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November 14, 2011

New and Notes

By: Jimmy Robertson

Hokies again strong in latest release of GSR

The NCAA released the graduation success rates (GSR) for student-athletes on Oct. 25, and Virginia Tech checked in at 91 percent – its best number since the NCAA started using this metric as a way of calculating graduation rates. The number is based on student-athletes who entered college between 2001-04 and graduated within six years.

In football, the Tech program recorded a GSR of 79 percent – the exact number as a year ago. That number ranked fifth in the ACC behind Duke (93 percent), BC (93), Miami (88) and Wake (81).

In men’s basketball, the program tallied a GSR of 86 percent, which represented an 11 percent increase from last year. Tech ranked fifth in the ACC behind Duke (100 percent), Wake (100), North Carolina (89) and BC (89).

In all, six sports at Tech finished with a 100 percent GSR. Those include golf, men’s track and field, softball, women’s soccer, women’s tennis and volleyball. Golf, men’s track and field, women’s soccer, women’s tennis and volleyball recorded a 100 percent number last year as well.

Also, six other sports at Tech had GSRs above 90 percent – women’s swimming and diving (96), lacrosse (95), men’s swimming and diving (94), baseball (93), wrestling (92) and women’s basketball (91).

VenueChek visits for Tech-BC game

Last fall, the athletics department hired a company called VenueChek to come to a football game and a basketball game to critique everything about the game-day experience at Tech. Well, the athletics department asked VenueChek to come back again – this time, for the BC football game on Oct. 22, and Tech received strong marks in the following areas:

Ticketing – “The line leader (assisting fans to the correct windows) was excellent. He was knowledgeable and cordial.”

Parking – “Signage was very helpful in assisting me to the parking lot (on major routes, side streets and at the lot).”

Entry – “The entrances were clean – some were more inviting than others, but overall, the views to the field at this venue are as strong as any venue we visit.”

Concourse – “Concourse cleanliness was a strength for much of the event. The East side took the greatest hit, while the West, South and North were solid for most of the event.”

Food service – “There was a nice quantity of items – better than many, not as strong as others. The pizza was the best pizza I have had in over a year.”

Corporate marketing/promotions – “Outside the stadium, the Player Walk added nice value to the event … The best team introduction that I see annually is at Virginia Tech – it is an awesome site to see the fans bouncing up and down to ‘Enter Sandman.’”

Walk-on gets his chance

Redshirt senior Tyler Weiss saw his first action as a Hokie when he served as the place-kicker during the Duke game in place of Cody Journell, who missed the game with a quadriceps injury. In fact, the game marked just the second in which Weiss had made the dress squad – he got to dress for the BC game.

Weiss made both of his extra-point attempts against Duke, but missed a 30-yard field-goal attempt toward the end of the first half – his lone field-goal attempt of the day.

“It feels good,” Weiss said of his opportunity. “I was glad I could get a chance to get out there. It was good to have that feeling back. I made the extra points. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same feeling with the field goal.

“I wasn’t really nervous [before the game]. As I was warming up, everything set in, and I was good after that.”

It has been a long journey for Weiss, who started his collegiate career in 2007 at Murray State, making 7 of 10 field-goal attempts and all 32 of his extra-point attempts as a freshman. He finished that season as the team’s second-leading scorer.

He transferred to Tech in January of 2009, and he spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons battling for the kicking job. This past spring, he missed all three of his kicks in spring scrimmages.

“In the spring, I was coming off an injury, so I didn’t have a great spring at all,” he said. “I got healthy over the summer, and it was close. Cody deserved every bit of it [the starting job] with how well he played during the spring.”

Still, Weiss got to enjoy a moment of fame – something he’ll remember forever.

“It was a great experience just being able to step on the field with this type of team,” he said. “It felt good to finally get out there.”