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Having players leave early for the NFL always affects a teams depth chart just because you can’t recruit fast enough to fill those voids. The Hokies have lost three running backs early to the NFL draft over the past two seasons. Most recently, David Wilson decided to forgo his senior season and entered the NFL draft. So, what does that leave Virginia Tech with? Well, time to examine our depth chart and answer that question.
The Depth Chart
The depth chart above is not official; it’s just my best guess on how everything will shake out this spring. Right now, Michael Holmes is the projected starter. We were able to watch Holmes play last fall after he enrolled and I’ll admit he was impressive. Now with a full offseason of practice to go though, I think Holmes with step up to the plate and be the workhorse we need at running back. In fact, if you’re taking bets on who will win the breakout player award on offense, Holmes is a good pick. With a 305 power clean and a 39.5 inch vertical, he’s more than capable of carrying the football.
The new kid on the block this spring will be JC Coleman, who was a Rivals250 recruit out of the 2012 recruiting class. Coleman decided to enroll early and will get a jump start on the rest of this freshmen class by participating in spring practice. I like JC a lot. He’s a smaller back but he has the ability to run inside the tackles. Plus, he has enough speed to break off some longer runs. With Holmes being our likely starter, I would really like to see Coleman excel this spring giving us a solid 1-2 punch.
The last time the Hokies utilized a walk-on running back, a man by the name of Dustin Pickle was wearing the maroon and orange uniform. I’m not sure if Daniel Dyer has reached that level quite yet but for a walk-on, he certainly impressed the coaches last fall. Dyer isn’t a speedster but he’s a hardworker with good athleticism. With Tony Gregory out, Dyer should see a good amount of carries this spring.
Update 3/2/2012: Dominique Patterson is likely going to transfer to Old Dominion University after the spring semester. He will not participate in spring drills this year.
Another walk-on who looked good in spurts last fall was Maurice Taylor. Taylor isn’t a big guy as he measures in at 5’8” but he’s a quality backup player who should see some snaps this spring.
After the Sugar Bowl loss, Tony Gregory was one of a handful of players who went under the knife to correct some lingering injuries. Right now, Gregory is listed as out for the spring practice session and that will likely hurt his chances in becoming Tech’s starting running back this year.
The production from the running back position will likely decrease this season but that’s expected when you don’t have a guy by the name of Ryan Williams or David Wilson running the football. Despite that, I really like Holmes as a potential two or three year starter at running back. He’s more of a between the tackles runner, which should help this offense. He’s also a guy that’s big enough and strong enough to carry the ball 20 times a game.
As for the rest of the depth chart, it’s going to come down to who steps up. If nobody steps up then the competition will continue into August when Tech will add Drew Harris, Chris Mangus, and perhaps Trey Edmunds to the mix.
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