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Britt Looking To Go From Zero To Hero For Monarchs

The numbers people talked about when linebacker Malcolm Britt was the senior leader of Oscar Smith’s defense? A 13-2 record and a state final.

The numbers people talk about now that Britt is in his first season with Old Dominion? Zero. As in the number he'll become the first Old Dominion football player to ever wear.

A mere two weeks after hiring Ricky Rahne as the newest Old Dominion head coach, the Monarchs landed their biggest local commit to date in Britt, and now as a new season approaches, Britt is ready to hit the field.

A three-star linebacker coming out of nearby Oscar Smith, Britt had his choice of schools, including the likes of Army, Navy, Liberty, and a host of others, but on December 18th, 2019, Britt put pen to paper and made his commitment to Old Dominion official by signing his letter of intent. He was the 6A defensive player of the year, earned All-Tidewater honors, and was ranked as the No. 10 player in Hampton Roads by the Virginian Pilot. 

Now, after almost 18 months and a canceled season due to COVID, it’s time for Britt to shine.

“It’s a great experience being able to be on the field again,” Britt said. “It’s everything you dreamed of from high school coming to college, now we finally get to experience that this year. It’s exciting to look forward to.”

Coming out of Oscar Smith, Britt was at that time the 18th best recruit to sign with ODU, according to 247 Sports. Since that moment, the work ODU has done in the Commonwealth, and in the 757 has been nothing short of remarkable.

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UNC Game Will Be Excellent Test For Virginia Tech Secondary

For Virginia Tech’s secondary, Sept. 3rd's game with North Carolina is more than just a chance to start the season on a winning note.

It’s also a chance to shut down one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.

North Carolina’s Sam Howell is really good, but you didn’t need me to tell you that. His 68-14 career touchdown-to-interception ratio is also really good, but you probably didn't need me to tell you that either.

What might be of interest, however, is that while Howell is a great college quarterback, the weapons around him aren’t what they used to be.

Of Carolina’s top five receivers from 2020, four of them are no longer suiting up for the Tar Heels. Carolina’s leading returning receiver, Khafre Brown, caught just 15 passes last season. Beau Corrales and Garrett Walston are also back, but neither played a large role in the Tar Heel offense in 2020.

So, while Sam Howell’s mettle has been tested, those around him are far less proven. Thus, Virginia Tech’s defensive backs are presented with maybe their best opportunity of the season.

The talent is there, at least in the starting lineup. Jermaine Waller seems to have put his injury issues behind him and will anchor the unit opposite of 2020 Freshman All-American Dorian Strong. Waller was one of the best cornerbacks in the country two years ago and pairing him with a seasoned Strong gives the Hokies one of the better cornerback duos in the nation.

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After An 18 Month Wait, James Is Ready To Play For ODU

It's been 18 months since LaMareon James signed his letter of intent to play for Old Dominion.

A lot has happened since.

One of the most athletic high school football players in recent memory in the area, the former Indian River 3-star cornerback is finally going to show off his talents on Sept. 11,  when ODU plays its first home game since November of 2019. He'll be joined by a number of highly-ranked players from the Commonwealth, as his signing set off what some may even call a paradigm shift in recruiting within the state. A plethora of highly-sought after talent has followed since James decided to pick the Monarchs.

“It feels good to know that I started something big,” James said. “I’m from Norfolk, so knowing that the whole city is behind me, that's a big blessing for me. Ever since I was little it has been like this. Knowing I can play in front of my hometown is big for me.”

The hype around James ever since youth football resembles a hurricane, and landfall will be coming at the home opener. Ever since he first put pads on, people have thought James was a special talent. He was ranked as the No. 3 recruit in Hampton Roads by the Virginian Pilot, was a two-time first-team All-Tidewater selection and was named first-team All-Region his senior year. Rivals rated him the No. 7 recruit in the state, and as a senior caught 24 passes for 681 yards, rushed for 475 yards and 10 touchdowns, plus recorded 5 interceptions and returned two for touchdowns on defense.

That hype could form pressure, but for James, he embraces it.

“I don't look at it as pressure, I’m the type of person who likes that," James said. "I like pressure and I like showing it out in front of people. I have a lot of people who have been doubting me since I was little so it doesn't pressure me, it makes me go harder in the game and show out for my hometown.”

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Nationals Promote Patrick Murphy, Cade Cavalli and Others

Highly-touted prospect Cade Cavalli is officially one step away from the big leagues.

Tuesday morning it was announced that the big right-hander, along with lefty Seth Romero, had been promoted to Triple-A Rochester.

Various other promotions were announced throughout the day, including a big league call-up for right-hander Patrick Murphy.

You may be asking yourself what the point of a minor league promotion is so late in the season. Most years, the minor league regular season concludes at the end of August or beginning of September. This year, however, it extends until September 19 as the minor league season didn’t begin until May, so the late finish partially compensates for it.

Nevertheless, numerous key prospects will be playing at new levels in the organization for approximately the next month. Here are the specific players who earned promotions:

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We All May Have Jumped The Gun On Comcast, ACCN

For a brief hour or two last night, ACC fans weren’t in Iowa. They actually WERE in heaven.

Thanks to the word being spread throughout social media, the biggest block of ACC fans who have not been able to watch the ACC Network – those who have Comcast/Infinity as their cable provider – were ecstatic after turning their televisions to an obscure channel and seeing the network in their homes.

Last night if you went to Channel 1322 on your Comcast guide, all you saw was a channel that said SEC Network, and all of the blocks of programming said “OFF.” But if you pressed on it any way, you got the three pulsating buttons you normally see while the cable box is searching, and after about 45 seconds, you saw the ACC Network.

The programming that was on was routine and boring, but that wasn’t the point. After two years of Comcast refusing to carry the ACCN, the channel at least was now coming into homes like mine in Ashburn without having to stream it on an app with a friend’s log-in. The long struggle to be like other neighbors with Cox, Verizon, Dish Network, DirecTV, etc. seemed to be over.

“Seemed” being the key word.

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The New Washington Nationals Are Not Disappointing

It's been just a little over three weeks since many Nationals fans had their hearts broken, as Mike Rizzo tried to sell fans on the idea that starting over was best for the organization.

Since sending many of their top veterans at the Trade Deadline to other teams, Washington has lost 14 of its 20 games. But despite that losing record, many of the team’s top young assets – including some of whom were acquired at the deadline – have made great impressions.

Plenty of Gray Area On The Mound

No one in their right mind will try to convince anyone that the Nationals’ starting pitching has been good this year. Prior to the deadline, the trio of Patrick Corbin, Jon Lester and Erick Fedde were among the five worst starting pitchers in the National League, in terms of ERA. Addition by subtraction is typically a convenient myth, but could it actually be true in this case?

The success of Josiah Gray has been often chronicled. In his first four starts since leaving the Dodgers, the 23-year-old right-hander is sporting a 2.86 ERA with as many strikeouts as innings pitched (22), compared to only five walks. His batting average against is .225 (17 points better than the league-wide rate), and he’s lasted six innings in each of his last two starts.

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Fans Who Gave Up Are Missing Mullins' Magical Season

As the Baltimore Orioles continue to lose an unholy number of baseball games, I find it more and more difficult to follow the team.

I gave up on watching the team on a nightly basis a while ago. I simply can’t handle the constant losing. And it’s a shame really, because those who are watching on a regular basis are witnessing one of the greatest seasons in Orioles history by Cedric Mullins.

The numbers don’t tell the entire story, but they sure do provide a lot of useful information. Mullins currently leads the American League in hits and leads the O’s in doubles, triples, home runs, stolen bases, batting average, slugging percentage and OPS. Mullins’ fWAR is 4.7, which is fifth-best in the entirety of Major League Baseball.

Mullins’ ability to produce like this while being stuck in the middle of one of the worst baseball teams in this century make his feat more impressive. Mullins has played in 117 of the Orioles’ 120 games so far and has stayed as steady as possible while the team limps to the finish line in September.

Consider this — after his incredible start to the season in April, Mullins slumped mightily in May. He rebounded with an OPS of 1.172 in June and over the last two months, his OPS has remained over .800. Despite the team floundering around him on a nightly basis, Mullins continues to perform.

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This Is The Season For Dax Hollifield To Realize His Potential

Readers of DullesDistrict.com will remember the end of the 2018 recruiting cycle, when Dax Hollifield was on the fence about where he was going to play football.

Despite his affection for Stanford and affinity for North Carolina and South Carolina, nothing outweighed Hollifield’s love for Bud Foster and Virginia Tech. As a four-star prospect, I was thrilled to see him signing up to play in the maroon and orange.

But as Hollifield enters his fourth season in the program, we haven’t quite seen that caliber of player just yet.

If it’s ever going to happen, this is the season.

Hollifield was the victim of the hype that surrounded him, as well as poor depth at both linebacker positions. He and Rayshard Ashby were in their first and second seasons respectively, and were already the best linebackers on the roster.

While Hollifield has always been better suited to play mike, or middle linebacker, he was a better option as an outside linebacker than Ashby. And so started Hollifield’s career of playing out of position.

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Old Dominion Football Notebook: Are You Sore? Or Injured?

With only a few open practices left before Old Dominion plays Wake Forest, storylines are popping up all over the place for the Monarchs, and multiple guys are showing why they deserve playing time.

After the two most recent sessions, it’s time to sit down and evaluate what has happened on the field and prognosticate a bit:

Being Sore Vs. Injured

Toward the end of Monday’s session, head coach Ricky Rahne told his players there is a difference between being “sore” and being “injured”. In a sport as physical as football, that line can often be a gray area.

“Football is a game of toughness,” Rahne remarked. “Quite frankly all sports are nowadays with the amount of physical prowess with the people that are out there. So there are going to be days when you are sore and muscles are going to ache, but there is a big difference being injured where you physically can’t perform.”

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Now We Know: Radford Reunites With Buzz At Texas A&M

Well, that didn’t take long.

Less than 48 hours after having all his legal issues settled in a Montgomery County court room, Tyrece Radford officially said goodbye to Virginia Tech’s basketball team, announcing on his Twitter account he was going to reunite with the man who recruited him to Blacksburg – Buzz Williams – at Texas A&M.

“I want to say Thank You to Virginia Tech for allowing me to be a part of this family. I am extremely grateful for my time here. Thank you to the coaching staff, my teammates, my advisor Alise and the entire Hokie Nation!” Radford said in a graphic that included him already in a Texas A&M uniform.

“I am proud to be a member of this community and to have earned my degree while in Blacksburg. After discussions with my family and closest mentors, I have decided to continue pursuing my dreams by transferring to Texas A&M and finishing what I started 3 years ago. Go Hokies & Go Aggies!”

As mentioned in this story from yesterday, it has been speculated for some time that Radford had made contingency plans pending what happened in Monday’s hearing. Some thought it was a distinct possibility he might have all charges dropped for probation violations stemming from an early February DUI conviction, but others were not so sure if the University’s judicial system would still allow him to play.

Now seeing Radford going to Texas A&M would seem to confirm that, because it’s doubtful after Monday’s hearing that he got a call from Williams Monday night, got photographed in a Texas A&M uniform Tuesday, and tweeted it out today. It would seem to have been in the works for some time.

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Recent comment in this post
Doug Johnson

Excellent Job!

You really did a terrific job staying on this story, picking up on obscure facts and connecting the dots, as you said. It was a g... Read More
Wednesday, 18 August 2021 20:10
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It's Time To Concede Tyrece Radford Isn't Coming Back

I think it’s time to concede that Tyrece Radford is not coming back to play basketball at Virginia Tech.

There’s certainly nothing official to confirm that, but there’s 8 seconds left in overtime and the odds are certainly pointing in a negative direction. Yesterday, Radford appeared in court, and as this rather thorough story by Mark Berman of the Roanoke Times points out, all of his legal issues were dismissed.

But there is much more to the story than that, as it looked to me as if Radford has already decided to put Blacksburg in his rear-view mirror. As previously written about in this story and a follow-up here, Radford’s issues involve alcohol, and his latest problems involve a positive reading on an ignition interlock device while he was already on probation.

He had been suspended for these issues from playing for Virginia Tech for several weeks back in early February before a deal for probation was reached in both court and the Virginia Tech student judicial system, which allowed him to come back and finish the season. His latest troubles center around a May 3rd positive reading on the device, and Berman’s story notes that during Monday’s hearing there was also a second positive reading on July 3rd, which would be two violations of his probation agreement.

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Ricky LaBlue

Ricky LaBlue

A longtime sports fanatic, Ricky is now channeling that passion into the world of sports media. Meet Ricky LaBlue.

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