TSL Round Table #6
by TechSideline.com, 7/16/02
For our "TSL Round Table" feature, we have selected a small panel of site fans and message board posters completely at random and without rhyme or reason (so don't be offended if you're not one of them), and each week, we'll pose them a question and run their answers here on TSL.
This week's TSL Round Table question: Which incoming VT football recruit are you most looking forward to seeing play for the Hokies, and why?
Chris Schooley: I'd have to go with Jimmy Williams from Bethel High School in Hampton. Whenever you have his range of athletic ability (played HS QB) with size (6'3", 215), you have a ton of possibilities. It will be interesting to see which side of the ball he ends up on, whether it's at WR or Whip/FS. I'm interested in seeing him at Whip. Its a position that is crucial for Bud Foster's defense, especially when Tech plays an offense that uses 3-wide sets.
In the last 3 years, we've seen Ben Taylor, Nick Sorensen and TJ Jackson look pretty silly trying to go man-to-man with slot receivers. Mike Daniels is an improvement in coverage ability and mobility at the position, but is still working on being a forceful run-stopper. Everything we've heard about Williams says he can do both.
As a side note about Williams, apparently he's quite popular with teammates and former foes. Recently, VT recruiting prospect and Phoebus CB Phillip Brown said Williams was a good friend who Brown would like to play with. Virginia's top-ranked DE prospect, Chris Ellis, Williams' former HS teammate at Bethel, is coming to Blacksburg in the next couple of weeks to help his 'best friend' Jimmy move in. Williams may pay equal dividends as a recruiter and player.
Sandy Cormack (Baltimore Hokie): I'm looking at the results of three All-Star games - the national game played in Texas earlier this year, the MD-VA game, and the VHSCA game. The results of the three lead me to a clear favorite - Jonathan Lewis. Of all our recruits, he seems the most ready to play at the college level, physically and mentally. Since we lost five senior DT's, he'll have plenty of opportunity to play in the four man rotation (in fact, we might see a five or six man rotation this year, with all the young talent at DT).
Four others seem to be ready to contribute as well: Tapp, Imoh, Gore, and Williams (Bethel). Tapp and Imoh play positions where we are loaded with talent and experience - no telling how much PT they'll get. Gore, if as good as advertised, might end up in the two-deep at OG or OT.
That leaves Jimmy Williams, who is getting a shot at whip (we go through more whip LBs than Spinal Tap did drummers). With the departures of T.J. Jackson and Deon Provitt (a huge loss), Williams has a golden opportunity to enter the rotation with Mike Daniels. He seems ready physically, but there is a learning curve with that position.
So right off the bat, I'm going with Lewis, with Jimmy Williams (Bethel) to make a name for himself by mid-season. All five might contribute by season's end.
(Disclaimer: I'm looking at only freshmen. Jimmy Williams (JUCO), to me, is a sure starter at DT.)
Dan Ramsey: Boy, this is a tough one. The fact is that I'm looking forward to seeing ALL of them play. But, if you're gonna really pin me down on this, I'd have to say .... even though it's not a particularly original response .... Marcus Vick.
There are two reasons for this. First of all, I see a LOT of parallels between the 2001 Hokies and the 1998 Hokies. Both teams were (are) stocked with what I consider to be national championship-caliber talent at every other position besides QB. In 1999, we added a true "five star" player at the QB position in Michael Vick, and the result was a trip to the national championship game. I think that the situation for the 2002 season is very similar. IMHO, all we need is "the straw to stir the drink" to make another serious run at the NC.
Secondly, even though 99.99% of all Hokies understood and supported Michael's decision to leave VT for the NFL's millions after only two seasons, I think that all of us also have a sense of being "cheated" by fate just a bit. During the 2001 season, I found myself wistfully mumbling to myself on many occasions, "Man, if we only had Michael at QB again this year." And after hearing and reading how similar Marcus and Michael are in their athletic gifts and playing styles, I guess I'm anxious to see if Marcus can take care of the "unfinished business" that his brother started at VT: the winning of a national championship.
So while I'm certainly looking forward to watching Darryl Tapp, "Big Jimmy" Williams, and Jonathan Lewis decapitate opposing QBs, Brandon Gore pancake opposing linebackers, "Little Jimmy" Williams and Aaron Rouse lay the wood to opposing WRs, etc., etc., etc, my greatest anticipation is watching another Vick taking the snaps from center for VT, whether it be this year or in the future.
Jim Alderson: This year, none of them. I believe freshmen should be redshirted, and favor NCAA legislation re-instituting freshman ineligibility, then giving them four years to play. They need the year to bulk up in the weight room and become acclimated to both the football program and college life.
This is especially true at quarterback. It is virtually impossible to learn most any college system in a few weeks of August practice. Marcus Vick is going to carry enormous expectations from the time he hits the field, and if he is going to be compared to his famous brother, and he will, he deserves the same advantages accorded Michael.
Down the road, I look forward to another Vick running the Tech offense. Both players named Jimmy Williams also look interesting. Junior college players have to go through many of the same adjustments as freshmen, so it can be expected that Jimmy Williams the defensive lineman will make a substantial contribution in 2003. The athlete Jimmy Williams possesses the sort of athleticism that Bud Foster generally finds a way to put to very good use.
Chris Hoover: I thought this was an easy question and honestly, as soon as I read it, I thought of Marcus Vick. I mean, come on, there's not a Hokie fan alive that isn't salivating at the prospect of Mike Vick's little brother taking the reins of the VT offense, even if we have to wait a year for it to happen. Then I thought I should take a look at the list of incoming players just to be sure. As I looked at the list of 2002 signees on TSL's recruiting page, I saw the names of some of the kids who have been mentioned as possibly/probably becoming big time players at VT: Gore, Imoh, Lee, Lewis, Rouse, Schmitt, Tapp, the Williamses, and Vick.
There are some big names and each could contribute in greatly to the program. But in order to give this panel a little diversity, I'm going to pass on Vick and go with Fred Lee.
Let's all go back a couple years to when Fred was coming out of high school when comparisons to Peter Warrick were being made. And to when Kevin Jones proclaimed that it was Fred Lee and not Jones himself who was the MVP of their high school all star game in PA. Without Andre Davis in our WR corps this fall, the excitement quotient may be a little lacking in our passing game. (I'll go ahead and let the QB comments pass.) If Fred can provide a little highlight reel material for the Hokies' passing offense, it will help the team greatly. Throw in the fact that we've been waiting for Fred for two years and it only adds to the anticipation of seeing him play.
Steve Aikens (SteveinBaltimore): I saw enough of Darryl Tapp in the Super 45 game to believe that he has the potential to be another great rush end in the Bud Foster offense, following in the footsteps of Cornell and Corey, wreaking havoc in opponents' backfields and changing the complexion of entire games. He's got a motor that never stops when chasing down a QB, and in the Super 44 game his uniform was dirtier by the end of the first quarter than most guys' were all game. He was flying all over the place.
I know the current depth chart situation means he won't see a lot of action this year (although his blocked kick and another near block in the Super 45 game are probably indications he'll be able to contribute on special teams immediately). But the question didn't say this "this year"...so even though I may have to wait a season or two before he plays much, I saw enough last month to be eagerly anticipating Darryl's taking the field in a Hokie uniform.
Will Stewart, TechSideline.com: Tough question, indeed. The recruits that intrigue me the most are Marcus Vick, Mike Imoh, Darryl Tapp, Noland Burchette, Aaron Rouse, and Jimmy Williams (Bethel).
Long-term, I find Noland Burchette and Aaron Rouse to be interesting players. Both of them are sleepers, but I think we'll see their best football later on, down the road. That may or may not be true with Rouse, but it's definitely true with Burchette. He's a great athlete, but very raw and in need of weight gain.
Jimmy Williams has been pretty well-hyped by those in the know, and I expect him to be a great player. Likewise for Vick, and it's very intriguing to see how much he'll be like Michael … and won't be like Michael.
That leaves Imoh and Tapp. It's a tough call between the two of them, but I'm going to say that Imoh is the one I'm most looking forward to seeing play. The reasons why are (1) I've interviewed him, and he sounds like a really nice, likable kid; (2) he had impressive stats in high school (almost 5300 yards rushing in his H.S. career); and (3) his high school recruiting film was amazing.
I want to see if the diminutive Imoh, who stands only 5-7, can translate that ability, speed and power (yes, power --
he's a power lifter) to the college game. He's the one I'm most looking forward to seeing play, because I want to see if
he can do at the college level what he did at the high school level.