WR Eddie Royal

2004 Statistics

Coach: Frank Beamer
135-77-2, 18 years
2004 Record: 10-3
vs. Southern California LOST 13-24
DUKE WON 41-17
at Wake Forest WON 17-10
at Georgia Tech WON 34-20
at North Carolina WON 27-24
at Miami FL WON 16-10
vs. Auburn LOST 13-16

2004 Final Rankings
AP-10, Coaches-10, BCS-8

2005 Outlook

The foundation of an unheralded team that won the last ACC title is back. There are reasons to believe the Hokies could repeat as ACC champions, and maybe even have a shot at a national title. Yet, is that somehow unwelcome news for a team that thrives on being the underdog?

In the 1990s, Virginia Tech built a reputation as "The little football program that could", always playing second fiddle to Miami and using such as motivation. Then Michael Vick and prominence arrived, and with that came annual expectations (which usually led to disappointment). It seemed the blue-collar "lunchbox" (work ethic) got lost. Then, in 2004, VT lost its core (five rookies on NFL rosters), so coaches got back to basics. And the Hokies responded well - they have reestablished the swarming defense and dominant special teams.

Beamer's ability to motivate evidently hasn't diminished - but pressure to win often supersedes establishing any game-plan when dealing with 18-22 year old kids. Therefore, starting this highly-touted may work against them this way. The quality team-play will continue, but achieving what they did last campaign would be a stretch. Tech was second in all of I-A for scoring defense and seventh in pass efficiency defense, but essentially loses its secondary, so you do the math and tell us how this will evolve. The variations for what Tech's season could be span a wide range, especially with a QB who hasn't played in a year (coming out of turmoil) and who has only 30 completions under his belt.

So, the biggest concerns are whether Marcus Vick can put his problems behind him and replace the ACC Player of the Year, and more importantly (from a team aspect) whether the coaching staff can keep the squad focused now that expectations have returned. With Miami in Blacksburg (VT has won seven of the last 10), there's no team on the schedule where the Hokies should be considered underdogs (though a late-season Virginia squad won't be fun to visit). But, as stated, that's necessarily not good for the Hokies. Expect Tech then to lose early, only to rise again once counted out. Now that will work, but starting quick will probably lead to another eventual November collapse.

Projected 2005 record: 10-1
QB - 3 DL - 4.5
RB - 4 LB - 4
WR - 4 DB - 3.5
OL - 4.5 ..

Passing: Sean Glennon, 11-8-0, 137 yds., 2 TD

Rushing: Mike Imoh, 158 att., 720 yds., 6 TD

Receiving: Eddie Royal, 28 rec., 470 yds., 3 TD

Scoring:Brandon Pace, 21-27 FG, 43-44 PAT, 106 pts.

Punting: Nic Schmitt, 1 punt, 43.0 avg.

Kicking: Nic Schmitt, 1 punt, 43.0 avg.

Tackles: Vince Hall, 64 tot., 21 solo

Sacks: Darryl Tapp, 8.5 tackles

Interceptions: Jimmy Williams, 5 for 81 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff Returns:
Eddie Royal, 12 ret., 28.8 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Eddie Royal, 25 ret., 11.0 avg., 0 TD


DE Darryl Tapp
OFFENSE: Bryan Randall-QB, Jared Mazzetta-TE, James Miller-OG, Jon Dunn-OT
DEFENSE: Jim Davis-DT, Mikal Baaqee-ILB, Eric Green-CB, James Griffin-ROV, Vincent Fuller-FS, Vinnie Burns-P

What can we say about Marcus Vick? He wasn't even on campus 2004 (arrested/suspended from class), but now he has reenrolled and is set to be the man needed to lead these warriors. Look back two years, and Marcus did show flashes of brilliance but was not consistent when sharing the job. With the position firmly his, Marcus should develop the consistency via character. Marcus' decision making skills are obviously the centerpiece of both football and personal judgments made about him. The very thought of Vick's mobility (4.48-sec 40, 36" vertical leap) and strong arm with legitimate deep-threat wide receivers has the "Hokie Nation" giddy with anticipation. When he plays not to lose, Vick's natural skills will flourish and Tech will win. But his five INTs in 57 career passes have many wondering what VT will do if he is pushed to hard too fast, and he returns to old form. In case of this (Vick has four catches) or injury, sophomore pocket-passer Sean Glennon will change the pace. Sean looked extremely sharp in mop up duties against scrubs, and will see time as the heir-apparent. Ike Whitaker comes in as Rivals.com's No.3 prospect, so his name could surface, too. The talent is here, but fulfilling potential is something Vick can never really attain given his hiatus.

Running Back
Cedric Humes and Mike Imoh are among the best running back tandems in the country. Humes is the stronger, power runner while Imoh is the elusive quick one. This pair started slowly due to Hume's broken leg and Imoh's suspension, but they found their groove. Imoh even broke Kevin Jones' single-game rushing record (243 yards vs. UNC 11/6/04). Still, a very good Auburn defense showed they could be stopped, but these two can - and will - improve. With VT's multiple options in the passing game and several deep-threat wide receivers, defenses will not be able to crowd the box to stop the run. There are a few big, quick newbies just waiting for a chance, so this unit looks strong. Opening holes will be gym-rat Jesse Allen at fullback. Despite a big dropped pass in the Sugar Bowl, coaches are sold on him. Look for Jon Kinzer to move to tight end. Between Vick, Humes, and Imoh, expect the 2005 Hokies to return to a dominating rushing attack.

The unpredicted emergence of VT's sophomore wide receivers won departed-QB Randall his ACC Player of the Year status. This group caught 86 passes for 1472 yards. The rest of the team caught 93 passes for 963 yards. And every one is able to stretch the field vertically. Eddie Royal is marginally the best of the bunch. But junior David Clowney was already a favorite target for Marcus Vick in 2003, and proves his worth (especially in short yardage) as the largest established target (6'1"). Expect emerging guys Justin Harper (6'4") and Todd Nolen (6'3") to see action underneath, too. With Beamer in control, the Hokies will never resemble a fun-and-gun offense, but look for offensive coordinator Brian Stinespring to utilize this depth of talent well.

Tight End
In 2004, Nationalchamps.net did not even preview the Hokie tight end group. Why bother for a Hokie offense, right? Well, unlike the Hokie tight ends, we dropped the ball. VT tight ends caught opponents by surprise, too, and of their 42 catches, 25 went for first downs. Jeff King, who made 25 of those catches (4 TDs), had made only seven prior career catches. It was 1990 the last time a tight end had 4 TD passes and 1987 the last time more than 40 catches were recorded by this group. King returns, along with converted FB Jon Kinzer and Duane Brown. This group handles well being used in subtle ways that secure offensive successes, so expect the unexpected again, but bank on ball movement when these guys are healthy, period.

Offensive Line
The Hokies return three starters, but coaches want to move Will Montgomery from center back to guard. It will take spring practices to know if they can. This offensive line was not spectacular, and had an abysmal game in their only ACC loss to NC State. Achieving only 187 rushing yards per game and 4.2 yds per attempt are numbers far below Hokie standards. So is allowing 36 sacks. Nevertheless, they were effective in scoring situations. The multiple-threat offense should allow the rushing game to get back to typical Hokie 200+ yd per game levels as the quick-footed line adjust to a more freewheeling QB. Beamer demands much from his beef-eaters, so watch this core dimension to keep tabs on how the other offensive facets do.

Wow. These are great players for Brian Stinespring's schemes. Good, young, speedy receivers, experienced running backs, a tight end with sticky fingers, an experienced offensive line and a quarterback named Vick. The playbook is wide-open and only a sophomore slump should slow this squad. We'll probably see more option plays with Vick then with Randall, but anything goes with this many playmakers available. If you don't know about how Beamer likes to take creative chances on this side of things, just watch what he tries this campaign once this machine starts to really fire. Last year's 65th-rated (total) offense is no signal as to what we are about to see.


TE Jeff King


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Marcus Vick-Jr (6-0, 212) Sean Glennon-So (6-3, 215)
Cory Holt-Fr (6-4, 216)
FB Jesse Allen-Jr (6-0, 244) Carlton Weatherford-So (5-9, 226)
TB Mike Imoh-Sr (5-7, 195) Cedric Humes-Sr (6-1, 233)
WR Eddie Royal-So (5-10, 174) David Clowney-Jr (6-1, 179)
WR Josh Hyman-So (5-11, 188) Josh Morgan-So (6-1, 210)
TE Jeff King-Sr (6-5, 246) Duane Brown-So (6-5, 280)
Jon Kinzer-So (6-2, 257)
OT Jimmy Martin-Sr (6-5, 305) Brandon Frye-Jr (6-4, 292)
OG Will Montgomery-Sr (6-3, 301) Brandon Gore-Jr (6-5, 340)
C Danny McGrath-Jr (6-2, 283) Ryan Shuman-Fr (6-3, 290)
OG Jason Murphy-Sr (6-2, 303) Mike Parham-Jr (6-0, 280)
OT Reggie Butler-Sr (6-6, 344) Nick Marshman-Fr (6-5, 346)
K Brandon Pace-Jr (5-10, 199) Nic Schmitt-Jr (6-1, 254)



Defensive Line
The defensive front seven really turned it around. A return to the swarming, gang-tackling defense (21st-ranked in run stopping, allowed only 77 first downs via runs) was a welcome sight. No player epitomizes the return to the blue-collar ethic than NC.net first-team all-American DE Darryl Tapp, who captured the coveted "lunch pail" in the spring of '04 and never relinquished it. His 16.5 TFLs (8.5 sacks) and 23 QB-hurries say it all. He will lead this unit, who will return depth and talent with Nolan Burchette, Jonathan Lewis (11TFLs), and Chris Ellis. These guys are all pass-rushing fools (62 QB-hurries amongst the four) and are rarely fooled in play-action. But if there's a weak point in this unit, it would be with finding established depth and the starter's size. Fourth quarter efforts could reflect this through fatigue and (then) confusion.

The linebackers are arguable the strongest link. Much of that is due to soph Vince Hall and senior James Anderson, who both just had terrific years. An injury to sophomore Xavier Adibi in the USC opener limited his time on the field, but when he returned, he was outstanding. His key (instinct) sack against UNC won the game for the Hokies. Individual awards might elude these players (the Hokie system doesn't result in LBs with 100 tackles), but the trio of Adibi, Hall, and Anderson is amongst the best linebacking units in the country. Watch for true-frosh Deveon Simmons to compliment Rouse and Warren (2 INTs for 86yds and a TD) as they each provide quality depth.

Defensive Back
Hokie fans let out a huge sigh of relief when NC.net first-team all-American cornerback Jimmy Williams decided to forego the NFL. The Hokies desperately need their only returning starter as well as their INT leader (also 14 pass breakups). Opposite CB Roland Minor can cover like Beamer ball demands (one-on-one) with his size and speed. Questions remain at the safety positions, as no players with real experience return here. Justin Hamilton is being moved from tailback to safety to provide senior leadership. Newly-arriving Victor Harris and Kent Hicks look well-sized, fast, and prime, but this (at best) work-in-progress will be reported on as soon as we know.

The defensive front seven will be absolutely critical to success (especially early). An inexperienced defensive backfield learns the ropes, so how far 2004's No.4-rated pass defense slips will be critical for measuring how far the entire Hokie squad will eventually go. Fortunately, they have the talent (up front) to accomplish this. Nevertheless, the Achilles heel of Bud Foster's defenses over the years has been gambling on/allowing the deep ball while playing aggressively up front. Last year's defense tallied 18 INTs, tops in the ACC and fifth-best in the country. Accordingly, Beamer will perform trial-by-fire baptismals for the DBs, meaning the Hokie's season will pivot on the front seven getting its job done quickly when opponents pass. The line will come through, and the defense will again win games in Blacksburg.


DB Jimmy Williams


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Darryl Tapp-Sr (6-1, 268) Jordan Trott-Sr (6-4, 249)
DT Carlton Powell-So (6-2, 285) Tim Sandidge-Sr (6-1, 310)
DT Jonathan Lewis-Sr (6-1, 308) Kory Robertson-So (6-2, 331)
DE Noland Burchette-Jr (6-2, 252) Chris Ellis-So (6-4, 255)
ILB Vince Hall-So (6-0, 246) Brett Warren-So (6-1, 224)
ILB Xavier Adibi-So (6-2, 224) Blake Warren-Sr (6-3, 238)
WHIP James Anderson-Sr (6-3, 222) Aaron Rouse-Jr (6-3, 222)
CB Roland Minor-So (6-0, 198) Brandon Flowers-Fr (5-10, 186)
CB Jimmy Williams-Sr (6-3, 206) Theodore Miller-Fr (6-2, 179)
ROV Cary Wade-Jr (5-10, 184) D.J. Walton-Sr (5-10, 193)
FS D.J. Parker-So (5-11, 181) Justin Hamilton-Sr (6-3, 230)
Kent Hicks-Fr (6-2, 208)
P Nic Schmitt-Jr (6-1, 254) Brandon Pace-Jr (5-10, 199)




Brandon Pace's misses lost an undefeated ACC season and perhaps the Sugar Bowl. But make no mistake, Pace is otherwise dependable. A Lou Groza semifinalist, he should be solid again. Also, Jared Davelli's ability to place 29 touchbacks in 69 KO tries means that Pace can focus solely on putting the ball between the uprights.

Nic Schmitt's booming punts (52.6 average on five punts in 2004 spring game) will mean Vinnie Burns isn't missed. But expect better results than the abysmal 82nd-ranking of the coverage unit - bet that Beamer hasn't sleep all off season due to this problematic area.

Return Game
Mike Imoh missed several games last year due to injury and suspension, so he was down from his 30.5 yd kick return average in 2003. Look for his numbers to return. He'll be paired with Eddie Royal, who will also be the full-time punt returner. A true freshman, Royal had a very solid 11.0 yd per return average but never found the end zone. Look for that to change in 2005.


Frank Beamer went through the motions and listed Marcus Vick as the #3 QB entering the spring. However, it took Vick's solid (if not spectacular) effort in the spring game to confirm the obvious - Marcus Vick will be the starting QB for the Hokies in the fall. Sean Glennon had a good spring, but a miserable spring game, and Cory Holt got injured and never had a real chance to compete. Besides Vick, others raising eyebrows this spring were TBs George Bell and Brandon Ore. While Mike Imoh and Cedric Humes will likely split most carries for the Hokies this year, Bell and Ore will provide incredible depth in the backfield, and show the Hokies are going to be set at tailback for a few years. Duane Brown at TE looked like a favorite target for Marcus, providing an additional threat at that position with potential all-American Jeff King. David Clowney reemerged at flanker in the spring, and while Eddie Royal (injured for spring drills) will likely be the starter, Clowney was a favorite target of Vick way back in 2002. It looks like Will Montgomery will be able to move back to left guard, as Danny McGrath did a solid job at center. But Montgomery's backup at guard, Brandon Gore was awarded most improved player on offense, so if Montgomery needs to move back to center, it might not be a problem. The cohesion of the offensive line will likely be the most important factor in VT's success in 2005.


Obviously, the biggest question mark for the Hokies on defense is their backfield. Jimmy Williams put his NFL career on hold for one year to provide leadership for this group. Good thing, as no real stars emerged this spring. Aaron Rouse made the move from linebacker to rover, and struggled to learn the new position. He did improve with time and even returned an INT for a touchdown in the spring game. His backup, Cary Wade, won the most-improved defensive player, and still might end up starting in the fall. DJ Parker will likely be the starting field safety, as converted tailback Justin Hamilton was injured and could not compete in the spring. At linebacker, Xavier Adibi looks a lot bigger, to now bring some punch with his athleticism. Adibi, Vince Hall and rising senior James Anderson looked very good in spring and are likely the most talented trio of linebackers in VT history. Of course, potential all-American Darryl Tapp leads the group of experienced defensive ends, with Noland Burchette and Chris Ellis covering his opposite side. However, the biggest news of the spring on defense was the emergence of walk-on freshman Orion Martin. In the spring game, Martin had two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. These are great numbers for a full game, to say nothing of a 48-minute contest. Martin was quickly rewarded with a scholarship. He's got a mentor in Tapp, and will provide much needed depth behind him.


Nothing new to report. Pace had no competition as place kicker and was 2/2 in spring game field goals. Nic Schmitt again boomed punts in the +50 yard range; though some are concerned his slow setup might be too tempting for punt block units. Jared Develli will handle kickoffs again. Last year he was able to get more touchbacks than Hokie fans have seen in some time.


DE Orion Martin
Rover: Cary Wade
TE: Duane Brown