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August 11, 2008

Dillard's injury leaves Hokies young and inexperienced at WR

By: Jimmy Robertson

In analyzing the Hokies’ 2008 wide receiving group, one could start by astutely pointing out that the team lost four talented wideouts from last season’s group, three of whom rank in the top 10 in virtually every career receiving category.

But Tech’s biggest loss probably came over the summer. That’s when Brandon Dillard, a redshirt junior who made the biggest plays in the spring game, shredded his Achilles tendon during a player-organized passing drill, putting him out of commission for this season. Dillard was slated to go into this season as the Hokies’ most experienced wideout and all but cemented his job as the starting flanker with his performance over the spring.

The staff now pins its hopes on a group that features a quarterback-turned-receiver, a redshirt sophomore known more for his play on special teams and eight freshmen – yes, eight. Tech head coach Frank Beamer wants to narrow the group down to six whom he can count on once the season starts.

Ike Whitaker possesses the most experience, but he only caught three passes a year ago and finds himself in a major battle to get any playing time. Zach Luckett, a beast on special teams, is the only other player among the group to have caught a pass in a collegiate game – he caught two last season.

At press time, Luckett and Danny Coale stood atop the depth chart at the receiver spots. Coale, a redshirt freshman, appears to be a rising star, combining athleticism with instincts for the position.

Tech’s staff figures to play at least a couple of true freshmen this season among the five currently working at receiver. That group includes one of the state’s best in Dyrell Roberts, a 6-2, 190-pounder from Windsor, Va., along with the talented Marcus Davis – both of whom were No. 2 on the depth chart at the time of this printing.



19 Danny Coale (6-0, 203, r-Fr.) – Promising prospect with good athleticism and great hands.
4 Marcus Davis (6-3, 228, Fr.) – Huge target with size and speed. Still learning the position.
30 Jarrett Boykin (6-2, 201, Fr.) – Another big, polished target with size and speed.
13 Randall Dunn (6-1, 233, Fr.) – A lot like Davis, but not quite as strong or fast.
87 Prince Parker (6-5, 236, r-Soph.) – A walk-on who needs to get stronger.
3 Ike Whitaker (6-4, 220, r-Jr.) – Tall, fluid athlete who’s getting better as a receiver.


16 Zach Luckett (6-3, 217, r-Soph.) – Tall and physical. Needs to work on his ball skills. Excels on special teams.
11 Dyrell Roberts (6-1, 183, Fr.) – The most impressive of the freshman receivers in the early going.
29 Xavier Boyce (6-3, 205, Fr.) – Needs to get stronger and learn the position, but has a nice frame.
85 Ervin Garner (5-9, 162, r-Fr.) – Has outstanding speed and could help in the return game.
83 Patrick Terry (5-11, 190, r-Fr.) – Also has great speed and athletic ability.