Friday, January 05, 2007
One-time ‘suspect’ Hunt a keeper for Nittany Lions
Ex-Oklahoma head coach John Blake among Davis hires at UNC
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
While looking for something else in the mess that I call a desk, out fell the Penn State 2007 Outback Bowl guide.
Media gadfly Jeff White said he got one, too, at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, except that it arrived or at least he picked it up one day after the Nittany Lions’ 20-10 victory over Tennessee.
I was aware that Penn State had a number of Virginians on its roster 10, to be exact and wondered what kind of numbers running back Tony Hunt had in his career.
I thought he’d a nice career. Boy, was I shocked!
Hunt was rated the No. 7 prospect in Virginia by The Roanoke Times in 2002, but, even so, selecting him that high was a bit of a flyer. Hunt played for ex-NFL linebacker Riki Ellison at T.C. Williams in Alexandria and Ellison wasn’t the easiest guy to reach.
Hunt’s list of schools at Christmas 2002 included Southern Cal, Michigan, Maryland, Penn State and Virginia, but it was hard to tell if he had offers from all of those schools. Four years later, I can’t remember who furnished the list.
At the time, it was hard to say Hunt was for real. Now, there’s no doubt.
Hunt, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior, carried 31 times for 158 yards in the Outback Bowl and finished the season with 1,358 rushing yards and 27 receptions.
“He is one of the more underrated backs I have seen,” Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer said after the game. “He is a great football player.”
For his career, Hunt rushed for 3,310 yards, scored 25 touchdowns and had 87 receptions. He was a starter in his last 29 games.
He is one of five 3,000-yard rushers in Penn State history, following Curt Warner, Blair Thomas, Curtis Enis and D.J. Dozier (also a Virginian).
Hunt now stands second on Penn State’s all-time rushing list.
“Simply put, Tony Hunt has earned his place among Penn State’s long line of illustrious running backs,” Penn State wrote in its bowl guide. “He has worked his way among the elite backs in Nittany Lion history for his abilities as a ball-carrier, receiver and blocker.”
VIRGINIA TECH SIGNED three top-five players off the 2002 Roanoke Times Top 25 and all three of them have had productive college careers No. 1 Xavier Adibi, No. 3 Vince Hall and No. 4 Chris Ellis.
The No. 2 player on that list, Phoebus defensive back Philip Brown, signed twice with the University of Virgina and, after a postgraduate year at Hargrave Military Academy, actually played for the Cavaliers in 2004. He later flunked out of school.
Rounding out the Top 5 was Chase Anastasio, a running back and defensive back from Robinson High School in Fairfax. Anastasio was recruited extensively by Virginia Tech and Virginia before signing with Notre Dame.
Anastasio played in 10 games this year and had two receptions for 21 yards. He has had three receptions in 23 games in his career, although he was redshirted as a freshman in 2003 and presumably could return for a fifth season next year. He also has participated on special teams.
So, Hunt has had a better career than at least two Top 5 players from that season and it could be argued that nobody in the 2003 class has had a better career, with the Tech trio of Adibi, Hall and Ellis still having a year to play.
The sixth-rated player on the 2005 Top 25, wide receiver Terrell Golden from Lake Taylor in Norfolk, also went to Penn State. He had one reception in the Outback Bowl, six for the season and 18 in his career. He, too, has a redshirt year available in 2007.
Penn State’s leading receiver this year was yet another Virginian, sophomore Deon Butler from Hylton High School in Woodbridge. Butler, who arrived in State College, Pa., as a walk-on defensive back, has 85 receptions in two seasons.
WHO KNOWS what I would have written today if I hadn’t stumbled across the Penn State postseason guide, had an eye appointment with North Carolina alumnus Dr. Jon Brisley or had a weekly luncheon appointment with the SEC Roundtable.
It was Dr. Brisley who got me thinking about the new staff assignments that have accompanied the coaching changes at North Carolina, N.C. State, Boston College and Miami.
Boston College hired former East Carolina head coach Steve Logan as its new offensive coordinator, but not before Logan had talked to new UNC coach Butch Davis about a similar position.
Logan might have gotten that job if Davis had been willing to give up as much autonomy as Logan wanted.
The most noteworthy of Davis’ hires to date is that of John Blake, a former University of Oklahoma head coach, as a defensive assistant. Blake worked with Davis on Jimmy Johnson’s Dallas Cowboys staff, and new Tar Heels’ defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano was an assistant to Davis at the University of Miami and with the Cleveland Browns.
Pagano was with the Oakland Raiders this past season, serving as secondary coach. Former Virginia Tech assistant Lorenzo “Whammy” Ward was an assistant secondary coach and assistant special-teams coach, who may keep most of their defensive coach after the departure of head coach Art Shell.
Steve Hagen, the Browns’ quarterback coach under Davis in 2004, will be rejoining his former boss as an offensive assistant. This past season, Hagen was the offensive coordinator at Fresno State, also the previous stop for 2006 UNC offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr.
San Diego Chargers’ tight-ends coach Rich Chudzinksi is another possibility for Davis’ staff. He played at the University of Miami, was a Hurricanes’ coach from 1994-2003 and was on the Browns’ staff in 2004.
RUMORS THAT Virginia defensive coordinator Mike London might join former Boston College boss Tom O’Brien at N.C. State made sense, but that’s not going to happen.
Kentucky defensive coordinator Mike Archer has interviewed with O’Brien about the State defensive coordinator’s job. Archer and O’Brien were on Virginia’s staff for a brief time during the 1990s.
O’Brien’s offensive coordinator at BC, Dana Bible, is among the Eagles’ assistants coming to Raleigh, N.C. Defensive coordinator and interim head coach Frank Spaziani has accepted an invitation to join the staff of new BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski in the same capacity.