Monday Mail: Robinson Commits, Tech’s First National Title and the Third-Best Hokie

Class of 2019 athlete Tayvion Robinson announced his commitment to Virginia Tech on Sunday. (Graphic via @RobinsonTayvion on Twitter)

Alright folks, it’s Monday. Yes, that means you have to go back to work, but it also means you get to ready my Monday Mail. Not a fair trade, but it’s all I’ve got for you.

Before we get into the mail, Virginia Tech earned a commitment on Sunday from Tayvion Robinson. The 5-foot-10 and 165-pound athlete from Virginia Beach, Va. is rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals and as a three-star prospect by 247Sports and ESPN. Robinson is the 11th member of Virginia Tech’s 2019 class and is the fifth Tech commit from Virginia.

Robinson isn’t a headliner for the class, but the coaching staff is ecstatic about him. He’s a great fit for Virginia Tech’s offense and several Power 5 programs had their eye on Robinson. This is a solid pickup for Virginia Tech and it’s a continuing of the Hokies’ recent recruiting boost.

Now, let’s dive into this week’s Monday Mail.

I addressed this not too long ago, but I think this rule change is being overlooked. This is a monumental change for college football and it will alter how coaches recruit and manage their teams.

The best way to utilize this change seems to be getting freshmen playing time in situations when the game’s result is no longer in question. Up four scores vs. Old Dominion early in the season? Play some of the freshmen who might not be ready to contribute vs. the ACC. Dealing with a group of beat up running backs and trying to run the clock out? No worries, just insert Caleb Steward or Cole Beck for a series.

The change will also allow coaches to replenish their special teams ranks late in the season, as guys get dinged up more and more. Instead of trotting guys out there who need a break, throw in some of the freshmen who are healthy and need game experience.

All in all, this is a terrific rule change. It helps coaches play more guys while also making freshmen feel like they’re making an impact early in their careers.

This question is being asked more and more as Buzz Williams elevates the Virginia Tech men’s basketball program. I think the true answer might be another sport at Virginia Tech, but I’ll stick to this specific question.

There’s an argument to be made on both sides. On one hand, the same 10-15 football teams win the national title every season and unless you’re in that group, your chances are slim to none of winning.

On the other hand, the men’s basketball tournament is such a crapshoot that even if you’re a good team, the chances are you being upset in the early rounds are higher than ever. (See: UMBC vs. Virginia)

But for as much perceived parity as there is in college basketball, the same few teams win the national title each season. Here’s a list of the last 10 NCAA Tournament winners…

2018: Villanova

2017: North Carolina

2016: Villanova

2015: Duke

2014: Connecticut

2013: Louisville

2012: Kentucky

2011: Connecticut

2010: Duke

2009: North Carolina

See any non-blueblood programs there? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

I still believe Virginia Tech football has a greater chance of winning a national title before Virginia Tech men’s basketball. The program recruits better and has a better coaching staff that’s more likely to stick around. If Virginia Tech can catch Clemson and Miami on a down year, it’s realistic that a College Football Playoff berth is possible.

I’ll be shocked if Rayshard Ashby and Dylan Rivers aren’t starting at linebacker vs. Florida State. Rivers has been the heir apparent to Tremaine Edmunds since he signed as a member of the Class of 2017. He’s a former four-star prospect and came into his own this spring.

Ashby will be the starting mike linebacker by default. There simply isn’t anyone who’s ready to challenge him yet. Rico Kearney redshirted last season and Dax Hollifield just arrived on campus this month. Bud Foster doesn’t start true freshmen at linebacker and for good reason. Willie Taggart is a brilliant offensive mind and will surely have some tricks up his sleeve on Sept. 3. Those tricks are more likely to work against a guy making his career debut.

This is an interesting question. I’m a pretty young guy, so forgive me if I undervalue some of the older Hokies.

For me, this is a two-man discussion between Corey Moore and Tyrod Taylor. Both were legendary and transformative players that helped lead their teams to great achievements.

Moore was the linchpin in Virginia Tech’s 1999 defense, winning both the Lombardi Award and the Nagurski Trophy. Moore was named an All-American and won consecutive Big East Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1998 and 1999.

Moore was the heart and soul of that defense and gave quite the entertaining interview at the National Championship Game is New Orleans. Spoiler — he doesn’t like it all that much.

Taylor would be the most dynamic player in Virginia Tech history if it weren’t for Michael Vick. Taylor’s numbers are better in every imaginable way, but much of that is due to modern offenses. Taylor was exciting to watch in his four years in Blacksburg and though Virginia Tech couldn’t get over the ump while he was there, Tech fans will be forever thankful.

I think Moore has a slight edge here. Moore was arguably the best defensive player in the country as a senior and pushed Virginia Tech towards a National Championship Game appearance. Moore’s jersey is already retired and if Tech is smart, Taylor’s jersey will be retired in the near future.

As for Bruce Smith and Michael Vick, Vick is No. 1. Bruce Smith turned into the better NFL player, but Vick was the best and most consequential Virginia Tech player of all time.

2 thoughts on “Monday Mail: Robinson Commits, Tech’s First National Title and the Third-Best Hokie”

  1. I think you are spot on in this article. We’ve had a really good bunch of players in last two decades, but the four mentioned are heads above the rest. Keep up the good work.

  2. What about QB Don Strock from the early 70’s as third best hokie football player? He went into the pros and had a long playing career.

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