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Virginia Tech football: Hokies offer JUCO defensive tackle from Virginia

The Hokies are looking everywhere for help at defensive tackle for next year.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Virginia Tech Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies are off this week, but head coach Brent Pry and his coaching staff remain busy. Tech’s coaches were on the road this week throughout Virginia, checking in on current commitments and more.

The Hokies have been playing well lately, winners of two of their last three games, and host Syracuse on Thursday with a chance to even their record at 4-4.

OK, back to recruiting. A quick glance at Virginia Tech’s depth chart at defensive tackle and it’s concerning for 2024. Tech’s top three defensive tackles, Norell Pollard, Mario Kendricks and Josh Fuga are all seniors. Pollard and Kendricks are in their final year of eligibility, thanks to the “free COVID year,” but Fuga, who redshirted in 2019, has one year of eligibility remaining if he chooses to return.

Pheldarius Payne, a transfer from Nebraska, is in his second year with the Hokies but missed last season with an injury. I am not certain if he has another year remaining.

Regardless, the Hokies need some immediate help next season. Sure, there are younger players ready to make a step up, but what Tech needs is game-ready help on the interior.

This week, Virginia Tech extended an offer to Iowa Western CC defensive tackle Kemari Copeland. Copeland, a 6-foot-3, 275-pounder from Virginia Beach, originally committed to Army out of high school, where he played one season. Copeland announced his transfer from Army last winter as he wanted an opportunity to play at a higher level after one season, so he went to the JUCO route for 2023. Therefore, Copeland spent the 2023 season at Iowa Western.

It’s interesting the Kellam High School graduate called the Hokies his “dream school.” While that sounds great, the Hokies haven’t had the greatest of luck with players who’ve stated Virginia Tech was their dream school.

Perhaps that changes with Copeland.

The Hokies aren’t the only team interested in Copeland. He’s picked up 18 offers from schools such as Louisville, Tennessee and Auburn.

Virginia Tech was masterful in the transfer portal last offseason. Can the Hokies have the same type of success again in 2024? Copeland would be an excellent addition.