One of my favorite days in the offseason is when the Tech SID department makes its spring football prospectus available to the public. Unlike most places, the Hokies' spring guide actually has a lot of useful information in it instead of just the current roster and last year's stats.
In addition to the roster and stats, Tech includes the pre-spring depth chart, in-depth breakdowns of each position, quotes from the coaches and a breakdown of the recruiting class. If you read between the lines, you can see who the coaches are trying to push and who they think will shine during spring drills.
First of all, a round of applause to the readers of this blog who just about nailed the two-deep during our Depth Chart Debates in January. I like to think the people who read this site are smarter than the average bear and you guys proved it, at least for now.
There were a couple surprises on the pre-spring two-deep to me. On offense, Marcus Davis is listed as the No. 2 split end. There are probably a couple of reasons for this. First, Davis has a much better grasp of the position a year after getting moved from quarterback. Two, Xavier Boyce has possibly fallen out of favor with the coaching staff. He started over Jarrett Boykin to begin last season but by the end of the year barely saw the field. It's also spelled out in the position breakdown as it says he "needs to play consistently and improve on his ball skills during the spring." Boyce may be one of the guys the staff is trying to light a fire under.
On defense, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow is listed as the starting whip. This is the only starter readers were incorrect on back in January when it was predicted Alonzo Tweedy would be at the top of the depth chart. He's No. 2 behind JGW. It looks like JGW has a better idea how to play the position while Tweedy has better skills but is still pretty raw. I think this will be a hotly contested position battle that will go on into August.
The spring guide lists a breakout player for each position group. Here's the run-down:
Offensive Line: Nick Becton
Pass Catchers: Marcus Davis
Offensive Backfield: Logan Thomas
Defensive Line: J.R. Collins (you might know him as Lansford Collins)
Linebackers: Bruce Taylor
Defensive Backfield: Jayron Hosley
Special Teams: Chris Hazley, Cody Journell and Brian Saunders
Matt Foley All-Stars
Here are guys I think the coaches are trying to push this spring:
Vinston Painter: "Coaches will see if he's ready to play."
Xavier Boyce: Split end moved to No. 3 in the depth chart.
Ju-Ju Clayton: "This will be a critical spring for him to get better."
Antoine Hopkins: "Possesses a lot of potential, but has yet to reach it."
Quillie Odom: Currently at the bottom of the mike linebacker depth chart.
Antone Exum: "Needs to take (free safety) by the reigns and know the seriousness of it."