Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hokie Football: 2006 Recruit #8 - Michael Gee

Hokies ready for arrival of Gee
April 12th, 2006
by Naeemah McDuffey, Senior Staff Writer


This is the final part of the Collegiate Times' eight-week series looking at some of the incoming football talent for the class of 2006.


In walks a quiet, sometimes distant young man, but out marches a relentless warrior. Mike Gee's transformation on the field is an alter ego that can paralyze even the toughest of opponents.

On the field, the 6-foot-1-inch, 228 pound defensive end from New Jersey is fierce and aggressive, but when the game is over, the gladiator leaves, and a subdued soft-spoken man remains, often with more on his mind than football.

Throughout his high school career, Gee's focus wasn't only on football, but on his family. Gabe Infante, Queen of Peace High School's defensive coordinator (Gee's 2004 school), watched him balance both aspects of his life.

"Mike's a family-oriented kid," Infante said. "They have a difficult situation, so Mike works to help support the family."

Even with responsibilities at home, Gee constantly proves himself out on the field, receiving national and state recognition for his skills.

Gee was ranked as the No. 11 weakside defensive end in the country by rivals.com and as the No. 7 player in the Garden State by Super Prep.

His quickness on the field and his ability to make plays makes him shine on the field.

"He runs extremely well for (a) kid that size. He really comes off the ball well," Infante said. "He plays well with his hands, and is able to change directions extremely well."

His talent has made Gee a standout player since his freshman year.

"Mike has garnered attention from big time schools ever since he was a freshman," Infante said. "For his size, he’s just very athletic. He's into the curve pretty much throughout. So he's always been a kid that’s got a lot of attention."

Even after moving to three different high schools, his athleticism enticed recruiters to stay on his trail.

Virginia Tech defensive line coach, Charley Wiles, was one of them. He knew Gee's drive to succeed would make him a nice addition to Tech’s squad.

"I think he'll fit in well." Wiles said. "I mean, the guy is very hungry, I think he's very anxious to come down and be a big part of what's going on here in our program. I think Mike is the guy who you know goes the extra mile. I think he's going to fit in real well, he's our kind of guy."

Gee's size should help him achieve on the field with Tech, and his agility will also make him a nice addition to the squad.

"I try to make a lot of plays," Gee said. "I play quick and I just try to be a playmaker all over the field."

Though off the field Gee is described as shy and quiet by many of his coaches, he still impacts the team by allowing his actions to speak louder than words.

"He's not very outspoken," said Madei Williams, assistant coach of Dwight Morrow High School (Gee’s current school). "He probably leads by example. He's the unspoken leader. So he has a big presence on a lot of them (his teammates) on the field and off the field as well."

The Hokies hope to feel the presence of this soft-spoken warrior in the upcoming football season.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hokie Football: 2006 Recruit #7 - Beau Warren

Beau's bloodlines lead to Blacksburg and brothers
April 6th, 2006
by Matt Sams, Senior Staff Writer


Today the Collegiate Times profiles Beau Warren, a three-star offensive lineman from Clifton, Virginia in part seven of a look at Virginia Tech's top football recruits.


For offensive lineman Beau Warren, there was never really any question about where he would play his college football.

In fact, when Warren arrives in Blacksburg this fall, it will have been a full year since he verbally committed to Tech on Aug. 5, 2005 -- a timeline rarely seen these days, as big-time college football recruits often back out of verbal commitments.

He was rated the No. 23 player in Virginia and the No. 55 offensive guard in the country by rivals.com, the No. 73 offensive lineman in the country by scout.com, the No. 23 player in Virginia by "The Roanoke Times," and the No. 20 player in the state by "SuperPrep."

Although he was offered scholarships by other Bowl Championship Series conference schools such as Vanderbilt (Southeastern) and Syracuse (Big East), Warren said there were many factors that played a part in his decision to sign with Virginia Tech.

"I love the atmosphere; Tech has great academics and an awesome campus that isn't too urban," Warren said. "Plus, (former assistant coach) Lorenzo Ward helped me become familiar with the coaching staff and the facilities at Tech. I also have a lot of friends from home who are going to Tech in the fall."



Family Ties


Interestingly enough, Warren failed to mention another factor that may have played a major role in his decision to attend Virginia Tech -- that his two older brothers are also involved with the Hokie football program. In fact, redshirt-senior Blake Warren will graduate from Tech this spring after playing four seasons at whip linebacker, while junior Brett Warren will enter his third season at middle linebacker in the 2006 campaign.

When asked about the obvious family ties at Tech, Beau was reluctant to say that the elder Warrens influenced his decision to sign with the Hokies.

"As much as I don’t want to admit it, they both probably played a part in my decision," Warren said. "I've been coming down to watch them play for a long time, so I guess they helped me see more of the campus and become used to the program."

Jim Cavanaugh, Tech's recruiting coordinator, agrees that the family history may have played a role in Warren's decision, but he feels it was not the decisive factor.

"I think Blake and Brett playing here had a helluva lot do with Beau committing, because it allowed him to become more acquainted with the program," Cavanaugh said. "But at the same time, those guys are pretty independent and they're gonna let each other make up their own minds."

Although only three years separate Brett and Beau, the two have never had the chance to play against each other in high school because Beau played on the freshman team when Brett was a senior. And after speaking with the Warrens, it seems clear that brotherly love will be hard to find on the Tech practice field.

"Not many people have the chance to play with a sibling, and I'm lucky enough to play with both of mine," Brett said with a smile. "I never got to line up against Blake because we were both on defense; so I guess I'll just have to put Beau in his place."

The three Warren boys aren't the only members of the family who are familiar with the pigskin, their father Donnie Warren played tight end for the Washington Redskins from 1979-1992 and still ranks among the franchise's career reception leaders.



Speed and Size


Without question, the senior from Clifton, Virginia had an impressive final campaign at Centreville High School. According to Centreville High School head coach Mike Skinner, Beau's natural talents warranted his honors.

"Beau is tough as nails, both physically and mentally," said Skinner. "He has a great work ethic, but his biggest strengths are his speed and level of athleticism for his size. He weighs about 260 pounds, is 6'4", and runs a 4.9 second 40-yard dash."

From a recruiting standpoint, it was this combination of speed and size that caught Cavanaugh and the rest of the Tech coaching staff's attention. However, Cavanaugh suggests that Warren's ability to run may force a move to the tight end position in the future.

"Beau runs well and he has very good hands for someone his size," Cavanaugh said. "To be an offensive lineman, he'll have to add some weight; but at this point, he has the potential to go either way based upon his skills and whatever needs we may have at either position."

With hints of a position change, one might expect Warren to be anxious about his arrival in Blacksburg. However, it seems that Beau is no ordinary case. In fact, the first-team AAA all-state selection appears prepared to take on whatever challenge the Tech coaching staff throws at him.

"I really don’t have a preference about where I play, as long as I can get on the field," Warren stated. "I played lacrosse for two years in high school, and that really improved my coordination, footwork, and endurance. So I think I can play either position."



Ready to Arrive

As Beau Warren awaits his move to Blacksburg, he is spending his final high school semester throwing the discus and shot-put for the Centreville track team. But by no means does his temporary move to tossing metal around mean that he is tossing precious training time away.

"The discus and shot-put are ok," Warren said. "But I've also been doing a lot of lifting, sprinting, and agility work to prepare for football."

While his training will grind out through the summer, Warren hopes for the end of the summer to arrive very soon. Like any high school senior who is anxious to move on, Beau looks forward to a new environment and new people.

"I've been living in this same place for 17 years, so I'm ready to be in a new place for a while," Warren said. "Meeting new people should be fun, too."

Meanwhile, in Blacksburg, fans await the arrival of the newest class of Hokie football players. It figures that one will be a Warren.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hokie Football: Quarterback Ike Whitaker reinstated

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer announced Monday afternoon that quarterback Ike Whitaker has been reinstated to the football team.

Whitaker, a redshirt freshman from Germantown, Md., was suspended from the team on Mar. 2 for a violation of team policy. He rejoined the squad for Monday's spring practice session.

"We asked Ike to get some things done and he has made progress in that regard, " Bearmer said, "With that in mind, he has been reinstated to the team. I feel comfortable that Ike will work hard to be a successful part of this football program."

Tech's spring practice concludes on Apr. 15 with the annual Spring Game at Lane Stadium/Worsham Field, beginning at 2 p.m.

Courtesy of Hokiesports.com

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hokie Football: Defense dominates first spring scrimmage

Defense dominates first spring scrimmage
April 4th, 2006
by Andrew Kinney, Senior Staff Writer



The Virginia Tech football team continued its spring practice sessions Saturday afternoon at Lane Stadium, partaking in its first inner-squad scrimmage of the year.

The workout, which featured full hitting among players -- excluding quarterbacks, who wore yellow no-contact jerseys -- granted head coach Frank Beamer and his coaching staff a much-needed opportunity to analyze their new assembly of players in a game-type environment in preparation for the team's Spring Game, set to take place April 15.

Highlighting the controlled scrimmage was the strong effort of the Hokie defensive unit, whose pass rush was able to overwhelm Tech's offensive lines, accounting for a total of 13 touch sacks.

"It's about where you expect it to be," Beamer said. "The defense is ahead of the offense from a maturity standpoint, and you really see that out there. It's moving a little too fast for some of our offensive guys (and) we don't slow our defenses down either. We just let them run their stunts ... I like our effort though, and we just got to keep working, and then in the end when we narrow it down personnel-wise, things will look better."

One of the players contributing to the strong showing of the Hokie defense was redshirt junior Xavier Adibi, who finished with five tackles. Following practice, the returning starter at outside linebacker reflected on some of the goals he set for himself before the Spring Game and how the Tech defense has been developing in the offseason.

"We're coming along really well," Adibi said. "Overall, we're starting to play better together as a unit. We're getting good experience with the reps. Individually, I'm just trying to get a better feel for the defense, get my pass coverage down better and be better able to stop the run. We're improving, and we're just trying to win the conference again, so I'm going to do all I can to step up."

On a day that featured Adibi and his defensive teammates consistently breaking through what many consider to be a young, inexperienced offensive line, Adibi later gave words of encouragement regarding the line's status, addressing time is an obvious -- yet required -- factor in their development.

"You have to give the offense a little bit of credit -- they're real young," Adibi said. "They're still getting better. We all realize that it takes more time for the offense to get it together than the defense (and) that kind of thing just takes time. Sooner or later they'll come along -- everyone understands that."

Senior safety Aaron Rouse, another member of the Tech defensive unit that played an instrumental role in Saturday's dominating performance, gave his opinion in analyzing how the spring workouts have been unfolding, in addition to describing how the team has been shaping up on both sides of the ball.

"We know the offense is struggling, coming in with three new coaches and a lot of players with inexperience," Rouse said. "But as a defense we've got a lot of good players returning, and we're trying to step up our games, giving the offense better looks. Here in the spring, they're basically playing every day against the number one defense in the country, which, though it may be tough, is going to help them for next year."

Despite the Hokies only having taken part in two weeks of practice this spring, Saturday's scrimmage reassured fans that the Hokie defense, consisting of playmakers such as Adibi and Rouse, will likely serve as the team's catalyst to victory in the fall.

Following Saturday's workout, Rouse addressed another hot topic regarding the team, discussing how this year's defensive roster would compensate for several key senior losses from last year (Anderson, Lewis, Tapp, Williams). He described how the team expects to have a solid core of younger players step up and fill in right where last year's top-ranked defense left off.

"Every year you're going to lose great players at some point, but what we need to do for the younger players is to try to get them to be key players and contribute," Rouse said. "I know we have the potential to be a great defense again this year, and we're trying to win ball games. We all want to get back to that ACC Championship, myself especially, and I want to be a leader next year to help carry those young guys and help them step up and perform."

The team's spring training sessions are scheduled to continue throughout the week, with another team scrimmage scheduled for this Saturday at Lane Stadium.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Hokie Football: The Starting Quarterback Battle - Glennon or Holt?

Race for Virginia Tech's Starting QB: The Two Front Runners
Player Name
Sean Glennon
Cory Holt
Height
6'4
6'4
Weight
215
222
Year
Redshirt Sophomore
Redshirt Sophomore
Hometown
Centreville, Va.
Lexington, N.C.
High School
Westfield
Lexington
Games Played/Started
4/0
6/0
Career Stats
8-11; 137 YDS; 2 TDS; 0 INTs
4-12; 80 YDS; 1 TD; 0 INTs

In analyzing the quarterback position for Virginia Tech next year, it's highly obvious that the strength of whoever emerges as the starter will be a question mark until Tech's season opener against Northeastern. Realistically though, Tech's starting quarterback on September 2 could potentially be facing a lose-lose situation in being dubbed the starter to kick off the year.

Seriously? Yep, and it's a pretty simple concept if you think about it, so check this out:

First though, a quick disclaimer. As of right now, I remain unbiased and undecided in my decision of who I think deserves the starting role, so in avoiding using names, let's refer to the starting quarterback as "Ron Mexico."

Now come September 2, when the season starts, who does Tech play?

Exactly -- the Northeastern Huskies. Not even the Connecticut Huskies, the Northeastern Huskies.

Now you probably now know where I'm going with this -- basically the fact that following kickoff, every football critic and fan alike will be expecting nothing short of pure greatness and domination from Ron Mexico and Tech's offense in starting the season off on the right foot. So even if Tech's starting quarterback was to come out against the Huskies and have a phenomenal game, no one is going to be impressed. They will reference to Mexico's strong debut due by saying, "Hey, it was just Northeastern."

On the other hand though, if Ron Mexico was to come out and flop against a team whom many Tech fans wish wasn't even on their schedule in the first place, you can bet that that starting spot for Mexico is as good as gone. There's no doubt in my mind that later on in the day you'll be catching ESPN Gameday's studio recap and hear Lou Houltz's old, cobwebbed-self go on to bash the living death out of the Hokies. Somewhere along his ramblings, the unfortunate, dreaded words will come. Houltz will be sure to reaffirm the horrible thought we were all aware of going into the 2006 season by saying -- "It's going to be a long year for Virginia Tech Football."

After hearing that statement, you'll unfortunately be forced into agreement, and ponder, "If only Marcus wasn't getting caught underage drinking ... or pulling guns on teenagers at McDonald's ... or stepping on the legs of All-American defensive ends ..."

Altogether though, when it's all said and done for head coach Frank Beamer and his offensive unit, the simple fact of the matter is that a great deal of pressure will be riding on this one game against such a lackluster opponent in Northeastern. No disrespect to Northeastern's program and all, but it's just the honest truth -- I'd rather have an out-of-conference schedule that rivals that of Notre Dame's, not New Hampshire's.

So all in all, to whoever isn't crowned as this year's Ron Mexico to start off the season, maybe in the end, that won't be such a bad thing, for you could be coming off the bench a lot sooner than you, and everybody else thinks.


Quarterback battle highlights offense in spring practice
March 30th, 2006
by Clark Ruhland, Senior Staff Writer


Competition is the true embodiment of Virginia Tech football's spring practice -- just ask Sean Glennon and Cory Holt.

The Marcus Vick saga at the end of the 2005-2006 season resulting in his dismissal has opened the door for redshirt sophomore quarterbacks Glennon and Holt. Both have two years of experience in the system, which makes choosing a starter a tough task for Tech's new quarterbacks coach, Mike O'Cain.

"Cory and Sean have carried over a real understanding of what we do offensively and how the offense works," O'Cain said. "What we have to do this spring is what is going on around them -- recognizing what the defense is doing in coverages and where you throw. That takes time and experience."

Experience is what both quarterbacks lack the most. Holt only played in six games as Vick's backup, completing four of 12 passes for 80 yards. Glennon sat out last season as a redshirt, preserving a year of eligibility.

"Last year was tough," Glennon said. "It was a decision that I made along with the coaches. The year is over and now I have this season to look forward to."

With both quarterbacks listed as co-No. 1's on the depth chart, O'Cain says the competition is still a dead heat.

"We're not favoring one over the other," O'Cain said. "They both share equal time with the first and second teams. We've thrown an awful lot at them. We've probably put in five protections, four or five runs, 10-to-12 routes and then you multiply that by three fronts and five or six different coverages. It's not just one route, its one route against five coverages, or two routes against five, and so forth. From the physical standpoint to the mental standpoint, it has been better every day."

Since spring practice began, O'Cain has been pushing both quarterbacks harder and harder, to see which one will stand out.

"We've still got a long way to go," O'Cain said. "We're not where we need to be before we get to September. I've been pleased with the quarterbacks' knowledge from a year ago. What has pleased me the most is their knowledge of the offense. Our offense is fairly complicated for the quarterbacks. They have to do an awful lot of things at the line of scrimmage. It takes a lot of concentration, and the carry-over from a year ago is very good."

Both Glennon and Holt both have minor advantages over each other. However, they are close to the same level when it comes to reading coverages and passing skills.

"Sean has a great understanding of the passing game and has a great arm. He throws the ball on time and has good footwork and mechanics," O'Cain said. "Cory is very much the same as Sean. The only thing I see different in Cory is that he brings a little bit better foot quickness. He's just a little bit better athlete when it comes to running the football and things like that. Sean throws the ball a little bit better, so there are tradeoffs to both of them."

Third on the spring depth chart is redshirt freshman Greg Boone. Stricken by tendonitis in his right knee, Boone has seen limited practice over the past week. In the meantime, Glennon said is working hard to push ahead of Holt for the first spot.

"I want to separate myself from the other quarterbacks, and I haven't done that yet. So, I'm not where I want to be right now," Glennon said. "The first couple of practices I was working out the rust, getting my touch back. I can't throw any inaccurate balls and get them right on the money. I think every day, I've gotten better."

The task of getting better mentally and physically every day is a challenge Glennon is taking in stride.

"I have to do all of the little things right," Glennon said. "Everyone in the stands sees the big touchdowns. Out here, the coaches are watching to see my every move like checking the right play, calling the right protection, making the right read and putting the ball where it needs to be. I have to do those things every play, not just two or three."

Glennon feels he is prepared to lead the Hokies next season, a year earlier than the coaching staff expected.

"I definitely feel that I'm ready," Glennon said. "I've been with the program two years, so it's not like they're throwing me in there a year early. This is the perfect time. It usually takes two years to get going, and I thought I would have to wait another year, so this is a pretty good opportunity."

The opportunity and competition in front of Glennon and Holt will only heat up as the spring continues toward the first game of the season, 156 days from today.

Hokie Football: Addressing Tech's Defensive Departures

Those of you wondering how Virginia Tech is going to cope with their big losses on the defensive side of the ball (James Anderson, Jonathan Lewis, Darryl Tapp, and Jimmy Williams) check out in this piece how defensive coordinator Bud Foster plans to fill the voids left by his departing seniors, and how the spots in the defensive lineup are unfolding.

Foster faces empty spots on defensive depth chart
March 30th, 2006
by Charles R. Barrineau



The Virginia Tech football team lost five starters on the defensive side of the ball over the winter and has some holes to fill if the unit hopes to remain among the best in college football.

"You're not going to see a drop off of any, I hope, from our group last year," said defensive coordinator Bud Foster. "Does that mean we're going to be the No.1 defense in the country again? I don't know, but what we've got to do is create some depth right now, and that's what spring ball is all about."

One of the biggest blows to the defense was the loss of star defensive end Darryl Tapp.

"Darryl was a big-time playmaker," Foster said. "But, so (are) Chris (Ellis) and Noland (Burchette), so we haven't lost much there. Now what we've got to do is create some depth at that position."

Coaches hope redshirt freshman William Wall will add depth behind Burchette and Ellis.

Wall doesn't mind playing behind Burchette for now, and approaches being number two in the lineup as a learning experience.

"I get to learn a lot while I'm out there," Wall said. "(I'm learning) little knacks with my technique. The coaches teach it to us real well, but when you've got somebody out there who's doing it at the same time, he can tell you a little bit more (about) fine-tuning your technique."

But as with most talented athletes, Wall has his sights set higher than second place.

"My goal is to be number one," Wall said. "Sometime (in) my career I want to be number one, but right now I'm at the learning stage."

Wall plans on moving up the depth chart via hard work.

"I'm (going to) play every down hard," Wall said. "There's going to be a few mistakes here and there, but, for the most part, you're going to see a hardworking football player."

Moving further off the ball, the Tech defense also lost the services of whip linebacker and resident artist James Anderson.

Senior position journeyman Brenden Hill is currently at the top of the depth chart at the whip linebacker position.

"So far, I'm real pleased with Brenden," Foster said. "He's a smart guy (and) has got a good football IQ; (he's a) tough guy and has some ability. Through four days of practice, I've been real pleased with what he's doing right now."

However, Hill isn't an outright lock for that starting position just yet; he is being challenged by redshirt junior Corey Gordon.

"Corey Gordon is a guy that's right there with (Hill)," Foster said. "Corey has really improved ... Corey has a physical size, more like a James Anderson in that he's a 6'2" 225-pound guy. Brenden's probably more of a strong, bigger, safety-type guy. But both are good football players, and there's good competition right there."

The new whip linebacker will join an experienced corps already consisting of redshirt juniors Xavier Adibi and Vince Hall.

"They're a strong part (of our defense)," Foster said. "I'm real pleased (with) where they are right now. They're getting better. As good as they've been, they've got a little area to improve to be complete linebackers, and they're doing that."

Fans will also notice some new faces in the Hokie secondary this fall, and not just on the field.

"It's surreal," said Torrian Gray, the new defensive backs coach. Gray played for Tech from 1992 to 1996 and later played for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. He has also coached in the NFL and college. "It's just an exciting atmosphere to be back in," he said.

The biggest hole in the secondary was left by the departure of cornerback Jimmy Williams.

"I didn't get to coach the caliber of a Jimmy Williams," Gray said. "I'm sure he's a big loss -- you don't have a guy that big and that talented at the cornerback position come around that often, but we have some guys here we can work with and as long as we play as a unit, we'll still be pretty good."

Currently topping the depth chart at the boundary corner position is redshirt sophomore Brandon Flowers.

"I'm most impressed with Brandon Flowers (thus far)," Gray said. "He just comes out and he just works hard."

Right behind Flowers is redshirt freshman Jahre Cheeseman.

"Cheeseman is practicing, and he's getting better each practice," Gray said. "I think he's just trying to get a feel for (the position) to be more natural in his movements and his assignments and things like that. And I'm pleased with how he's progressing up to this point."

Foster shares Gray's feelings towards Cheeseman saying he is seeing the Vorhees, N.J. native improving every day at practice.

Adding depth at the free safety position behind junior D.J. Parker is redshirt freshman Cam Martin, who is out with an injury.

"He got injured the second day of practice," Foster said. "(He) has a hernia. He's probably going to miss the rest of spring ball, but (he) had a great winter."

Look for the Hokie defense to again be among the best units in the nation if it can adequately fill the vacancies left by its departed players.

Hokie Football: 2006 Recruit #6 - Zach Luckett

Mr. Versatile brings skills to Blacksburg
March 31st, 2006
by Andrew Jennings, Senior Staff Writer


New Jersey star Zach Luckett is the focal point in part six of the Collegiate Times' eight part series featuring Virginia Tech's top football recruits for 2006.



Speed ... check
Hands ... check
Size ... check
Versatility ... check
Playing experience ... check
Excellent football reputation ... check

These are a few things the Tech coaching staff has been able to check off after evaluating and recruiting wide receiver Zach Luckett. The good news for the Tech football program is that it will have a chance to add onto this checklist in the upcoming seasons as Luckett helps top off the Hokie 2006 recruiting class.

Luckett was ranked the No. 33 athlete in the country by rivals.com, a recruiting website, and the No. 57 receiver. Impressive, being that Luckett did not even play wide receiver at Holy Spirit High School in New Jersey. Luckett had a stellar career as a running back and free safety wherein his senior year he posted 700 rushing yards, 622 receiving yards and three interceptions. Aside from being a star on the football field, this 6-foot-3-inch, 200-pound physical specimen also lettered in varsity basketball and track.

Luckett's high school football coach Bill Walsh feels that his versatility and physical attributes are the main reason college recruits were so intrigued at the chance to bring him into their program.

"Part of the reason why he was so highly recruited is that he's so versatile," Walsh said. "He can play a lot of different positions at the next level because of his size and frame on top of his athletic ability, since he has that there are a lot of options for him."

While it's obvious when looking at him that he is a physical marvel, what Walsh, although impressed with his star's physical talents, stressed to Luckett was the importance of the mental side of the game.

"(Luckett) is an extremely bright kid, proved with his 1240 SAT score," Walsh said. "But the advice for him was simple, if God forbid something happened to (Luckett), which school would mean the most for (him) and him being bright, I think he went for the first option of school being for academics and reputation and then next, for football."

Like Walsh, the Virginia Tech Football coaching staff was equally and quickly as impressed by Luckett's attributes as an all-around football player. They started recruiting him in his junior season and by spring of last year had given him a scholarship offer.

Jim Cavanaugh, Tech's recruiting coordinator and outside linebacker coach, said right away the staff knew by watching game film that Luckett was something special.

"He's a big tall kid who can really run and you don't see that many athletic kids at that height," Cavanaugh said. "He has great speed and great moves, the athleticism for a kid that tall is just very impressive and good especially for an incoming receiver."

The recruiting pursuits were led in large by two former coaches: Kevin Rogers, the quarterback coach, now with the Minnesota Vikings, and Tony Ball, now a running back coach with the University of Georgia.

"Kevin Rogers was in charge of recruiting New Jersey and got film on Luckett last spring," Cavanaugh said. "We saw the film and were interested right away but then Rogers left and Ball had to pick up on recruiting him, but we were interested at first glance of seeing the film."

Even through a change of the recruiter in the process, which is always difficult with coaches coming and going, the Hokies and their staff were able to successfully land Luckett for their team.

Cavanaugh and the staff are optimistic and think that he is a physical force who can grow to be a dominant player, but as of right now like every incoming freshman, it's a question of where and when they will fit in.

"We let all the freshmen come in and just throw them right into the fire," Cavanaugh said. "There is always the potential for him to play right away but if there are kids ahead of him we don't want to waste a year with this kind of talent."

Luckett is being "thrown into the fire" with 15 other freshmen who were recruited outside of Virginia. Luckett headlines as one of the three New Jersey incoming recruits alongside defensive ends Mike Gee and Jason Adjepong.

It's not only an accomplishment for Tech to have Luckett for the future, but also an upside with beating out other football powerhouses on his offering list. Luckett was a highly recruited prospect with other schools besides Virginia Tech interested such as Boston College, Penn State, Syracuse, Virginia and Michigan among others. Though it was a close race, Tech pulled out to the forefront for Luckett due to family ties, tradition and atmosphere.

Luckett's brother Cory Bird was a standout defensive back for the Hokies from 1996-1999, and went on to play in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts. This attributed to Luckett growing up with a watchful eye on Virginia Tech football as he progressed over the years into a prime football player ready to make his college decision.

"I had been following Tech since I was young since my brother played for them as well as following Michigan," Luckett said. "But when I went down to Tech it was just beautiful, the campus was nice and the people were great and just seemed like they were really caring, the fans were very supportive when I went down for my visit."

Just as Cavanaugh and the staff see the years to come as very promising, Luckett himself is very anxious and excited about his upcoming opportunities.

"I'm really excited just to play (Division I) football, and especially for Tech," Luckett said. "I'm just excited to get down there and be apart of the team and that family type of football environment."

Well, like Zach Luckett, the Hokie football team and fans are excited for this man of many talents to arrive. This season and seasons to come shall be exciting to see how many more things he can add and scratch off on his already impressive checklist.