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August 21, 2012

Coles and company ready to replace two greats at receiver spots

By: Jimmy Robertson

For the second straight season, a returning wide receiver – a talented one key to the Hokies’ fortunes – is coming back from a major injury.

Last year, Dyrell Roberts was coming back from emergency surgery for compartment syndrome in his thigh after taking a blow on the thigh during the 2010 Georgia Tech game. He spent a week in the hospital and the summer rehabbing.

This time, D.J. Coles is the one trying to come back.

Coles, arguably the toughest of Tech’s receivers, tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee during his sophomore season. Then, he tore it some more in the ACC championship game against Clemson. He played in pain the rest of that game and during the Sugar Bowl and underwent surgery right after the season.

He took it easy this summer with his rehab to avoid re-injuring the knee. Now, with the season opener only days away, he said he was ready to go.

“I’m feeling good,” Coles said. “I should be good by the season opener. I took it one day at a time because I didn’t want to rush anything. I wanted to make sure everything was healed properly for the season opener.”

Tech’s staff needs a healthy Coles. He, Roberts and Marcus Davis form an experienced trio to replace record holders Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale. Roberts has 63 career catches for 965 yards and five touchdowns and Davis has 54 catches for 874 yards and eight touchdowns.

But the team lacks depth behind them. Only two of the reserves – Corey Fuller and Willie Byrn – have caught a pass. They have a combined three career catches.

Both, though, got plenty of reps this spring, along with talented redshirt freshmen Demitri Knowles and Kevin Asante. Toss in redshirt freshman Christian Reeves and incoming freshman Joel Caleb – an All-American from Midlothian, Va. – and the Hokies’ staff has an interesting mix of experience, youth and talent.

As a senior, Coles understands this season represents his last and that he needs to be a leader, not just among the receivers, but also for Tech’s entire offense.

“I’m ready for it,” he said. “That’s what you come here for. You come here to be a playmaker and set up and make plays. We had two great receivers here [Boykin and Coale], and now, it’s our turn. I don’t think there will be any letdown. I think we’re ready for it.”



18 D.J. Coles (6-4, 226, Sr.)

11 Dyrell Roberts (6-2, 195, r-Sr.)
83 Corey Fuller (6-2, 196, r-Sr.)
19 Kevin Asante (5-11, 181, r-Fr.)
44 Christian Reeves (6-3, 209, r-Fr.)
85 E.L. Smiling (6-3, 212, r-Soph.)


7 Marcus Davis (6-4, 232, r-Sr.)
80 Demitri Knowles (6-1, 177, r-Fr.)
82 Willie Byrn (5-11, 177, r-Soph.)
15 Joel Caleb (6-2, 211, Fr.)


Returning starters: none

Starters lost: Danny Coale (54 career starts), Jarrett Boykin (45 career starts)

Projected new starters: D.J. Coles (3 career starts), Marcus Davis (10 career starts)

Top reserves: Dyrell Roberts, Demitri Knowles, Kevin Asante

Newcomers: Knowles, Asante, Christian Reeves, Joel Caleb, Joshua Stanford, Mark Irick

Breakout candidate: Coles

Notes: Boykin departed as Tech’s all-time leader in receptions (184) and receiving yards (2,884) … Coale ranked second with 165 for 2,658 yards … Boykin (9) and Coale (7) combined for 16 100-yard receiving games – Tech’s returning receivers have just four 100-yard receiving games in their careers (Davis – 2, Roberts, Coles) … Davis had two 100-yard receiving games a year ago (Appalachian State and UVa).