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July 29, 2008
Hokie Football Outlook, Part II
Receivers & Tight Ends
Receivers & Tight EndsReturners
No. Name Cl. Pos.
8 Greg Boone r-Jr. TE
19 Danny Coale r-Fr. SE
80 Brandon Dillard r-Jr. FL
86 Chris Drager r-Fr. TE
85 Ervin Garner r-Fr. FL
12 Cory Holt r-Sr. SE
94 Andrew Lanier r-Fr. TE
16 Zach Luckett r-So. FL
87 Prince Parker r-So. SE
37 Mike Reid Sr. SE
88 Andre Smith r-So. TE
98 Rob Stanton r-So TE
81 Jacob Sykes r-Fr. FL
83 Patrick Terry r-Fr. FL
18 Sam Wheeler r-Jr. TE
3 Ike Whitaker r-Jr. SE

Newcomers

  Name Cl. Pos.
  Ben Barber Fr. WR
  Jarrett Boykin Fr. WR
  D.J. Coles Fr. WR
  Randall Dunn Fr. WR
  Eric Martin Fr. TE
  Kendrick Pressley Fr. WR
  Dyrell Roberts Fr. WR

Headlines

  • Key Losses: Split ends Justin Harper and Josh Morgan, and flankers Josh Hyman and Eddie Royal
  • Key Returner: Split end Zach Luckett is the most experienced player in an inexperienced wide receiver group, so he understands what it takes to be successful. The Hokies are hoping he can concentrate on eliminating the dropped passes he experienced during the spring and put his considerable talent to work.
  • Battle to watch: The battle for the starting split end job went all the way through the Maroon-White game during the spring, with Ike Whitaker earning top billing at the last minute. Whitaker, along with Zach Luckett and Danny Coale, each had their moments but the question remains who will be the most consistent when the competition resumes in August.
  • Spring standout: Tight end Greg Boone was named the Hokies' most valuable offensive performer of the spring and rightfully so, but fellow tight end Andre Smith also made some important strides, especially at a position where veteran Sam Wheeler and promising youngster Chris Drager are coming off injuries.

Players
Split end
IKE WHITAKER (r-Jr.) - Enters preseason practice No. 1 at the position thanks to a fast finish in the spring ... Gave great effort and showed a desire to get better ... Needs to drop some weight to be most effective ... Has little game experience, but as one of the few older player coming back, he will be counted on to perform.

ZACH LUCKETT (r-So.) - Has all the tools it takes to be a playmaker ... Must develop consistency and improve his ball skills ... Can be a key contributor if he is focused.

DANNY COALE (r-Fr.) - A smart player with good ball skills ... Is still adjusting to the speed of the game ... When he does, he'll be a good player for the Hokies.

CORY HOLT (r-Sr.) - A big, athletic target who is in the hunt for playing time ... Will back up at QB if needed.

We still have some work to do, but this is a willing group that wants to get better. They give great effort and play hard ... they just need to do it consistently - week-in, week-out - and I think we will be OK. The key word for us right now is inexperience. When we get into August, with some of the freshmen thrown in the mix, we need to keep pushing each other to create as much competition as we can, and come out with four guys who can help us win ball games on Saturdays.

- Coach Sherman on the Wide Receivers

I think it is our time to get more involved in terms of what we do offensively. I think you saw parts of it last year, especially in the passing game with Sam Wheeler and Greg Boone. I think we can continue to build on that. I like our depth at tight end. I like our skill at tight end. We need to get Sam and Chris Drager back healthy, but I think this is a group that can be advantageous to the offense in a lot of different ways.

- Coach Stinespring on the Tight Ends

Flankers
BRANDON DILLARD (r-Jr.) - A walk-on who came out of spring practice No. 1 at the flanker position ... Can stretch the field with his outstanding speed ... Steadily improved his skills over the past year ... Made big plays during the spring ... Now needs to show he can do that in the fall.

ERVIN GARNER (r-Fr.) - A young receiver with speed and potential ... Needs more exposure to the weight room ... Has a knack as a return man ... . Will get another look at both jobs in the fall.

PATRICK TERRY (r-Fr.) - Almost matches Dillard for speed, but needs a little more exposure to the system ... Figures to be in the battle for playing time when practice resumes if he makes a good summer preparation.

Tight Ends
GREG BOONE (r-Jr.) - It's his time and he's excited about it ... Picked up a lot of valuable playing time last fall, starting seven games ... Was the offensive MVP in the spring ... Is expected to be used in a lot of different ways.

ANDRE SMITH (r-So.) - Has made excellent strides over the past year ... Can help the team in both the running game and the passing game ... Knows how to work the middle of the field ... Figures to see a lot of playing time.

ANDREW LANIER (r-Fr.) - Coaches really liked his work ethic in the off-season and his receiving skills during the spring ... Could put himself in line for some playing time with a good preseason showing.

SAM WHEELER (r-Jr.) and CHRIS DRAGER (r-Fr.) - Wheeler, a starter, and Drager, a promising newcomer, both suffered season-ending knee injuries during 2007 and were held out of spring contact work ... Both players will have ground to make up in the fall. 

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