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Hosley a 'Natural' Punt Returner

Ryan Williams removed himself as Virginia Tech’s punt returner because, he said, the position did not feel second nature to him. He muffed a punt on his first attempt in a 34-24 loss to Alabama in the season opener.

His replacement, Jayron Hosley, has no such problems. In the Hokies’ 52-10 win over Marshall on Saturday, Hosley returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

“It’s natural for him,” Coach Frank Beamer said. “I think it’s one of those things where it’s natural for you or not, and it’s natural for him.”

It was the second time in as many games the Hokies had scored a touchdown on special teams, a.k.a Beamer Ball at its best. Against Alabama, Dyrell Roberts scored on a 98-yard kickoff return.

Like Roberts, a prolific kickoff returner in high school, Hosley has had plenty of experience. As a senior at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Fla., Hosley scored five special teams touchdowns. Hosley said the key was awareness, “knowing whose around you and what’s coming around you.”

“I’ve been doing it in high school, and it kind of carried over here,” Hosley, a freshman, said of returning punts. “I felt confident back there. No stress. I stayed focused and made sure I fielded it. It kind of comes in naturally for me.”

He did not have to make many moves to have success against Marshall. After he received the punt, he made a few quick stutter steps and then found a seam thanks to some quality blocking. He went virtually untouched as he pulled away from the crowd. He exhibited a bit of showmanship by prancing in the end zone.

Beamer called returning punts “the hardest thing in college football.” It sure looked easy for Hosley on Saturday.

The No. 13 Hokies (1-1) take on No. 19 Nebraska (2-0) at Lane Stadium on Saturday.

By Mark Viera  |  September 14, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
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