Several other Hokies made moves up the 2012 spring time depth chart and one of ‘em was not even on campus.
One of these movers and shakers is a starter and the other three are making some depth-chart noise loud and clear in a bid to secure some field-time this fall.
This men is what football is all about.The blind hog finds an acorn, and you find a diamond in the the tall grass. By my count Virginia Tech found 4-6 surprise contributors this past spring down in the New River Valley. And that ain’t half bad when the nation wide D-1 rubric reads more like locating 3 or possibly 4 at best.
To me that is par for the orange and maroon course. As there are few coaching staffs in all of D-1 football that are better equipped to coach-up or develop a 2-star baller into a 3. Or a 3-star player in a 4. That’s the patented Beamerball Gestalt Theory signature stamp right there men –doing more with less and not getting their run much less their credit for it.
Well, not until now…
#8 Detrick Bonner, Rover
5`12“, 186 lbs.
Rover in the Bud Stout lexicon is kinda, sorta code for a strong safety anywhere else. Albeit it a strong safety who cheats forward a bit and who enjoys more run responsibilities than he would on most any other squad. This quietly and yet quite effectively gives coach Foster something of a masked forty-four or 4-4 look when the Virginia Tech rover really plays up (or closer to the line-of-scrimmage). Enter one #8, Detrick Bonner.
Last year was not exactly and epic one for one Detrick Bonner –was it sports fans? He broke into the defensive rotation @ Marshall and quickly demonstrated why he is prolly is more parts Rover and less parts pure boundary (or even field) Cb. Recall that with 8:19 left in the first-half Bonner emphatically proved that he is not contact shy. Not at all –just ask #33 of Marshall who barely got up after Bonner tattooed him if you don’t believe me. Bonner may not quite be the raw death dealer when it comes to hitting that say Exum is, Although Bonner may be much closer to Exum than you think –more on that in a second. Exum was not quite bio-mechanically where Kam Chancelor was either –few are in fact. However, Bonner is at the top of the tertiary level of “pop” or at the lower end of second level when it comes to bringing the pain and he has the fast-twitch eye-popping metrics to back it up. Let’s see … Bonner has a 350 lb. front-squat from a mere 186 r-sophomore lb. kid, which is good for a stunning max testing to body mass 1.88 ratio?!? Check. That’s almost double his body mass if you are keeping score at home; and that is moving some sick iron indeed men. A dunk-you-very-much lofty 38“ vertical leap you ask? Done. Nearly Wide Receiver quality hands or the best hands in the Virginia Tech secondary in years quite plural? Easily. Versatile enough to have already played boundary-Cb, field-Cb, Whip linebacker and now Rover? Sure thing.
The only real hangnail I can nominate here is that Bonner had something of a run-heavy instinctive base to his 2011 game that saw him get burnt (long) 3-4 times last season. Why? Some of this was due to his penchant for crowding the line-of-scrimmage when playing press coverage. Although Bonner does have just enough recovery speed to allow him to attempt to deflect all of that and catch-up to the ball when racing downfield. Now riddle me this men; a hard enough hitter who is not contact shy, and who naturally gravitates towards the line-of-scrimmage. Does that sound more like a field-Cb or a Rover in disguise? I don’t know about you, although I’m inclined to agree with Coach Gray and say that this may have actually been a home-position Rover trapped in a Cb’s body. Yes, size/weight is something of a concern here (ditto durability) as a 186 lb. full-time Rover goes. So is the fact that sources suggest that Bonner has had some issue reading his keys and properly applying inside or outside-leverage. However, once he exchanged some childish maturity issues for some much needed focus his deep coverage was no less than fair to middling less one pass vs. Michigan. Again, does that read like a Cb to you or a misplaced Rover? To me, Detrick Bonner is a 3-year starting Rover just begging happen after he adds a bit of right-mass and literally grows into the position. He does that and he prolly finishes up his orange and maroon eligibility as an all-A.c.c. performer in 2014, if not a second or third team Atlantic Coast performer even sooner.
I really like Bonner at Rover, presuming his very slightly slight of frame holds up for some 45 odd games over the course of the next three campaigns. “Eight” may not be a bona fide full sized tomahawk missile, though make no mistake, he’s nobodies scud either.
#83 Corey Fuller, Se
6`2“ 191 lbs.
Corey is one of three and hopefully soon to be four Fuller family members to lace ‘em up for good ole V.P.I. WAR Fuller D.N.A.!!!
That said, and to be candid, I did not see (pun intended) very much of him this spring. Ergo and accordingly, this section will be a bit briefer than the others. In lieu of that, I did manage to shake the scoop tree and here is what fell out…
We know for sure that Corey knows the play-book and passing tree reads as good as –if not better than- any other Wide Receiver on the roster. Recall that Corey is really a Qb by trade. So asking him to go over the middle is like asking me to play soccer. Sure we both could and sure we’d both rather not –although that does bring the element of trickeration on a Qb-pass or some other version of prestidigitation into play whenever #83 is on the field. Corey is also a track-n-field sprinter who just so happens to be playing football. Making him our very own personalized Renaldo Nehemiah of mid-1980’s San Francisco 49’er Super Bowl winning fame. To put it mildly, this kid has jets in his feets and they are turbo-props indeed. 4.35 in the forty does not suck and nor does the fact that I am told he can actually run faster than that. Note that there are relatively few Cb’s who can face-up, and turn and burn with that kinda speed on a fly or the appropriately enough named jet-pattern. We also know that besides the fact that this kid can move, we additionally know that he ain’t a softie when it comes to hard-work. Who in the Fuller family is and who wins the most improved player award (in 2011) via loafing?
We likewise know that Corey and his speed to burn can get some separation in coverage and that means he can hit some big-plays. Don’t believe me? Just ask his 3 TD performance in the second scrimmage this past spring. However, “eight-three” also had a few drops this past spring which earned him the bogus reputation for not being able to go over the middle. To me this is the classic pass catching pratfall otherwise known as: lack of concentration and not looking the ball into your hands. That, at least to me, is to be expected outta a kid at a new position who entered college 935 miles away at the ‘rong school and in no better than a different sport. Now, here is the kicker, if we had this incarnation of Mr. Fuller on campus for a couple more seasons you’d prolly have a lower tier all-A.c.c. performer on you hands when 2014 came to a close. As I’m told some of these concentration issues actually stem from a lack of confidence which stems from Corey being too hard on himself as a perfectionist goes.
So while I am hearing things that good regarding his work ethos and accompanying improvement thus far at Virginia Tech; my one concern is that I’m seeing a kid on film that still plays sprinter tall. #83 needs to play a bit lower with some bend at the waist and with some knee inflection on top of, well actually beneath all of that; though I digress. Why? Because when Mr. Fuller gets too tall his physicality at just barely over 190 lbs. is reduced to a minimum and his blocking at the point of attack suffers consequently. Let’s be square on this, the only difference between Mr. Fuller and Mr. Marcus Davis is about a 40 lbs. of T-bone steak of raw sinew or muscle.
Or in other words Corey may not be the thickest dog in the fight, though there is a lotta fight in this dog. I also liked what I saw outta him towards the end the 2011 football season when you saw more and more of him as the year wore along. What you saw was a kid whose route discipline began to round (pardon the anti-pun) into shape. You similarly saw a kid whose play-making ability just began to show a flicker here and a glimmer there, the missing pieces fall into place. In about 45 odd days what you will be seeing outta Corey is the forth Wr on the Virginia Tech football team. Maybe the third Wr if D.J. Coles experiences a elongated return to form, or maybe the fifth Wideout if Joel Caleb really is all that (and I’m betting he is). That notwithstanding, go ahead and pencil Corey in for 2-3 TD’s courtesy of his blazing speed, 15-18 catches and somewhere right around 200 yards for the next campaign. And maybe even 1 for 1 passing on something truly freaky outta our newfangled Pistol offensive set.
#37 Ronny Vandyke, Whip linebacker
6`3“ 215 lbs.
Vandyke –just like Bonner before him- truly has been a mover and a shaker this past spring at good ole V.P.I. However, if you watched him practice and or scrimmage last August and throughout the season, raise your hand if you saw that one coming? Hell, raise both hands if you saw him kicking ass and taking names at Whip? Me neither. Recall that this time last year when this was the seventh rated Safety prospect in all of America. Ronny arrived on campus a very taunt looking specimen, although likewise just a tad lean looking as a 200 lb. specimen goes just about 11 months ago. You could tell right away that this was not just a natural football player; this was a natural athlete playing football on top of that.
However, it only took a couple of weeks of August 2011 to observe that Ronny was just not quite ready for big-time B.C.S. bowl level division-one contact. At least not right away; as you routinely saw him come smart enough, stick his nose in there, only to pinball backwards or simply bounce off the proverbial pile. Ronny also seemed to be about 1 or 2 steps outta place in zone-coverage from time-to-time, although his man-to-man was precocious enough.
Now fast-forward 15 right-mass and totally stacked mini-me Kam Chancellor lbs. later and you suddenly have the heir apparent at Whip linebacker for 2013 and beyond. Go fig’ on that and again, raise your hand if your called that one? I for one did not and I for one like my crow rare yet warm. (EDITORs note: sources now say that Ronny is already closer to 220 chiseled lbs., if you can believe that)
Weaving such a pigskin cocoon or metamorphosis is most compelling indeed, when one considers Ronny’s history of shoulder troubles and the fact that he missed (and was therefore r-shirted) most of last year with a heretofore undisclosed foot injury. This after picking a couple of passes off and demonstrating something of a play-making knack last August before coming up lame which very likely robbed Ronny of a special-teams Letterman 2011 campaign. So let’s see? Spry enough, though a little light in the pants; very solid in man-to-man, though has some issues in run-support and in zone alike? I know, let’s move him closer to the line-of-scrimmage and see how that goes.
Well, and this is truly the identity stamp of the year award going out to co-recipients Bud Foster and Torrian Gray alike. Ronny was not really a natural Free-Safety after all. He is also not really a Will or weakside-Olb. So what is there to do? You bulk him up with a much improved diet and work-out regime with healthy right-mass and you move him to one of our two very own hybrid positions and see how that goes. Such went pretty damn well the last time I checked as Ronny’s acumen for man-to-man coverage actually gives Virginia Tech a full-time bulked-up Nickle back cleverly disguised as a Whip linebacker. Ergo, with really only 3 live-fire Cb’s good-to-go at this very moment (Exum, Fuller and Donovan Manning); go ahead and expect to see more of Vandyke than you would otherwise expect as passing match-ups and situational substations dictate. I am told that this kid is a play-maker, I am told he is a innate blitzer off the edge; he says he loves contact his ownself and do not sleep on is penchant for blocking punts.
In addition to that, his younger brother (Devin: 6` 205 OLb) is now in the orange and maroon fold as the “Hokie family” vibe appears to have no end. #37 or “three-seven” is a very likely three year starter at Whip and he is almost certainly a 4 year letter winner for beloved Virginia Tech with a likely mid-level all-A.c.c. ceiling before his orange and maroon career is all said and done.
#?? Trey Edmonds, Tb (possible ‘Backer in the future)
6`2“ 205 lbs.
Explosive, fearless, the proverbial 110% when it comes to efforting, and faster than you might think at first blush as his state track-n-field winning 200m performance goes to show. These are the attributes that you most often hear bantered about regarding one Trey Edmonds of Dan River High School (Danville, VA) fame. Mr. Edmonds is also surprisingly well balanced, flexible and even a touch agile to have such a burly looking play right away physical frame in tow. With Trey now set to begin his Virginia Tech career at Tb, let us focus on his rushing style itself. Sources close to the situation aver that Trey enjoys the necessary vision to help him find the seams and the cracks –after that he enjoys the quickness to give him the prerequisite burst to get to the second level (or Linebacking level) of an opposing defense.
The one single solitary knock I could find was that one source hinted that Trey lacked that final gear in the open field and that you might see him run down from time-to-time from behind in secondary terms at Tb at Virginia Tech. You guys know my stitch by now, I shoot straight from the hip. Like it or lump it– bang bang! So if you ask me personally? I did not -I repeat- I did not see that purported lack of a finishing-kick or top-gear in breaking tape on Trey’s game my very ownself. In fact, I saw a kid who is a slashing good rusher, with a nice hesitation-move and a surprisingly nifty north-south jump-cut as well (READERS note: this is not the traditional line-of-scrimmage east-west jump-cut, this one is downfield and had more than a stubble hint of Wendell Tyler to it). Thus said, is Trey blazing fast? Prolly not, though he sure looked fast enough to me and I did see him break basically any and all arm tackles as well.
The one bona fide caveat that I can nominate is that there is no small difference between breaking VA.H.S. single-A arm-tackles and running away from VA.H.S. single-A pursuers compared to running away from James Gayle or busting up ‘twan Exum at the point of attack. In point of fact, and to be direct, there is a big time difference between all of that. Ergo, none of us will know for sure just how much Trey Edmonds the Tb can give us right away until you see him go up against Bud Stout’s big-boys (or 1’s) in the first couple of scrimmages this August. I do really like this kid long term at Tb, if he sticks at Tb in the final analysis (see below). Although in all candor it remains to be proven what Trey can do immediately or right away in 2012 terms –and depth permitting, I’m not real shy on telling you that the notion of an r-senior Trey Edmonds who has: “come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass” and is all outta bubblegum come 2016 could be punishing indeed.
As a linebacker goes Mr. Edmonds plays downhill and finishes his tackles well. It is worth noting that I heard good things about Trey regarding his lateral mobility in terms of playing both Tb and Linebacker alike. Trey is also fairly advanced and instinctive in pass coverage at OLb (outside-linebacker) perhaps a touch more so in zone than in man-to-man terms as his 4 INT’s; of which he returned 50% (2) for touchdowns suggests. That said, I did hear some somewhat more challenging remarks regarding Trey’s ability to take on and shed D-1 blocks as soon as this September. It was hinted to me that Trey might be a year or two away from being filled out enough to play D-1 big-time Linebacker. At just a touch north of 2-bills (or barely over 200 lbs.) there could be some merit to this argument. Likewise the fact that Trey played further off the line-of-scrimmage in high school than a tradational OLb (outside-linebacker) would; this in and of itself says Whip linebacker at Virginia Tech to me. This and a potential need at Tb segues Trey rather neatly into the other Coach Beamer’s backfield in 50 odd days. Or in other words, Trey is physical enough, and big enough to play Tb today and perhaps ‘backer linebacker tomorrow for Coach Brown.
Couple of other things I wanna throw at you and see if they stick. During film-study on Trey, I caught at least a delicate whiff of Mr. leadpipe, A.K.A. one Vince Hall as Trey’s on-field game-day persona goes. If Vince Hall was a hardened street tough leadpipe carrying kid than Trey’s a lead brick. That, and yes, it’s true; Trey has a certificate of authenticity from none other than the sporting Human Genome Project, as his old man (see: above) only played 7 seasons in the N.F.L. and only 28.5% of those were at an All-Pro level while catching passes from some guy named Dan Marino. Now mix in a 3.5 G.P.A. for Trey and you have another favorite son just begging to happen as the Hokie “family” mantra goes.