Virginia Tech landed at No. 24 in Sports Illustrated's Preseason 2017 Top 25. SI did something similar to Athlon and included a blurb about each team in its preseason ranking from anonymous coaches.
No. 24 Virginia Tech: 'They Love to Load the Box'
They're really well coached on defense. Coordinator Bud [Foster] runs a unique scheme. They'll do some Cover 2 inverted stuff, and they love to load the box. They'll choke out the run game and force you to win on the perimeter. Their weakside 'backer [236-pound junior Tremaine Edmunds] is a giant. He's 6'5" and he can rally to the ball, but he can also match receivers. Their middle linebacker [6-foot, 233-pound senior Andrew Motuapuaka] is tough and experienced, but he can get exposed in space. They're always good in the secondary, and we think [6'2", 197-pound senior corner] Brandon Facyson is their best DB.
On offense, they lost almost all of their production. It shocked me how much they use empty formations. They'll also do some unbalanced formations and come at you with a lot of motion. [Coach Justin] Fuente likes quarterback powers and quarterback counters. We don't know who's gonna win that job (sidebar), but he'll have to run. Travon McMillian [a 6-foot, 205-pound junior tailback] is a good player. He's solid for what they do. C.J. Carroll [a 5'8", 167-pound junior] is a good slot receiver, and I think [6-foot, 199-pound senior] Cam Phillips will become one of the best receivers in the ACC. Their O-line is above average. Yosuah Nijman, their [6'7", 300-pound junior] left tackle, is long and athletic.