2003 Preview: Wide Receivers

Ernest Wilford

When Andre Davis left the Virginia Tech program after the 2001 season, Hokie fans thought they were in a heap of trouble at the wide receiver position. Then Ernest Wilford stepped up and had a monster season. Wilford is back in 2003 with a host of other talented players. Let's take a look and see who will be hauling in passes for the Hokies this fall...

Split End
Ernest Wilford, r-Sr. (6-4 220)
Wilford proved last season that he is one of the best in college football. His performance in the Carrier Dome against Syracuse was simply amazing. He's back and better than ever in 2003. After working hard all summer, Wilford is ready to show NFL scouts that he can be a first round draft pick.

Chris Shreve, r-Sr. (5-11 183)
Shreve hasn't seen much time over the last 3 years, but he's ready to contribute this year. He's a fast guy who knows how to play the game. He made a very important catch in the WVU game last season to keep a drive alive. He'll be a solid contributor for the Hokies this fall.

Chris Clifton, r-So. (6-4 195)
Clifton is another big target to throw to, much like Ernest Wilford. He's come a long way since the end of last season. Clifton is also the 3rd string quarterback. Just call him Slash. He'll see a lot of action this season and will be a valuable contributor. He's got a bright future at Virginia Tech.

Michael Malone, r-Fr. (6-3 202)
You might recongnize his last name. Michael is the son of NBA great Moses Malone. He's made tremendous strides over the spring and summer. He's more polished as a receiver and is catching the ball better. Malone is a big target with the frame to put on more weight. He will probably play some special teams this year, and work his way into the rotation by 2004.

DeAngelo Hall, Jr. (5-10 195)
One of the best cornerbacks in the nation, Hall will double as a wideout this season for the Hokies. In fact, he may end up starting at the position. Boasting a 4.15 40 time, he has great ability to stretch the opposing defense. This will open up Ernest Wilford even more. Remember Charles Woodson? Mr. Hall belongs right up there with him.

Richard Johnson, r-Jr. (5-9 193)
Johnson was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school, but has yet to break onto the scene as a big playmaker. Tech fans are hoping this is the year. Whether or not he has a break out year remains to be seen, but Richard Johnson certainly has the ability to get the job done this year for the Hokies.

Justin Hamilton, r-So. (6-3 217)
The converted tailback has found his spot at wide receiver. He's a big target with good hands and has the ability to make plays. He'll get his shot this year. Hamilton is also a special teams demon. Just ask Al Groh and Nick Saban. He'll be a valuable contributor this year and his future is very bright.

The wide receiver position at Virginia Tech is loaded with talent. There are other young players such as Fred Lee, Robert Parker, Josh Hyman and David Clowney that are waiting to work their way into the rotation. Keep your eye on Clowney. He's a big time speedster from the state of Florida that the Hokies got late in the recruiting process. A true freshman, Clowney could probably play this season but there may be no need for him to. He has future star written all over him.

Tech receiver coach Tony Ball deserves a lot of credit. This was a no name group a year ago at this time, but he's turned them into a very solid unit. And the good thing about it is that with the exception of Wilford and Shreve, they will all be back next season. In fact, there are only 4 receivers on the team that are a junior or higher in eligibility, and only 3 if you discount DeAngelo Hall. This unit is going to be outstanding for the Hokies in future years.

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