For the most part, the 2013 season is over for the Hokies. Yes, there is still a chance to make it to the ACC Championship Game, there is still a rivalry game and there is still a Bowl game to be played, but most fans are looking to the future. So what’s next for the Hokies? A new quarterback, more experienced offensive weapons, and another Bud Foster defense.
This Spring there will be a battle for the starting quarterback spot, as senior Logan Thomas will be graduating. Love him or hate him, he did a lot for this team, breaking several Virginia Tech records. He was 5-1 against the Hokies’ two main division rivals, Georgia Tech (3-0) and Miami (2-1), and will more than likely put down UVA for the third straight year. Virginia Tech fans should be happy that they had him for three years. His departure will create void in the most important position on the team. Although there will be 4-5 players competing for the starting spot, three stand out.
Mark Leal is a redshirt junior who has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to lead the Hokie offense. During three seasons as backup to Logan Thomas, he has only attempted 23 passes, but has completed 70% of them, albeit against less than stellar competition. It seems every time Thomas has a bad game, there are Hokie fans who are calling for Leal to replace him. That is not going to happen this year, but it remains to be seen if he ever does get a start in his career at Virginia Tech.
Bucky Hodges was a 4-star dual-threat quarterback coming out of highschool, and many Hokie fans are eager to see him on the field. Although he was recruited before current offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler was in place, Hodges is a great athlete and will look to impress coaches in the Spring. There were reports earlier in the season of him taking reps at tight end during practice, but he has to play a snap at Virginia Tech as quarterback or tight end.
Andrew Ford is currently a high school senior playing in Pennsylvania. He is only listed as a 3-star prospect, but many think he is underrated, and he is having a fantastic senior year. He has been named Offensive MVP of his conference, and earlier in the season put up over 400 yards and 6 touchdown against the number 1 team in Pennsylvania. He is a true pocket passer, recruited by Loeffler himself. It’s clear that he is the future quarterback of Virginia Tech, but whether he gets the starting job as a true freshman is still up in the air.
Despite a slow start, the receivers and running backs have made great strides in their production throughout the season. There have still been mistakes on both units, but the Miami game showed that when Loeffler’s offense is clicking, the Hokies can put together a complete game.
Trey Edmunds is a true freshman this year who had a lot of responsibility from the very first game against number 1 Alabama. In his college debut, he broke off a 77 yard run for a TD, but as the season progressed, poor offensive line execution in large part slowed down the running game, and the Hokies had to rely on Logan Thomas’s to carry them through their next 6 games, which caught up with them after their bye week, dropping 2 straight to Duke and Boston College, in which Thomas threw 6 interceptions. Next season, look for Edmunds to continue to improve, especially with a deep running back rotation.
J.C. Coleman will be entering his Junior year next season. It seems like he has not been 100% all season, missing the first few games to ankle sprains. During the Miami game, he had a great drive in the fourth quarter, and deserved a touchdown, but was stopped on fourth down at the goal line. If he can stay healthy next season, he will be an important contributor to the offensive production next year.
The receiving corp took a few weeks to show up this season, but they have all for the most part shown improvement over the season. Three out the Hokie’s five leading receivers are underclassmen, and all but one will return for next season. Not to mention the Hokies have been without their top tight end Ryan Malleck all season and have relied on freshman walk-on Kalvin Cline, who has been a top target for Logan Thomas. With a few more receivers already committed for the 2014 recruiting class, and still more on the target board, the Hokies might finally have that high powered offense they’ve been seeking for so long.
The Hokies will lose several seniors on the defensive side of the ball, but Hokie fans shouldn’t be too worried. Any defensive unit coached by Bud Foster will always have a chance to be a top-5 in the country. They’re two freshman cornerbacks, Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson have exceeded expectations, and have the potential to be the best duo in the country next season. There shouldn’t be any problem at the defensive back or linebacker positions, but the defensive line will be replacing three starters. Still, look for the Hokies to field another fantastic defense, that will keep the Hokies in every game, as it did this season.