Hokie Football Outlook, Part III
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
July 23, 2007

Outlook Schedule on hokiesports.comGeneral Outlook: Tuesday, July 17
Offensive Line: Thursday, July 19
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: Monday, July 23
Wednesday, July 25
Defensive Line: Friday, July 27
Linebackers: Monday, July 30
Secondary: Wednesday, August 1
Specialists: Friday, August 3

  • Key loss: Flanker David Clowney

  • Key returnees: Flanker Eddie Royal and split end Josh Morgan - Each had very similar receiving stats in 2006, but Royal was more consistent, gets his number called in the running game (16 career carries for a 7.1 average), and even tossed a touchdown pass to Sam Wheeler in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

  • Battle to watch: Although the fifth and sixth spots are up for grabs, Coach Sherman said the real competition goes on every day between the four seniors - Justin Harper, Josh Hyman, Josh Morgan and Eddie Royal. They push each other constantly, and any combination of the two can be paired out on the field. Sherman said he's never had this kind of depth before.

  • Spring standout: Justin Harper was said to have had his most productive spring since he arrived at Tech after continuously showing signs of his potential. The key will be whether he can build on it and utilize his athletic ability.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

8Greg Booner-So.TE
80Brandon Dillardr-So.FL
Matt FinneganSo.FL
81Justin HarperSr.SE/FL
19Josh Hymanr-Sr.FL/SE
16Zach Luckettr-Fr.SE
2Josh MorganSr.SE
Prince Parkerr-Fr.SE
Michael ReidJr.SE
4Eddie RoyalSr.FL
88Andre Smithr-Fr.TE
Jacob SykesFr.FL
83Sam Wheelerr-So.TE

Danny CoaleFr.FL
Chris DragerFr.TE
Andrew LanierFr.TE
Greg NosalFr.TE
Patrick TerryFr.SE

The Players
Split End
JUSTIN HARPER (Sr.) - A tall, rangy guy who has shown flashes but needs to be more consistent on every play ... Has a world of talent and the potential to be one of the better receivers around ... Needs to get better at blocking, making plays and being a physical presence ... Really stepped up his play in the spring and made some eye-opening catches.

JOSH MORGAN (Sr.) - A big, strong and athletic player who wants to be great ... Can do a lot of good things and was very productive last fall ... If he masters the little things and does more after the catch, he can produce the great season that coaches are expecting from him.

ZACH LUCKETT (R-Fr.) - Coaches considered playing him last year, but he needs to get better at the mental part of the game ... Has all the physical tools and is similar to Morgan in stature ... Will be counted to show up in the fall in the best shape of his life and contribute as the fifth or sixth receiver.

PRINCE PARKER (R-Fr.) - Very tall and athletic, and has shown some flashes ... Needs to improve his strength and foot speed, but has shown the willingness to become a good player ... His height (6-6) could get him on the field in jump-ball situations, as he resembles former Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson in that manner.

EDDIE ROYAL (Sr.) - His productivity and consistency made the coaches proud last year, in addition to his performance on special teams ... Has the ability to run reverses, and has become a better route runner ... Can be an explosive player if he keeps improving.

JOSH HYMAN (R-Sr.) - Productivity dropped last year due to some nagging injuries, but started the spring well by pushing Royal at the flanker spot ... A physical player who can make the tough catch ... Has been in big games and made big plays, but needs to take advantage of opportunities ... Can also play split end.

BRANDON DILLARD (R-So.) - Shows a lot of potential and can really run ... Needs to catch a lot of footballs in the off-season, concentrate more, and get stronger ... Showed flashes in the spring and could see time in a backup role.

Tight End
GREG BOONE (R-So.) - Had a complete learning experience after playing QB and FS in high school ... Is good in the run-blocking game, but dropped a lot of balls last year and needs to improve that ... Has gotten into better shape, and has unlimited potential ... Made great progress in the weight room in the off-season.

SAM WHEELER (R-So.) - Progressed the quickest of any tight end last year ... Can get down the field, has good hands and adjusts to the ball well ... Must get better at the point of attack in the blocking game in order to be trusted while running behind him ... During the spring, he built on the experience he got in the fall, and along with Boone, didn't make the mistakes he made when thrust into the starting role last year.

ANDRE SMITH (R-Fr.) - Coaches are counting on him and are really excited about his potential ... They thought he was the most effective tight end in practices and drills, but was too far behind with the mental aspect ... Brings a lot to the table blocking-wise, but needs to become a viable passing option.

Coach Sherman on the Wide Receivers
"I think we made some strides and improved within the offense. The four seniors have all been in the big games, made big plays and done a lot of good things, but I think the key with them is consistency and getting better at the little things. We were starting to click offensively toward the end of the spring on our timing with Sean Glennon, and we showed that we were on the same page. We've got the talent, but we've got to be able to make plays when we're called upon. We need to contribute, be physical and play with great effort."

Coach Stinespring on the Tight Ends
"I like where we finished up at tight end. I tried to illustrate to them that last year, we played as terrific backup tight ends. Even though they were starters by definition, they didn't necessarily perform as starters. They need to understand now that they are returning starters, and they need to progress in order to fit the bill that we want from our tight ends here at Virginia Tech. I think they responded very well to that."