What to do With Three Remaining Scholarships?
By my count, Virginia Tech has 82 scholarship football players heading into the 2012 season. HokieSports.com has removed the freshmen who aren’t enrolling until January, and there have also been a couple of position moves amongst true freshmen.
Here’s a quick breakdown of Virginia Tech’s scholarship players by position, as listed on HokieSports.com. Keep in mind that we don’t know for a fact that each and every one of these players are on scholarship, but this is our best educated guess at this time.
Offensive tackles (8) – Nick Acree, Nick Becton, Augie Conte, Jake Goins, Vinston Painter, Mark Shuman, Adam Taraschke, Michael Via
Offensive guards (4) – Matt Arkema, Brent Benedict, Laurence Gibson, David Wang
Centers (3) – Andrew Miller, Caleb Ferris, Jack Willenbrock
Quarterbacks (3) – Logan Thomas, Mark Leal, Brenden Motley
Running backs (6) – J.C. Coleman, Tony Gregory, Michael Holmes, Chris Mangus, Martin Scales, Trey Edmunds
Fullbacks (1) – Joey Phillips
Tight ends (6) – Randall Dunn, Dakota Jackson, Ryan Malleck, Eric Martin, Duan Perez-Means, Darius Redman
Flanker (4) – Joel Caleb, Marcus Davis, Der’Woun Greene, Demitri Knowles
Split end (8) – Kevin Asante, D.J. Coles, Corey Fuller, Mark Irick, Christian Reeves, Dyrell Roberts, E.L. Smiling, Joshua Stanford
Defensive ends (9) – Dewayne Alford, J.R. Collins, Ken Ekanem, James Gayle, Jarontay Jones, Zack McCray, Matt Roth, Justin Taylor, Tyrel Wilson
Defensive tackle (7) – Kris Harley, Antoine Hopkins, Derrick Hopkins, Luther Maddy, Corey Marshall, Alston Smith, Nigel Williams
Linebacker (7) – Deon Clarke, Tariq Edwards, Brian Laiti, Bruce Taylor, Jack Tyler, Devin Vandyke, Chase Williams
Whip (3) – Jeron Gouevia-Winslow, Alonzo Tweedy, Ronny Vandyke
Cornerback (5) – Antone Exum, Kyle Fuller, Donaldven Manning, Donovan Riley, Davion Tookes
Free safety (4) – Michael Cole, Desmond Frye, Kyshoen Jarrett, Dahman McKinnon
Rover (2) – Boye Aromire, Detrick Bonner
Punter (1) – Michael Branthover
Kicker (1) – Cody Journell
Unless my math is incorrect, or not all of those guys are on scholarship, that means Tech will have 82 scholarship players on their roster for the 2012 season.
What will Virginia Tech do with those three remaining scholarships? They’ve got a couple of options. They can either put them in their pockets and save them for next year, or they can reward them to deserving walk-ons. Current scholarship players who are former walk-ons include Martin Scales, Joey Phillips, Jack Tyler and Corey Fuller.
Ideally you would like to reward scholarships to rising seniors. They are deserving guys, but you really don’t want a walk-on caliber player tying up a scholarship for 3-4 years unless he’s really deserving and you know he’s going to play a lot, such as Jack Tyler.
There are two walk-on seniors who contribute significantly to the Hokies: whip linebacker Wiley Brown, and tight end George George. Brown played over 90 snaps over the course of 14 games last season, seeing most of his action on the kickoff team. George played 91 snaps on offense and 131 on special teams. Both of these guys have the potential to contribute a lot on special teams again this year. Rewarding Brown and George with scholarships won’t cut down on the number of recruits Tech can take, because both of those guys are rising seniors.
Another possible option would be to add Penn State transfers before the start of the season. Bill Roth confirmed on Twitter yesterday that Virginia Tech has been contacted by Penn State players:
“Coach Beamer confirmed during Norfolk Hokie Club Q&A that ‘a couple’ PSU players have contacted VT. ‘A very unusual situation,’ he said.”
I don’t know which two players that could be, and unless they end up at Virginia Tech, it’s likely that we’ll never find out. I mentioned Eugene Lewis as a possibility in an article earlier this week, but the true freshman told newspapers on Tuesday that he would stick with his Penn State commitment. If Virginia Tech does choose to add somebody from Penn State, I’d be in favor of grabbing an offensive lineman if one becomes available.
Virginia Tech doesn’t historically get many transfer players. I’d be in favor of handing a scholarship to the two senior walk-ons mentioned above, and then pocketing that last one for an extra 2013 or 2014 recruit.
Hokies Modify Future Schedules
The ACC is set to jump to a 9-game conference schedule beginning next season. That means that ACC teams who already had four non-conference games scheduled in future seasons have to drop one of those games.
Virginia Tech is one of those teams. The Hokies have postponed their 2014 road trip to East Carolina, and they also dropped a 2015 home game against Akron. According to David Teel of the Newport News Daily Press, the contract for the Akron game was never signed. Tech has also signed Liberty as a home opponent for the 2016 season.
Tech’s future non-conference schedule looks like this:
2013: Alabama in Atlanta, Western Carolina and Marshall at home
2014: William & Mary and Western Michigan at home, Ohio State on the road
2015: Ohio State, East Carolina and Furman at home
2016: Liberty and Wisconsin at home, East Carolina on the road
That’s a pretty balanced non-league schedule, in my opinion. There is a very difficult opponent each year, but the Hokies should be able to win the rest of those games without much of a problem.
I’m going to be very interested to see Virginia Tech’s scheduling philosophy in the future. The ACC schedule will be more difficult, assuming the league improves. (I think it will.) Another consideration is that selection committee that chooses playoff teams. Do you load up on cupcakes to better your chances to go undefeated? Or is that committee going to be more impressed with a schedule that includes someone like Alabama, Ohio State or Wisconsin?
We don’t know how much longer Jim Weaver will remain as director of athletics at Virginia Tech. The next AD could have a completely different scheduling philosophy. I still believe that Jeff Bourne is the top man for that job. We’ll just have to wait and see where things stand whenever Jim Weaver decides to step down.
Keep These Dates in Mind
We began our preseason coverage of Tech football this week with previews of the quarterbacks and running backs. As the days go by, we’ll have more preview articles. There are also some important preseason dates that you should keep in mind:
August 6 – Team report date. Heights/weights likely updated this day or the day after.
August 7 – Practice begins.
August 11 – Media day
August 18 – Saturday Open scrimmage, Lane Stadium, 4pm
August 22 – Wednesday Open scrimmage, Lane Stadium, 4pm
Typically Virginia Tech has their two open scrimmages on Saturdays. In most years, their second open scrimmage in 2012 would be on Saturday, August 25. So why are they pushing it up to Wednesday, August 22?
I’m guess that they are going to start installing their Georgia Tech game plan very early. The coaches will look at the tape from the August 22 scrimmage, decide on their final two-deep, and they will begin teaching their players the game plan on August 23. That would give them a lot of extra practice time leading up to September 3.