Hokies Baseball: Saige Jenco is a Complete Center Fielder

The Virginia Tech Hokies have gotten off to a decent 6-5 start on the season with some great pitching, but a fairly weak offense with some players struggling. However, one position player is having a strong start after having a very good freshman season in 2014.

Saige Jenco was definitely the Hokies’ top returning position player after Mark Zagunis left for the majors after being drafted in the third round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs. Jenco flew under the radar last season, but was receiving much more attention this preseason as one arguably the face of Virginia Tech baseball in 2015.

Jenco only has 1 error so far and while his fielding percentage isn’t great right now, it should go up over the course of the season to at least .980 which is what you would expect from Jenco. Jenco also has 1 outfield assist and could end up with at least 4 or 5 by the end of the season.

Jenco has been slugging the ball a little better than he did last season with 1 home run, 2 RBIs, and a slugging percentage of .467 which is where the significant improvement is for the redshirt sophomore center fielder. This improvement to his slugging definitely is a very positive sign.

Arguably the best attribute of Saige Jenco is the fact that he is an extremely good table setter and leadoff hitter. So far in 2015, Jenco is hitting .333 with 15 hits including 3 doubles and 11 singles.

Jenco had a too few many strikeouts in the first few games, but has become more patient at the plate with the redshirt sophomore now having 7 walks and a strong on-base percentage of .415. Jenco is getting the job done on the base paths as well as he has been successful on all 3 of his base stealing attempts. Jenco has the base stealing talent to end up with at least 15 to 20 in the 2015 season.

When you look for a prototypical quality center fielder, you look for someone who is a very good defensive player, contact hitter, and base stealer. Saige Jenco is exactly that plus he has some power hitting capabilities, and is definitely a complete center fielder.

Jenco is definitely Virginia Tech’s star position player now that Mark Zagunis is gone.

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Hokies Basketball: Boston College at Virginia Tech Prediction

The Virginia Tech Hokies played a tough game this past weekend in John Paul Jones Arena against the #2 Virginia Cavaliers. The Hokies were close at halftime, but the Cavaliers pulled away in the second half to a fairly easy 12-point victory. However, the Hokies definitely have played a lot better in their last two games against two currently projected number 1 seeds in Virginia and Duke.

The Hokies are looking to avoid finishing last in the ACC for the fist time since 2012, and tonight is a must-win to do that. The Hokies are facing the Boston College Eagles who are currently tied for last place with the Hokies. The Hokies have proven that they are a very young team, but Buzz Williams will have his team playing hard in their final two games against weaker competition to avoid another last place finish.

Both teams are outside the top 300 in rebounding which makes this matchup a much more favorable one for the Hokies. Virginia Tech actually won the battle on the glass 31-29 against Virginia, and this game could be another opportunity for the Hokies to win the battle on the glass.

Boston College has two elite scorers in Olivier Hanlan and Aaron Brown who are both averaging over 15 points per game. Despite that type of impressive scoring from their top duo, Boston College is actually only averaging 65.4 points per game. The Hokies definitely need to play tough defense on Hanlan because he has the talent to put up 30 points in one game.

Jalen Hudson has been inconsistent as he had only 1 missed shot against Virginia after scoring 23 points against Duke. If Hudson works hard from the first time he touches the floor and is aggressive on both ends of the floor, Hudson will have another huge game and also prove Buzz Williams right about Hudson being the Hokies’ most talented player.

Adam Smith has been the Hokies reliable scorer and that should once again continue in this matchup. The Hokies have enough three-point shooting options beyond Smith with Malik Muller, Ahmed Hill, and Justin Bibbs which will help Smith get enough space to make a few threes in this game.

The Hokies are definitely the favorites tonight for this game against Boston College, but it will not be easy. However, Buzz Williams will have his team ready and the Hokies will end their losing streak to get their third ACC win of the season.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 68, Boston College 61

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Hokies Recruiting: Athlete Jovonn Quillen Commits to Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech Hokies have gotten off to a solid start in recruiting the Class of 2016 with 3-star QB Logan Byrd; 3-star DBs Myles Wolfolk, Kareem Felder, and Troy Pride;  and 3-star WRs Samuel Denmark and Conner O’Donnell. However, the Hokies had failed to gain a single commit from the state of Virginia.

However, that changed last night.

3-Star athlete Jovonn Quillen of Hampton High School in Hampton, Virginia became the Hokies’ seventh commit of the Class of 2016 and the first one from the state of Virginia. Quillen is the cousin of Virginia Tech running back Marshawn Williams and the connection seemed to help the Hokies a lot in getting Quillen.

Most recruiting sites do not have a grade for Quillen though Rivals has him as a three-star athlete that is the 30th best junior in the state of Virginia. Quillen definitely seems like a solid three-star prospect that has a huge ceiling and a somewhat low floor.

Quillen plays quarterback for Hampton High School, but will almost certainly shift to wide receiver, cornerback, or safety at the collegiate level. Quillen is an extremely good athlete, and his quarterback background along with only having two offers will likely have fans comparing his backstory to Kam Chancellor. However, Quillen will have to work very hard if he wants to become a great player like Chancellor.

Quillen seems more likely to be a safety than any other position and has above-average speed for that position. Quillen’s experience at quarterback should also help him be very good at reading the eyes of the opposing quarterback. However, it will take some time for Quillen to transition from quarterback to another position which means a redshirt seems likely for him.

Jovonn Quillen became the first player from the Class of 2016 to commit to the Hokies in which Cornell Brown was the primary recruiter. This commitment gives the Hokies some recruiting momentum in the 757, and gives Brown some momentum on the recruiting trail.

Brown is the primary recruiter for multiple top recruits including two players from the 757, 4-star ILB Jaquan Yulee and 4-star athlete Robbie Robinson, and 4-star New Jersey athlete Ahmir Mitchell. Momentum can be big in recruiting and Brown definitely has some momentum even though the Hokies are the only power 5 conference program that have an offer extended to Quillen currently.

Quillen might be able to be someone that could influence other 757 players to commit to Virginia Tech. Casey Vick II is a defensive back for Denbigh High School in Newport News, Virginia that announced that he was committing to Virginia Tech with Quillen. Vick seems like a walk-on candidate for the Hokies, but the fact that Quillen was able to convince a potential walk-on to commit this early is a sign of his potential recruiting skills.

Jovonn Quillen is definitely a player that will need some time to transition likely to safety, but definitely seems to have the athleticism to be a big-time player.

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Hokies Basketball: ACC Referees Cost Virginia Tech the Upset Over Duke

Last night, the Virginia Tech Hokies put up a valiant effort against the #4 Duke Blue Devils, but lost a very close game 91-86 in overtime. Virginia Tech played their best game of the season against the Blue Devils, but Duke escaped Blacksburg with a victory in overtime.

However, there was a clear missed foul call in the final 10 seconds of regulation on Jalen Hudson’s shot.

In this photo, you can clearly see that there is contact by the Duke player’s hand and the arm of Jalen Hudson. At just about every level of the sport including college basketball, this is a fairly easy shooting foul call. However, it is clear that these referees missed what was a fairly obvious call.

This wasn’t the only call that caused some controversy as Jahlil Okafor probably should have been called for a couple of offensive fouls. Personally, I’m a fan of physical basketball which is what college basketball is, but Okafor crossed the line one or two times.

However, there is no doubt that this missed foul call at the end of the game is clearly one of the biggest missed calls of the season.

Hudson would have had 2 free throws with about 5 seconds left if the referees made the right call. Duke also had no timeouts, and it would have been very hard for the Blue Devils to force overtime or win the game. This wrong call could change a couple of things that could have a decent-sized impact on college basketball.

This wrong call could mean that Duke gets a number #1 seed instead of Villanova, Arizona, Wisconsin, or someone else depending on how everything plays out. While it is best for the ACC to have 2 number #1 seeds (this is not intended as a conspiracy theory), this could impact the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

This wrong call could also affect some of the early matchups in the ACC Tournament that could also have an impact on who makes the NCAA Tournament. That’s very unlikely to be true, but is a possibility.

However, the biggest takeaway is the fact that the ACC, despite being the basketball conference in the country, has some of the worst referees in the country. The ACC should be making sure that their referees are trained to be the best in the country, and they failed last night as they have in a lot of games.

There were multiple bad calls that went against the Hokies which can’t be accepted by anyone from the foul that should’ve been called in Hudson’s favor to the late full-court trap foul that was called in overtime without any contact.

Last night, the Hokies were cost a victory and a court storming because of the failure of the ACC referees. It’s now time for ACC Commissioner John Swofford to step up and make sure the ACC has the best referees in college basketball instead of some of the worst in Division I.

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Hokies Basketball: #4 Duke at Virginia Tech Prediction

The Virginia Tech Hokies lost all three games on their three-game road stand, but the Hokies will look to end their losing streak. However, Virginia Tech is playing one of the top teams in all of college basketball and the team that is probably the favorite to win the ACC Tournament with Justin Anderson out for Virginia.

The #4 Duke Blue Devils are coming to Cassell Coliseum tonight, but are facing a sold-out crowd that will likely be quite raucous even with some Duke fans there. However, the Blue Devils are used to facing sellout crowds with fans who are desperate to see their team pull off the big upset.

To say this is going to be really tough would be an understatement, but Buzz Williams will make sure his team is prepared. Having a coach like Williams instead of James Johnson like the past two seasons should give the Hokies a slightly better chance at pulling off the upset.

One big thing that could really impact the game is whether Duke superstar freshman Jahlil Okafor is able to play. The Hokies do not have anybody who could probably slow down the frontrunner to win every player of the year award. However, Okafor was unable to play against Clemson and if he isn’t able to play tonight, that would help the Hokies’ upset chances a lot.

Tyus Jones is not a great scorer, but he is one of the best ball distributing point guards in the country. Jones is this year’s Tyler Ennis and the Hokies will likely utilized Devin Wilson and Justin Bibbs on Jones when they aren’t in zone.

Wilson is still the Hokies’ primary point guard, and they will need him to step up in what is a tough matchup against Jones. If Wilson can find a way to force Jones to have a few turnovers, and make sure that he is not able to easily set up his teammates, the Hokies may have a better chance.

Justin Bibbs seems to have regained confidence shooting the basketball against NC State, and they will need him to keep it going against Duke. Bibbs has proven to be someone who can put up 20-25 points in a big game, and the Hokies likely would have at least one or two more ACC wins if it wasn’t for the concussion Bibbs suffered after the first few ACC games.

With Duke having a rotation of only 7 or 8 players depending on the health of Okafor, the Hokies need to push the tempo and try to wear down Duke. Duke has a lot of great athletes, but the Hokies also have plenty of quality athletes along with a lot more numbers which could make a difference if taken advantage of properly by Buzz Williams.

This is an extremely tough matchup for the Hokies, but the Virginia game proved that Virginia Tech has the potential to pull a surprise. However, Coach K and Duke are playing extremely well right now and the Blue Devils will take down the Hokies in front of a sellout crowd at Cassell Coliseum.

Prediction: #4 Duke 78, Virginia Tech 67

However, expect a court storming if the Hokies find a way to pull off the huge upset.

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Hokies Recruiting: Q&A With 3-Star WR and VT Commit Samuel Denmark

This past weekend, the Virginia Tech Hokies gained their sixth commit for the Class of 2016 in three-star wide receiver Samuel Denmark of Hanahan High School in Charleston, South Carolina. Denmark also became the second wide receiver to commit joining three-star grayshirt commit Conner O’Donnell.

Denmark is a very speedy wide receiver that has many fans intrigued about his potential to be a very dangerous playmaker for the Hokies down the road. Recently, we had the chance to talk to Denmark and here is what he told us about some key reasons for his decision to commit to Virginia Tech.

Q: Why did you commit to Virginia Tech?

A: “I chose Virginia Tech because I think that it is the best school for me to continue my education and football career. On my visits, it felt like home and very comfortable. It was like I was already apart of the VT family. The quality of education, the football tradition, excellent campus and facilities, the coaching staff, the electricity of the Hokie fans and I can go on.”

Q: Which coach on the staff had the biggest impact on your recruitment?

A: “Coach Shane Beamer contacted and visited me at my school. After getting to know him I felt like he was someone that I could trust.”

Q: What is your opinion on new Virginia Tech WRs Coach Zohn Burden?

A: “After talking with him on my Junior day visit I was convinced that they made a great choice in coach Burden.”

Q: How big of an impact did your Junior Day visit have on your decision?

A: “Junior day was great because I had the opportunity to meet with the coaches and tour the campus. I was impressed with the academic support staff and student center.”

Q: Did the commitment of Troy Pride Jr. have any impact on your decision?

A: “Troy did not have an impact on my decision, but it’s good to see another SC player on board.”

Q: Do you have any other planned visits to Virginia Tech or elsewhere at this time?

A: “I am planning to return to VT for the Spring game. Visits will be limited due to my track season.”

Q: Will you be a two-sport athlete at Virginia Tech?

A: “My main focus is going to be getting acclimated to Virginia Tech and learning the playbook and getting stronger. Once I am comfortable, I may consider being a part of the track team.”

We would like to thank Samuel Denmark for joining us and answering our questions.

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Jon Woodcock is Emerging as the Hokies’ Ace Starting Pitcher

The Virginia Tech Hokies’ baseball season recently started though a few games have already been either postponed or cancelled due to weather in Blacksburg. The Hokies have not gotten off to a very good start with a 3-4 record, but one starting pitcher is already looking like a potential ace.

Virginia Tech moved Jon Woodcock from the bullpen to the starting rotation and the redshirt junior has taken off this season.

Woodcock is currently 1-0 in his two starts in 13 innings pitched. The fact that Woodcock has had two starts of 6 and 7 innings is impressive for a collegiate starting pitcher. However, Woodcock also has the strong numbers to back up how he is looking like Virginia Tech’s new ace.

Woodcock currently has a 3.46 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 13 innings for an average of 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings which is extremely impressive. Woodcock has given up 2 home runs, but has only given up 6 total hits which is even more impressive that he is giving up less than 1 hit every 2 innings on average.

Opposing hitters are only batting .130 against Jon Woodcock in his first two starts which is a good sign for how good he will be this season. Woodcock’s 4 walks aren’t ideal, but with the high volume of strikeouts he has, those walks are not nearly as big of an issue.

Having a guy like Woodcock who can pitch 6 or 7 innings and provide quality starts will be important for giving the Hokies’ bullpen some extra rest in certain cases. Woodcock and Sean Keselica are forming a dangerous 1-2 punch at the front of the Hokies’ rotation that may be able to lead the Hokies to a renaissance season if Virginia Tech’s hitting improves from their struggles this past weekend.

Jon Woodcock is emerging as an ace that could help the Hokies have a small renaissance in ACC play this season.

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Hokies Recruiting: 3-Star WR Samuel Denmark Commits to Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech Hokies have gotten off to a fairly strong start on the recruiting trail with five commits including 3-star QB Logan Byrd; 3-star CBs Myles Wolfolk, Kareem Felder, and Troy Pride, and 3-star WR Conner O’Donnell who is committed to a grayshirt offer.

One of the most interesting things about the Hokies’ first five commits is the fact that all five of those players are not from Virginia. Last night, the Hokies were able to add a sixth out-of-state commit to their Class of 2016.

Samuel Denmark became the Hokies’ second wide receiver commit of the Class of 2015 along with being the second player from South Carolina to commit to the Hokies, joining Troy Pride Jr.

Denmark is an under-the-radar wide receiver that only has offers from Virginia Tech and Wake Forest currently though many other programs could offer him soon including Clemson, Duke, and Notre Dame. The Hokies will now look to hold on to Denmark throughout the process which will not be easy given the fact that he still is likely to receive a lot more offers.

Not many of the major recruiting sites have much on Samuel Denmark with ESPN not even having a grade on him. Rivals and 247 Sports both have him as a three-star recruit with Rivals ranking him as the tenth best junior in South Carolina while the 247 Sports Composite has him as the eleventh best junior and 103rd best wide receiver.

Denmark is known as a very fast wide receiver with Andy Bitter mentioning how he finished second in the 100 meters with a time of 10.92 seconds in the AAA State Championship in South Carolina. This type of speed is something that makes Denmark an intriguing prospect that could make an early impact upon arrival.

For Shane Beamer, this is the third commit that he has been a recruiter for that has committed to Virginia Tech and his second of this cycle as the primary recruiter with WR Conner O’Donnell being the other. Beamer has taken advantage of his Carolina connections from his time at South Carolina to help get Denmark, O’Donnell, and CB Troy Pride in what is a solid recruiting haul so far.

Samuel Denmark is another quality commitment for the Hokies as Virginia Tech builds a strong foundation for their Class of 2016. However, the Hokies still may have a fight on their hands to make sure they keep him all the way to National Signing Day next February with schools like Clemson and Notre Dame lurking.

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Hokies Basketball: Virginia Tech at NC State Prediction

The Virginia Tech Hokies were beat by 20+ points in their first two of three road games, but will look to bounce back today to build some momentum up with Duke looming on Wednesday. The Hokies are big underdogs, but Buzz Williams will have his team ready to play.

However, the Hokies are facing a good NC State team that is right on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Mark Gottfried has turned what was expected to be a borderline NIT team into a team that is on the inside of the NCAA Tournament for now.

Trevor Lacey is going to be a tough player for the Hokies to contain as he is a very good scorer that is averaging 16.5 points per game. The Hokies have the players to somewhat contain Lacey, but NC State will make sure he gets plenty of shots.

Adam Smith has been Virginia Tech’s most consistent scorer, and has the shooting talent to be a nightmare. Smith is a very good three-point shooter, and has the talent to go off for 20+ points anu night. If Smith gets hot, the Hokies will have a great chance of pulling off the upset.

NC State is one of the top 40 rebounding teams in the country, bit they only one player barely averaging over 5 rebounds per game. The Hokies must improve on the glass of they are to win this game.

The one player for the Hokies who could be an x-factor is Christian Beyer. Beyer is probably not the Hokies’ most talented big man, but he is their hardest working big man. Beyer is a guy who could go off for 10 points and 7 or 8 rebounds which would be a significant boost for the Hokies.

This is a tough matchup for the Hokies, but they will not be beat as badly as they have been in their first two games. However, NC State is the better team and will take down the Hokies in a somewhat-competitive game.

Prediction: NC State 74, Virginia Tech 61

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Hokies Recruiting: 3-Star CB Troy Pride Commits to Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech Hokies have been busier than you would expect on the recruiting trail in the two and a half weeks since National Signing Day. The Hokies have hosted a Junior Day, amd have also been busy traveling all over the East Coast and the country.

Entering tonight, the Hokies had four commits from 3-star QB Logan Byrd, 3-star CBs Myles Wolfolk and Kareem Felder, and 3-star grayshirt WR commit Conner O’Donnell.

Tonight, the Hokies have received more good news on the recruiting trail.

Cornerback Troy Pride Jr. of Greer High School in Greer, South Carolina became the fifth junior and third cornerback to commit to the Hokies. Pride is a very under-the-radar cornerback with the Hokies being his only offer currently though that is likely to grow.

Pride has not received a grade from 247 Sports or ESPN with Rivals rating Pride as a three-star cornerback.

One thing that shows on Troy Pride’s tape is that he is a very good athlete. His speed and acceleration is very impressive for a six foot tall cornerback. Pride also has a very good vertical which makes his size even more of a problem.

Pride will need some time to develop as he sometimes give outside receivers the inside which is ideal for a wideout. A lot of Pride’s best plays are made because of athleticism, and he is a guy who will definitely benefit from being coached by Torrian Gray.

Troy Pride is a fairly raw talent that has huge upside. Pride is a guy who has a lot of boom or bust potential in the long run, but is definitely a guy who needs some time to develop. Of course, the Hokies could have a fight on their hands to keep him if more offers come in as expected.

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