44 - John Candelas Position: Tailback
Class: Senior
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 212 lbs.
High School: Blacksburg
Hometown: Blacksburg, Va.
photo Helps provide depth at the tailback position ... An invaluable member of the team ... Called "one of the most valuable players that we have on this football team" by running backs coach Billy Hite ... Does a lot for the team ... Will look to get some special teams playing time this year ... Averaged 5.2 yards per carry last year ... Earned Super Iron Hokie honors in the weight room this past spring ...

A Talk With...
What are your expectations for your senior season?
I would like to help out on special teams, make the kickoff and kick return squads. Since my freshman year, I've always gotten time at running back, so I'd like to help out there as well.

What's been the most memorable game that you've been a part of at Virginia Tech?
For myself, the Marshall game in 2002, because I scored my first touchdown that game. As a team, last year, at Miami.

What are you going to miss most when you graduate?
Just coming to practice. I love just joking around with the guys in the locker room. I'm going to miss that. But I'm going to try and coach afterwards. Maybe that will put me back around it.

What's the hardest part about being a tailback?
The hardest part for me was learning the different defenses, but other than that, was coming in with Kevin Jones and all the other great running backs.

What's the best part about being a tailback?
Definitely the meeting rooms. We crack jokes all day long. Coach Hite is cool about letting us do that, like right before and after meetings.

If you weren't playing football what other sport would you play?
I think I missed my pastime, I missed out by not doing baseball. I guess I would also play golf. I'm not that good, but I go out and have a great time.

Talk about the walk-on program.
It's kind of hard. I mean you're going to be disappointed because you come in with such high expectations, but if you keep going, you are going to meet your goals. I feel like I met my goals as far as what I wanted to achieve while I was here. Every guy wants to play more than they did. The hardest part is just picking up the system and showing you can play at the level. If you can do that and you are passionate enough to do it, then you'll be ok. Every walk-on can play football, because they wouldn't have had a shot to walk on here, but the question is whether or not they can pick up the level and play with passion. In general, the walk on program is good. I didn't get treated any differently here. There were other schools I thought about walking on to, but I heard Tech's program was better, so I came here and the scholarship guys took me in and treated me as one of their own.

If you had a theme song for you life?
"Mountain of the Man" from the Rocky V soundtrack.

2004: Played in five games, rushing 32 times for 166 yards ... Led the team with 10 rushes for 52 yards in the win over Western Michigan ... Had a long of 14 yards ... Topped that mark in the FAMU game when he rushed for a career-high 84 yards on 14 carries ... Rushed eight times for 30 yards in the win over Maryland ... Carried the ball four times for 12 yards in the Maroon-White game ... Recorded a 309-pound push jerk in spring testing ...

2003: Saw action in four games ... Had 16 carries for 76 yards and a score ... Carried the ball nine times for 49 yards against the Dukes ... Scored a touchdown from 3 yards out ... Carried the ball 29 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns in the jayvee squad's win over Fork Union ... Missed the last seven games with a sprained ankle ... Participated in the off-season program and had five carries for 11 yards in the 2004 Maroon-White game in the spring ...

2002: Played in two varsity games at tailback ... Saw action on 10 plays at tailback and two on special teams in the season opener against Arkansas State ... Carried the football five times for 15 yards ... Got just three plays in the Marshall game, but made the most of it with a 10-yard touchdown run ... Finished with two carries for 11 yards ... Rushed nine times for 70 yards in a jayvee game against Hargrave ... Had a personal-best 330-pound bench press during spring testing ... Returned two kickoffs for 54 yards during the Maroon-White game ... Also contributed a 4-yard run ...

2001: Entered school at mid-year and went through spring practice ... Worked at tailback ... Had a 410-pound back squat during spring workouts ... Rushed for 23 yards and had a 6-yard pass reception during one of the Hokies' spring scrimmages ... Ran for 18 yards and had a 4-yard catch in another scrimmage ... Carried twice for four yards in the Maroon-White game ...

High School: Lettered two seasons as a running back and linebacker for Coach Dave Crist at Blacksburg High ... Rushed for over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior ... Added 54 tackles on defense ... Carried the football 24 times for 172 yards during a win over Christiansburg in 2000 ... Earned first-team All-Blue Ridge District honors his senior season ... Was an honorable mention all-district pick as a junior when he rushed for 321 yards and seven TDs ... Also a sprinter on the track team ... Placed seventh in the 55-meter hurdles at the 2001 Group AA state indoor track championship ...

Personal: John Edwin Candelas ... Born 4/21/83 in Miami, FL ... Son of Teresa Candelas and the late José Candelas ... Majoring in human nutrition, foods and exercise.

Rushing G No. Yds. Avg. TD LG
2002 2 7 26 3.7 1 10
2003 4 16 76 4.8 1 20
2004 5 32 166 5.2 0 14
2005 13 3 12 4.0 0 7
Career 24 58 280 4.8 2 20

Tackles G UT AT Tot. Loss Sacks
2004 5 0 1 1 0-0 0-0