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August 15, 2011

Tech's receiving group gets stronger with Roberts' return

By: Jimmy Robertson

Tech’s football players run 110-yard sprints often over the summer as part of their conditioning in the Hokies’ strength and conditioning program, and while most guys hate running those drills, at least one was gleeful to be doing so.

In early November, Dyrell Roberts took a blow to his thigh during the Georgia Tech game. A few hours later, he was at Montgomery Regional Hospital undergoing emergency surgery for compartment syndrome.

Jarrett Boykin

“I was scared,” Roberts said. “Once I got home, it started throbbing and swelling up. I fell asleep, and it [his thigh] just woke me up. It was throbbing so bad that I had to wake my mom up – my family comes up for games – and go to the hospital. It was hurting too bad. I knew something was wrong.”

Roberts, who had caught 21 passes (two touchdowns) up to that point, spent nearly a week in the hospital and missed the rest of the season. He went through a difficult rehab, but showed Tech’s sports medicine staff that he was ready to return to the field this fall when he recorded a 350-pound front squat in strength and conditioning testing. Still, the sports medicine staff held him out of contact drills as a precaution.

Now, he’s ready to go and pick up where he left off from last fall.

“I haven’t taken a hit yet, but I feel it’s in shape to go back to where I was,” Roberts said. “I feel like I was healed in the spring even though I wasn’t. But as far as my motion and getting my speed back, it felt good. They say I look faster than what I was before. I think I had a pretty good session to get my muscle back to where it was.

“I’m looking forward to the season. The work that I’ve done to get it back to where it was … I hope it pays off. You don’t realize how hard you can train until you have to. You’ve got to go twice as hard even when you’re hurt. Now that I’ve had a chance to work with the strength and conditioning staff and the trainers, I think they’ve done a great job of getting me ready.”

Roberts is one of many in a talented group that ranks as the most experienced position on the team. Tech’s top four receivers include three seniors in Roberts, Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale and a redshirt junior in Marcus Davis.

Boykin and Coale, the projected starters, combined for 92 catches and 1,579 yards last season, with nine touchdowns. Roberts caught 21 for 303 yards and two scores, while Davis caught 19 for 239 yards and two scores.

Davis may be the most talented at 6-foot-4, 231 pounds. He caught 23 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns combined in the Hokies’ scrimmages and the Maroon-White game. He caught two touchdown passes in the Maroon-White game.

Behind those four will be D.J. Coles, E.L. Smiling, Corey Fuller and Willie Byrn. Coles possesses the most experiences of that quartet, having played in nine games a year ago.

The group expects to put up big numbers this season, but that depends on how they mesh with new starting quarterback Logan Thomas. Roberts doesn’t feel as though there will be any drop off.

When we first started camp last year, we were getting work with Logan because he was the No. 2 [quarterback],” Roberts said. “It’s not like we’re brand new to each other. We’ve got a foundation as to how each one of us plays and runs our routes, and things like that.”

Split ends
81 Jarrett Boykin (6-2, 218, Sr.)
18 D.J. Coles (6-3, 224, Jr.)
85 E.L. Smiling (6-3, 200, r-Fr.)
83 Corey Fuller (6-2, 189, r-Jr.)

19 Danny Coale (6-0, 200, r-Sr.)
7 Marcus Davis (6-4, 228, r-Jr.)
11 Dyrell Roberts (6-2, 196, Sr.)
82 Willie Byrn (5-10, 177, r-Fr.)


Returning starters: Danny Coale (40 career starts), Jarrett Boykin (32)

Starters lost: none

Projected new starters: none

Top reserves: Marcus Davis, Dyrell Roberts

Newcomer: E.L. Smiling

Breakout candidate: Davis

Notes: Boykin should become Tech’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards … He needs just three catches to pass Ernest Wilford in receptions (126) and 149 yards to pass Ricky Scales in receiving yards (2,272) … Boykin is only the fourth receiver in Tech history with over 2,000 yards receiving at 2,123 yards … Coale could be the fifth – he’s only 246 yards away from that plateau … Coale may also be the team’s punter.