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2017 Virginia Football Opponent Preview: Va Tech

Will the Hokies defense their Coastal Division crown?

Belk Bowl - Arkansas v Virginia Tech Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

2016 Record: 10-4 (6-2 ACC)

Winning the Coastal in Justin Fuente’s first year at the helm was a strong start to his career in Blacksburg. The Hokies were 7 points from beating Clemson in the ACC title game as well, showing the Va Tech faithful that their optimism in the Fuente hire was probably warranted and that Frank Beamer’s legacy of losing big games could continue fully after his forced retirement. Jokes aside, 2016 was absolutely a success for Fuente, though no without its curious slip ups (losing at Syracuse, getting blown out by Tennessee at a Nascar track). This year’s schedule provides an early test against West Virginia, but even if they drop that one, 2016 showed that ACC play can turn an early out of conference loss into a title-contending successful season. Like most of their Coastal brethren however, the Hokies are replace a QB - though their departure still had a year of eligibility left.

Notable Departures:

QB - Jerod Evans (Philadelphia Eagles)

DT - Woody Baron (1st Team All ACC)

WR - Isaiah Ford (2nd Team All ACC)

Notable Additions:

S - Devon Hunter (4 star 247sports)

LB - Nathan Proctor (4 star 247sports)

LB - Dylan Rivers (4 star 247sports)

Best Name on the Roster:

Fr. WR Hezekiah Grimsley

Better Know a Virginian:

The Va Tech roster reads like an obituary of recruiting battles lost by the Wahoos in recent years. Losing records of course will lead to losing recruiting battles, but there are a ton of Virginians playing in Blacksburg that seriously considered UVa:

Tim Settle, Greg Stroman, Ricky Walker, Vinny Mihota, Braxton Pfaff, etc...etc...

2017 Outlook:

The biggest question for the Hokies this season is replacing all of the lost talent on offense. While the defense should be strong, the number of shootout/comebacks Va Tech won last year can’t be replicated without solving the quarterback position, replacing three of the top four receiving targets, and three of the top four running backs. While Cam Phillips and Travon McMillian lead those units, the depth behind those two is unproven. Redshirt frosh Josh Jackson will be under center for the Hokies - hoping to replicate Evans’ 2016 season is a ton of pressure for the 6’1” former three star recruit, but he can rely on a strong defense to keep most games close regardless.

Plenty of star power returns this year in the Va Tech defense. Tremaine Edmunds is an absolute stud on the edge and Greg Stroman, Terrell Edmunds, and Mook Reynolds all return in the secondary. The line has talent in its starters, but its depth is the biggest unknown in the unit. The Hokies have recruited well - particularly on defense - and Bud Foster showed last year that producing a top 20 defense can still be the expectation for the squad.

The schedule plays into their favor as well. While the WVU opener looks like a toss up, the Hokies should be favored to win it - as well as their 3 other lesser out of conference matchups. They get Clemson, UNC, Duke, and Pitt all at home - which looks like 3 wins on paper. Visits to BC and UVa should be wins as well, leaving only road games at Miami and Georgia Tech as tougher obstacles. Va Tech should be favored in 10 games at least during their regular season - though uncertainty at QB can always make predictions change in a hurry.

Prediction:

WILL THIS BE THE YEAR?!?! UVa has the following going for it: returning talent and better depth on defense, a hopefully healthy and experience QB, coaches who probably know now not to rotate QBs every play...and I suppose you could list home game atmosphere, but for the Commonwealth Cup that’s more accurately described as “at least it’s not in Blacksburg.” I don’t see it working out. Va Tech should win by 14 at least.

Poll

Will the Hoos finally beat Va Tech this year?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Yes
    (101 votes)
  • 76%
    No
    (327 votes)
428 votes total Vote Now