News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Thursday, July 15, 2004
by Will Stewart,

Football Recruiting: News on Royal, Council,  and Wall

The two most frequently asked questions with regards to VT's 2004 football recruiting class have been: (1) Did Eddie Royal (see picture at right) qualify academically? and (2) What's the status of Rod Council?

The answer to #1 is yes, Royal did qualify. There was some question as to whether or not he was going to, but Royal, the #2-ranked recruit in the state in 2004, has said for months now that he was going to qualify, and he did. He is already in Blacksburg and throwing the football with his teammates.

As for question #2, Council still appears headed for Virginia Tech … eventually. A cornerback recruit from Charlotte, NC, Council and an accomplice were arrested just five days before Signing Day in February for stealing $16,000 of computer equipment from his high school. In March, Council was placed in a deferred-prosecution program that will erase the incident from his record, provided he completes 150 hours of community service and some counseling.

At last report (The Roanoke Times, 7/1/04), Council had finished his community service and was on track to complete the other provisions of his program. Once he completes all of his requirements, then he will have to clear Virginia Tech admissions. It appears that the Hokie football program will accept him, and if not, sources tell us that up to a half-dozen other programs will.

A highly-touted recruit who had offers from VT, Clemson, Maryland, Notre Dame, UVa, and others, Council shocked those who knew him when he got arrested. He was president of his high school's student council, and with a GPA of nearly 4.0 was an honor student.

In other news from the 2004 recruiting class, DE William Wall will attend Hargrave Military Academy and will enroll at Tech in the fall of 2005. Wall originally committed to VT in August of 2003 out of HD Woodson High Scholl in Washington, D.C., but he never sent in a signed letter of intent to VT. Wall is still committed to the Hokies and plans to sign an LOI in February of 2005, so we now list him with Tech's 2005 recruiting class.

Hokies Pick Up Kent Hicks

It's extremely rare for a football player to sign an LOI with one school in February and wind up enrolling at a different school the following fall, but that's exactly what safety Kent Hicks out of Culpeper High School has done.

Hicks was the #3-ranked player in the state in 2004 by, right behind Royal, and Hicks committed to Maryland in December of 2003. The Terps finished ahead of Tennessee, with VT and UVa bringing up the rear.

Hicks signed with Maryland in February of this year, but he was short one science class for admission to the university. Hicks reportedly recently completed the science requirement, but in an odd twist of fate, was rejected by Maryland's admission's office at about the same time. When Hicks tried to rectify the situation with the Terps, message board traffic says that he was asked by Maryland to attend prep school anyway, so he reopened his recruiting and started looking elsewhere.

Message board traffic also suggest that Maryland failed to retain an open scholarship for Hicks, figuring that he wouldn't get his academics taken care of. That may or may not be true.

Since he was rejected by Maryland admissions, that freed Hicks up from his LOI to the Terps. One thing very quickly led to another, and Hicks signed with the Hokies and will join the team in a few weeks, when practice starts.

Hicks' signing with VT means that the Hokies landed five of the state's top eight players in 2004, per TSL's rankings: #2 Eddie Royal, #3 Kent Hicks, #6 Andrew Bowman, #7 Sean Glennon, and #8 Branden Ore.

At 6-3, 215, Hicks is a safety type who will get his first look at the Rover position when he joins the team.

Season Ticket Sales Set New Record

The latest issue of the Hokie Huddler announces that VT has set a football season ticket sales record of 34,811 as of July 9th, with a few tickets remaining in premium seating sections. This is the 11th year in a row that season ticket sales have set a new record.

Season ticket sales topped 30,000 for the first time in 2001, with a total of 30,254 sold. They remained strong through 2002 and 2003. TSL reported in July of 2003 that 36,300 season tickets had been sold for 2003, but no source was identified, so that report is assumed to be in error.

With a season ticket price of $265, tickets sold thus far represent an income of $9.22 million from season ticket sales, up from just $1.6 million ten years ago (1994: 12,280 sold at $130 apiece).

Speaking of ticket sales, VT announced in May that the Hokies had sold their allotment of 45,000 tickets to the BCA game August 28th against Southern Cal. A crowd of around 90,000 -- that is not a typo -- is expected at the game at FedEx Field.

Note: This article was later corrected -- see News and Notes, 7/20/04.

Basketball Recruiting: Hokies Land 6-11 Post Player

The Hokies snagged an important basketball recruit yesterday when they got a commitment from Robert Krabbendam, from the Amsterdam suburb of Hoorn, who selected the Hokies over St. John's, Pittsburgh, Penn State and Fresno State.

Krabbendam is 6-11 and around 200 pounds, perhaps as high as 210. That's thin, and there's debate as to whether he's a power forward or a true center. In a June article in the (Pennsylvania) Patriot News, Krabbendam described himself thus: "I'm a typical 5-man [center] who can also play the 4 [power forward]. I like to face up, but I can also play with my back to the basket. And I like to run the fast break."

That boosts VT to 11 scholarship players for next season and gives them a much-needed inside player. The Hokies took a big hit when recruit Justin Holt, who was scheduled to join the team in the second semester next season, was dismissed from the team in early June for violation of team rules. Holt had been charged with possession of marijuana in March, but his dismissal was not a direct result of that arrest. He was instead, according to VT athletic director Jim Weaver in The Roanoke Times (same article as the Council article above -- scroll down), dismissed for ongoing conduct that was detrimental to the team.

Turkey Bites

  • The Hokies signed AM giant SportsTalk 980 in Washington DC to broadcast Tech football games next year and beyond, finally ending years and years of poor radio coverage in Northern Virginia. For the full press release from VT, click here. The signing of WTEM-AM is a huge coup for VT and yes, was made possible by VT's brand-new ACC membership.
  • The Hokies settled with the Big East and will pay $1.1 million that will finish Tech's relationship with the conference. Under the terms of VT's 2000 membership agreement with the league, the Hokies were to pay $1.5 million in entry fees from 2005-2010, at $300,000 per year for five years. Tech and the Big East negotiated that down to a one-time payment of $1.1 million within the next couple of years (source: The Roanoke Times, June 9, 2004). Yes, you read that correctly: the Hokies will pay entry fees for a league they won't even be in.
  • has added two new free message boards to our already considerable suite of offerings: a Women's Basketball Board and an Olympic Sports Board. With ACC membership expected to increase interest in VT men's hoops, it was necessary to set up a separate board for the women so posts related to women's basketball wouldn’t get trampled on the main basketball board. And with the Hokies ramping up their efforts in Olympic (non-revenue) sports as they enter the ACC, we felt it was time for a separate board to discuss those sports.


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