BLACKSBURG, VA., AUG. 30 -- Although it's only a four-hour drive from Virginia Tech to the University of Maryland, when the schools' football teams play Saturday in College Park, it will mark their first meeting since the 1950 season.

For the 24 Virginia Tech players from the Baltimore-Washington area, the game will have special significance. Seven of those players form the nucleus of the Hokies backfield corps -- including several recruited by Maryland -- and they are eager to show the Terrapins their heels Saturday afternoon.

Two players who remember the recruiting battles are the Hokies' top rushers from last season, sophomores Vaughn Hebron and Tony Kennedy. Hebron, a sophomore tailback, played at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Baltimore and grew up dreaming of being a Terrapin.

"I always thought that I'd be {at Maryland} some day," Hebron said. "Then, when I got older, I started to look elsewhere. When {Maryland} recruited me, they were my first option. But when it finally came down to choosing, I went with my gut feeling and chose Tech."

Hebron, the leading rusher for the Hokies last season, even decided to cancel his recruiting trip to Maryland because it conflicted with his trip to Blacksburg.

Kennedy played at Bladensburg High School and had a similar experience when it came time to pick a college.

"Growing up, I went to a lot of Maryland games," Kennedy said. "I dreamed of playing for Bobby Ross {former Maryland head coach}. I always wanted to play for them, but it just didn't work out. Maryland just wasn't right for me and I needed to get out."

Redshirt junior John Jeffries went to DeMatha in Hyattsville, a five-minute drive from Byrd Stadium. "It's a big chance to play in front of the home crowd," Jeffries said, "and a big chance to show off in front of friends and family."

Phil Bryant, Tech's starting fullback, teamed with Jeffries in the DeMatha backfield during his junior year. The opportunity to be on the same team with Jeffries was one reason he headed south.

Another reason was Hokies running backs coach, Billy Hite, also a DeMatha alumnus.

Hite has heard his players talking about the Maryland game for weeks, and said they will have plenty of incentive to do well.

Hite thinks Virginia Tech's location -- distant, but not too distant -- helps recruit Washington area players. "When you live in a big city like that, kids often look to move out of the city," Hite said.

And several Tech coaches have connections with the Maryland program. Hokies tight ends coach Tommy Groom spent 10 years under former Terrapins coach Jerry Claiborne, and head coach Frank Beamer started his collegiate coaching career with the Terrapins as a graduate assistant.

Asked if his time at Maryland would be of any help Saturday, Beamer said: "I'll know my way around the locker rooms, but other than that I don't think it will help us out that much."