After years of struggles at the running back position, Khalil Herbert stabilized Virginia Tech’s running game in 2020. The transfer from Kansas was spectacular, rushing for over 1,000 yards and solidifying himself as a 2021 NFL draft choice.
While Herbert is now gone, the Hokies still return plenty of talent to the position. Raheem Blackshear should find a featured role next season. The Hokies never knew how to properly employ Blackshear in 2020, essentially wasting his talent at times.
Senior Jalen Holston should be Tech’s featured running back in 2021. Holston looked like a completely different player in 2020 and is poised for a breakout campaign.
Other players to watch are Marco Lee, Keshawn King, freshman Kenji Christian and a host of others.
Even with that depth, it didn’t stop Virginia Tech from adding another running back on Wednesday when UMass running back Jared Cole announced he was coming to Blacksburg.
The Journey Continues @HokiesFB @JackInTheBox58 @CoachFuente @andrejones1185 @CoachP_eterson #Gohokies pic.twitter.com/wDtkWVsdjQ— Jared Cole (@Run_JRC3) March 3, 2021
Cole, a 2020 recruit, has five years of eligibility remaining after the NCAA gave all 2020 athletes a bonus year of eligibility due to COVID-19.
Cole played in four games for UMass, carrying the ball 12 times and recording two receptions.
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Cole played his high school football at Stone Bridge High in Ashburn, Virginia. Even as a preferred walk-on, the addition of Cole goes with the latest trend of the Hokies, making the state of Virginia the top priority in recruiting.
As a senior at Stone Bridge, Cole rushed for over 1,500 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. He was an All-State selection and also a member of the Washington Post All-Met First Team.
Cole was a three-star recruit in 2020.
He is the sixth transfer for Virginia Tech this year and will enroll this summer.