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December 25, 2012

What We're Thankful For

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Christmas day is here! But while we're opening our presents like you, we've also taken time to give thanks.

It's been a very successful year at HokieHaven.com, which continues to grow even stronger thanks to the Rivals.com network and an incredible group of subscribers. Our staff reflects on the things with the site and Virginia Tech athletics that give cause for thanks today.


Jason Stamm, publisher

I try to be thankful for what I have every day, but especially this time of year, it's nice to reflect on everything. First, I'm thankful to be the publisher of a website that has such a wonderful community. It's been great getting to know each of you and pouring my efforts into delivering you the best content for Virginia Tech sports. I'm thankful to have such great writers and people in general, like Mike Stancik and Doug Bowman, who each bring so much to this site.I'm also thankful to be in such a great place as Blacksburg, with people that have welcomed my fiancée, Jenny and I with open arms from the very beginning.

At Virginia Tech, the Hokies should be thankful for the Fullers, who have seen three of their own, Vincent, Corey and Kyle be integral parts of the football team. The best might be yet to come next season with the nation's top cornerback in the class of 2013, Kendall Fuller.

Virginia Tech should also be thankful for a coaching staff that continues to bring in a pipeline of talent recruiting, like the Fullers, with assistant coaches like Shane Beamer, Charley Wiles, Bud Foster, Torrian Gray and Bryan Stinespring. There's always work to be done and revisions to be made in an ever-evolving recruiting cycle, but there's no void of talent, with players like Kendall Fuller, Wyatt Teller, Holland Fisher and Bucky Hodges set to be Hokies.

And while senior guard Erick Green is blossoming this season on the basketball court, don't forget the coach who saw his potential of talent, now head coach James Johnson. The future is bright for Hokies basketball.



Doug Bowman, senior writer

In relation to Virginia Tech athletics, I'm thankful for two things these days. One, I'm thankful for Erick Green. The senior point guard nearly left town after last season. Now, he's gunning to be the best Virginia Tech basketball player in recent memory. He might be better than Ace Custis.

Green's made this team worth something so far and that's saying more than anyone could expect. A poor basketball season, a poor basketball start, would have been miserable coming off the debacle of a football season.

Instead, he has given something for the campus to buzz about. That buzz that engulfs the campus leading up to the Thursday night game each year? It was there again before the Oklahoma State game. As soon as the buzzer sounded on that one, Mark Giannotto, while putting away his laptop, says, "Well, that was a fun one." And he's right. Will the Hokies be successful in ACC play this year? Probably not. But has Green made this team worth following? Absolutely.

Secondly, I'm thankful for the new scoreboards coming in. Holy smokes the current ones are bad. Looking up in Cassell Coliseum and squinting is never a good thing. I'm super intrigued to see what gets put in over the summer, but any upgrade is a big upgrade in this regard. I don't expect it to be a massive, shiny new one as Jim Weaver is smart enough to release expansion may be needed down the road, but I do suspect a start improvement.


Mike Stancik, staff writer


This isn't about the fact that I've been one of Exum's most outspoken supporters of his cornerback play since Day 1. It's not really about praising Exum for being a second-team All-ACCer this season, or an SI.com honorable mention All-American. It has nothing to do with his statistics, which show 47 tackles, four interceptions, 34 passes either broken up or defended, and three total forced fumbles/recoveries.

I'm thankful most for junior cornerback Antone Exum this year because of the person he is.

During the Hokies spending spree at Best Buy on Christmas Eve (each player received a $470 gift card), many players elected to spend their money on video game consoles, headphones, and other various Christmas wishes. And if we're being honest during the holidays, I would have done the same thing.

But Exum chose to spend his entire gift card on three children that he met. In the store. The picture is up on his Twitter for all of those that would like to see. What a selfless act by a person that very well may be an NFL role model for kids someday. Swag, indeed. Did I mention that even though Exum has received draft interest, he has been adamant that he will be coming back for his senior campaign?


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