Last spring Virginia Tech’s new wide receivers coach, Aaron Moorehead, was in search of a viable target for quarterback Logan Thomas.
After losing two key wide receivers to the NFL this past year in Corey Fuller and Marcus Davis, the Hokies are looking to the less experienced receivers who have the potential to fill the shoes of their predecessors.
Redshirt sophomore Demitri Knowles came to Tech as a wide receiver gifted with great speed and known in high school for having the ability to burn deep. He hopes to be able to extend opponent’s defenses at the college level as well.
"Being called a depth threat, it help all the DBs to know and they kind of respect the speed, so it allows for me to get shorter routes,” Knowles said. “It helps me play with them a little bit, whether I'm going to go long or short.”
With such high expectations, Knowles knows that the stakes are high.
“Honestly, I feel that this year should be a break-out year for me,” he said. “They are looking for me to be a big playmaker with this team and I'm hoping I can do that for them.”
Another option at the wide receiver spot is redshirt freshman Charley Meyer. Despite impressing numerous coaches in the preseason last year, coaching staff decided to let him sit out a year to let him develop his skills at the position.
As the season quickly approaches, Meyer is very confident in what the Hokies have to offer on the offensive side of the ball.
“Guys are flying around, everything is coming together. We’re really excited on the offensive side of the ball this season,” Meyer said. “We’ve got a lot to prove, but I think we’ll back it up.”
Another redshirt freshman, Josh Stanford, caught one pass for six yards in his collegiate debut before he experienced a devastating knee injury that left him out for the rest of the 2012 season.
Despite the setback, Stanford doesn’t feel the pressure as the days wind down to determine who will be the main receiver for the Hokies.
“It’s not intimidating. I just try to get better every day,” Stanford said. “There’s enough work in the day to worry about itself, so I try to take everyday one step at a time and progress more than the day before. And those days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turn into seasons.”
After sustaining a knee injury in 2011 and failing to come back in the 2012 season, a redshirt senior, D.J. Coles, is looking to make an impact for Hokies in his senior season. Coles has been improving his game recently, including in the preseason’s final scrimmage in which he was one of very few players to earn post-game praise from head coach Frank Beamer.
With less than a week to go, it is unclear who will exactly be starting at the receiver positions, but whoever it may be will have a lot to prove in the season opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday at the Georgia Dome.