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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Virginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech quarterback turned tight end Connor Blumirck is committed to making his latest position change work. Blumrick went from quarterback to running back to tight end while at Texas A&M then started that cycle over again when he got to Blacksburg. He played quarterback for the Hokies last season going from a wildcat type change of pace guy to starting the finale in the Pinstripe Bowl. He finished the season with 152 passing yards (51.6%) with two touchdowns and ran the ball 56 times for 242 yards (4.3 yards per carry) with three touchdowns. Blumrick was one of the first players to catch Brent Pry's eye during winter workouts. Pry saw an intriguing combination of size - Blumrick is listed at 6-foot-5 - and speed on a team lacking proven playmakers.

The new staff moved Blumrick to tight end just a week into spring camp, and are hoping to reap the rewards from that decision this fall. "I'm excited about Connor," Tech offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen said, after Friday's practice. "Connor's working at receiver and tight end and in the backfield, a lot of different places. He's got a unique skill set. He's played receiver before….So it's been fun to figure out how to utilize him and package him in different personnel groupings." Blumrick has high hopes as well. While he only played a total of 14 offensive snaps in four seasons (he also played 233 snaps on special teams) with Texas A&M, he's hoping the coaching staff has the confidence to give him more consistent game reps. "I want to be in as many plays as coach will put me in," Blumrick said. "I want to be involved in the run game and pass game, whatever I can do to help the team." - Roanoke Times


rSr/2023 QB Connor BlumrickVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  Virginia Tech linebacker Alan Tisdale has played in 35 career games and made 18 starts, but second-year linebacker Jaden Keller is pushing him hard for playing time. The 6-foot-3, 216-pounder defender out of Tennessee maintained his redshirt last year playing in four games. Keller was already on Pry's list of up-and-coming defenders after spring camp, but he might arrive sooner rather than later thanks to his dedication in the weight room and athleticism. "Right now he's certainly in competition for the [weak side] linebacker spot," Pry said. "He's a beautiful looking young man. He's really had a great summer just changing his body, looking lean and fast. He plays, when he knows what he's doing, he plays as fast as anybody on the defense. He's got a real shot." - Richmond Times-Dispatch

rSo/2025 OLB Jaden KellerVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech tight end Nick Gallo has 25 career catches for 213 yards with a touchdown. Those are pretty modest numbers for a player that's played in 35 career games with 15 starts. Here's a prediction for 2022 - he surprises the numbers in all three categories this fall. Gallo earned the trust of the new coaching staff right out of the gate, and ended up being named the most improved award for the offense at the end of spring camp. Bowen labeled Gallo as more of an 'F' tight end, a designation for the a tight end that typically moves around from playing in the slot, to the backfield and even gets opportunities to line up on the outside. Or as Bowen describes it someone who, " a move, off the ball, flex out" guy while Drake Deiuliis will be counted on to be more of the inline blocking guy. That along with Tech's inexperience at receiver should put Gallo in position to be one of the offense's more productive players. - Roanoke Times

rJr/2024 TE Nick GalloVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech was one of three schools not to have any players voted to the All-ACC preseason football team for the first time since 2019. The ACC released the 27-member squad as voted on by 164 members of the media. Clemson led the way with six players on the team while Atlantic rival N.C. State had the second most with five players, including ACC preseason player of the year Devin Leary. - Roanoke Times

rSr/2023 CB Chamarri ConnerVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech didn't get much love in the ACC's annual preseason poll that was released on Tuesday afternoon. Tech was predicted to finish No. 5 in the Coastal Division behind the University of Virginia at fourth. Miami was picked to win the division with 98 first-place votes and Clemson was picked to win the Atlantic (111 first place votes). It was seventh time in the last eight years Clemson was picked to win the Atlantic and fifth straight year they were the overall preseason conference favorite. Clemson was an overwhelming favorite - they received 103 votes from the 164 members of the media that voted - over NC State to win the league.

While Tech got three first-place votes in the Coastal, it was the lowest the program has ever finished in the poll. The previous low came in 2016 when it was picked at No. 4, but went on to win the league. Virginia Tech had a busy offseason after parting ways with former coach Justin Fuente with two games left in the 2021 season. Pry, a former grad assistant under Frank Beamer was announced as Tech's new coach on Nov. 30. He brought on a staff that included former Florida State linebackers coach Chris Marve as defensive coordinator and Jacksonville Jaguars tight ends coach Tyler Bowen as offensive coordinator. - Roanoke Times


rSr/2023 CB Chamarri ConnerVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech defensive end Pheldarius Payne will likely miss the 2022 season with an Achilles injury he suffered in June. Tech coach Brent Pry said at the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte that it was a non-contact injury, and that it would be "tough" for him to make it back before the end of the season. Pry wouldn't rush him back to play a couple games since Payne could redshirt and retain a year of eligibility. Payne, who started his career at Lackawanna Community College, transferred to Tech in May after two years at Nebraska. "I doubt that we would burn a couple games if he had a chance [to come back in 2023]," Pry said.

Pry was excited about adding the veteran to a rotation at defensive end that features three players that just moved there from different positions and a pair of true freshmen. Payne had 40 career tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks at Nebraska. The lone veterans at the position going into the fall for the Hokies are TyJuan Garbutt, Jaylen Griffin and Eli Adams. Griffin missed spring camp recovering from a knee injury, but was cleared to fully participate in the team's summer workouts. "I was excited about what he was bringing," Pry said of Payne. "To be honest, more than anything, it was devastating for him. He was super excited about the opportunity." - Roanoke Times


rSr/2023 DE Pheldarius PayneVirginia Tech
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  2022 PRESEASON RIMINGTON TROPHY WATCHLIST: Johnny Jordan, Virginia Tech,...Virginia Tech center Johnny Jordan was named to the Rimington Trophy preseason watch list on Friday, making him just one of five centers in the ACC on the prestigious list. Jordan appeared in all 13 games, making three starts at center in 2021. - Virginia Tech Football

rSr/2023 C Johnny JordanVirginia Tech
News Source: Virginia Tech Football
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  It's easy to understand why Virginia Tech's offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen is a bit enamored with Connor Blumrick. Bowen, who is building an offense that stresses "flexibility" and "versatility", views Blumrick as someone capable of playing just about anywhere on offense. "He brings a lot of skills to the table," Bowen said, in June. Blumrick made an impression on the staff during winter workouts with Brent Pry mentioning him as one of the most talented players on the roster.

The former quarterback moved to tight end two weeks into spring camp with the staff envisioning him getting opportunities in multiple different roles. "He really made that transition seamless," Bowen said. "...He's impressed me every step of the way with how he's handled the entire transition. He's got a chance to be a very multiple-player with how we are trying to use him on the offense. I've been excited about him." Bowen isn't the only one. Virginia Tech offensive line coach Joe Rudolph, who has experience as an offensive coordinator, said Blumrick caught his attention during spring. He described Blumrick as a player that consistently made those around him better. "We asked him to do a lot of things in the spring and you see that guys have great confidence in him," Rudolph said. "It's kind of fun." - Roanoke Times


rSr/2023 QB Connor BlumrickVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  Virginia Tech's new coaching staff wants Dorian Strong to garner the same type of attention he did two years ago. Strong was thrown into the starting lineup as a true freshman in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly reshaped Tech's secondary. He thrived in the role and capped off a productive year with his first career interception to help lock up Tech's win over the University of Virginia. The Maryland native remained one of Tech's primary corners last fall and had a productive year - he was second on the team behind Armani Chatman with six pass breakups and had 23 tackles (20 solo) in 13 games - he didn't put together the All-ACC caliber season he was hoping for.

"Oftentimes when you have early success, it's easy to get complacent, it's easy to not get into exactly what it takes to get better," Virginia Tech cornerbacks coach Derek Jones said in a recent interview. "And I think just having been a part of it a couple times in my career, when there's a coaching change, that's tough. Because guys oftentimes, especially when you're younger, become disconnected, lose that fire, lose that hunger that it takes, knowing that the guy that's coaching you is probably not going to be there." Jones reviewed film of last season when he got the job. With Strong, he saw a player making mental mistakes far too often. "If you talk to him, I think he'd tell you it was just not putting the preparation in that he did as a freshman and expecting his ability to go on," Jones said. According to Jones, none of that was a problem this spring for the third-year defender. Strong has embraced Jones' "cheetah" mentality and has shown the attention to detail needed to get back on track. "I think the sky's the limit for him," Jones said. - Roanoke Times


rSo/2025 CB Dorian StrongVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech running backs coach Stu Holt had a pressing question for Malachi Thomas back in January. Holt scheduled Zoom sessions as a way to get to know his new players after leaving Louisville to join Brent Pry's staff. When Holt talked with Thomas, he wanted to know how the true freshman leapfrogged nine other running backs - including veterans like Raheem Blackshear and Jalen Holston - to get extended playing time at midseason. "It's a little bit coach speak to say experience doesn't matter," Holt said, in an interview with The Roanoke Times. "If you do have an older guy that has a feel for the game and the skill sets are pretty close, you do like having that experience, right? But if it's a younger guy, he's got to be a mature guy…Through that first conversation it was evident to me, that's how he got on the field." Thomas has maintained that mature approach in recent months to learn Tech's new playbook.

It helped him finish spring camp near the top of the depth chart with Pry referring to Thomas as Tech's most "consistent" running back in camp back in April. Holt agreed, but was also quick to praise Thomas' all-around skill set as well. "He's big, he's got great feet and is a really quick cut guy," Holt said. "He gets vertical very fast. He's got good vision. I think Malachi does a lot of good things. He's got good hands. He's smart. He's got a very good feel for the game, particularly being a young guy. He understands fronts and coverages. He's been impressive that way." Thomas ran for 440 yards (4.7 yards per carry) with three touchdowns last fall and had a pair of 100-yard performances. He was part of a rushing attack that finished No. 41 in the country last year with 185 yards per game. - Roanoke Times


So/2025 RB Malachi ThomasVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech is casting a wide net to try and build an explosive offense. It's been one of the main themes of the offseason for offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen and he's welcomed all ideas from his staff. That's why Keshawn King and Chance Black found themselves working with the wide receivers towards the end of spring camp. "Both guys are explosive and quick," Tech running backs coach Stu Holt said, on Monday. "Their change of direction is very good. They catch the ball well and their hands are good. That lends to the ability to run routes and to figure out how to manipulate defensive coverage. They have that naturally."

Holt said all six of his running backs can catch the ball out of the backfield, but King and Black have a chance to establish more of a hyphenate role beyond just motioning out of the backfield into the slot. Tech's running backs combined for 33 catches and 366 yards last year with Raheem Blackshear's 25 catches for 249 yards leading the way. "They are very, very talented players," Tech receivers coach Fontel Mines said. "Offensively, you don't want guys that are that talented sitting on the sideline...We are trying to find ways to get the ball into those guys' hands." - Roanoke Times


rJr/2024 RB Keshawn KingVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry reported that defensive end Pheldarius Payne enrolled ahead of summer workouts and was officially part of the roster. The former Nebraska defensive end verbally committed back in March. Payne had been on Pry's radar going back to the defender's time at Lackawanna Community College, about three hours away from Penn State's campus. The Virginia native was an impact player for Lackawanna's defense with 53 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks over two seasons. "He had a shoulder injury at the time that kept us from taking him, but we would have taken him," Pry said. "He ended up at Nebraska and got his shoulder fixed, he was their third guy. He's looking for a chance to have more of an impact." - Roanoke Times

rSr/2023 DE Pheldarius PayneVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry announced linebacker signee Reid Pulliam will not be on the team because the player is "working through some things," Pry said. "We'll see how it shakes out." A Virginia Tech spokesperson has declined to comment on the situation. Pulliam was announced as one of 12 early enrollees in January as a three-star prospect out of Life Christian Academy by the way of Texas. He was the No. 161-ranked linebacker in the class with Power Five offers from Arizona State, Duke, Houston, Indiana and Maryland. - Roanoke Times

Fr/2026 OLB Reid PulliamVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech receiver DJ Sims removed his name from the transfer portal on April 25 within hours of entering the searchable collegiate database. The Virginia Tech Hokies had eight players enter the transfer portal after spring camp, but Sims was the only one to change his mind. Tech coach Brent Pry cleared up his status on Friday. "There's a head coach's rule where you can maintain your scholarship, but you don't need to be on the roster for first year coaches," Pry said. "He's on scholarship at Virginia Tech as far as I know, but he's no longer on the football team." Sims, who was a 2021 signee out of Christchurch School in Richmond, redshirted as a true freshman last fall. The 6-foot-3, 194-pounder was a three-star recruit coming out of high school with 26 scholarship offers including a handful of power five ones (Wake Forest, Virginia and North Carolina). - Roanoke Times

rFr/2026 WR DJ SimsVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech's new staff isn't done reshaping the roster going into the 2022 season. The Hokies announced more than a dozen position changes during spring camp and head coach Brent Pry added to that list on Friday. According to Pry, defensive tackle Braelin Moore is moving to the interior of the offensive line. "It's about maximizing guys' potential," Pry said. "Braelin is a damn good prospect. He's got a chance to be a better offensive lineman than defensive lineman." The staff consulted players with positional flexibility after they signed about where they wanted to start out their careers.

The Hokies lacked depth up front on both sides of the ball, and Moore was a successful two-way player at Freedom High School (Pa.). Moore had no issues picking up the defense as an early enrollee, but Pry didn't think he had the top end speed to consistently be a high-end playmaker. "He's never going to run well enough to make enough plays on the perimeter that can be an all-conference," Pry said. "You are always going to want him to run better, but on the offensive line he runs great." - Roanoke Times


Fr/2026 OG Braelin MooreVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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