On Friday, Virginia Tech announced James Mitchell, Dax Hollifield, Chamarri Conner, Brock Hoffman, and Tyrell Smith as football team captains for the upcoming season. Leaders on the field and in the locker room, this group of upperclassmen represent the best that Hokies’ football has to offer.
Mitchell, likely the best NFL Draft prospect on the team (though Amare Barno may have something to say about that before the season’s end), has grown into a do-it-all tight end, and Tech’s best playmaker on offense. Underutilized so far in this offense, with Coach Justin Fuente feeling better about the passing game, perhaps he can have the true breakout season he’s capable of.
Hollifield was a highly prized recruit who’s had his ups and downs on the Tech defense, though he’s spent his time here playing out of position—with Rayshard Ashby blocking his natural Mike spot. Finally able to quarterback the defense, he’ll be an integral part of a unit that aims to improve in Justin Hamilton’s second year as defensive coordinator.
Once Conner overtook Khalil Ladler—a productive player in his own right—on the depth chart, expectations for him were high. Thankfully, he’s delivered, even leading the Hokies in tackling in 2020. Entering 2021 as maybe Tech’s most impactful player on defense, a big year could vault him into the NFL Draft conversation.
Hoffman’s transfer waiver denial dominated the news cycles prior to the 2019 season, but when he finally got on the field in 2020, he was as advertised. While he did ride the line a lot during the year, getting called for a few penalties he’d like to have back, he projects as one of the best blockers on an offensive line that—even after significant offseason attrition—projects to be among the stronger units on the team.
Smith is two years older than me, and I’ve been out of college since 2019. He might be Dr. Smith by the time his eligibility runs out. All jokes aside, having a guy who’s been with the program for seven years, who’s seen everything college football has to offer, is an invaluable resource, especially for the young guys on the team.
But what do you think? Any notable omissions? Can this group lead the Hokies back to a Coastal championship? Let me know in the comments.