Spring practice is underway in Blacksburg and there are lots of positions up for grabs this spring. Players such as Tremaine Edmunds, Terrell Edmunds, Tim Settle, Brandon Facyson, Greg Stroman, Wyatt Teller, Eric Gallo and Cam Phillips are among those gone. That’s a lot of starts head coach Justin Fuente and defensive coordinator Bud Foster must replace.
Hokie 2018 Receivers and Tight Ends
|85||Chris Cunningham||2||TE||6' 2"||241||rJr||Jacksonville FL||Atlantic Coast|
|91||Vince Zduoba||-||TE||6' 3"||242||Jr||Berryville VA||Clarke County|
|29||Dalton Keene||1||TE||6' 4"||242||So||Littleton CO||Chatfield|
|42||Cole Blaker||-||TE||6' 3"||242||rFr||Narrows VA||Narrows|
|89||Drake DeIuliis||-||TE||6' 5"||240||rFr||Charlotte NC||Providence|
|12||Henri Murphy||1||WR||5' 10"||190||Sr||Pine Bluff AR||Dollarway|
|39||Sean Daniel||-||WR||5' 9"||180||rJr||Chesapeake VA||Oscar S MIth|
|86||C.J. Carroll||2||WR||5' 8"||173||rSr||Olney MD||Our Lady of Good Counsel|
|8||Phil Patterson||1||WR||6' 2"||193||rSo||Virginia Beach VA||Bayside|
|14||Damon Hazelton||-||WR||6' 2"||217||rSo||Baltimore MD||Franklin|
|6||Hezekiah Grimsley||1||WR||6' 0"||182||So||Williamsburg VA||Lafayette|
|15||Sean Savoy||1||WR||5' 9"||190||So||Washington DC||Woodrow Wilson|
|35||Peter Muskett||-||WR||6' 2"||194||rFr||Springfield VA||West Springfield|
|37||Nicolas Conforti||-||WR||5' 11"||192||rFr||Vienna VA||James Madison|
|87||Tre Coghill III||-||WR||5' 10"||169||rFr||Fredericksburg VA||Mountain View|
|88||Justin Hairston||-||WR||6' 0"||171||rFr||Manassas VA||Osbourn Park|
|83||Eric Kumah||2||WR||6' 2"||217||Jr||Woodbridge VA||Forest Park|
|11||Tre Turner||-||WR||6' 2"||179||Fr||Greensboro NC||Northwest Guilford|
|38||Kaleb Smith||-||WR||6' 2"||210||Fr||Bumpass VA||Louisa County|
|46||Nick Reisenweaver||-||WR||6' 1"||182||Fr||Mechanicsville VA||Lee-Davis|
Fuente and his staff have been looking for depth at receiver over the last two seasons and this year is no different. It doesn’t help that some important pieces are out this spring. Ball State transfer Damon Hazelton is expected to grab one of the starting positions at receiver this fall, unfortunately, he is sidelined this spring due to injury. Hazelton isn’t the same type of player as Phillips, but he should be Tech’s go-to receiver this fall if he is completely healthy by August.
In addition to Hazelton, true freshman Tre Turner, one of Tech’s top signees, and junior Eric Kumah are limited this spring. That, of course, opens the door for other young players to make an impact.
One such player is rising sophomore Hezekiah Grimsley. As a freshman last fall, Grimsley played in 12 games, catching just 12 passes. It’s important to note, though, Grimsley caught 10 of those passes in Tech’s final two games. The light came on for Grimsley and he’s certainly put himself in position for a big year.
Sean Savoy was arguably the team’s top freshman a year ago. Savoy started 12 games, catching 39 passes for 454 yards and four scores. In addition to his receiving duties, Savoy was often deployed on the jet sweep and rushed for 116 yards and two more touchdowns. He is an outstanding slot receiver and should continue in that role this fall.
Senior Henri Murphy is arguably the fastest player on the team. Murphy has yet to make an impact as a receiver. He now has an opportunity. He’s shown some game-breaking ability on kick returns. Murphy’s speed is an asset for the offense and he must find a way to make a difference on offense.
C.J. Carroll feels like he’s been around forever. The former walk-on has battled injuries throughout his career. After playing 13 games in 2016, Carroll played in just seven games last fall. Carroll is best-suited for the slot and that’s Savoy’s spot. However, Savoy can move outside if need be and Carroll can come in and play in the slot.
The Hokies have a talented and interesting group at tight end. Chris Cunningham is back for his junior season. Cunningham proved to be a red-zone weapon two years catching just six passes, four of which went for touchdowns.
In Dalton Keene and Drake Deiuliis, the Hokies have a pair of potential difference-makers. Deiuliis was headed for a redshirt season last year when the coaches decided they could use his size in the lineup on the outside. Unfortunately, he got hurt and the team was able to get a medical redshirt. At 6’5”, 240 pounds, he has a tremendous blend of size, ball skills and athleticism. It will be interesting to see how coaches use him.
Keene, a 6’4”, 240-pound sophomore, played in all 13 games last fall, starting 12. He wasn’t used nearly enough in the passing game. That should change this fall.
Stay with us here at Gobbler Country as we’ll continue looking at position groups with the defensive line and defensive backs also to follow this week.