#15 Virginia Tech 2018 Football Preview

Virginia Tech Hokies
Overall Rank: #15
#3 ACC
 Virginia Tech Logo
Coach Justin Fuente has had two successful seasons at Virginia Tech. Fans hope year three can lead to another ACC Coastal title. In 2016 the Hokies won the division and narrowly lost to Clemson in the conference championship game. Last season Virginia Tech fell just short, finishing second in the division. This year the ACC has some tough teams, but Virginia Tech should again be right in the mix for a title.
2017 Record: 9-4, 5-3
2017 Bowl: Camping World Bowl vs. Oklahoma State (L 21-30)
Coach: Justin Fuente (19-8 at Virginia Tech, 45-31 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bud Foster
Defensive Coordinator: Galen Scott
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: DeShawn McClease, RB, 530 yards
Passing: Joshua Jackson, QB, 2,991 yards
Receiving: Sean Savoy, WR, 454 yards
Tackles: Reggie Floyd, S, 72
Sacks: Trevon Hill, DE, 5.5
Interceptions: Reggie Floyd, S, 3
Other Key Returnees: RB Jalen Holston, WR Eric Kumah, DT Ricky Walker, CB Adonis Alexander, DE Houshun Gaines
Key Losses: RB Travon McMillian, WR Cam Phillips, OL Wyatt Teller, DT Tim Settle, LB Tremaine Edmunds, LB Andrew Motuapuaka, LB Mook Reynolds, CB Greg Stroman
Quarterback Joshua Jackson is back after throwing for 2,991 yards and 20 touchdowns as a freshman. He also rushed for 174 yards and six scores. Jackson did have some inconsistencies, partially due to offensive line issues, but with that year of experience under his belt, Jackson should be in for a strong season. Cam Phillips will need to be replaced after easily leading the team with 71 receptions for 964 yards. Sean Savoy and Eric Kumah are capable wide receivers and the addition of Ball State transfer Damon Hazelton should give Jackson plenty of targets. Virginia Tech struggled on the ground last season and that needs to change if this offense is going to take the next step. DeShawn McClease led the team with 530 yards on the ground, but Jalen Holston and Steven Peoples need to step up too.
Virginia Tech boasted the fourth best defense in nation, allowing just 14.8 points per game. However, there is a lot of rebuilding to do. There is talent, but the lack of experience will cause problems for a while. The front four has the most experience. Ricky Walker and Vinny Mihota form a great duo in the middle of the line and Trevon Hill is a proven pass rusher. At linebacker there are some big holes to fill. Tremaine Edmunds and Andrew Motuapuaka combined for 201 tackles last season and replacing them will not be a simple task. Sophomores Rayshard Ashby and Dylan Rivers have some big shoes to fill. Four starters need to be replaced in the secondary too with safety Reggie Floyd the lone returning starter. Cornerbacks Adonis Alexander, Jovonn Quillen and Jeremy Webb have some experience, but they will need to exceed expectations for Virginia Tech to repeat last year’s success on defense.
The Bottom Line:
The Hokies are an interesting team. The offense should be better, but the defense is going to at least take a small step back. And both units will be tested right off the bat when the Hokies travel to Florida State on September 3rd. After that there will be a little time to work things out with William & Mary, East Carolina and Old Dominion on the slate. The Hokies also get Miami at home on November 17th and many expect that contest to decide the ACC Coastal division.
Projected Bowl: Camping World Bowl
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 173.4 (54th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 239.5 (57, 7)
Total Offense: 412.8 (53, 6)
Scoring Offense: 28.2 (69, 6)
Rushing Defense: 119.5 (15, 2)
Pass Defense: 199.8 (33, 6)
Total Defense: 319.2 (13, 2)
Scoring Defense: 14.8 (4, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.38 (30, 4)
Sacks: 2.46 (31, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.77 (43, 4)