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Virginia Tech football: Hokies land transfer DE from Nebraska

Pheldarius Payne is a Virginia native.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Springtime has arrived, and the weather was terrific in the New River Valley this past weekend as the Virginia Tech Hokies hosted an open practice for the opening of spring practice.

It was the perfect weather for the Hokies to host fans and recruits. The last time recruits were on campus was in January, and there was snow on the ground in Blacksburg.

With such a lovely weekend, there must be some good news to follow, right?

On Monday afternoon, that good news arrived when defensive end Pheldarius Payne announced he was transferring from Nebraska to Virginia Tech.

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Payne has one year of eligibility remaining. A native of Suffolk, Virginia, Payne played his high school football at Nansemond River High River. Coming out of high school, Payne was a three-star recruit and spent his first two collegiate seasons at Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania, where he recorded 18.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

From there, Payne landed with Nebraska, where he spent the next two years. In two seasons with the Cornhuskers, Payne appeared in 14 games, making 40 tackles, including 4.5 for loss and three sacks.

Payne brings size and experience to the defensive end position for the Hokies. TyJuan Garbutt returns, but Amare Barno is off to the NFL. Eli Adams and Jaylen Griffin are Tech’s only other experienced defensive ends. The Hokies have some promising young players like C.J. McCray, Cole Nelson and Mattheus Carroll, who could be ready to contribute in 2022. The Hokies will also have some true freshmen in the mix.

Payne is a good addition for the Hokies as head coach Brent Pry wanted to build depth and experience for early in his tenure to make up for the poor roster management in recent years. The issue with Virginia Tech in recent years was depth. The Hokies had quality starters at most positions but lacked depth and the coaches failed to develop young players, specifically at quarterback.

Welcome to Blacksburg, Pheldarius.