Friday, October 31, 2008
Biggest Oscar Smith prize will have to wait a year
Taylor shadow no longer an issue
Doug Doughty's College Notebook Plus is exclusive to roanoke.com and is posted by 5 p.m. Fridays.
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- Linebacker knows Virginia Tech's walk-on tradition
- Hokies, Cavs recruiting ranks 3rd, 4th in ACC, or 6th and 7th
- Green bucks the odds as ACC MVP candidate
- Recruiting updates
When Virginia took a football commitment this week from a second Oscar Smith High School player, the Cavaliers were hoping it wasn't the last.
Oscar Smith coach Rich Morgan said he expects his junior quarterback, Phillip Sims, to look at UVa as a possible destination.
At the same time, Morgan said he would encourage Sims to look for "the best fit."
Morgan, in his seventh season at Oscar Smith, had not sent a player to Virginia before linebacker Perry Jones committed to UVa during the summer. Oscar Smith wide receiver Tim Smith committed to the Cavaliers this week.
Morgan referred to Smith as "the best wide receiver in the state," even though another Tidewater wide receiver, Logan Heastie from Western Branch, was ahead of Smith on every preseason list.
Heastie was rated third on the roanoke.com preseason list and Smith was 19th.
Smith had 16 receptions as a junior, when Oscar Smith had three Division I-A receiver signees. Through nine games this year, he has more than 40 receptions for close to 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns (three on returns).
Morgan, whose team is undefeated and ranked No. 13 in the country, said he has watched Heastie and said that "his best receiver" statement was not made lightly.
SIMS WOULDN'T BE the first All-America quarterback Morgan has had. In 2005, then-Oscar Smith senior Greg Boone was rated the No. 15 quarterback in the country before signing with Virginia Tech.
Boone subsequently was moved to tight end by the Hokies and while that probably wouldn't preclude the Hokies from getting involved with Sims, it probably would have to be a good "fit."
Tech's chances with Sims no doubt would be influenced by what happens this year with the state's top two prospects, quarterbacks Tahj Boyd from Hampton Phoebus and Kevin Newsome from Hargrave Military Academy.
Boyd and Newsome have backed out of commitments they made last spring to West Virginia and Michigan, respectively, and it's no secret that Newsome is interested in the Hokies.
Tech also is serious in its pursuit of Boyd, although Boyd said after an official visit to Tennessee last weekend that the Volunteers were his favorite. Given that Tennessee had just lost to visiting Alabama 29-9 and dropped to 3-5, the Volunteers must be super recruiters.
Boyd told the Tennessee rivals.com site, volquest.com, that the coaches had not been given any indication that their jobs were in any jeopardy. That makes sense. Coaches often are the last to know.
If Tech doesn't get Boyd or Newsome, who likes Penn State, the Hokies probably could become a player for Sims. Current sophomore quarterback Tyrod Taylor no longer is considered an impedement for younger quarterbacks, particularly those in the class of 2010 and beyond.
The trend in college football has been toward dual-threat quarterbacks who can run or throw out of the spread offense, but Virginia always has been partial to drop-back quarterbacks in the Matt Schaub mold. Bo Revell, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound junior from Battlefield High School in Haymarket, fits that description and has been a recent visitor at UVa games.
Revell entered this week's play with approximately 1,000 passing yards and 14 touchdowns (10 passing, four rushing).
SPEAKING OF quarterbacks, Georgia Tech's 24-17 loss to Virginia had the media asking about Yellow Jackets' sophomore Josh Nesbitt, who had two costly fumbles against the 'Hoos.
Nesbitt's understudy is Jaybo Shaw, a 6-foot true freshman who ran a triple-option offense in high school in Flowery Banch, Ga. Shaw started against Duke when Nesbitt was hurt and passed for 230 yards but has not played in three subsequent games.
"I think Jaybo is going to be a good player but to this point he hasn't been the best quarterback in practice," coach Paul Johnson said. "I watch practice every day and I play the guy that looks to be the best in practice.
"I've coached for 29 years and the most popular guy on every football team is the back-up quarterback. This is no different. Even if you are winning, that guy is the most popular quarterback."
JOHNSON, IN HIS first year at Georgia Tech, is making a reputation for speaking his mind.
He thought his defensive lineman were being held by Virginia and didn't mince words after the game.
"It will be interesting to watch the tape," he said. "It looked like some people were in headlocks half the time."