Well, considering we’re out a game, I’ve got a little time to give a pep talk. Everyone knows how we’re replacing a half billion starters, etc. No getting into that or wasting time. But I want everyone to take a quick look at some numbers. Tiny ones. And the starters (some part-time starters or those in starter timeshares) are labeled in bold.
Redshirt Seniors- 5 (Vinny Mihota, CJ Carroll, Braxton Pfaff, Kyle Chung, Ricky Walker)
Seniors- 2 (Steven Peoples, Yosuah Nijman)
Redshirt Juniors- 17 (Ryan Willis, Houshun Gaines, Coleman Fox, Ishmiel Seisay, Bradley Parcell, Sean Daniel, Xavier Burke, Darius Fullwood, Zach Treser, D’Andre Plantin, Daniel Bailey, Matt Christ, Conner Kish, Kevin Kish, Tyrell Smith, Chris Cunningham, Trevon Hill)
Juniors- 4 (Jeremy Webb, Reggie Floyd, Jovonn Quillen, Eric Kumah)
Redshirt Sophomores- 19 (Phil Patterson, Khalil Ladler, Damon Hazelton, Divine Deablo, Josh Jackson, Tyree Rodgers, DeShawn McClease, Emmanuel Belmar, Daniel Griffith, Patrick Kearns, Austin Cannon, Jarrod Hewitt, Clay Dean, T.J. Jackson, Zachariah Hoyt, Nick Reisenweaver, Samuel Denmark, Brian Johnson, Jimmie Taylor)
Sophomores- 9 (Bryce Watts, Hezekiah Grimsley, Devon Hunter, Jalen Holston, Sean Savoy, Rayshard Ashby, Dalton Keene, Dylan Rivers, Oscar Bradburn)
Redshirt Freshmen- 21 (Hendon Hooker, Caleb Farley, Terius Wheatley, Zion Debose, Nicolas Conforti, Devante Smith, Tre Coghill III, Rico Kearney, Jaylen Griffin, Cole Blaker, Tyjuan Garbutt, Justin Hairston, Gene Kastelburg, Aiden Brown, Lecitus Smith, Nathan Proctor, Silas Dzansi, Brennon Garrison, Drake Deiuliis, Jordan Stout, Robert Porcher IV)
Freshman- 39 (Dax Hollifield, Quincy Patterson II, Tre Turner, Nadir Thompson, Hunter Green, DeJuan Ellis, D.J. Crossen, Chamarri Conner, Armani Chatman, Jermaine Waller, Tyler Matheny, Caleb Steward, Nasir Peoples, Tink Boyd, Alan Tisdale, Adam Lytle, Travis Williams, Cole Beck, Devin Dews, Jacob Van Landingham, Eli Adams, Malik Bell, Keshon Artis, Luke Tenuta, Joe Kane, John Harris, Walker Culver, Kenneth King, Sam DeLuke, Louis Mihota, Gideon Driscoll, Christian Darrisaw, Kaleb Smith, Darryle Simmons, James Mitchell, Jaevon Becton, Nigel Simmons, Oscar Shadley, Caleb Quick)
Now, not all of those players are on scholarship, but that’s a SIGINIFICANT part of the team as both Redshirt and True Freshman. Right now of 116 total players, a full 52% percent of the team is that young. Between Sophomores and Freshmen of various levels, 76% percent of the team is basically just starting their potential college career. And while there is a high number of seniors that are starting, the vast majority are Juniors and below, and many of the Freshmen and Sophomores are getting playing time even while the team goes through the season. For example, Jalen Holston is probably going to eat up some significant snaps; Terius Wheatley has seen plenty of playing time; Sean Savoy and Jarrod Hewitt will continue to play key roles on the team.
For those of you wondering why recruiting news has been so slow, this is why. Tech currently has 16 commitments. That’s a small class. But when only 7 players are naturally going to run out of eligibility, it’s not like there can be much more squeezing done. Now, some scholarships were made available through attrition in various ways- Henri Murphy, Mook Reynolds, Adonis Alexander, and Cam Goode for example- but you’re looking at taking in players that you currently don’t have scholarship slots for. That means that Coach Fu is likely to continue cycling guys out of the program. When you think about it, the last class that was recruited at all by Frank Beamer and his staff were the Redshirt Sophomores/Juniors; the last class not touched by Fuente at all are the Redshirt Juniors. That means that on this team? Only 24 players are left from the Beamer Era. This is very, very quickly becoming Coach Fuente’s team in terms of recruit quality and number.
All in all, it just brings to mind that this team still has so much to grow, but the team that’s there will be intact for a while. While everyone was worried about a lack of experience, it just means that if this team succeeds this year? It’s likely to grow on that for at least another year, if not two. The core of what the team is now is only redshirt sophomores and true sophomores. And that means that if we’re looking at a young and talented team for years to come.