The countdown continues. Two days until fall practice opens. Aiyee. Today, I’ve got some insights from wide receiver Tyler Melton. I spoke with him a couple weeks ago, before ACC media days. Bright, funny and full of insight, he had plenty to say about the offseason work the team has put in. Without further ado:
1. Melton’s MVP for the summer: Cornerback Louis Young. “He’s so competitive. He pushes everyone around him, whether that’s workouts or runs. Then on the field, he’s got the mindset that he’s the best out there.”
2. Surprise player this fall: A-back Tony Zenon. “You haven’t really seen him, but once you see him on the field, you’ll understand. You’ll be a witness.”
Melton called him “incredibly shifty.” He’s a redshirt freshman from Albany who’s the rare in-state player out of a GISA (as opposed to GHSA) school. Melton’s not the only one who’s talking about him. Coach Paul Johnson has talked him up in the past.
“What’s that movie, ‘Shifter,’ where they disappear and go over there?” Melton asked. “That’s what he does. He’ll blink and he’s on the other side of the field. It’s crazy.”
Melton said in a 7-on-7 drill this spring, Zenon caught a pass over the middle fully extended with a safety coming down in coverage, a linebacker coming at him and possibly another defensive back trailing him. Melton said he caught the pass, hit the brakes, “jumped sideways and then just took off. It was one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever seen.”
Melton was befuddled.
“I was just like, That doesn’t make any sense. You can’t do things like that,” Melton said.
3. The de rigueur question about incoming freshman quarterback Vad Lee: “I think Vad’s going to be very good. He’s got all the intangibles that you look for in a quarterback. He’s someone who stands strong, has a presence about himself, he has all those intangible things.” He noted that Lee, like all of the incoming freshmen, have yet to take a hit, so any evaluation is incomplete, but, so far, so good.
“He’s a quick learner. He shows that he really wants to be in the forefront. He’ll take the time to watch film, do the little things that you have to do to be a great player.”
4. The difference between Tevin Washington in 2010 and 2011: “I’d say the last four, five games (of last season), he was kind of thrust into the spotlight. Now I’d say he’s ready for it. He kind of tripped into it, in that Josh got hurt and he was forced into action. Coming up through spring and going into the fall, now he knows it’s his position. It’s his job and he’s approaching it that way.”
5. On the game he’s looking forward to most: Virginia Tech, Nov. 10. Last year, trailing 21-14, on a 2nd and 1 from the Virginia Tech 16-yard line with 14 seconds left, Washington threw a jump ball to Melton on the left sideline of the end zone. The ball was a little underthrown and Hokies cornerback Rashad Carmichael intercepted the pass the play to seal the game.
“I had it in my hand,” he said. “I was able to get one hand on it so I had it like this (he demonstrates the play) in my hand. But I couldn’t bring it back up.”
That play is why he can’t wait for the Hokies to come to town.
“It’s not eating at me, because I don’t hold onto those kinds of things,” Melton said. “But I would love to make amends for it.”