Tech Signs 23 to Football Grants-in-Aid
Two of nation's top LBs highlight class
February 5, 2003

Frank Beamer Quotes where we're trying to get, as far as becoming the best team in the country. Before we started, we put down the number of people we wanted to sign at each position and we were very close to those numbers. We are particularly pleased with our in-state recruiting, where, according to The Roanoke Times, we signed three of the top four players, five of the first 10 and 12 of the first 26."

"We feel this an excellent class. This fits right in with what we've recruited in the past. We helped ourselves, height-wise, in the secondary without giving up any speed. I think our linemen are very athletic with good size. As far as the linebackers we signed, we have three of the top 10 in the country according to Tom Lemming and that's an amazing statement." BLACKSBURG - Two of the nation's top linebackers and nine of the top 15 players in the state of Virginia, as rated by SuperPrep Magazine, highlight a football recruiting class composed of 23 student-athletes who signed grants-in-aid with Virginia Tech on Wednesday. Three of those signees enrolled at Tech in January and are already taking part in classes and winter workouts.

Hampton's Xavier Adibi (6-3, 215) and Chesapeake's Vince Hall (6-1, 240) are ranked the No. 4 and the No. 5 linebackers in the nation, respectively, by SuperPrep. Adibi and Hall, along with defensive end Chris Ellis of Hampton, Va., comprise the top three players in the Commonwealth as ranked by SuperPrep. The Roanoke Times ranked Adibi No. 1 in the state, while Hall was third and Ellis was fourth.

Adibi was the state's defensive player of the year as voted on by the Virginia High School Coaches' Association (VHSCA) after leading his team to its second-consecutive Virginia AAA Group 6 state championship. He finished with a team-best 13.5 sacks, 100-plus tackles and 31 tackles for loss. Adibi was ranked the No. 1 player in Virginia by SuperPrep and the No. 4 inside linebacker in the nation by Tom Lemming on

Hall earned the Gatorade State High School Player of the Year award and was rated the No. 2 prospect in Virginia by SuperPrep Magazine. He was also ranked the No. 5 inside linebacker in the nation by Tom Lemming on He earned first-team all-state honors from both The Associated Press and the VHSCA, while earning second-team honors on the VHSCA team as a tight end. For his final season, he recorded over 120 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.

Ellis was ranked the No. 13 defensive end in the country and the No. 3 prospect in Virginia by SuperPrep. This past season, he led his team with 50 tackles - seven for loss - and 10 sacks. He was rated the No. 21 defensive end in the nation by Tom Lemming on

Joining Adibi, Hall and Ellis on the SuperPrep All-America team were tight end John Kinzer of Fairfax and offensive lineman Tripp Carroll, who played most of his high school career in Charlotte, N.C., before playing his final season in Jacksonville, Fla. Kinzer was rated the No. 5 tight end in the nation by SuperPrep, while Carroll was rated the No. 13 offensive lineman in the nation by the same magazine.

Adibi, Carroll, Ellis and Hall were also named to the PrepStar All-America team, along with fellow signees Joe Razzano and offensive lineman Matt Welsh. Razzano, from Milford, Ohio, was rated the No. 7 fullback in the nation by Tom Lemming on and carried the ball 90 times for 542 yards as a senior. Welsh, from Fairfax, was ranked the No. 39 player in the Mid-Atlantic region by Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report. Carroll was named to PrepStar's "Dream Team" as one of the top 100 players in the nation.

The Hokies also picked up a junior college All-American in rover James Griffin from Pasadena (Calif.) City College. Griffin, who went to high school in Memphis, Tenn., was rated the No. 76 junior college prospect by SuperPrep Magazine and was named one of PrepStar's top 125 JUCOs as a defensive back. He was also named a first-team All-America linebacker by JC Grid-Wire.

The Hokies signed a total of 14 players from the state of Virginia, 12 of whom were ranked among the state's top 26 players by The Roanoke Times. Tech's other signees from Virginia were defensive end Barry Booker of Amherst (#18); tight end Duane Brown of Richmond (#13); wide receiver Josh Hyman of Chesapeake, who prepped last year at Fork Union Military Academy; running back Kenny Lewis of Danville (#26); offensive lineman Nick Marshman of Harrisonburg (#23); quarterback D.J. Parker of Hampton; defensive tackle Carlton Powell of Chesapeake (#24); defensive tackle Kory Robertson of Martinsville (#16); and linebacker Brett Warren of Clifton (#17).

For the 15th time since 1988, the Hokies' class contains at least one player from the state of Florida. This year's class has linebacker/defensive end Michael Brown (Palm Beach Gardens), wide receiver David Clowney (Delray Beach) and free safety Corey Gordon (Gainesville). Brown was ranked the No. 10 inside linebacker in the nation by Tom Lemming on, while Clowney was an honorable mention all-state wide receiver. Gordon, a free safety, attended prep school last fall at Hargrave in Chatham, Va. He was named to the all-area team by The Gainesville Sun as a senior in high school.

Tech also tapped into North Carolina's talent, signing three players from the Tar Heel State. In addition to Carroll, Tech signed quarterback Cory Holt of Lexington, who tied a state record as a junior by throwing for eight touchdown passes in a game, and Burlington's Michael Hinton, who also played at Hargrave in the fall. Hinton was rated the No. 14 player in the state of Virginia by SuperPrep this past year.

Virginia Tech also picked up one of the top players from Washington, D.C., in defensive back Roland Minor. Minor was ranked the No. 13 player in the DC and Maryland area by SuperPrep and earned first-team All-Metro honors from The Washington Post as a senior.

Three of Tech's signees - Razzano, Lewis and Warren - are the sons of former NFL players. Both Razzano and Lewis' fathers played at Tech before going on to the pro ranks with the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets, respectively. Razzano's dad, Rick, still ranks as the Hokies' all-time leading tackler (634), while Lewis' father, Kenny, Sr., still holds the Tech single-game record for rushing yards (223). Warren's father, Don, played 14 years for the Washington Redskins.

Warren and Adibi will join their older brothers at Tech, giving the Hokies three sets of brothers on their defense. Warren's brother, Blake, will be a redshirt sophomore linebacker this fall, while Adibi's brother, Nathaniel, will be a senior defensive end. Brothers Kevin and Jonathan Lewis played side-by-side last year on Tech's defensive line.

Three of the 23 signees - Carroll, Gordon and Griffin - are already enrolled at Virginia Tech.

NamePos.Hgt.Wgt.Last SchoolHometown
Tripp CarrollOffensive Line6-4290Myers Park H.S. Charlotte, N.C.
Corey GordonDefensive Back6-3205Hargrave Military Acad. Gainesville, Fla.
James GriffinSafety6-2195Pasadena C.C. Memphis, Tenn.
Brett WarrenLinebacker6-1212Centreville H.S. Clifton, Va.
Matt WelshOffensive Line6-5280Centreville H.S. Clifton, Va.
Carlton PowellDefensive Tackle6-3290Great Bridge H.S. Chesapeake, Va.
Joe RazzanoRunning Back6-0220Milford H.S. Milford, Ohio
Chris EllisDefensive End6-4245Bethel H.S. Hampton, Va.
Nick MarshmanOffensive Line6-5270Turner Ashby H.S. Harrisonburg, Va.
Kenny LewisRunning Back5-9185George Washington H.S. Danville, Va.
Roland MinorDefensive Back6-1175H.D. Woodson H.S. Washington, D.C.
Kory RobertsonDefensive Line6-3295Magna Vista H.S. Martinsville, Va.
Cory HoltQuarterback6-4205Lexington H.S. Lexington, N.C.
Xavier AdibiLinebacker6-3215Phoebus H.S. Hampton, Va.
D.J. ParkerDefensive Back6-0180Phoebus H.S. Hampton, Va.
Barry BookerDefensive End6-5270Amherst H.S. Amherst, Va.
Josh HymanWide Receiver6-0180Fork Union Military Acad. Chesapeake, Va.
Vince HallLinebacker6-1240Western Branch H.S. Chesapeake, Va.
David ClowneyWide Receiver6-1175Atlantic H.S. Delray Beach, Fla.
Michael BrownLinebacker6-3218Palm Beach Gardens H.S. Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
John KinzerTight End6-5255Robinson H.S. Fairfax, Va.
Duane BrownTight End6-6248Hermitage H.S. Richmond, Va.
Michael HintonAthlete6-3200Hargrave Military Acad. Burlington, N.C.