The ACC Kickoff is fast approaching. And while the league’s late-July media days don’t mean the season is about to start, it does mean that it’s right on the horizon. As such, I’ll use this blog to count down to what we media members consider the unofficial start of the 2012 football season. Besides, I’ll need something to post in the downtime of late-June and early-July.
This countdown is by no means original. In fact, it’s pretty blatantly ripped off from a few former SEC cohorts. I believe Kyle Veazey and Brandon Marcello originated this idea at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger with Ole Miss and Mississippi State. I’ll be sure to send them royalties from my blog bonuses. (A quick calculation says they can expect a check for $0.00 in the near future.)
Anyway, this isn’t a list of the 25 best players on the roster, although a bunch of them will be on here. It’s a list of 25 things that will determine whether the Hokies’ 2012 season is a success or not. That includes players, coaches and things from both Virginia Tech and, occasionally, a few of its opponents.
Without further ado …
No. 25: Randall Dunn, senior tight end
Virginia Tech’s tight ends are usually built like linemen — big, hulking players who block and occasionally are targeted in the passing game. Think Chris Drager, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound converted defensive lineman who had a pretty decent senior year with 15 catches, 201 yards and two touchdowns.
Dunn breaks that mold. He was recruited as a wide receiver but moved to tight end after returning from a broken leg suffered during bowl practice in 2008, his redshirt freshman season.
At 6-foot-2, 244 pounds, the Virginia Beach product is a little big to be a wide receiver running with cornerbacks and probably a little small to be an everydown tight end mashing with linemen inside.
But that’s where his value comes. He could be a matchup problem for defenses, too big for regular cornerbacks to handle physically but fast enough that linebackers might have trouble keeping up with him over the middle.
Dunn showed off some of those skills this spring. During one scrimmage, he had two touchdown catches, making an acrobatic, leaping catch with a defender draped all over him on one of them. If the Hokies plan on spreading the field in three-wide sets, Dunn’s ability to be a threat over the middle could be a huge weapon for Logan Thomas.
Dunn might not be a prototypical tight end, but if Tech uses him like an H-back, someone who can play in space and be a matchup problem, he’ll certainly help the Hokies’ offense have the ability to be more diverse.
Coming Thursday: He got a head start.