Up Close With Eddie Royal

Eddie Royal

Westfield High School senior wide receiver Eddie Royal was one of the gems in the 2004 recruiting class. This week, VTI caught up with Royal for a Q&A session with the future Hokie receiver.

As a senior at Westfield High, Eddie Royal made his impression felt on the state championship squad by hauling in 875 yards and eleven touchdowns from fellow future Hokie Sean Glennon.

During his junior year, he grabbed 11 touchdowns to go along with 905 yards receiving. He not only made his mark catching passes and burning secondaries, but was also known for returning punts and kicks through his high school career as he brought 10 back all the way. Eddie also hauled in some hardware last summer at Blacksburg's Nike Camp, where he was named overall MVP.

Eddie's recruitment was covered wide scale, and left fans of his final three schools, Virginia Tech, UVA and Marshall, on pins and needles waiting for his decision.

It was widely believed that Eddie was the #1 playmaker in the state of Virginia his senior year, as he dazzled opposing teams with not only his ability to burn and get open for the pass, but also in his punt returns as well. As he prepares to bring his unique blend of burning speed and great vision to Blacksburg this summer, Eddie fills us in on some of his insight into his recruitment and his preparation to enter Virginia Tech.

VTinsider: What is your main goal entering your career at Virginia Tech?
Eddie: I want to come in and make an immediate impact. I want to make a name for myself early.

VTinsider: What all are you doing to prepare for camp?
Eddie: Well, I'm running and lifting a lot. Basically just trying to come in my best possible shape. I have a personal trainer, Nate Daniels, who is Mike Daniels' older brother who is working me. He takes both me and Sean (Glennon) out and works us out.

VTinsider: Since we are a main recruiting source, what other guys from Westfield do you think might be D1 material?
Eddie: At this point, we have a running back Evan Royster who could leave high school now and play. He's that good to where I think he can play in college today. We got Brett Bowden who is a punter who is definitely a DI player. He's got a heck of a leg. Mitchell Maines is a defensive end, but he's D1 talent just lacks a little size.

VTinsider: What have the coaches at Tech said to you about possibly being redshirted?
Eddie: We haven't really talked about the redshirting option, they have always said I'd be playing right away.

VTinsider: Are you excited about playing in the new ACC and was that a part of your coming to Virginia Tech?
Eddie: Yeah I mean, that was a big thing too. Being able to play against some of the best teams in college meant a lot to me. I like to play against the best because then you get to know how good you really are and hopefully we'll prove we're the best in the process.

VTinsider: What schools are you looking forward to going up against the most?
Eddie: Actually, teams that we're not playing on schedule like teams we might set up for out of conference games in the future. Of course USC, but then playing Marshall because of my brother. We're already talking trash about that one. I'm ready to go!

VTinsider: Do you do a lot of scouting on other teams?
Eddie: Yeah I always watch teams we might be playing. I always watch the internet to see who we are getting and who other guys are going to. I remember going to Jonathan Lewis at Varina and I was playing QB and he killed me the entire game. I like to watch recruiting and check in on all the sites to see who we're getting and who's going where. I guess I'm just a fan.

VTinsider: Your recruitment was widely covered on the internet and talked about on the message boards. Tell us a little about your recruiting process?
Eddie: Man it was long and stressful. I was happy to get it over but I enjoyed it though. I developed relationships with each coach and it became hard to let coaches know you're not going to be attending their school. I also made some good relationships with other recruits that we met at camps or on visits. I became pretty close with Jerod Mayo who'll be going to Tennessee. In terms of schools offering, I heard from Virginia Tech and Marshall pretty early, and Marshall was the first to offer.

VTinsider: Which coach stayed on you the most during the recruiting process?
Eddie: I'd have say Coach Ward. He got on me about my grades and made sure I stayed focused. He didn't even talk too much football it was all school work and finishing up high school hard. He always said football would come on its own. He was unique in his approach to me too. There was even an article done about how we used to get into it when he'd break my game down. I liked that about him.

VTinsider: How much did Sean Glennon committing to VT early play into your decision to come to Tech?
Eddie: It opened my eyes to Virginia Tech a little more. Early on they were just any other school, but when Sean committed it made me take a harder look at the school, and since Sean is a pocket passer it meant the possibility to have more balls thrown to me. A lot of it was just the relationship me and Sean have together. It helped a lot cause me and him are really close, and to have someone like that with you to go through everything together helps a lot.

VTinsider: What were some of the main factors that went into you decided on becoming a Hokie above the other schools?
Eddie: Ultimately it was the fans and the atmosphere of the Miami game. The pregame walk was crazy. Tech has incredible fans overall, and I just want to play for these type of diehard fans. They seem to be with you through thick and thin. I couldn't turn down the opportunity to play at Lane.

With the graduation of Ernest Wilford, and the lack of players stepping up at the wide receiver position, it seems the charismatic Royal could be poised to step right in and do big things for the Hokies his freshman year.

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