Practice notes: Camo helmets unveiled, plus signee Drew Harris and a few high-profile recruits stop by
** First, here’s what you all really want to see. It’s the camouflage Virginia Tech helmet the Hokies will wear for Military Appreciation Night on Sept. 22 against Bowling Green. (Click on it to embiggen.)
** Those helmets are part of the fundraiser Tech is doing with the Wounded Warrior Projecs. The goal is to raise $25,000 for the foundation by selling camouflage hats at local bookstores and online. Here are the details.
Head coach Frank Beamer invited Ben Kiernan to speak with the team today. The ’08 Virginia Tech grad was a 1371 Combat Engineer for the Marines when he was injured in Afghanistan by an IED attack on Sept. 16, 2010. Kiernan, 26, suffered injuries to his leg and all the way up his side to his bicep and has undergone physical therapy and surgeries for the last year and a half. He hopes to be discharged from his medical ward by the end of the year.
Kiernan called it a “dream come true” to address the team and showed them the special helmet they’ll wear. He deployed with the Fourth Combat Engineer Battalion in Bravo Company out of Roanoke, so there were plenty of Hokie fans in his group.
“It was everything to follow the Hokies over there,” Kiernan said. “That gives you a taste of home and gives you that sense of what home is like, really. So it was awesome. We followed them every chance we could. We couldn’t get to watch them, but we’d hear about the scores and look up the reports online.”
This is the second year Virginia Tech has done Military Appreciation Day.
“No. 1, it’s a great program,” Beamer said. “And then Ben is a perfect example of why it’s so good. Here’s a Virginia Tech graduate, he goes over and does his duty for the country, comes back wounded. Now we’re very thankful that he not only can walk but he’s started to jog. It’s just a great project.
** Signee Drew Harris from Downingtown, Pa., watched practice today on the sideline. He’s a big tailback. Very big. He looks taller than the 6-foot-1 he’s listed at and said he was “small” right now at 210 pounds. He’d like to be up at 220 but doesn’t fashion himself strictly a physical runner.
“I like to model my game after Adrian Peterson,” he said. “I wouldn’t consider myself a straight power back. I feel like if you’re a power back, you’re pretty limited. And I don’t think I’m limited.”
Harris’ senior season was cut short by a knee injury but said everything feels great now.
“I have no plans on redshirting,” Harris said. “But whatever god has planned.”
What appealed to him about Virginia Tech?
“Michael Vick went here,” he said. “Just the overall feeling you get, everything.”
Harris plans to be back for the spring game on April 21 and said he’ll probably enroll sometime in July.
** A few high-profile recruits were on hand at today’s practice: cornerback Kendall Fuller of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Md., quarterback Bucky Hodges of Salem High in Virginia Beach and offensive lineman Braxton Pfaff of Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg were.
Fuller is a five-star recruit who Rivals has as the No. 1 cornerback and No. 4 overall prospect in 2013. He’s the younger brother of Hokies senior wide receiver Corey Fuller and junior cornerback Kyle Fuller.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Hodges is the No. 13 pro-style quarterback nationally, according to Rivals.
Pfaff is every bit of the 6-foot-5, 290 pounds he’s listed at.
** One injury from the first day: safety Scott Rolin injured his knee.