Despite recent challenges from VCU, UVa won the College World Series and enjoyed a great basketball run. The new challenge may be to Virginia Tech as a dominant football program “losing some oxygen” due to the new ODU football program, according to recruiting expert Cole Muzio.
We ran the Value Add Sports calculations on all returning Virginia athletes and emailed 109 sports writers and other experts in the state to help rank the 20 state players to watch, on a list we will update here.
ODU started football in 2009, and stunned observers by going 9-2 in FCS play in 2011 including a playoff win and a 2nd round shootout that resulted in QB Taylor Heinicke becoming the top FCS passer ever with 5,076 yards.
Running back Ray Lawry moves into the Top 10 of Virginia players to watch this season, as ODU has moved up to FBS play, and while they are not ready to beat UVA and Virginia Tech they are making it harder for those schools to get players to leave ODU’s region of Hampton Roads, which has produced players back to Lawrence Taylor and Michael Vick.
“ODU has made a strong and seemless entrance into FBS play—posting a respectable record and placing a handful of players in the NFL in recent years,” says Muzio, a football recruiting and draft expert. “Located in one of the state’s most fertile recruiting areas, the Monarchs two highest rated recruits last cycle were from the state, and, particularly as Virginia’s recruiting has seen a boost of late, Virginia Tech seems to be losing some oxygen.”
Lawry may not be the best athlete at ODU, however, as Jennie Simms follows in a proud women’s basketball tradition that in the 1970s offered the first women’s athletic scholarships in Virginia and then went 72-2 behind Nancy Lieberman for back-to-back titles.
There is plenty of good competition at Old Dominion, George Mason, James Madison, Richmond, VCU, Virginia (UVa), Virginia Tech, and William & Mary.
- Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia, Basket, PG
- Anthony Gill, Virginia, Basket, PF
- Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech, Football, CB
- Shevon Thompson, George Mason, Basket, C
- Jennie Simms, Old Dominion, Basket,
- Quin Blanding, Virginia, Football, S
- Terry Tarpey, William & Mary, Basket, PG
- Ray Lawry, Old Dominion, Football, RB
- Meghan McGovern, William and Mary, Track/Field, 5,000m RunMen
- Megan Reid, Virginia, Soccer, Defender
- Trey Freeman, Old Dominion, Basket, PG
- Madi Conyers, Virginia Tech, Soccer, Midfielder
- Kathleen Stewart, James Madison, Track/Field, 5,000m RunMen
- Terry Allen, Richmond, Basket, PF
- Daniel Pinero, Virginia, Baseball, SS
- Olivia Hazelrigg, Virginia, Soccer, Defender
- Derek Trott, William and Mary, Track/Field, JavelinMen
- Mo Alie-Cox, Virginia Commonwealth, Basket, PF
- Saige Jenco, VirginiaTech, Baseball, OF
- Peyton Chaney, Virginia, Track/Field, 200m DashMen
- Dadi Nicolas, Virginia Tech Hokies, Foot, DE
- Tyrone Outlaw, Virginia Tech, Basket, SG
- Adam Haseley, Virginia, Baseball, OF
- Pavin Smith, Virginia, Baseball, 1B
- Shanel Burr, Virginia Tech, Track/Field, 110m High HurdlesMen
Others Receiving Votes (alphabetical)
RaShid Gaston, Norfolk St., Basket, C
Taylor Frenia, William and Mary, Track/Field, Shot PutMen