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Virginia Tech's Isaiah Ford gets an Antonio Freeman comparison

Chuck Burton/Associated Press
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer believes freshman wide receiver Isaiah Ford has a bright future.

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer has high praise for true freshman wide receiver Isaiah Ford.

In a bit of a surprise for a team that returns two starters and another part-time starter at the position, Ford has earned a starting spot for the Hokies for Saturday's season opener against FCS opponent William & Mary.

Beamer was asked at his weekly Monday news conference to compare Ford to a previous receiver he has coached.

"Maybe an Antonio Freeman?" Beamer said. "He makes plays. He's got some height to him."

Freeman is a former Hokies standout who played for nine seasons in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles.

Beamer is especially impressed with Ford's athleticism; Ford (6-foot-1, 174 pounds) plans to walk on to Virginia Tech's basketball team when the football season ends.

"There have been a lot of football guys that wanted to play basketball, but he's the first one I ever thought that actually could play basketball, too," Beamer said. "He's just a gifted athlete, he's got a great head on his shoulders, he's smart, he keeps everything in perspective. I think he's the real deal."

Tech has lacked a true go-to receiver for much of the past decade, and has had just two players with as many as 54 catches in the past seven seasons. Yes, the Hokies are a run-oriented team, but having a receiver who demands defensive attention is a need. Ford seems unlikely to be that guy this season -- the Hokies likely will look to sophomore Joshua Stanford to be that guy this fall -- but could develop into one in the next season or two.

Ford played at small-school powerhouse Jacksonville Trinity Christian in high school and was a consensus three-star recruit. He chose Virginia Tech over Arkansas, Louisville and Florida.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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