No. 14 Virginia Tech"> No. 14 Virginia Tech">

Athlon Preseason Top 25

<FONT face="times new roman, times, serif" size=5>No. 14 <FONT color=#cc0000>Virginia Tech</FONT></FONT>

Hokie quarterback Bryan Randall threw for 2,134 yards and ran for 507 last fall and is coming off an MVP performance in the Hokies' 20–13 San Francisco Bowl win over Air Force. His backup is redshirt freshman Marcus Vick, who has shown the same unlimited potential as his older brother, Michael, but has no game experience.




Vick should see more and more action off the bench as the season progresses. Wide receiver Ernest Wilford set a school single-season record with 51 catches last fall, averaging a healthy 18 yards a catch. It's scary to think of the numbers Kevin Jones can put up now that he has the tailback job all to himself.

Kevin Jones Big play back Kevin Jones

Three starting offensive linemen return along with the entire front seven on defense. Ends Nathaniel Adibi and Cols Colas combined for 34 tackles behind the line and 18 sacks in 2002. Cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Garnell Wilds accounted for nine interceptions between them — Wilds had five in just four starts. Hall will dabble some at wide receiver and is one of the nation's most dangerous return specialists.

Efficiency expert:
Bryan Randall finished last season ranked 10th nationally in passing efficiency.

Mr. Touchdown:
Lee Suggs departs Virginia Tech having scored in his last 27 straight games, an NCAA record.

The big four-oh: Virginia Tech's 2002 outgoing seniors are the first 40-win class in school history.

2002 results: 10–4 (3–4 Big East)

Bowl Game: beat
Air Force 20-13 in San Francisco Bowl

Returning starters: 8 offense, 9 defense, both kickers

2003 Schedule:

A. 30 UCF
S. 6 James Madison
S. 18
Texas A&M
S. 27 Connecticut
O. 4 at Rutgers
O. 11 Syracuse
O. 22 at West Virginia
N. 1 Miami
N. 8 at Pittsburgh
N. 15 at Temple
N. 22 Boston College
N. 29 at Virginia

Schedule Analysis: Texas A&M stands out as the only true challenge in Virginia Tech's first six games, but the second half of the year gets dicey. Trips to West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Virginia will be tough, and a home date with Miami may determine the Big East title.

Final Word: Virginia Tech is loaded with experience and has some explosive talent on offense. The Hokies were lit up by a hot Miami team at the end of last year, but otherwise played fairly well on defense. The early schedule allows Virginia Tech to build some momentum for their tough stretch drive.
Frank Beamer needs to figure out how to get the two-quarterback system to work for his team to avoid any distractions. The fans will want Marcus Vick, but Randall has proven to be an effective signal-caller. A Big East title is not out of the realm of possibility.

To pre-order the 2003 Athlon Sports Eastern edition, click on the magazine icon below. The Eastern and National editions are set to hit newsstands June 6.

#14 Virginia Tech

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