lug break down in tears.
(For the record, the Nebraska Cornhuskers did make Druck cry, but that's just because the Orange Bowl was the last game of his career, and he was feeling emotional because he was going to miss the buddies he'd made during his Tech career.)
It's a heady thing to realize a lifelong dream, and it does make people get emotional. On Saturday, it all came down to the moment when the name "Jim Druckenmiller" was spoken into the microphone, and Tech's signal caller knew he was going out west to join one of the NFL's most storied and classy organizations. I won't even pretend to know what sort of thoughts were going through Druck's head at the time, although the moment I looked up during my wedding and saw my bride coming down the aisle probably matches it for sheer intensity.
With all due congratulations to Virginia linebacker James Farrior, who unexpectedly went 8th to the New York Jets, I'd much rather be Jim Druckenmiller on this fine Sunday. I think the best place to get drafted is probably in the late first round, because you're going to a good team, instead of getting the kiss of death by being shipped off to a perennial loser like the Jets, Bucs, Falcons, Cardinals, Rams, et al.
Out in San Francisco, Steve Young is 36 years old, and Elvis has left the building. Druckenmiller will step into the perfect situation, carrying a clipboard for a few years while he enjoys being employed by a team that has the reputation of treating its players better than any other franchise in the league. San Francisco is used to good production from their quarterbacks, but they and their fans have a way of simply expecting it, without demanding it. Druck was reportedly nervous during yesterday's draft, but once he settles in and spends a few years in San Fran, I smell a Super Bowl in his future.
Congrats to Jim on rising from sheer obscurity to a golden opportunity.
Torrian Gray went in the mid-late second round, as the #49 pick, to the Minnesota Vikings. In a way, that's a disappointment to me, only because the Vikings get very little press in the state of Virginia, and we homebound Hokies won't get much opportunity to see him play or track his progress (without the Internet, we'd really be out of luck).
He's not an awesome physical talent, but Torrian Gray is a playmaker, and he has experience both at corner and at safety. He's in a position where hard work and perseverance will hopefully pay off in a nice career in the NFL.
Late-breaking news: Antonio Banks was also drafted by the Vikings, in the 4th round. Cool!
Brian Edmonds Goes to Jail
In a surprise move, Brian Edmonds plead no-contest last Friday to a charge of disorderly conduct in connection with the Blacksburg Brawl. His trial, originally delayed from its March 24th date, was rescheduled for Tuesday, April 22nd. Edmonds's lawyer, Joe Painter, plea-bargained the charge down to disorderly conduct from its original assault and battery.
I'm not sure what the plea-bargain really gained Edmonds, because disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor with the same maximum punishment of 12 months in jail and a $2500 fine. Edmonds wound up receiving the same sentence as the previously-convicted Tyron Edmond, who was sentenced to 30 days in jail, all but two of which were suspended. Inmates get one day knocked off from their jail sentences for each day of good behavior, so like Edmond, Edmonds probably only served one day. He went to jail immediately on Friday and was probably released on Saturday, although I haven't heard.
So in the long run, the only advantage that plea-bargaining gave Brian Edmonds was that "disorderly conduct" doesn't sound quite as nasty on your permanent record as "assault and battery."
I also wondered why Edmonds didn't fight the charge, given that the only player to be convicted so far (Tyron Edmond) was convicted on his own word that he struck someone. So far, the Commonwealth's Attorney has been unable to convict anyone on the evidence alone.
Just my two cents, as they say...
Hokie Central Goes to the Spring Game
We had fun at the Spring Game tailgate and the game itself. I won't try to name everybody who stopped by the tailgate, because I would no doubt leave someone out and have to feel guilty. But there were about 10-15 Hokie Central folks who stopped by, members and non-members alike, and HOKIE2 dropped off some great photos, including a perfect snapshot of a Tech football helmet that will wind up on this page as soon as I can get it scanned in.
One highlight: Hokie Jeff brought his genuine, game-worn 1995 Ken Oxendine jersey by the tailgate. There was blue paint on one shoulder, which everybody swore was from a UVa encounter.
Attendees to the actual game were Arizona Hokie, Vip in Danville, OneHyperHokie, and Jim the VamPIre Hokie (formerly known as Hi-Hat Hokie).
Thanks to everybody who stopped by, and sorry if you looked for us in the stands but couldn't find us. Sections 10 and 12 were packed!
I'll post a game report in a few days. Until then, cruise the message board for some great info from the people who were there.