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Virginia Tech football: 19 days til kickoff with a look back at Danny Coale

Yes, it was a catch.

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Michigan v Virginia Tech
Danny Coale in action against Michigan in the 2012 Sugar Bowl
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Today is August 12, 2019, which means we are officially just 19 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. Yesterday, we profiled former All-American cornerback Jayron Hosley, who had one of the single greatest seasons for a defensive player in Virginia Tech history back in 2010.

For No. 19, we look back at Danny Coale, one of the greatest receivers in school history. Coale, of course, is best remembered by some for the catch that wasn’t a catch that was really a catch. Yes, he caught it. That one play doesn’t define Coale’s career, though, his body of work was quite impressive.

Coale arrived at Virginia Tech back in 2007 from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va. During his time at Episcopal, Coale played wide receiver, defensive back and returned both kicks and punts. Coale was a three-time all-state performer during his time at Episcopal.

During his redshirt season of 2007, the 6’0”, 200-pound Coale worked at split end. He earned Iron Hokie honors, ran a 4.42 40 and recorded a 35 1/2” vertical during testing. He also showed promise on special teams during scrimmages.

In 2008, Coale won the starting job at wide receiver, along with another freshman in Jarrett Boykin. Coale started all 14 games for the Hokies, leading the team in receiving with 36 receptions and second on the squad with 408 receiving yards. In 2009, Coale continued as a member of the starting lineup opposite of Boykin, finishing second on the team with 30 receptions and 614 yards. He also caught two touchdowns, the most memorable one being the 81-yard strike from Tyrod Taylor to set up the game-winning score in one the more memorable games in Lane Stadium history.

As a a junior in 2010, Coale again started every game for the Hokies at wide receiver. He finished second on the team with 39 receptions for 732 and three touchdowns. He also led the Hokies with an impressive 18.8 yards per reception. The Hokies would win the ACC in 2010.

Coale saved his best performance for his senior season in 2011. Again, he and Boykin started every game for the Hokies at receiver. Coale finished with 60 receptions, second on the team to Boykin’s 61, and led the team in receiving yards with 904 yards. He scored three touchdowns and averaged over 15 yards per catch.

Of course, there is the aforementioned Sugar Bowl. You decide for yourself, and I am sure most of Hokie Nation will agree; it was a catch.

Coale finished his career in elite company at Virginia Tech. When Boykin and Coale graduated, they were first on Virginia Tech’s all-time receiving list in receptions and receiving yards, respectively. Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips have since surpassed those numbers, in part due to Justin Fuente’s more pass-first offense.

Coale would end up becoming a fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2012 NFL Draft. He would spend the 2012 season with Dallas and the early part of 2013 before being released. He was signed by the Indianapolis Colts and waived shortly thereafter. Coale was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers in January 2014 to the team’s offseason roster but was later let go before the season.

Unfortunately, injuries played a major role in Coale’s lack of NFL career. But he will always be remembered as one of the Virginia Tech’s all-time great wide receivers.

These days, Coale makes his home in the Pittsburgh area, working for PNC as a senior associate for sales & trading. Coale received his degree from Virginia Tech in finance.