When teams become powerhouses in college football, they are measured in two things: championships and NFL players.
Virginia Tech is a program that has seen a great deal of success in the last decade and while it may not have any BCS titles to show for it, it certainly does have a few guys in the NFL you might have heard of.
Mike Vick? Brandon Flowers? How about DeAngelo Hall?
The 2010 Hokies may have started off terrible, but this is arguably the most talent the Hokies have ever had on one team -- especially on offense.
Here is a list of 10 players (not in order) that you can expect to see in the NFL in the next two or three years.
2010: 2521 yds passing (60.6%), 637 yards rushing, 28 total TD
Career: 6795 yds passing (57.4%), 2174 yds rushing, 66 total TD
Tyrod is arguably the best player to ever wear a Tech uniform.
He led the Hokies to three ACC titles in four seasons and has broken just about every record a quarterback can break.
Through his four years, he has developed from an athlete that plays quarterback, to an athletic quarterback. It might not seem like much of a difference, but the transformation has made a big difference.
the 2010 ACC Offensive Player of the Year is graduating after the Orange Bowl and although he was wildly successful in college, he won't see that same success in the pros.
At 6'1," he's too short to be quarterback at the pro level and although he's made great strides in the last two seasons, his accuracy and ability to read defenses isn't where it would need to be.
Taylor could very well get drafted in the sixth or seventh round, but it will be as a receiver and I don't see that working. For a quarterback, he is very fast, but compared to NFL receivers, not so much.
2010: 473 rush yds (4.5 ypc), 10 rec for 109 yds, 10 total TD
Career: 2128 rush yds (5.3 ypc) for 30 TD
Williams is another guy that you could see leave school early and decide to play on Sundays.
After a record setting 2009 season, it seemed a forgone conclusion that the Hokies would only have Williams for another season. When ESPN projected him to be a first-round pick before the season started, most fans decided to just enjoy him while they could.
Five months later, Hokies fans have been given some hope that Williams will want to stay another year because of a tough season.
Due to a nagging hamstring injury and a mediocre offensive line, Williams struggled to do much of anything. let alone come close to his 2009 numbers.
Williams future is brighter than just about everyone else on this list combined. He is the perfect combination of Darren Evans’ strength and David Wilson’s speed. He cuts exceptionally well and has excellent vision when it comes to spotting lanes to run through.
Whenever he does go pro, NFL beware.
2010: 37 tackles, 8 Ints (110 return yds), 15 pass deflections; 19 punts returned for 239 yds, TD
Off the field, Hosley doesn’t exactly look like the formidable defender that his statistics show.
At 5’11,” 170 pounds, Hosley will need to put on some weight to avoid being injury-prone during a 16 game season, but other than that, Hosley will almost certainly be the first cornerback taken in either the 2012 or 2013 draft.
As a sophomore, he is the youngest player at Tech to be All-American and his eight interceptions is tied for first in the entire nation.
Defensive backs coach Torrian Gray has called Hosley one of the purest cornerbacks he has every worked with and has already put his name up in the ranks with Brandon Flowers and DeAngelo Hall.
2010: 817 rush yds (5.9ypc), 9 rec for 100 yds, 11 total TD
Career: 2082 rush yds (4.9 ypc) 22 TD
Evans technically has one more year of eligibility, but the people I’ve talked to have said he is all but gone.
The biggest thing that will push him to the NFL is the fact that he has a child and a family to provide for. He could be drafted anywhere from the third round to the fifth or sixth, so leaving Tech a year early makes more sense than staying – especially with Ryan Williams and David Wilson in the backfield too.
NFL teams could easily find a place for Evans, who is the definition of a bruiser. Despite having a very questionable offensive line, Evans averaged a full yard more per carry than his career average.
His stats got better as he has gotten back to himself following an ACL tear in the summer of 2009 and he will be an excellent guy to give this ball in third-and-short situations
2010: 48 rec for 763 yds, 6 TD
Career: 118 rec for 2039 yds (17.3ypc), 13TD
Perhaps no player benefit-ted from Tyrod Taylor’s emergence as a quarterback more than Boykin.
Boykin went from just 441 yards as a freshman, to 835 and 763 in his sophomore and junior years.
Now a junior, Boykin has become Taylor’s favorite target and he has definitely caught the eye of pro scouts.
His big frame (6’2” 215 pound) makes him a big target for quarterbacks at any level and his hands are some of the biggest you’ll ever see. Seriously, my hand feels small enough to be a monopoly piece when I shake his hand.
When he graduates next season, I can see him being as high as a second-round pick. Guys like Eddie Royal, Josh Morgan and David Clowney have come from Tech to be solid NFL receivers and none of them had the success Boykin has had.
2010: 35 tackles, 4 ints (87 return yds and TD), 11 pass deflections
Career: 110 tackles (6.5 for loss), 10 ints (2TD), 26 pass deflections
Kam Chancellor, Macho Harris, Brandon Flowers, Aaron Rouse, Jimmy Williams, Eric Green, Vincent Fuller and DeAngelo Hall.
How is that for name-dropping?
All eight of those players were drafted in the first five rounds of the NFL Draft within the last six years and those are just the ones who played in the secondary.
You can count on Carmichael’s name being on that list come April.
Carmichael has been boundary corner for the last two years and has been responsible for going one-on-one against the opposing team’s best receiver.
Just on pedigree alone Carmichael will be drafted somewhere in the first five rounds. Bud Foster is one of the best defensive minds in college football and over the last decade, he has specialized in producing stars in the secondary.
Which leads us to our next guy…
2010: 45 tackles, 9 pass deflections, 1 forced fumble
Considering he is only a freshman, this might be jumping the gun a little bit. However, like I said earlier, if you start in the secondary for a Bud Foster defense, your chances of being drafted are very high.
Exum might not have been number one on the depth chart, but the fact that Foster trusted him enough to start five games this season because of injuries shows the talent Exum has.
Despite not being a starter for the majority of the season, Exum is sixth on the team with 45 tackles, and leads the team with 9 pass break-ups.
NFL scouts will like to see him go more for the sure tackle more and less for the kill shot, but there is no doubt he is already in the back of many scouts’ heads.
2010: 20 field goals on 21 attempts (made last 20), 7/7 from 40+
If the only Tech game you watched all season was the one against Boise State, this will seem like a joke to you.
Hazley’s first kick went so wide right that everyone at FedEx Field wasn’t sure if he was aiming for the posts at all.
After that rough start, Hazley has made sure that it has been forgotten. How did he do that? He hasn’t missed since.
Hazley has made 20 straight field goals, a school record, and has been a sure thing for Frank Beamer.
It’s not like his streak has been made up of chip-shots either. Hazley’s streak has seven field goals of 40 yards or longer and has a long of 52.
Considering most of his games have been in windy Blacksburg, he will certainly find an NFL team that wants him.
2010: 616 rush yds (5.5ypc), 13 rec for 207 yds, 20 kick returns for 530yds (26.5avg), 10 total TD
If Brian Stinespring was a more creative mind, we could very well be talking about Wilson as we did with Reggie Bush and Percy Harvin.
Wilson has the best 40 time on the team and already hold the running back record for power clean as a sophomore. He also is the reigning ACC champion in triple-jump.
Need more convincing that he is a freak of an athlete? During his freshman year, Wilson actually caught a rabbit with his bare hands!
Tech has had trouble incorporating Wilson into the offense because of Williams and Evans needing carries as well.
He isn’t a pure running back like Williams is, but his speed can’t be ignored.
At the pro level, Wilson could be turned into a Harvin-type player that is excellent in the slot and can get a few carries on a reverse play.
He is also a dynamic kick returner that can create momentum or even win games when returning kicks (look at his game-winning kick return to beat Georgia Tech with two minutes left).
Unlike Williams or Evans, Wilson is not eligible to go pro this season, so the Hokies have him for at least one more year.
Assuming at least one of the other backs goes pro, Wilson should be able to get more carries next year.
2010: 84 tackles (15.5 for loss), 6 sacks, 4 pass deflections
Taylor took over after Barquell Rivers injury left the ILB spot open for the taking and has slowly grown into a solid defender.
Just like the other newbies on the defense, Taylor struggled with tackling in the first few weeks of the season and was a big problem in the Hokies 0-2 start.
However, he became more comfortable with his spot in the center of the defense as the season went on and has grown into a solid defensive player.
He leads the defense in tackles, 84, and tackles for loss, 15.5, and is also second in sacks with 6.
Taylor has two more years of eligibility left, so he has plenty of time with Bud Foster to fix his problems.
It is too early to guess whether he will be a solid player in the NFL, but he is on the right track.
2010: 64 tackles (15 for loss), 8.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
In his final year of eligibility, Friday finally earned the starting position at defensive end and has made the most of it.
Friday is fifth on the team in tackles and is the leader in sacks with 8.5. He is one of three guys to force two fumbles this season, and has really progressed as the season has gone along.
At 6’4,” 250 pounds, Friday definitely has a big enough body to play on Sundays and considering the success Jason Worilds had this season in Pittsburgh, Friday will have his shot soon enough.
If you liked what you see, follow me on Twitter @Caffscorner. As a sports reporter for the Collegiate Times, the Virginia Tech newspaper, I mainly cover Hokies sports and the Baltimore Orioles, but I write national news as well.