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July 31, 2012

Chungs A Big Part Of Virginia Tech

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All players dream of making it to the next level. Whether it's from middle school ball to JV, high school to college, or college to pro, the desire of advancing to a better, more competitive situation is often on the mind of those who do battle on the gridiron.

For Virginia Tech recruit Kyle Chung, it has always been a dream to make his mark on each stage. Now, he plans on doing so in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while following the footsteps of a Virginia Tech legend, someone he knows very, very well.

Chung, a three-star tight end from Ponte Vedra, Fla., committed to the Hokies July 14. His father, offensive lineman Eugene Chung, was a star for Virginia Tech from 1988-92, earning All-American status and ultimately being the No. 13 pick in 1992 NFL Draft.

"I'm really excited," Kyle said. "I love Virginia Tech and it is where I want to be. Now that it's out of the way, I can focus on helping my team get to a state championship."

While going to the same school as his dad thrills both, his father is more than happy with the decision for another reason. Both of Eugene's parents were born in South Korea. Asian players or those of Asian decent are hard to come by in football.

For the Hokies, it's been prevalent with Ed Wang playing for Virginia Tech before being selected in the 2010 draft by the Buffalo Bills. Now, his younger brother David Wang is an offensive lineman for the Hokies.

"I told my son this, he is not just representing himself or his family, he is representing a whole culture, the Asian culture," Eugene said. "There weren't a lot of Asians playing college football [when I played]. It's a big responsibility."

Kyle said enjoys embracing his heritage, but he admits to not focusing much on how it relates to his football career.

"I've never thought about it and it's really never affected me," he said.

Kyle is more concerned these days with simply getting better, and he feels that he has the best tutor to do so in his dad.

"He helps me with my hands, mental toughness, route running, and different blocking techniques," said Kyle of his father, who is an assistant strength and conditioning coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. "He does the same drills with me that he does when he goes and scouts players to help me work on my footwork, hips, etc., and he watches my games online on Saturday and tells me what I did well and what I need to do better. It means a lot that he takes the time out of his day to evaluate me when he is extremely busy getting ready for [the season], and it makes me happy that he wants to help me to be the best I can be."

Eugene has laid a foundation, a guide to follow to make it one day into the pros. But, his son already has an idea of what it is all about, having spent time with the Eagles. Kyle has lifted with the team, worked with coaches and even caught some passes from former Hokie All-American Michael Vick.

"When he goes up to Philly, he is exposed to others that have had success there," Eugene said. "All the guys, Darryl [Tapp], Mike [Vick], they encourage him."

Expectations are high.

"If Kyle is anything like his dad as far as work ethic, he should be A-OK," Tapp said. "Bloodlines [are] half the battle in his case."

Eugene said he loves when his son gets to hang with the big boys, but he takes to heart being able to work alone with his son and help him improve.

"I work with him every chance I get," Eugene said. "Just knowing the strength and conditioning aspect of what is going on with the NFL, it's always been an evolving entity. He has the ability to come and train with the best trainers in the world. That is a huge advantage for him to get to know his body, physical movements, education, mobility. None of that was around when I was playing."

Now, one year away from arriving in southwest Virginia, both are counting down the days. Kyle, who was told by the coaches that they see him as a potential center/guard at the moment, credits his dad for everything that has come of his athletic career and what has yet to arrive. Kyle also plays tight end.

"He was a great player at Tech, he played in the NFL for a lot of years," Kyle said. "It is good role model to have.

"He is the one that started me playing football. He has taught me everything I know. He keeps me humble. Without him, I'd have a big head and stuff."

Now, he hopes to make his father proud.

"First accomplishment was getting an education," Eugene said. "That was the biggest, get that degree and graduate. Two, to play great college football, year in and year out.

"I have the same expectations for my son, get your education there, then becoming a starter, and so on and so forth...There is no group of coaches that I trust more...Some of the staff is still there from when I was a freshman. It just go to shows, keeping the program upfront and honest, it shows a lot of integrity. It goes a long way in making a decision...Virginia Tech is a big family. We always try to support our family.

"The Coach Beamer legacy, the mere fact that he coached me and has the opportunity to coach my son is incredible."

As for the pressure to live up to the name, according to the father, there isn't any.

"I don't think so," Eugene said. "I'm so far removed, I'm 20 years removed. There has been a slew of great players that have come out.

"I don't think there will be any pressure for him...It's a great situation for him. I look at him, I just want what's best...I wanted him to have the opportunity to play college football, especially when he has the passion that he has.

"It's an exciting time. I'm so proud of him. He has become a very fine young man."

According to coach Frank Beamer, the same rang true for the former first round draft pick and still rings true.

"He was a really good player, very talented and a guy who's big and athletic," Beamer said of Eugene. "I can still remember him coming out there on those quick screens and running like a running back out of the backfield. On the other side of it, he's just such a great person. He's a caring guy, a for real guy and a guy who meant a lot to our program."

Soon, it will be Kyle's chance to do the same.

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