The ACC Kickoff (aka media days) is fast approaching. I’ll be using the blog to count down to what we media members consider the unofficial start of the football season. This isn’t a list of the 25 best players on Virginia Tech’s roster. It’s a list of 25 things/people that will determine whether the Hokies’ 2012 season is a success or not. That includes players and coaches from both Virginia Tech and, occasionally, a few of its opponents.
No. 8: Marcus Davis, senior wide receiver
He’s a chiseled 6-foot-4, 228 pounds. He runs the 40 in 4.37 seconds. He’s got a 44-inch vertical. He is, as CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman wrote this spring, an athletic freak. The question is, can Davis put everything together in his senior season at Virginia Tech?
Davis has always been a sidekick in the receiving game. With Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale around, rewriting the Hokies record books, there wasn’t a whole lot of room for other receivers to have their star turns. With both of those seniors gone now, this is the chance.
D.J. Coles is a big receiving target. Dyrell Roberts is a speedy threat. Davis, who had 30 catches, 510 yards and tied for a team-high with five receiving touchdowns last year, is a combination of the two. Coaches have said if he can find the consistency needed at wide receiver, he could be great.
Tech fans have seen flashes of it over the years. He had four catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns in a win at North Carolina as a sophomore. His two biggest games last year came in the opener and Tech’s biggest rivalry game. He had 140 yards and two touchdowns against Appalachian State. In the regular season finale at Virginia, he had five catches for 119 yards and a touchdown.
He provided big-play capability in the UVa game, stretching the field on go routes with catches of 36 and 52 yards. With Boykin and Coale gone, however, he’ll need to be more than just a guy who can stretch the field. It’s that every-down consistency, running routes with precision and being a reliable target for Logan Thomas that will be the difference between Davis being a bit player or a star.
The opportunity is there. Tech has four senior wide receivers (Davis, Coles, Roberts and Corey Fuller) and not much else in terms of experience. Boykin and Coale combined for 121 receptions, 1,665 yards and eight touchdowns, roughly half of Virginia Tech’s production in the receiving game.
With Thomas, the Hokies are going to throw the ball, so they’ll need somebody to step up in the receiving game. ESPN draft guru listed Davis as the third-best senior wide receiver in the country. If he lives up to that billing, he could have a huge year.
Coming Sunday: It’s been off the last few years.
- No. 25: Randall Dunn, senior tight end
- No. 24: Donaldven Manning, freshman cornerback
- No. 23: Pick a punter
- No. 22: J.C. Coleman, freshman running back
- No. 21: Georgia Tech’s option offense
- No. 20: Antoine and Derrick Hopkins, defensive tackles
- No. 19: EJ Manuel, Florida State quarterback
- No. 18: Bud Foster, defensive coordinator
- No. 17: A fourth wide receiver
- No. 16: Cody Journell, junior kicker
- No. 15: Brent Benedict and David Wang, offensive guards
- No. 14: Dyrell Roberts, senior wide receiver
- No. 13: Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett, safeties
- No. 12: Dabo Swinney, Clemson head coach
- No. 11: Key reserves
- No. 10: Frank Beamer, head coach
- No. 9: Bruce Taylor and Tariq Edwards, inside linebackers