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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Virginia Tech
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  08/08/21 - Changa HodgerSr/2022, Virginia Tech, 6-0, 199 (DS#89 WR) + More +

  Fuente said it would be a long shot for wide receiver Changa Hodge to return this season. Hodge suffered a torn ACL midway through spring camp, but the Villanova transfer was as engaged as any of his medically cleared teammates. Hodge followed the receivers group around as if he was still practicing. He mimicked the drills off to the side, talked with his teammates about technique and intently watched the coaches as they critiqued players during various drills. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound sixth-year senior certainly hasn't given up on the season, and could be an asset for Tech as it tries to bring along a large group of young receivers. - Roanoke Times

(DS#89 WR) rSr/2022 WR Changa HodgeVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente has the utmost confidence in Braxton Burmeister. That's been his message this summer, and one he returned to Wednesday at the team's media day when he marveled at the quarterback's "elite" athleticism. "He looks like the people I watch on television at the Olympics," Fuente said. "He's ripped to shreds, he's got veins in his abs, he jumps out of the gym, he's strong ... he can do everything an elite athlete can do." Burmeister opened camp Thursday as Tech's QB1, a position he's had throughout the entire offseason. It marks the first time since 2014 that Fuente is opening fall camp without a competition for the starting job.

Fuente was patrolling the sidelines for Memphis in 2014 and his quarterback at the time was Paxton Lynch. Lynch was only the second freshman quarterback in program history to throw for more than 2,000 yards after winning the job. There were some growing pains - the 2013 team went 3-9 while averaging 16.5 points per game - but Lynch was the unquestioned starter going forward, which paid dividends. - Roanoke Times


(DS#19 QB) rSr/2022 QB Braxton BurmeisterVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  08/03/21 - Jaden PayouterSo/2024, Virginia Tech, 6-1, 210 (DS#38 WR) + More +

  Payoute just needs to make it through fall camp unscathed. The receiver was on track to be a key contributor last year before he suffered a season-ending leg injury at the end of fall camp. He practiced once in the spring before the training staff decided Payoute should have a follow-up procedure in hopes he could put the injury completely behind him.

Quarterback Braxton Burmeister said Payoute is back to his old self in the player-led workouts this summer. Burmeister also made it clear that Payoute is about as gifted of an athlete as there is, a common opinion amongst the team. They still marvel at the video posted to social media of him leaping from a standing position into the bed of a pickup truck. Tech desperately needs more production out of receivers not named Tre Turner and Tayvion Robinson, and Payoute is the one to watch. - Roanoke Times


(DS#38 WR) rSo/2024 WR Jaden PayouteVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  07/30/21 - Amare BarnorSr/2022, Virginia Tech, 6-5, 245 (DS#10 DE) + More +

  Virginia Tech landed a pair of players on the 2021 All-Atlantic Coast Conference preseason football team that was announced on Tuesday morning as voted on by 147 media members. Tech starting tight end James Mitchell (77 votes) and defensive end Amare Barno (63 votes) were selected. Barno's selection comes on the heels of his breakout 2020 season. He led the power five with 16 tackles of loss and was sixth in the league with 6.5 sacks. He earned All-ACC honorable mention honors last season. The 6-foot-6, 235-pounder switched from linebacker over to defensive end - a position he had never played in his career - right before fall camp, and has quickly established himself as Tech's top playmaker. - Roanoke Times

(DS#10 DE) rSr/2022 DE Amare BarnoVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech senior tight end James Mitchell and junior defensive end Amare Barno and Virginia junior linebacker Nick Jackson were all named to the ACC's preseason all-conference football team, the league announced Tuesday. The 6-foot-3, 242-pound Mitchell, who is on the Mackey Award watch list as one of the nation's top tight ends, has 47 career receptions for 796 yards in 36 games for the Hokies. He's caught six touchdown passes, including a team-high four last season, and has rushed for five more scores.

A highly-regarded NFL prospect, Mitchell opted to return to Tech for his senior season. Since then, he's worked to improve his route-running and added about 10 pounds of muscle, he said, without sacrificing speed. "I'm running well. I'm as strong as I've ever been," said Mitchell. "That was a huge part of me coming back, was continuing to get stronger. I play down there in the trenches. Continue to be able to block those guys on the line." - Richmond Times-Dispatch


(DS#12 TE) rSr/2023 TE James MitchellVirginia Tech
News Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch
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  07/28/21 - Amare BarnorSr/2022, Virginia Tech, 6-5, 245 (DS#10 DE) + More +

  The ACC released the conference's 2021 preseason poll on Monday morning with Virginia Tech picked by reporters to finish third in the Coastal Division. Tech closed out last season with a 33-15 win over Virginia in the team's season finale to go 5-6 (5-5 ACC) on the season after players elected not to accept a potential bowl bid. It was the first time since 1992 the program finished the season with a losing record. UVa, meanwhile, is picked to finish fifth in the Coastal Division. The Cavaliers finished 5-5 (4-5 ACC) in the 2020 season. Clemson received 125 of the 147 total votes to win the ACC title. The Tigers made the College Football Playoff last season for a sixth straight year going 10-2. It was the fourth straight year they were picked to win the ACC title in the media preseason poll. - Roanoke Times

(DS#10 DE) rSr/2022 DE Amare BarnoVirginia Tech
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  06/01/21 - Devon HunterrSr/2022, Virginia Tech, 6-0, 220 (DS#61 SS) + More +

  Virginia Tech announced Tuesday that safety Devon Hunter has been reinstated to the football team. Hunter was suspended in September after he was arrested on charges of felony strangulation to cause wound or injury and misdemeanor assault against a family member. The felony was amended to a misdemeanor when Hunter pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Circuit Court on May 4. He was convicted of the two misdemeanors and sentenced to 24 months in jail, but the jail time was suspended to one day on each charge, and two years probation. According to Tech's student-athlete code of conduct, an athlete with a felony charge can't be reinstated until, "until the charges are dropped, dismissed or otherwise resolved." The athletic department also needed Hunter to get through the discipline process outlined in the university's code of conduct for the general student body before weighing in. - Roanoke Times

(DS#61 SS) rSr/2022 SS Devon HunterVirginia Tech
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  Burmeister went into camp as the de facto first-team quarterback with Hendon Hooker and Quincy Patterson transferring last fall, but there's a strong likelihood he would have been the top guy if they had stayed. Tech's coaching staff loves Burmeister's skill set, and are confident coming out of spring camp that the offense can flourish this fall with him at the helm. That confidence is part of the reason why the Hokies didn't seek out an additional quarterback with experience from the transfer portal. The addition of former Texas A&M quarterback Connor Blumrick was seen as a way to shore up the team's depth at the position behind Burmeister.

Burmeister got the majority of the first-team reps, and established himself as a leader on the offensive side of the ball. His teammates embraced Burmeister's efforts, and appreciated the effort he put in particularly during winter workouts when he would gather the skill players to throw in the indoor practice facility. "He's definitely taking that next step that we look for and the coaches look for," Tech wide receiver Tayvion Robinson said. "He's taken ownership leading us, having us throw a couple times whenever we can and building a chemistry with him, and that's the most important thing now going into the spring is just getting as comfortable as possible and getting him as comfortable as possible." - Roanoke Times


(DS#19 QB) rSr/2022 QB Braxton BurmeisterVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech defensive tackle DaShawn Crawford has entered the transfer portal. Crawford took advantage of the extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted all fall student-athletes to come back for the 2021 season as a sixth-year senior. He played a limited role for the Hokies last season thanks to a knee injury. He only played 84 snaps in eight games and had four tackles (1.5 for a loss). He tried to play through the injury in the opener and suffered a setback that forced him to sit out the team's next two games. Crawford was healthy for spring camp, but had fallen back on the depth chart with the first-team defense expected to feature a rotation of Norell Pollard, Mario Kendricks and Clemson transfer Jordan Williams. - Roanoke Times

(DS#999 DT) rSr/2022 DT DaShawn CrawfordVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech wide receiver Tyree Saunders has entered the transfer portal. He didn't play last fall, but will still have five years to play four seasons of competition with the NCAA granting all fall student-athletes an additional year of eligibility. Saunders was the third highest ranked signee in the team's 2020 class. The three-star receiver was the No. 810 ranked prospect coming out of First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Florida. He had 25 scholarship offers coming out of high school including ones from Iowa State, Kansas State, UAB and Marshall. As an upperclassman at First Coast, he had more than 80 catches for 1,600-plus yards and 14 touchdowns. He ran a 4.4 40-yard dash with a vertical jump of 34 inches at camps. - Roanoke Times

(DS#999 WR) So/2024 WR Tyree SaundersVirginia Tech
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  05/08/21 - Devon HunterrSr/2022, Virginia Tech, 6-0, 220 (DS#61 SS) + More +

  Virginia Tech safety Devon Hunter accepted a plea agreement on Tuesday with the Montgomery Circuit Court. Under the plea agreement, both charges were amended to assault and battery misdemeanors (Class 1 misdemeanors). Hunter was facing charges of felony strangulation to cause wound or injury and misdemeanor assault against a family member. He was sentenced to 24 months jail time, but the jail time was suspended to one day on each charge, and two years probation under New River Community Corrections. If he violates his probation or faces other charges during that time, that suspended sentence could be revoked. - Richmond Times-Dispatch

(DS#61 SS) rSr/2022 SS Devon HunterVirginia Tech
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  05/03/21 - Khalil HerbertrSr/2021, Virginia Tech, 5-09, 210 (DS#18 RB) + More +

  The Chicago Bears drafted former Virginia Tech running back Khalil Herbert with the No. 33 (No. 217 overall) pick in the sixth round on Saturday afternoon. Herbert is the first Tech running back drafted since David Wilson was drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft by the New York Giants. There were only four running backs taken in the first three rounds and only two - Alabama running back Najee Harris (No. 24 by Pittsburgh) and Clemson running back Travis Etienne (No. 25 by Jacksonville) - went in the opening round. Herbert was the 14th running back taken overall. He led the ACC with 1,791 all-purpose yards last fall and had 1,182 yards with eight touchdowns and ranked second in the conference averaging 7.68 yards per carry (sixth nationally). - Roanoke Times

(DS#18 RB) rSr/2021 RB Khalil HerbertVirginia Tech
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  Virginia Tech safety Tyree Rogers has entered his name into the transfer portal, a source with knowledge of the information confirmed. Rogers was one of the six super seniors on the team who took advantage of the extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The veteran defender opted out of the 2020 season after playing in Tech's opener. Coach Justin Fuente said he wanted to focus on academics at the time. Rogers was working at free safety this spring along with Keonta Jenkins and Jalen Stroman as the Hokies look to replace Divine Deablo, who was a three year starter at the position. Rogers was a mainstay on Tech's special teams units throughout his career, but he did make three starts at free safety in the 2018 season. - Roanoke Times

(DS#999 FS) rSr/2022 FS Tyree RodgersVirginia Tech
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  04/08/21 - Changa HodgerSr/2022, Virginia Tech, 6-0, 199 (DS#89 WR) + More +

  Changa Hodge went eight straight games to start his Virginia Tech career without a catch. That wasn't an experience Hodge was very used to. The Villanova transfer had at least one reception in 30 of the 32 games he played at the FCS level. He had more yards in his second career game as a true freshman in 2016 than he did all last season. Hodge's three catches for 25 yards was a far cry from the breakout year he had in 2019 when he tied for No. 14 in the FCS with 1,118 yards, but Tech's coaching staff didn't give his lack of production much consideration when making roster decisions in December.

Offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen and wide receivers Jafar Williams asked Hodge to come back as a super senior and take advantage of the extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted. They were impressed with the way he handled himself in the face of some significant adversity and had the talent to play a significant role in the offense this fall. "He got here late, to camp, about halfway through camp, then had a hamstring and then had COVID, and it was like one thing after the next," Williams said, in March. "So he never really got a chance to catch his breath." By the time Hodge was cleared to fully practice, the team was so focused on game prep that he didn't get much to learn the offense and different techniques specific to Tech's offensive scheme. - Roanoke Times


(DS#89 WR) rSr/2022 WR Changa HodgeVirginia Tech
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  04/01/21 - Amare BarnorSr/2022, Virginia Tech, 6-5, 245 (DS#10 DE) + More +

  Tech still plans to rely on a deep rotation on the defensive line, so the Hokies will really be three deep at both defensive end and tackle. Barno had a breakout season last year, and the coaching staff doesn't believe he's reached anywhere near his ceiling. He would make for a strong first team pairing with Belmar, one of Tech's super seniors who opted to take advantage of the free year of eligibility. - Roanoke Times

(DS#10 DE) rSr/2022 DE Amare BarnoVirginia Tech
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