Tech Signs 20 to Football Grants-In-Aid
Two of state's elite among 11 signees who have earned All-America honors
February 6, 2002

BLACKSBURG - Parade All-American Marcus Vick headlines a Virginia Tech football recruiting class that includes 11 players who have earned prep or JUCO All-America honors from at least one major recruiting publication. The Hokies' latest class is composed of 20 student-athletes who signed grants-in-aid with Tech on Wednesday.

"I'm extremely pleased with this class," said Tech head coach Frank Beamer, whose Hokies have posted a 30-6 record over the past three years, including a berth in the national championship in 1999. "I think, as in years past, that it's a very athletic class and also one with good versatility. Some of these players could play several positions and it's going to be our job to work with these guys and get them in the best position for them."

Vick, who was ranked the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by Rivals100.com, becomes the second Vick to sign with the Hokies in five years. Marcus is the younger brother of former Virginia Tech and current Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick. The younger Vick was named to just about every All-America team, including SuperPrep and PrepStar, and was listed as the No. 2 player in the commonwealth of Virginia by The Roanoke Times. As a senior, Vick threw for 1,746 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 702 yards and 13 scores.

Jonathan Lewis also has family ties to Tech with his brother, Kevin, a rising redshirt sophomore on the football team. The younger Lewis was also named to virtually every All-America team, including SuperPrep and PrepStar, and was rated the No. 4 player in the state by The Roanoke Times. As a senior, he had 80 tackles and seven sacks. He was ranked the No. 7 defensive lineman in the nation by PrepStar.

Joining Vick and Lewis on the SuperPrep All-America squad are offensive lineman Brandon Gore of Bealeton, Va., and running back Mike Imoh of Fairfax, Va. Gore, who at 6-5, 300 pounds is the biggest signee this year, was ranked the No. 35 offensive lineman in the nation. Imoh was the Group AAA State Offensive Player of the Year as selected by The Associated Press. He rushed for 2,077 yards and 28 touchdowns his senior season and was ranked the No. 41 running back in the nation. Wide receiver Fred Lee of Harrisburg, Pa., recommitted to the Hokies after going to Milford Prep. He was a SuperPrep All-American as a senior in high school and was rated as the No. 28 wide receiver in the nation when he originally signed with Tech a year ago.

Vick, Lewis and Gore were also named to the PrepStar All-America squad, along with fellow signees Brian McPherson of Madison Heights, Va., Aaron Rouse of Virginia Beach, Va., Nic Schmitt of Salem, Va., Darryl Tapp of Chesapeake, Va., and Cary Wade of Fairfax, Va. McPherson, who was ranked the No. 6 defensive back in the Atlantic Region, rushed for 1,360 yards as a senior. Rouse had 81 tackles, three interceptions and three blocked kicks as a senior and was rated the No. 9 defensive back in the Atlantic Region and was the Beach District Defensive Player of the Year. Schmitt, who was ranked the No. 2 kicker in the Atlantic Region, was 8-for-12 on field goals this year and perfect on 30 extra point attempts. Tapp, who was ranked the No. 2 defensive lineman in the Atlantic Region, collected 89 tackles and 15 sacks in the regular season and was a second-team all-state selection. Wade, who recorded four interceptions on the way to second-team all-state honors, was ranked the No. 10 defensive back in the Atlantic Region.

The Hokies signed a total of 16 Virginians, 13 of whom were ranked among the state's top 30 players by The Roanoke Times. The in-state signees include two of the top four players off the Times' list of senior prospects - Vick (2) and Lewis (4). Another in-state signee, free safety Jimmy F. Williams' stock has risen in the past weeks, finishing as the No. 17 safety in the nation by Rivals. The Hampton native recorded 55 tackles and four interceptions this past year at Bethel High.

For the 14th time since 1988, the Hokies' incoming class includes at least one player from Florida. Miramar's Antoine Rutherford, who is ranked as the No. 83 cornerback in nation by Rivals, and Jupiter's Demetrius Hodges, who was a member of The Palm Beach Post's "Super 11" team are two of four out-of-state signees. Tech also got a commitment from a player in Pennsylvania (Lee) and Jimmy Williams out of Memphis, Tenn. Williams, who has attended Pasadena (Calif.) City College the past two years, was a JUCO All-American this past year and at 6-4, 305 pounds, was ranked the No. 53 JUCO player in the nation by SuperPrep.

Besides Tapp, Lewis and Williams, the Hokies signed three other big defensive linemen to fill the void of departed All-BIG EAST performers Chad Beasley and David Pugh. Noland Burchette, a projected end from Richmond, Va., was a second-team all-state selection after recording 81 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 12 sacks his senior year. Chris Burnett, from Blue Ridge, Va., was a first-team all-state selection at the Group AA level after registering 73 tackles and 10 sacks last season. And Lamar Veney, from Stuarts Draft, was named to the PrepStar All-Atlantic Region team after finishing his senior year with 85 tackles, seven TFL and 10 sacks.

"I think there are several players in this class who have the ability to participate next year. We'll get them in here and let them compete, then decide who those guys are," Beamer said.

Also signing with the Hokies on Wednesday were wide receiver Brenden Hill from Newport News, Va., offensive lineman Jimmy Martin from Fork Union Military Academy and wide receiver Robert Parker from Chesapeake, Va. Hill, despite missing three games due to injury, caught 29 passes for 433 yards this year. He was the favorite target of Vick this past year at Warwick High. Martin, who is originally from Fairfax, Va., brings size (6-5, 270) and experience to the line. Parker was named the "Sleeper of the Year" in the state by The Roanoke Times. He caught 24 passes for 385 yards and five TDs this year. He also returned two kicks for scores.

"Our emphasis has been getting the best players out of this state," Beamer said. "I feel like this class fits right in with the classes we've had over the past few years," Beamer said. "It's a really good recruiting class and I'm very pleased."

For more information on Virginia Tech's 2002 recruiting class go to hokiesports.com. Following is a list of Virginia Tech's football signees for 2002:

Noland Burchette, 6-3, 225, DE, Richmond, Va., Highland Springs H.S.;
Chris Burnett, 6-2, 250, DT, Blue Ridge, Va., Liberty-Bedford H.S.;
Brandon Gore, 6-5, 300, OL, Warrenton, Va., Liberty-Bealeton H.S.;
Brenden Hill, 6-3, 190, WR, Newport News, Va., Warwick H.S.;
Demetrius Hodges, 5-9, 180, CB, Jupiter, Fla., Cardinal Newman H.S.;
Mike Imoh, 5-8, 180, RB, Fairfax, Va., Robinson H.S.;
Fred Lee, 5-10, 180, WR, Harrisburg, Pa., Bishop McDevitt H.S., Milford (Conn.) Prep;
Jonathan Lewis, 6-2, 290, DT, Richmond, Va., Varina H.S.;
Jimmy Martin, 6-5, 270, OL, Fairfax, Va., Chantilly H.S., Fork Union Military Academy;
Brian McPherson, 5-11, 200, DB, Madison Heights, Va., Amherst County H.S.;
Robert Parker, 6-1, 200, WR, Chesapeake, Va., Oscar Smith H.S.;
Aaron Rouse, 6-4, 200, LB, Virginia Beach, Va., First Colonial H.S.;
Antoine Rutherford, 5-11, 185, CB, Miramar, Fla., Chaminade Madonna Prep;
Nic Schmitt, 6-1, 230, PK, Salem, Va., Salem H.S.;
Darryl Tapp, 6-2, 225, DL, Chesapeake, Va., Deep Creek H.S.;
Lamar Veney, 6-4, 270, DL, Stuarts Draft, Va., Stuarts Draft H.S.;
Marcus Vick, 6-1, 190, QB, Newport News, Va., Warwick H.S.;
Cary Wade, 5-11, 180, DB, Fairfax, Va., Robinson H.S.;
Jimmy F. Williams, 6-3, 195, FS, Hampton, Va., Bethel H.S.;
Jimmy Williams, 6-4, 305, DL, Memphis, Tenn., Pasadena (Calif.) City College