Thursday, May 15, 2008

5 Youngsters to Watch in 2008

Here are five freshmen and sophomores (other than Tyrod) who could make an impact by the end of the season:

1. The Running Backs
(RFr., Darren Evans, RFr., Josh Oglesby, Fr., Ryan Williams)

One of them is bound to take control as the No. 1 running back by the time the Hokies finish their non-conference schedule. Evans is the closest right now. Oglesby could be there if he improves his pass blocking. Williams is the X-factor.

Williams most likely will not redshirt. He'll get on the field somehow, even if the coaches have to put him in as a receiver to do it. How quickly he starts getting carries depends on how he is able to adjust to the Hokies' blocking scheme and his ability to pass block.

2. RSo., John Graves, DT

A sophomore is currently No. 1 on the depth chart at defensive tackle. That isn't good news to me. Graves was unimpressive during his freshman season and needs to have a better 2008 now that he has a year of experience under his belt.

He's a tall, agile DT, which worked for Barry Booker the last two seasons. I'd prefer at least one of our defensive tackles be of the large, stocky, gap-filler variety, but now that Taco Thompson has lost 30 pounds, that won't be the case.

Hopefully Graves and Thompson can use their agility to slip blocks and make tackles in the backfield.

3. RSo., Jason Worilds, DE

He's quick and he's agile and he has a sixth sense for getting to the quarterback. Worilds has shown all this in practice the last two years, but now will get his chance to show it as a starter.

I think Worilds is the prefect replacement for the departed Chris Ellis and its his time to shine. He's the next in the long line of great Tech defensive ends.

4. Fr., Vinston Painter, OT

The Hokies plan to start redshirt freshman Blake DeChristopher at right tackle next year. I wouldn't be surprised if the much-ballyhooed Painter gets his shot at right tackle as well. The Hokies need help and depth on the offensive line.

If Painter is as good as he's been touted, he could start seeing significant playing time late in the season.

5. Fr., Allen Stephens, LB

Ok, on this one I'm a little bias. He's from the same part of Virginia as my family (Halifax County Rep-ra-zent!) and I've been reading and hearing about him for the last two years.

The kid is a fierce competitor and a freak of nature by all accounts. If he can adjust to the speed of college football, he should be a beast at linebacker for the Hokies. Probably not this season, but one can hope.

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