Virginia Tech Hokies Preview
Record: 5-6 overall, 5-5 ACC
Head Coach: Justin Fuente
Offense certainly was not the problem in Blacksburg. The Hokies ran it up to the tune of 441 yards per game averaging 31 points. Boasting the best running game in the ACC, they need to shine again. 7 returning starters should help, but their top 2 rushers are now gone former Kansas transfer Khalil Herbert in the NFL and quarterback Hendon Hooker off to Tennessee. A former Oregon transfer in Braxton Burmeister should lead the offense at quarterback, what he lacks in his running ability is made for by a huge arm. Tayvion Robinson and Tre Turner combined to average 16 yards per catch and will need all of that and more this year. Tackle Christian Darrisaw is now in the NFL and trying to fill that huge void will be Luke Tenuta, he will have a great guard in 6’3 320-pound junior Lecitus Smith next to him. Former Rutger transfer Raheem Blackshear will help with depth and pass catching, but the main runner will most likely be 5-11 215-pound junior Jalen Holston who they need to have a huge year.
While the offense was very good, the defense was a polar opposite. As a unit surrendered 448 yards per game and 32 points. They exceled in taking the ball away which was a plus, and had a good pass rush. 6 starters return and the key will be consistency. Amare Barano is the go-to pass rusher and led the team with 6.5 sacks last year. He will get help from the inside as the Hokies hit the transfer portal again and claimed former Clemson Tiger Jordan Williams. Second leading tackler Rayshard Ashby is gone and that means a position change for Dax Hollifield moving from outside to inside. Two big stars are gone from the backfield Caleb Farely who was an opt out last year and Divine Deablo at safety is gone. Transfer portal again for former Vanderbilt cornerback Tae Daley should ease the loss of Farley. The teams leading tackler return at safety in Chamarri Conner.
Both kicker and punter are gone. So, an overhaul will be needed. John Parker primarily a kickoff specialist will have to take over the field goal duties, while Peter Moore will most likely secure the punting position. The return game was atrocious last year, a rarity for a normally sound special teams’ program, Robinson who turned the ball over three times last year may be called upon again as options are sparce.