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Virginia Tech football: Justin Fuente discusses Farley & Darrisaw

Caleb Farley and Christian Darrisaw will both be selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft.

Virginia Tech v Miami
Caleb Farley
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Many things haven’t gone right for the Virginia Tech football program in recent years under head coach Justin Fuente. The Hokies have essentially settled into mediocrity and struggle to recruit at a Power 5-level, among other things.

One thing that is going right for the Hokies is a pair of juniors who are expected to be first-round picks in the upcoming 2021 NFL draft.

Caleb Farley came to Virginia Tech as a three-star athlete from tiny Maiden, North Carolina, back in 2017. A high school quarterback, the Hokies saw Farley and his 6-foot-2 frame as a perfect wide receiver.

The speedy Farley was expected to contribute as a true freshman in 2017, but a knee injury in fall camp sidelined him for the season. After his rehabilitation, Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente and defensive coordinator Bud Foster had a need at cornerback and thought Farley could have a tremendous future.

The rest is history.

Farley made an immediate impact in the 2018 season-opening win over Florida State, intercepting two passes and registering a sack. He would have his ups and downs that season but displayed his massive potential.

In 2019, Farley was even better, finishing the season as the top cornerback in the ACC.

While he opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his place as the top corner in the 2021 NFL draft was already set.

The same career trajectory applies to Darrisaw, too.

Out of high school, Darrisaw was a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive tackle with little FBS interest. He went to Fork Union and then signed with the Hokies.

He became an immediate starter for the Hokies at left tackle, starting 34 games in three years. He continued to get better each season and was one of the top offensive linemen in all of college football in 2020.

Fuente certainly has a soft spot for each of the future first-round picks, as he discussed in a recent appearance on the NFL Network.

Fuente noted how he asked Farley to trust him each step of the way at Virginia Tech. After watching Fuente on the NFL Network, Farley agreed and was appreciative of Fuente.

Fuente and his staff deserve plenty of criticism for the past few seasons. However, the staff also deserves praise for their player development, too. The coaching staff clearly identified both players' talent early in the evaluation process, and each stuck with the Hokies.

Now it’s up to this coaching staff to use Farley and Darrisaw in recruiting pitches to prospective future Hokies.