Five Hokies Sign as Free Agents
When the two-day marathon known as the NFL Draft finally came to a close, the
phones starting ringing off the hook for undrafted players all around the
country. Considering eight of the 11 Hokies categorized as potential draft picks
were free agents after draft’s end, Sunday night was busy for several 2005
Five Hokies signed free agent deals this week and will now get set to compete
for roles on NFL teams.
Bryan Randall – Atlanta Falcons
In his most recent rookie diary, the ACC Player of the Year goes into detail
about the road that led to him signing with the Falcons as a free agent
immediately after the draft ended. Randall is being reunited with several former
Hokies in Atlanta including Michael Vick, DeAngelo Hall, Kevin McCadam, Keion
Carpenter, and Matt Lehr.
Randall will be working with Vick, as well as former Virginia quarterback
Matt Schaub. Assuming Randall progresses well, he could see substantial time on
the field in the preseason because the Falcons do not play Vick more than 1-2
series per game.
Randall led the Hokies to the Sugar Bowl last season and started 38
consecutive games, writing his way into the record books in several categories.
He compiled 2,869 total yards and 24 total touchdowns during his senior
Tech’s former middle linebacker will stay close to home when he starts his
career with the Washington Redskins. Baaqee is a product of DeMatha High School
located in Hyattsville, Maryland, just 30 miles from FedExField, the home of the
Redskins. Baaqee did not sign a free agent deal, but has been invited to try out
as an unsigned rookie.
Baaqee stands only 5-10 but produced as much as any linebacker on the college
level. He finished as the team’s leading tackler in 2002 (112 tackles) and
2004 (71). Although the 2004 number was not outstanding, it should be remembered
that he was part of a defense by committee, and the team’s second leader
tackler, Vince Hall, was the player he split reps with during several games.
In his four years, Baaqee contributed 299 tackles. He is a proven leader, as
many Hokies remember him making a position change this year so Tech could
maximize its potential with its linebacking corps.
Jim Davis – Jacksonville Jaguars
Many thought Davis would be taken in the NFL Draft, but the his number was
never called during Saturday or Sunday’s proceedings. However, the 6’3
defensive lineman was up for grabs and Jacksonville jumped all over him and
signed him to a free agent deal.
Davis made the move to defensive tackle and shined at the position during his
senior season. Weighing in at approximately 280 pounds, Davis will move back to
his original position – defensive end. Davis compiled 28 tackles, five sacks
and three blocked kicks last year for the Hokies, but the numbers don’t tell the
tale of his productivity.
Like Baaqee, Daniels will be playing pro football in practically his
backyard. The safety hails from Fairfax, which is right up the road from the
headquarters of his new team, the Redskins.
Daniels spent nearly his whole career behind someone else on the depth chart.
This year, he played behind fourth round draft pick Vincent Fuller, and Daniels’
biggest moment came when he knocked down Wake Forest’s fourth-down passing
attempt inside the Hokie 10-yard line to seal Tech’s win over the Demon Deacons.
Daniels possesses good size and speed for a safety and will try his skill with
Travis Conway – New England Patriots
Finally, Tech’s reliable deep snapper Travis Conway was picked up by the
reigning Super Bowl champions. Conway was solid as oak for the Hokies during his
time at Tech, with most of his action coming during his final two seasons. The
Hokies had a deep snapper that was not a liability, something several NFL
franchises wish they could say about themselves.
If Conway can step in and show the Patriots he can provide security on
special teams, he very well could be a successful player on the professional
Of the 11 Hokies categorized as potential draft picks, the three remaining
that have yet to sign with teams are punter Vinnie Burns, rover James Griffin,
and defensive tackle Kevin Lewis.
Dr. Pepper to Sponsor ACC Championship Game
It is eight months before the first ACC Championship football game, and the
event now has a sponsor: Dr. Pepper. The soda brand and the ACC, as well as its
TV network host, ABC, struck the deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.
ABC struck a football broadcasting deal with the ACC last summer that is
worth approximately $260 million over 7 years. The sponsorship naming-rights
money was figured into the TV deal and will therefore be paid to ABC, not
directly to the ACC, so the signing of a title sponsor does not represent any
new income for the league.
Originally, ABC began talks with the ACC’s corporate sponsors, which
include Food Lion and RBC Centura, but when terms could not be agreed upon,
talks began with Dr. Pepper.
The game is set for December 3 in Jacksonville and will be called the “Dr.
Pepper ACC Football Championship.” Dr. Pepper currently sponsors the Big 12
Championship and SEC Championship games.