Junior Mike Imoh, who led Virginia Tech in rushing last Saturday in his return to action after a three-game suspension, has been promoted to starting tailback, Coach Frank Beamer said yesterday.

"He gives us explosion, the quickness we need," Beamer said during a conference call with reporters.

Imoh (Robinson) moved from number three on the depth chart after gaining 74 yards on 14 carries during the 17-16 home loss to North Carolina State. Justin Hamilton remains the backup, with fellow junior Cedric Humes dropping from starter to number three.

Beamer said Humes "just hasn't come back full tilt" from a broken leg and ankle injury he suffered in spring practice. Beamer described Hamilton, who was moved from wide receiver after the injury to Humes, as "just very steady." Imoh has been one of the most versatile Hokies as a runner and receiver, and ranked third nationally in kickoff returns last season with a 30.5-yard average. He returned two kickoffs against N.C. State for 51 yards.

The three-game suspension came after Imoh was convicted in mid-May of three misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail and a fine of $750. He won an appeal, but pleaded no contest a day before the rescheduled retrial and was ordered to pay a $100 fine and perform 24 hours of community service.

The Hokies host sixth-ranked West Virginia on Saturday.

-- Ken Denlinger