Hokies Visit Area Hospital
News From the Big Easy

December 30, 1999

Tech's seniors made a visit to an area hospital Thursday. And it wasn't to receive treatment for any illnesses.

With only meetings scheduled for the day instead of a full practice, Tech's senior class spent an hour at the New Orleans Children's Hospital visiting some young kids who are less fortunate than most. The hour's festivities included shaking hands, talking, playing games and even coloring in coloring books with the kids.

"This is the most fun I've had since I've been in New Orleans," Tech's All-American defensive end, Corey Moore, said to a little girl. Moore spent the majority of the hour coloring with the girl.

Perhaps the most touching scene of the hour, though, came when kicker Shayne Graham took the Sugar Bowl hat he was wearing off his head and gave it to a little boy who had been hit by a truck. The boy, Jeremiah Lane, was hit Sept. 3 and suffered serious brain damage. Doctors thought he would die, but Lane, who spent two months in the hospital, lived. Though he isn't able to walk yet and his speech is slurred, he has made a miraculous recovery.

"I just had to give him something," Graham said. "I've got plenty of hats. I can get another one any time."

The Nokia Sugar Bowl sponsored the event. But nearly every player would have done something like this if simply asked.

"I love this stuff," punter Jimmy Kibble said. "I love kids. I'm a kid at heart, so I feel I can relate to them.

"It really makes you think about different things. It helps us too. We like doing things like this."

Injury report:
The off day came at a perfect time for two Tech players. Both Ronyell Whitaker and Emmett Johnson used the day to heal their wounds. Whitaker, a redshirt freshman defensive back, suffered a sprained knee in Tuesday's practice and missed Wednesday's workout, while Johnson, a sophomore wide receiver, dislocated the index finger of his left hand while trying to catch a pass.

Both players, though, should be close to full strength by the time of the game.

Stith says no to pros:
Tech tailback Shyrone Stith told reporters at Thursday morning's press conference that he would return to Tech for his senior season. The redshirt junior rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season and NFL draft guru Mel Kiper rated him the 12th-best player in college football, prompting the speculation that Stith might not return.

"I want to stay with Michael [Vick] and the offense," Stith said. "I could help my family out now, but we're not starving."

On the other hand, Tech cornerback Ike Charlton more than likely will turn pro after the Sugar Bowl. Charlton, a redshirt junior, graduated Dec. 18 and stands to be a first- or second-round NFL pick. If that's the case, he plans on leaving.

"I'm not going to be stupid," Charlton said. "It would be wrong to leave school and then get drafted on the second day when I could come back to school and work hard and get better."

Renewing acquaintances:
Tech offensive coordinator Rickey Bustle and FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews plan to get together before the Hokies take on the Seminoles. Bustle served as a graduate assistant under Andrews at Clemson years ago while getting his start in coaching and the two remain good friends.

"He taught me a lot," Bustle said. "He's a competitor. I know he's going to be thorough and have his team prepared. They're aggressive and that's a direct reflection of Mickey's personality. He's going to do everything he can to stop us and I'm going to do everything I can to move it on them."