Scouting the Big East: Virginia Tech

The Hokies finish up their final season in the Big East with an explosive offensive and possibly three players that could be first round picks next April. This is a team that could sneak into a big bowl game next January.

Our favorite player on this offense, and one that does not get enough mention, is receiver Ernest Wilford. A tall, strong pass catcher that knows how to break it deep, Wilford is natural in most all elements of the position and combines excellent physical abilities with receiver intellect. He out-muscles opponents with his big frame for the tough grab yet at the same time Wilford is deceptively fast and gets behind defenses. What we really like his intuition as Wilford always comes back to the ball or makes himself an available target. He is first round talent with the ability to move up draft boards after a big post-season.

Kevin Jones is highly thought of and why not? The underclassman is an explosive running back with great speed, quickness and footwork. Jones sets up defenders, makes them miss then leaves them in the dust. He is fast enough to turn the corner yet at the same time runs with a good degree of strength. He does have a bit of an upright running style, which leads to crushing hits on occasion. Jones will be the primary back in '03 after sharing the ball with Lee Suggs last season and a big campaign could make him the first back selected should he leave for April's draft.

Tight end Keith Willis combines decent size with athleticism and looks the part but must pull the pieces together and improve his overall play.

Center Jake Grove gets the upper hand on defenders by exploding into blocks but lacks the dominant base and may be best suited as a back-up.

Guard Jacob Gibson is fundamentally sound and underrated. Gibson is strong at the point and effectively blocks for the run or pass. Best in confined quarters, he's not a great athlete, which will push him deep into the rounds.

Speed is the operative word when talking of prospects on the VT defense. Nathan Adibi is a terrific pass rusher that displays the skills to be used off the line in coverage. Adibi pursues the action with speed and makes plays in every direction. He may not have the size to be an every down lineman yet has the abilities to stand-up in a three-four alignment.

One player who impressed us with improved play last season was another undersized yet explosive pass rusher, Cols Colas. Turning the edge with speed, Colas constantly blows up plays in the opponent's backfield. His recognition and production really improved in 2002 and he could move into the late first day with a big senior season.

A Hokie we felt took a step back last year was James Davis. Looking as though he had the makings of a complete lineman and early pick after his sophomore campaign, Davis suffered through injury during the second half of last season and may now miss all of 2003 with a pectoral injury. He must get back to his prior form and as far as his pro-potential is concerned, Davis may be best sitting on the sidelines this year.

The star of the show is corner DeAngelo Hall, a speedy cover man with great skills as a return specialist. Hall is fast, both for the stopwatch and on the field yet at the same time displays solid cover techniques as far as footwork, hip movement and abilities to explode on the pass are concerned. His special teams skills are a plus and with a good junior campaign Hall could make a big move to the top 15.

Vegas Robinson is a hard working linebacker with poor size/speed numbers.

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