11 Hokies Look Forward to NFL Futures

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Five Virginia Tech players were drafted over the weekend, and six more have
signed free agent contracts with NFL teams. Two teams in particular will have
multiple Hokie rookies in training camp this summer.

After drafting punter Brent Bowden and whip linebacker Cody Grimm, the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers picked up three more Hokies through free agency. Tampa Bay has
signed offensive guard Sergio Render, defensive end Nekos Brown and tight end
Greg Boone.

Boone will be competing with four other tight ends for playing time. Kellen
Winslow, Jerramy Stevens and John Gilmore are all veteran players with a lot of
snaps under their belts. Ryan Purvis is a second year player who spent time on
the practice squad. The chances of making the final roster aren’t great for
Boone. Like most free agents, he’ll hope to make a practice squad for his rookie
season.

Nekos Brown will be competing for a roster spot with six other defensive
ends. However, with the exception of Tim Crowder and Stylez White, there are no
proven players at end for the Bucs.

Sergio Render will be playing offensive guard for Tampa Bay. Davin Joseph,
Jeremy Zuttah and Aaron Sears all have starting experience, and Shawn Murphy is
on the roster as well. However, Tampa Bay doesn’t have anyone else listed at
guard on their current roster.

Tech’s drafted players will also have roster competition in Tampa Bay. Brent
Bowden will compete with journeyman punter Sam Paulescu. Cody Grimm will compete
with six other safeties for a spot on the depth chart.

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Jason Worilds in the second round, and they
also signed Tech defensive tackles Cordarrow Thompson and Demetrius Taylor to
undrafted free agent contracts.

The Steelers will use Worilds as an outside linebacker. As a second round
pick, he won’t have any trouble making the roster. Pittsburgh returns starting
outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. They also selected Ohio
State’s Thaddeus Gibson as an outside linebacker in the fourth round.

Casey Hampton returns as Pittsburgh’s starting nose tackle. Cordarrow
Thompson will also be competing against Chris Hoke, Steve McLendon, Scott Paxson,
and rookie Doug Worthington of Ohio State.

The Steelers are giving Demetrius Taylor a shot at fullback. Taylor, who is
listed at 6-0, 273, played defensive tackle for the Hokies.

The Buffalo Bills also took two Virginia Tech players. They drafted offensive
tackle Ed Wang in the fifth round, and they also signed cornerback Stephan
Virgil as an undrafted free agent. 12 other offensive linemen are listed on the
Bills’ roster, so Wang has competition, though he will likely make the team.

Virgil will be competing against five other cornerbacks who had starting
experience a year ago, so making the final roster will be very challenging for
Virgil.

Kam Chancellor will be the only Hokie rookie not playing for Tampa Bay,
Pittsburgh or Buffalo. He will be in camp with the Seattle Seahawks as a fifth
round selection. The Seahawks also took Texas safety Earl Thomas with one of
their first round picks. Chancellor will also have competition from rookie free
agents James Brindley and Will Harris. Veteran Lawyer Milloy returns, as does
Jordan Babineaux.

Keep in mind that NFL teams have not completed their free agent signings.
Signings of potential impact free agents could affect the chances of Tech’s
rookies of making an NFL squad.

Baseball Team Takes Two of Three from Georgia Tech

Another good weekend on the diamond has moved the Virginia Tech baseball team
from #20 in the Baseball America poll to #18. Tech thrashed Radford 16-6 on
Tuesday, and then took two of three games from then-#4 Georgia Tech over the
weekend.

The Hokies beat the Yellow Jackets 3-1 in 11 innings on Friday night. Austin
Wates hit a home run in the sixth inning that eventually forced extra innings,
and Tech scored two runs in the top of the 11th to win the game.

Good coaching, hitting and base running helped the cause in the 11th. Steve
Domecus got things started with a one out single, and was sent to third on a
single by Austin Wates in a successful hit and run called by head coach Pete
Hughes. Ronnie Shaban drove in Domecus with a single to centerfield, and Wates
advanced to third on the play. Tim Smalling capped the scoring by driving in
Wates with a sacrifice fly.

Ben Rowen pitched the final three innings to pick up the win. Rowen and Tech
starter Justin Wright allowed just five hits. Wright pitched a great game,
allowing just three hits and one run in eight innings, while striking out eight.

The Hokies also claimed game two, though it took them a while to do it. The
game was suspended in the middle of the fourth inning due to inclement weather,
and the game was resumed on Sunday. The Hokies were leading 6-0 at the time of
the stoppage and went on to win the game 10-3.

Four Georgia Tech errors helped the Hokies, who scored three unearned runs.
Ronnie Shaban hit a home run, his sixth of the season. Starting pitcher Matthew
Price pitched seven innings – three on Saturday and four on Sunday – to earn the
win. He allowed just two runs and six hits in seven innings.

The Hokies had to go in game three without ace pitcher Jesse Hahn, who missed
the game with a shoulder injury. As a result, Tech used five pitchers and lost
14-12. They trailed 13-3 at the end of seventh, but nearly came back to win the
game. The Hokies scored seven runs in the top of the eighth and two more in the
top of the ninth, but lost 14-12.

As a result of the successful series against the Yellow Jackets, the Hokies
are now 28-14 on the season and 11-10 in the ACC. Tech has series wins against
#4 Florida State, #8 Georgia Tech and #16 Miami. The series against FSU and
Georgia Tech were on the road. Tech also claimed one win against #1 Virginia,
again on the road.

The rest of Virginia Tech’s schedule isn’t as difficult. They have home
series against Boston College and Duke, and a road series at UNC. The BC series
is this coming weekend. The Eagles are just 23-17 overall, but they are 12-9 in
the ACC and sit in second place in the Atlantic Division. Duke is 23-18 overall
and 7-14 in the ACC, while UNC is 25-17 and 8-13.

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