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October 19, 2012
Stock Watch: Clemson Game Trends
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The Hokies dodged quite an embarrassing bullet last week with the thumping comeback against Duke. Now, morale and momentum is at a high this season with a big showdown looming on Saturday against Clemson. Will Virginia Tech find the big plays and contain the threats on the Tigers offense? Here is whose stock is rising and falling entering the game.
RB J.C. Coleman, Virginia Tech
Meet who should be your new starting running back for the rest of the season. The electric four-star recruit was a monster last week, rushing for 183 yards, including two long touchdowns. His display was just what this team needed on offense. Get him gaining big chunks of yards and that will only make Logan Thomas better in the air, likely giving him more time. Expect plenty of option runs with Thomas and Coleman against a Clemson defense that is anything but great. But remember, the defense has looked great against Tech.
Coleman should get plenty of looks after surpassing Michael Holmes on the depth chart. Wouldn't be surprising to see a few designed screens to get him into space. As of right now, nobody's stock is rising more than the former Oscar Smith standout.
WR Marcus Davis, Virginia Tech
I remember my first class at Virginia Tech in 2009. I walked into a course and saw this monstrous freshman with hopes of initially playing quarterback. With athleticism, great size and leaping ability, he had receiver written all over him. Is he now the star we have all be waiting for him to become? With 585 yards this season on 27 catches, he has been dominating with Thomas over the last three weeks, averaging over 100 yards receiving a game.
As Thomas said the other day, the team will keep airing it out until someone stops them, and Davis is the main target. Also a guy who can go up and grab along with burning you deep, he struggled to find consistency earlier in the season but may have just turned the corner. A big game will be needed out of him on Saturday to escape Clemson with a win.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
Wow, has he been going off, having a Sammy Watkins-like season. After recording 72 catches for 978 yards and five touchdowns, he already has eight touchdowns to go with 49 catches and 777 yards. His lowest amount of receiving yards this season is 88 and has scored in five of six games. Over the last two weeks, he is averaging 185 yards. It's safe to say, he has been the biggest star on the team this season and will be counted heavily upon in this game as Watkins has yet to really shine.
This guy is quick and can do it all. Oh, and he is only a junior...
RB Michael Holmes, Virginia Tech
There were plenty of high hopes for the former Harrisonburg star, mainly a product of the freshman success of running backs that the institution has. But, he has shown flashes this season.
The problem is, Coleman has shown more. As a result, Holmes looks to be a back-up for the rest of the season and perhaps the rest of his career. Can he make the most of his touches to get more time on the field?
WR Dyrell Roberts
Roberts hasn't been poor, he has made some great catches, but the emergence of Corey Fuller and Davis has changed the receiver outlook. Still a valuable options, Roberts just isn't one of the top targets that Thomas is looking to.
In his final season, he is two catches off his career high of 22 and is on pace for his best year ever for the Hokies. The problem is, he hasn't been able to accomplish much in the past due to injuries.
WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
An early Heisman favorite, the Florida native has yet to do anything in 2012. Need a stat to convince you? Six players are having a better season receiving for the reigning ACC champs than Watkins.
The explosive player you remember? His longest catch this season is 19. He hasn't been the same as other players have emerged, taking advantage of their time. I'm sure all the Tech fans hope he doesn't have his breakout game on Saturday. But, with each week, his stock falls while the fear of him burning you reduces.