News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Monday, February 19, 2001
by Will Stewart,

Recruiting Rankings

SuperPrep has ranked Virginia Tech's 2001 football recruiting class the #8 class in the country, and and PrepStar have put the Hokies in the Top 25.

The SuperPrep ranking -- spurred by an all-time high 7 SuperPrep All-Americans, including SuperPrep's #1 player in the country, Kevin Jones -- is the highest-ever ranking by far given to a Tech recruiting class by SuperPrep. and PrepStar don't seem as impressed, ranking Tech's class #22 and #19 respectively.

The SuperPrep ranking, and the number of SP All-Americans, eclipses Tech's previous best-ever year of 1998. The 1998 class featured six SuperPrep AA's (Michael Vick, Jake Houseright, Lee Suggs, Keith Burnell, Lamar Cobb, and T.J. Jackson) and was ranked #19 in the country by SuperPrep (source: The Hokie Huddler, Vol. 15, #22, 2/16/98). SuperPrep was so impressed with the 1998 class that they even ranked Tech's class #1 in the Big East, a spot usually reserved for Miami.

The number of SuperPrep AA's signed by the Hokies dropped to two in 1999 (Keith Willis and Andrae Harrison) and then rose back up to six in 2000 (Richard Johnson, Chad Cooper, Jason Lallis, Jared Mazzetta, Mike Daniels, and John Dunn).

The #19 ranking from PrepStar is the best in recent years, as well. The 2000 class came in at #34 in PrepStar's rankings, and the 1999 class did not make the PS Top 30 but was "on the bubble," according to PrepStar's web site.

Here's a tabular listing of SuperPrep, and PrepStar rankings for the Hokies in the last four years:


SuperPrep Rank

PrepStar Rank Rank

1998 19 24 no rankings
1999 31 not in top 30 not available
2000 25 34 #28
2001 8 19 #22

Team Rankings

When comparing team rankings in the Big East, SuperPrep has once again ranked the Hokies' #8 recruiting class as the best in the Big East, ahead of Miami, which came in at #12. VT and Miami are the only two Big East teams listed in SuperPrep's Top 25.

Over in PrepStar's team rankings, they list a Top 40, and a number of Big East teams made the list., God love 'em, ranks a lot more than 30 or 40 teams. They do all 115 Division 1-A teams.

Here's the Big East lowdown with UVa included, since they're an on-field and recruiting rival. Note that I made an attempt to put all the teams in order, but they're not necessarily listed in order, depending upon which recruiting service you're looking at:

Team SuperPrep
Top 25
Top 40
Miami 12 5 2
VT 8 19 22
Pitt nr 17 27
UVa nr 33 38
Boston College nr 36 31
West Virginia nr 40 (tie) 61
Rutgers nr nr 59
Syracuse nr nr 68
Temple nr nr 83

A few things stand out looking at those rankings:

  • Pittsburgh had a good recruiting year. Note that PrepStar actually ranks them ahead of Tech, with Rivals putting them close behind.
  • UVa's once promising recruiting year turned out to be more so-so than "wow." It's on par with the classes Tech has had for the last few years (up until 2001), at least according to the recruiting rankings. Typically, UVa's classes are ranked higher than Tech's. This is the first time in recent memory that Tech has had a higher-ranked class across the board, though I don't purport to be a recruiting guru. Those who are, feel free to correct me on the recruiting board.
  • Syracuse, usually a Top 30 or Top 40 mainstay, did not have a good year. SuperPrep and PrepStar dismissed them out of hand, and Rivals put them all the way down at #68, not the usual territory for Syracuse.
  • The ranking of #59 that Rivals gave to Rutgers supports the gut feel that they had a better-than-normal year. New head coach Greg Schiano is recruiting the state of New Jersey hard in particular, and his efforts appear to be paying off.
  • BC, WVU, and Temple all landed about where they usually do.

Basketball Notes: Williams Down, Hokie Men Out

The Hokie women's basketball team was handed a double setback on Sunday. Not only did the Hokies unexpectedly drop a home game to Boston College (who came into the contest with a 9-13 record overall and just 3-9 in the conference), but they lost Tere Williams for a couple of weeks to a knee injury.

It is a hallmark of Bonnie Henrickson's teams that they don't often lose games that they "should" win. It is rare for them to do so, so the loss to BC comes as a stunner. BC was picked Top 5 in the Big East this year in the preseason, but the injury-plagued Eagles have stumbled to a disappointing season.

Interestingly enough, in an interview segment with Tech women's radio announcer Cory Provus that was taped before the game, Boston College head coach Cathy Inglese talked about how her team was improving and was positioning themselves as a February spoiler to the higher-seeded teams in the Big East. Congrats, Coach, mission accomplished in this game.

In the Big East standings, the 8-5 Hokies (17-7 overall) are now sixth in the conference. The top 4 seeds get byes in the tournament (click here for seeding info), so the Hokies are gunning to overtake #5 Villanova (9-5, with a loss to Tech) and #4 Seton Hall (9-4, and they play VT at Seton Hall on Saturday, Feb. 24th).

Assuming that head-to-head competition is the tiebreaker, the Hokies can grab the #4 seed by winning out. Their remaining games are at home against Providence (#12 in the Big East), on the road at Seton Hall, and on the road at St. John's (#14 in the Big East).

The Seton Hall game appears to be the dealmaker in Tech's quest for the #4 seed. Tech "should" win the Providence and St. John's games, but with Williams out and Nicole Jones recovering from an appendectomy, anything can happen.

Williams will reportedly be ready for the Big East Tournament. The good news is that despite the injury, she was able to grab the Virginia Tech career record for rebounding in the Boston College game. The bad news is that she'll have to watch the final home game of her career (this Wednesday night against Providence) from the bench, which is no way for a competitor like Williams to go out.

Meanwhile, for the Hokie men's team, the loss to Connecticut on Saturday was a double whammy. Number one, it mathematically eliminated the men from making the men's Big East Tournament. Unlike the Big East women, who have a single 14-team "division," the men have two seven-team divisions. The bottom team from each division does not get to make the trip to New York at the end of the season, and the 2-11 Hokies are now firmly entrenched at #7 in the Big East's Eastern Division, behind 6-7 Miami. There's no catching the Canes.

The men also clinched the first losing home record in the 40-year history of Cassell Coliseum. Oddly enough, it came against a UConn team that has been less than impressive this year and notched their first Big East road win of the season against the Hokies.

The good news? A crowd of 6,211 witnessed it, the second-largest crowd of the year for a men's game at Cassell (the announced sellout crowd of 10,052 for UVa was bigger). Despite the struggles of Tech's men's team, which now stands at 8-16 overall, the Big East has shown itself to be a better draw than the Atlantic 10. No surprises there.


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