This week in Virginia Tech athletics is going to be fairly active. It was the first week that ‘spring' workout regimens could start, and right now we've already got one transfer notice. Trey Edmunds (R-Sr, RB) will be transferring from Virginia Tech to Maryland, per multiple sources, including 247.
Edmunds holds his degree so he will be immediately eligible to play at Maryland, helping them with their backfield depth. They're graduating a three-year starter and have another senior suspended indefinitely. He has a decent shot at starting for them, or at least having a larger role than he'd have here with Marshawn Williams, Shai McKenzie, and of course Travon McMillan in front of him on the depth chart. While it leaves us a tad short at running back (after those three? Deshawn McClease and Coleman Fox, I'd suspect. Both will be redshirt freshmen.) Yes, that's five deep- and I suppose DJ Reid and Sam Rogers are in there somewhere- but with the terrible luck we've had with health, I wouldn't be overly shocked if any of the backups saw the field. Fuente's always had a running back by committee thing going on, even at TCU. His leading rusher by rushing attempts when he was an OC or a head coach was a 201 attempt year by Brandon Hayes at Memphis in 2014. It's not to say that he wouldn't change that up with a more talented runner like McMillan, but at TCU he always had multiple backs with 100+ carries. SOMEONE is likely going to get paired with McMillan. Call it a running back 1B, but it's likely that it wouldn't've been Trey. He's going to transfer to his father's alma mater, and good luck to him. It stinks that he didn't have much a chance to develop after a promising freshman year, but that's part of the unlucky nature of football. I wish him well; he's still going be a Hokie for life with the degree he's earned. Thanks for your service, Trey. And no, Terrell and Tremaine aren't following him, they're staying at Tech.
Speaking of Maryland, their recruiting class just got shot in the gut as they had a decommitment from Dwayne Haskins, a consensus four-star quarterback, and Keandre Jones, a four-star linebacker. Both flipped to Ohio State. While everyone's going to kind of gag at Ohio State getting MORE talent, it does put a huge crimp in what Maryland wanted to do in VA and MD this year. Haskins was one of those guys that causes people to join a college with him- and now, their class falls below even ours in rankings. It might open up Tino Ellis to Virginia Tech overtures again- though that ship might've sailed. Either way, putting a torpedo in Maryland's ability to draw now might have detonated their chances at luring Jaquan Yulee and Tavante Beckett this year, and then Devon Hunter next year because of it. That's the kind of domino effect that comes with recruiting. And, of course, there's the chance that it means that they redouble their efforts and get all of them. That's the precarious part of recruiting...meaning that this could mean everything or nothing, but at the very least it's an interesting development to the school up north. (EDITOR'S NOTE: This was written before the Yulee announcement- he's committed to Marshall.)
In other recruiting news, Virginia Tech is in a precarious predicament of our own, and it's not through any fault of anyone in particular. This weekend in Virginia we're supposed to get a winter storm. Blacksburg is currently forecasted for anywhere from a foot to two feet of snow thanks to Winter Storm Jonas. And unfortunately, this was supposed to be a huge recruiting weekend. Among the visitors supposed to have arrived in Blacksburg this weekend: Hokie commit Patrick Kearns; Rick Wells, Tyrrell Pigrome, Dylan Powell, Nygel King, JaQuan Bailey (all covered in these two articles here and here); Highland Springs, VA two/three star safety K'Von Wallace; Atlanta, GA three star safety Marlon Character; Central Islip, NY four star tackle Malcolm Pridgeon; Cleveland, OH three star JUCO linebacker Jordan Bonner; Geismar, LA cornerback Coney Durr; and Jacksonville, FL linebacker Dominique Ross. And while a lot of those guys are currently committed elsewhere, that'd at least give Tech a chance to make an impression to flip them (Wells and Wallace especially). As of right now the weekend is cancelled and people are scrambling to get things rescheduled.
And while there's a charm to Blacksburg in the winter, especially while it's snowing? It's also gray, dark, and cold. No amount of Corps v. Civilians snowball fighting is going to combat the problem this weather poses.
At the very least, the Merryman Center will soon be a better attraction on campus. News was published by the athletic department on Wednesday about planned renovations to the Merryman Center, including a redesign and update on the entry area for the athletic center, and the Legends Hall. I've been to the Center once, back when I was in college a few years ago. Very mid-to-late 90s style, and of course it housed the optimistic (some would say hubristic) empty championship case, so that was interesting. Walking around, you kind of got the feeling that it needed some TLC, and to the tune of $1.7 million it will be receiving one. The next phase will be installing a new cafeteria and renovating the meeting rooms, though at present phase II is unfunded. We'll see how things progress with the project, but I'm liking how between this and the new indoor facility, the pocketbook is starting to open for the football program in ways we didn't see a few years ago. Maybe that'll signal that we're honestly trying to compete with bigger schools...though at present with SEC revenue and expenditures being what they are, we've still got a way to go. (And while we're at it, can we spend some cash getting bigger seats in Cassell? Those things are TINY!)