Friday, June 18, 2010
Cole in select company with offers from Tech, UVa
Stay tuned for Tech commitment
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
The Cavaliers made a scholarship offer to Cole this week after he earlier had been offered by Virginia Tech, which has pitched the idea of Cole enrolling in January 2012.
The first name that came to mind was ex-Salem running back Marcus Parker in 1994, but I had to double-check to see if Parker was offered by UVa before signing with the Hokies. While doing a search for Parker, I came across former William Fleming running back Lee Suggs, who picked Tech over UVa in 1998.
A Roanoke Times story from January 1994 indicated that Parker picked Tech over Wake Forest. He had missed the entire 1993 season after sustaining a torn ACL and undergoing reconstructive surgery.
Parker originally was scheduled to visit Notre Dame but I’m not sure that ever occurred following the departure of the Irish assistant who was recruiting Parker, Skip Holtz, who left to take the head job at Connecticut.
I could have contacted Bryan Stinespring, who recruits the Roanoke Valley for Tech. Or, I could have spoken to one of the coaches who has recruited Roanoke for Virginia over the past decade: Danny Wilmer, Ty Smith, Danny Rocco, Levern Belin, Wayne Lineburg or Scott Wachenheim.
I knew that Stinespring was at Atlantic Beach, N.C. having interrupted his vacation on Thursday. So, I called Tech recruiting coordinator Jim Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh may be on vacation but I figured he wasn’t at the beach. “Cav” hasn’t had a tan since the 20th century.
Besides, you know what? The ol’ boy knows his stuff.
For the first person he came up with, he didn’t have a name. But, he remembered that there was a linebacker from William Fleming who went to Florida.
Ah, yes, Darryl Gresham.
I knew that Gresham originally had committed to Virginia – and somewhat surprisingly so – in the summer of 2004. A search produced a story in which Gresham said he had offers from Virginia Tech, Maryland, Clemson, Tennessee, Florida, Wake Forest, West Virginia and North Carolina.
If I remember correctly, Gresham left Fleming after the first semester in 2004 and transferred to a school in Atlanta, where his father lived. Gresham eventually signed with his father’s alma mater, Florida, where he played for the Gators’ 2006 national championship team as a redshirt freshman.
Gresham was placed on suspension by the Gators prior to spring practice in 2007 and eventually surfaced in a lower division at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C.
BETWEEN SUGGS AND his fellow Fleming Colonel, Gresham, there was another player who was recruited by Tech and UVa and had a more distinguished college career.
That would be Justin London, a Northside linebacker who signed with UCLA in the winter of 2002 after receiving offers from Tech, UVa, N.C. State, Maryland, West Virginia and East Carolina.
London started 28 games in his career at UCLA, where he had more than 200 career tackles.
Tech fans had to cringe Jan. 31, 2002, when London wore a VT visor to his news conference, then took off his jacket to reveal a Tech sweatshirt, only to take off the sweatshirt and reveal a shiny UCLA jersey with the number “1.”
In Robert Anderson’s account that was published Feb. 1, London also revealed that he would have gone to Tech if not for the death of his cousin, Cory Keeling, in an automobile accident. Keeling was a freshman at Tech at the time of the accident.
Who knows what you can believe but stories leading up to signing day in 1995 indicated that Tech also had made a scholarship offer to ex-Patrick Henry quarterback Shannon Taylor before he signed with the Cavaliers.
There was a twist, however. The reported offer from Tech came after Taylor had spent the fall of 1995 at Fork Union Military Academy. According to a Jan. 31, 1995 story, Tech did not make an offer to Taylor prior to a 1994 commitment to UVa, when he was still at Patrick Henry. Taylor did not sign in the winter of 1995.
MOST PEOPLE WOULD agree that offers from both Virginia Tech and Virginia would classify a player as a good prospect but does not necessarily a great prospect.
What does it say for Roanoke Valley football that one of these “good” prospects comes along every five years?
Of course, Gresham and London qualified as national recruits, although hints of a possibly dysfunctional Gresham career were evident before he left high school.
If Cole gets an offer from Penn State, that might get him another star from one of the recruiting services but I dare say that the Nittany Lions haven’t been any more successful or any more talented than the Hokies over the past 10-15 years. Scouting ratings are all a matter of perception.
And, I’m pretty sure Cole gets the offer. You can be pretty sure that Cole, a 4.0 student, is going to ace his interview with coach Joe Paterno on June 26 and that he’s going to ace the physical testing at Penn State June 27. He runs a 4.5 40 and can lift the roof off the building.
“I think, if he wanted to collect scholarship offers, he could spend his summer going to one-day camps, but I’m not sure that’s something that interests him,” Cave Spring coach Tim Fulton said this week.
“He’s a focused young man and he knows what he wants to do. I told coach Stinespring, ‘In my opinion, the wild card is Penn State,’ and if [the Nittany Lions] offer, I don’t know what Michael will do. He’s taking his time but you can’t take too long, as the schools have told him.
“You don’t want to be that guy on the outside looking in.”
NOTE: I understand that Virginia Tech has picked up a fourth oral commitment for 2011 and will post that story on the Tech and UVa Insider post as quickly as I get the information.