Virginia Tech Football: Predicting Hokies' Stat Leaders for 2012 Season

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Virginia Tech Football: Predicting Hokies' Stat Leaders for 2012 Season
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Following an 11-3 season and disappointing back-to-back losses in the ACC Championship Game and Sugar Bowl, Frank Beamer's Virginia Tech Hokies are poised to have a bounce-back year in the ACC.

Ranked No. 20 in the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll, Virginia Tech is led by talented quarterback Logan Thomas and a defense that will be one of the nation's elite this season.

Despite losing a number of key players to the NFL this offseason, here is a look at who will be leading the Hokies in each statistic in 2012.

 

Passing

As a sophomore in 2011, Logan Thomas had a breakout season by throwing for 3,013 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Thomas enters 2012 as one of the most exciting college football players to watch, and he is certainly a Heisman candidate if he can improve on last year's numbers.

At 6'6", 262 lbs., Thomas has drawn many comparisons to 2011 No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton due to his size and athleticism.

In May, Mel Kiper Jr. released his first 2013 NFL draft Big Board (subscription required), and Thomas was ranked as the No. 4 prospect in all of college football.

The Virginia Tech offense is going to live and die with the arm of Logan Thomas, and how well he progresses as a passer will determine how successful the Hokies are scoring the football.

 

Rushing

Virginia Tech will have a hard time replacing 2012 first-round pick David Wilson at running back, and there are a number of running backs vying for the job.

With that being said, redshirt freshman Michael Holmes appears to be coach Frank Beamer's top option to start at running back as of right now.

Holmes had the talent to be the second-string back behind Wilson last season, but Beamer believed redshirting was the best choice for the youngster from Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Logan Thomas will also be up there in the team leaders in rushing because of his ability to create plays with his legs.

Incoming freshman J.C. Coleman should also see some carries, but expect Michael Holmes to carry the running attack in 2012.

 

Receiving

The Hokies lost top receivers Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin to graduation and the NFL, but they should have enough depth at the position to keep Logan Thomas happy.

Marcus Davis and DJ Coles are the top returning receivers, although Coles has been slow to come back from a knee injury and he could miss the start of training camp.

Regardless of Coles' situation, Davis expects to be the No. 1 receiver for Logan Thomas and Virginia Tech this fall.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After catching 30 passes for 510 yards and tying the team lead with five touchdown receptions in 2011, Davis is poised to have a big year and was placed on the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award.

With a top quarterback like Logan Thomas throwing him the ball, Marcus Davis could have a huge season for Frank Beamer and the Hokies.

 

Sacks

Virginia Tech possesses one of the most talented defenses in all of college football, and leading that stout defense is junior defensive end James Gayle.

Named to the Henricks Award watch list for 2012, Gayle was phenomenal last season leading the team with seven sacks.

A freakish athlete, the 6'4", 260 lb. Gayle ran a 4.44 second 40-yard dash and recorded a 39.5 inch vertical leap in the spring, according to Mark Giannotto of the Washington Post.

When you're watching Virginia Tech football this fall, make sure to watch out for defensive end James Gayle, as he will be in the backfield making plays all game long.

 

Tackles

Linebacker Bruce Taylor led the Hokies in tackles two seasons ago as a sophomore but missed six games last season with a Lisfranc fracture in his right foot.

Taylor is expected to be fully healthy for Virginia Tech's opening day matchup against Georgia Tech, and if he plays a full season, there is no doubt that he will lead the team in tackles again.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

A 6'2", 254 lb. beast at linebacker, Taylor was on his way to an All-ACC season with 53 tackles and five sacks before the injury.

A healthy Bruce Taylor is big for a stout Virginia Tech defense, and the linebacker could be playing for the chance to get drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.

 

Interceptions

A 6'0", 181 lb junior, Kyle Fuller has the potential to be an All-American at cornerback for the Hokies in 2012.

The speedy corner will move into the spot occupied by Jayron Hosley, who departed for the NFL, and will look to build on the two interceptions he had last season.

With superstar younger brother Kendall Fuller on the rise as one of the best high school football prospects, it's time for Kyle to show that he is still the best Fuller playing cornerback.

 

Kicking

Virginia Tech's kicking situation seemed desperate after place kicker Cody Journell was suspended indefinitely when he was charged with felony breaking-and-entering.

Fortunately for the Hokies, Journell was reinstated to the team after serving his time and performing all the necessary actions to earn his way back to football.

Journell made the All-ACC honorable mention team last season when he completed 14-of-17 field goal attempts and all but one of his extra-point attempts.

Coach Beamer was more than generous enough to let Cody Journell back on the team, and the place kicker will be looking to show him that it was well deserved by having a productive season. 

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